The Dark Knight (2008)
A movie that has gone down in history. Clearly one of the highest grossing movies of all time, this sequel to the Nolan-bat-verse raised the bar against its predecessor and raised the standards for almost every comic book movie that followed. This is The Dark Knight.
Ok, so a bit of a disclaimer first: if you are one of those people who thinks The Dark Knight is the greatest movie ever made then do not for you will just be severely disappointed by what you read and likely get angry. (If you are the type that thinks Avatar is the greatest movie ever made then, please, go away!) This is a film that does work. From the beginning, the story built around the Joker is a very intriguing one. The chaotic element his character adds to the film really takes it to a different place than where the first movie was. As Batman Begins did, this flick is rooted heavily in reality. In fact, in some places, it feels like a regular action, thriller that happens to include a guy in white face paint and lipstick and a guy rocking a cape and a cowl. The franchise has stepped away from the more comic book type of structure and pacing which has worked in a very effective way. Also, the surroundings are more urban than that of the first film, but the visuals are certainly bigger in scope. The presence of the Batman is definitely stronger here and ultimately the stakes he is up against are much higher.
Christian Bale reprises his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and as his Bruce Wayne reaches darker places in his life, Bale plays them with great depth and weight. However, as his time as Batman is increased in this film, his “Batman voice” becomes more noticeable, and its all gravel. It’s great that he is attempting to make a change between his Bruce and his Bats, but it reaches an almost laughable level in some scenes as he growls at friends and foes alike. Aaron Eckhart joins the cast as Harvey Dent and balances the role well with strength and charm. Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox and is more and more fun as the movie moves along. Michael Caine, as Alfred, comes back with more warmth and humor to the role. And, one again, Gary Oldman is phenomenal and Gordon and brings even more dramatic depth this time. But, obviously, the standout performance in this flick is Heath Ledger’s Joker. If you are like most, you’ve heard lots on the subject and will note he was even warded Oscar gold for the role posthumously. So, without going on and on about it, simply put: the dude is Ridiculously Awesome in the role and can’t help but be watched in every scene the Joker is in.
This film is quite a deal longer than the first one and, sometimes, really feels long-winded. Its structure is somewhat erratic and the pace can be on the lethargic side. The idea that the story does naturally progress from the first one and builds on the situation of a masked vigilantly running around the city is a welcomed one and makes for great places for the story. The tone of this picture’s story reaches a darkness that matches Batman Returns and counters i with a more visually contrasting lighting scheme. Unfortunately, because the Joker character is so strong, many of the other characters are overshadowed. Another villain is introduced late in the game that is used effectively but all too briefly. After the major villain, the Joker, is dealt with the other is seemingly rushed away. But I digress, this is not me saying that this movie is bad by any stretch of the imagination. But it contains so many well crafted elements that, over time, they eventually clash forcing one to decide which to focus on. Torn by the decision, but willing to take the flack,
- to The Dark Knight I say, “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”