Cert: 12A Runtime: 152 mins Director: Christopher Nolan Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Nestor Carbonell
You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain
Ok I have reviewed The Dark Knight before but I am going to do it again because I can. So then after the success of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan came back with this mammoth of a film. Now with Batman’s greatest foe the Joker involved the cage was going to be rattled. Obviously the death of Heath Ledger before the release of Dark Knight over-shadowed the film but his performance will live in infamy.With just one year having passed after taking out Ra’s Al Ghul’s plan to have Gotham eliminated and the mysterious disappearance of Dr. Jonathan Crane AKA the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), and after the city was nearly plundered with his toxins, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and his vigilante alter-ego the Batman, continue the seemingly endless effort to bring order to Gotham, with the help of Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and newly appointed District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). But a new threat has now emerged into the streets. The Dark Knight faces a rising psychopathic criminal called The Joker (Heath Ledger), whose eerie grin, laughter, and inhuman morality makes him as dangerous than what he has yet to unleash. It becomes an agenda to Batman to stop the mysterious Joker at all costs, knowing that both of them are in an opposite line. One has no method at all and seeks to see the world plunge into the fire he has yet to light. One represents the symbol of hope and uses his own shadow to bring the peace and order he has yet to accomplish doing.To begin with, the 21st Century has begun to rise higher with each influential work of art in the cinema. I think Christopher Nolan, one of the most amazing film directors in our new digital era of breathtaking experiences, has made the year 2008 a major turning point in the way we perceive personal and political themes represented in the movies. Where else could I possibly go but to admire with sprawling admiration this whole other world of a movie.
There’s a very good chance you’ve already seen The Dark Knight. It’s very accessible: take one of the greatest superheroes of all time, add his archnemesis, one of the greatest modern directors, and few ties to its predecessor, and you’ll come out with money. Over $1,000,000,000 of them. But behind all the hype, all the cash, and all the controversy , you’re left with one of the best films of the last decade, and the film that justifies comic book films to critics, non-believers and nay-sayers. Batman Begins was a revelation, but The Dark Knight elevates comic book films to more than a niche.Most series stumble with the sequel; no origin story means that other things need to fill in the first hour or so. But The Dark Knight barrels through that crippling problem: it’s a completely new arc from Batman Begins, so new viewers aren’t missing much. Right off the bat (oh ho ho) we’re thrown into the action: the prologue follows a group of Clown-masked bank robbers and how their selfishness destroys them, and then reveals The Joker to be behind it all. The prologue is amazing, and sets the tone for the whole film: grim, and not completely focused on Batman. What follows is a dark look into psyche and morality, how good can be corrupted, and how absolute chaos can engulf even the most righteous of beings. The themes are layered and complicated, and not the most relatable for the average viewer, but extraordinarily well-handled.
The acting is perfect again: Christian Bale is even more two-faced than Dent, magnifying his ignorance as Wayne and his intimidation as Batman. He does like to jump from playboy to inspired though, often in Dent’s presence, making an ass of himself one second then kissing it the next. Alfred (Michael Caine) returns again as Bruce’s mentor, offering a few stories to help Wayne think, and providing a nurturing hand when needed: and it is needed. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is also a key player, and his entire character is ironic right from the start: we know what will eventually happen. But his acting skills are there, showing the descent from Gotham’s white knight to something else entirely, something different from the comics. This character is remarkably frightening, but is placed in a tough spot: he has to play second fiddle to the Joker, and is certainly underused. His revenge ends too soon, but at the same time it couldn’t go anywhere else without changing the ultimate resolution. But for what we do get, Dent is excellent and has a great gradual (then sudden) development.Being second fiddle to anything is unfortunate, but Two-Face had to live in the shadow of the Joker. It’s indisputable, Joker is the greatest Batman villain, and his turn in The Dark Knight is one of the best. The late Heath Ledger gives the ultimate performance, cumulating in a much deserved Oscar that breaks new ground for comic book acting. His Joker is everything you’ve heard: unpredictable, unnerving, and scary. Just his visual appearance is creepy, but with his voice, little movements, twisted sense of ‘humour’ and general style, he’s the most frightening Joker ever and gives Batman an adversary that forces him to rethink his entire concept of justice. A very deserving portrayal.
From start to finish The Dark Knight is filled with memorable scenes of action and dialogue. The parking garage, the escort chase, the sickening, heart-wrenching choice and the finale all show why Batman is the ultimate badass, and anytime the Joker opens his mouth it’s pure gold. The film constantly is moving forwards, but feels slower than it is. Nolan took his time to create an epic-length masterpiece.Simply, The Dark Knight is technically supreme. It has an incredible dark art design, a shift from Batman Begins’ orange tone to this blue tone. This lighting is notable, with effects such as Two-Face’s good side in view only, or especially The Joker’s white face being the only thing on screen, like the devil in the Exorcist. The film was amazing to see and hear in theatres and on DVD. I love the IMAX: fullscreen action with remarkable detail, although it does lead to very slightly annoying jumps in aspect ratio. The sound is sweeping, the SFX brilliant: the musical score is great again, although used less frequently and without the main theme, although this shows that the film is less about Batman.The Dark Knight is a perfect expansion for this mythos. It’s jaw- dropping, and in my opinion the greatest sequel of all time, maybe in a close race with The Empire Strikes Back but that’s just me. My only worry is that The Dark Knight Rises won’t be able to top it, and I have no clue how they will be able to do so.