The Dark Knight Reviews
Christian Bale returns to the role of Batman, Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the role of Rachel Dawes (played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins), and Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger dons the ghoulishly gleeful Joker makeup previously worn by Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero. Just as it begins to appear as if Batman, Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are making headway in their tireless battle against the criminal element, a maniacal, wisecracking fiend plunges the streets of Gotham City into complete chaos.
The sequel to "Batman Begins", "The Dark Knight" faces one of the greatest super villains in the history of comics paired with potentially the greatest super villain performance we've ever seen. I mean, this film has a couple of flaws for sure, but it's so awesome I don't really know where to begin. Not only is this one of my favorite superhero films, but it genuinely does so many things right that you just can't help but admire what Nolan did here.
One thing I love about this film are the characters. Let's talk about The Joker because that's an obvious one. Heath Ledger puts on a scary and extremely memorable performance as The Joker. At this point, it's hard to say it's overrated or talked about too much but his performance is one for the ages. I'm really bummed out about his passing (not recent), but he certainly leaves us with a performance we don't deserve. Christian Bale continues a strong performance as Batman, and Aaron Eckhart really puts in a top notch performance. Maggie Gyllenhaal does a good job as a replacement and the rest of the cast seemingly performs up to par. This film has a great cast led by Heath Ledger and even if you don't like this film, you can't deny the performances are great.
The entire concept and conflict here is so well done. The reason why The Joker is so amazing also relies on the fact that he tries to strip Batman's one moral. It becomes this psychological battle throughout the entire film and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. The action sequences are well done and throughout the entire film, you always feel uneasy because of the conflict they've created. It's an external struggle and an internal battle and it all shows up so well on screen.
What I really love about Nolan's trilogy so far is that he does a great job of world building. Gotham is a city in shambles and you constantly feel like anything can happen. There's thrills around every corner and the I love the suspense he's able to build throughout. You feel like the world is so well established and I love all the little elements that shows you the current condition of the city. Whether it's the imitation Batman's running around, the corrupt personnel in every corner, or just the dire nature of the city, everything comes together so well.
The screenplay is also really well written. For a film that has a decently long runtime, it never feels too long. Unlikes some blockbusters these days, the film was allowed to have a longer runtime and build up the world around Batman. It was allowed to explore the characters and bring us a brilliantly constructed narrative without feeling rushed. I feel like I'm constantly on my toes and wanting to see what happens next, while still being astonished and a little frightened by the severity of the events. It's so amazing what this film accomplishes psychologically and it also shows that superhero films can be dark, but still find success.
In the end, this is easily one of the best superhero films out there and continues a run of great art pieces from Nolan.