The Dark Knight Reviews
"We got there at 7:30 pm. We got our tickets. We were the first people in line. We got into the theater at about 10:00 pm. The movie started at 12:02 am. We saw... The Dark Knight. I sit here, rather speechless, about the masterpiece that was just handed over to me and my friends this evening. This is the definitive Batman film and most importantly, the definitive comic book film, but it goes beyond even that. The film is intense, violent, scary, dramatic and just flat-out entertaining; it belongs in a category all its own. First of all, The Joker is here in spades. It's an all-time classic performance from a lost artist. He paints the film brilliantly with the psychotic, twisted and always conniving nature that the character should be, and is, played. For the fans who wanted an absolutely insane Joker with no moral compass, you got your wish. Second, this film is all about the villains. The total opposite of The Joker is Harvey Two-Face. The creation, summation and declination of this man is heartbreaking and intense. A commanding performance. Third, direction. This film is absolutely splattered with beautiful imagery, incredible dialogue and stunning performances. They're calling it "The Godfather Part II" of comic book movies. Well, if ever a comic book-based film deserved an Oscar, then this is it. It's that good. Actually, Oscars all around, for Ledger, Nolan and most importantly, the film. I have a feeling I won't be seeing a film this good for quite a while. Neither will any of us."
As the upcoming Awards Ceremony date approaches, I still feel this way. I am immensely disappointed that this film DID NOT receive nominations for Picture, Directing and Cinematography. However, I am relieved that Heath got his posthumous nomination and I dearly hope he receives it (edit: he did :D). If it happens, it will be an emotional moment for all of his fans, friends and colleagues in Hollywood. Regardless, this film will be a landmark AND a benchmark in the history of comic books translated to film. After seeing it again in high definition over and over again, I'm still convinced of its power.
Over all, this is the best superhero movie ever made. It was ever so close to perfect. No flaws whatsoever. 5/5
Upping the stakes, Batman is now faced with an enemy unlike anything he's ever imagined. The Joker, played so magnificently by the late Heath Ledger, is a villain for the ages. He is a mind gaming terrorist, a psychopath in clown make up and a purple suit who has ZERO empathy for anyone or anything, and has no rules at all. He turns Gotham City upside down, spreading fear and chaos where ever he goes. Heath Ledger is simply stunning in the role, and completely transforms himself into The Joker. His Academy Award was more than deserved. He has created a true cinematic classic villain.
Another new key player is the charismatic and noble District Attorney, Harvey Dent, played with underrated skill by Aaron Eckhart. He is Gotham's White Knight, the hero with a face that Gotham needs, and ultimately tragedy befalls him, and he becomes the iconic bat baddie, Two Face. The special fx used to create Two Face's scarred visage is flawless. Eckhart raises the roof with tension when he turns to the dark side, especially in the movie's chilling climax.
Christian Bale returns to don the cape and cowl, and like in Begins, he seems more comfortable playing Bruce Wayne than he does Batman. Not say he's a bad Batman, he's actually a good Batman, but seems more at home playing Wayne than the Bat.
Gary Oldman gets a bigger role in the story as Jim Gordon, who provides the third cog in the justice trio of Batman/Harvey/Jim Gordon, as they fight to save Gotham from the chaos The Joker has unleashed. Oldman is fantastic as Gordon, and has really settled into the role more.
The immortal Morgan Freeman returns as Wayne Enterprise tech wizard and CEO, Lucius Fox. He gets some terrific scenes, most notably his sensational handling of the Coleman Reese character.
Michael Caine is wonderful as ever as the faithful butler, Alfred. He provides some great dry wit, fatherly advice to Bruce, and even as a crime fighting aid to Bruce in his new outfitted secret bunker.
Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as the Rachel Dawes character, and this is a good thing, as her acting is several notches above Katie's. The Rachel Dawes character is still a bland one, but not a badly acted bland one thanks to Maggie. Rachel serves more of a prominent role and purpose in the story this time around.
The action pieces are terrific. Most notably there's a stunning sequence in Hong Kong, and a fabulous car chase sequence between Batman's Bat-Pod, the Joker's circus truck, and an armored car containing Harvey Dent.
The fight scenes are also better executed, as the whole shakey camera effect from Begins is dropped, and the fights are more clearly visible.
The only mis-steps I'd say Nolan did was that Gotham City could have looked a little more gothic and grimey. But it's a minor complaint. Bale's Batman voice sounds a little too growly in certain scenes.
But other than these minor flaws, the movie is epic. A mile stone in the superhero movie genre. It pulls no punches. Leaves you wanting more.