Mood: on fire
Now Playing: The Dark Knight
Topic: Movie Reviews
The Dark Knight was a brilliant movie despite being about 15-minutes too long. (I’m not going to complain about the length, because all movies are at least 20-minutes too long nowadays and to complain about it would be a redundant criticism.) The movie was dark, philosophical, fast paced and action packed. Some critics will state that The Dark Knight was too dark or too philosophical for a “funny book” movie. People who say that are not too familiar with the world of comic books, and the alternate realities in which superheroes live. Never confuse a comic book with the bright bang-pow, drink-your-milk and say-your-prayers type of heroes in the Sunday papers’ comic strips. Comic book heroes (and villains) who are brought to life on the big screen come with much depth and baggage that is ripe for exploring.
The Dark Knight explores the yin and yang relationship of the Batman and the Joker. Good versus Evil. Order versus Anarchy. Without the existence (even the theoretical existence) of one, the other cannot exist. The Joker, with his scarred mouth and whacked-out make-up, points this out with glee to Batman. Batman as the vigilante hero has created a villain who elicits as much fear as Batman does hope. The Joker, with his guns and bombs, has thrown the Gotham City into a tailspin. The police, the mobsters, and the everyday folks don’t know how to capture him. Batman and District Attorney Harvey Dent (a scene-stealing Aaron Eckhart) fight to control the chaos through the rules and laws they’ve privately and publicly promised to uphold.
To say anymore would give away too many of the surprising and excellent plot twists. As Heath Ledger’s more-than-excellent Joker keeps pushing the envelope of evil deeds, the audience stays riveted to their chairs and their eyes to the screen. Each time the Joker appears, the audience whoops in disbelief at his mayhem. Oh, shit! Did the Joker just do that? The audience struggles with Christian Bale’s Batman and Harvey Dent’s dilemma of stepping outside the boundaries of their laws to bring down the Joker. (Dent nearly shoots one of the Joker’s goons to get his whereabouts, and the Batman has to restrain himself from killing the Joker with his bare hands.)
The actors all do a very fine job in their roles. Bale is an excellent Bruce Wayne, hamming it up as the millionaire playboy in order to keep is true identity a secret. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a sexy and fiery A.D.A and love interest of both Dent and Wayne. Aaron Eckhart, with his strong jaw and a cartoon superhero’s chin, brings depth to his character’s arc. And of course, there is the late Heath Ledger who is unrecognizable as he is so steeped in his character. He fully embodies the insanity of the Joker making him scarier than Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top cartoonish performance from nearly 20-years-ago. You never look at this Joker and say “Heath does a good Joker.”
Christopher Nolan has made some very fine character movies, Memento and The Prestige, and he does great with the characters in this new Batman franchise. Unfortunately, it is hard to follow the action sequences. You get the idea in theory of what is happening, but you don’t understand what you’re seeing. That is the main flaw of The Dark Knight. Well, that, and the fact that you won’t see anymore face-offs between the Joker and the Batman that is hinted near the climax of the movie.
See this movie. I wouldn't bring any child younger than 12 to this movie.