Movies / Comics Movie Reviews

The Dark Knight

By Zak Edwards
July 18, 2008 - 05:57

The Dark Knight

As a warning, I try to divulge as little as possible in terms of plot in this review, but some things will be implied and others outright said.  So officially: SPOILER ALERT, but I try to keep things to a minimum.

So before I get into this movie, let’s get one thing out of the way I’m sure you’re reading this review for: Heath Ledger.  Well, Heath Ledger has officially killed Adam West’s presence in Batman.  He completely ignored every incarnation of the Joker on film to date and went straight for some of the great source material available to him.  This Joker doesn’t have any light and happy prankster about him, he’s seriously messed up.  From the second he opens his mouth, The Joker is one amazing character.  Word is Ledger will be nominated for an Oscar and I agree with this even if he was still with us.  The Joker is one bit funny, two bits psychopath, and the rest is a car accident, wanting to look away but Ledger keeps you so engaged, it’s impossible to not be drawn in by his twisted charm.  This is The Joker from Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, from Alan Moore’s Killing Joke.  This is a twisted nightmare of a man who mirrors Batman in a twisted carnival house of mirrors and the movie does not shy away from that.

Now the rest.  This movie is two and a half hours of violence, drama, black comedy, and social insight.  The focus on a tortured Bruce Wayne continues to be the focus of director and story maker Chris Nolan, but Wayne’s life is now spilling onto other people.  Now the consequences are beyond just Bruce to endure.  Nolan shows in vivid detail the consequences of the Batman on Gordon, Rachel Dawes, Gotham City, and finally Harvey Dent.  It is through the drama this movie makes for a stunning sequel and a new high standard to which the superhero genre of movie must meet, it’s that good.  While other superhero movies let the good guy win and take very little in the way of tragedy, Bruce Wayne is forever becoming worse and worse.  Even the end feels like a hollow victory, but in a way which forces the audience to think.  Heroic choices are made, but difficult ones with unexpected actions to perform in order to do so.  It is Gotham who comes out on top in this film, not Batman and certainly not Bruce Wayne.

Every actor brings their best.  Christian Bale proves again he is the man for both in and out of the mask, his ability to be both playboy Bruce Wayne and Batman with a serious voice mask is amazing.  Michael Caine is Alfred in both charm, wit, and paternal guide.  He is the one peson trying to protect Bruce and does so with humour and seriousness.  Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes and thank goodness she did.  My one complaint about Batman Begins was Katie Holmes inability to act.  Gyllenhaal delivers where Holmes could not.  Aaron Eckhart straddles the line of white knight for Gotham and his future as Two-Face as well.  When he yells, it silences the theatre in a collective holding of breath.  Gary Oldman as Gordon continues to dive deeper into the character.  He will do what is necessary, crossing lines to do so.

As for the look of the movie, the heavy shadowing and grim scenery only adds to the film’s themes and motifs.  What the shadows hide is more than Batman, there are secrets in those dead spaces and one is constantly watching them for those secrets to be revealed.  The action is half in these shadows, which obscures what is going on but I believe this to be a benefit, adding to the mystery.  This film is perfect almost to a tee.  Maybe its just the high from seeing it, but there is little wrong with the film.  While there are some pacing issues, the film feels like it’s just getting started for a very long time and similarly seems to be ending for a great deal of time as well.  But The Joker is the excuse there, the movie’s timing is in his hands and therefore becomes another tool to display his psychosis.

Stellar acting, amazing stunts, great drama, creepy villains (and that is putting it very lightly), this movie has it all, so go see it and stop reading this.

9.5/10    Seriously, stop reading this and go see it.

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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