The Dark Knight Movie Review (2008)

Here it is, people.  The one for which you’ve all been waiting. Quite honestly, I was at a loss for how to start this one.  I loved the movie.  It was fabulous.  I can’t wait to see the next installment, but even I’m getting tired of hearing myself sing the praises of practically every movie I review. 

I feel like I purposely need to start watching movies that I hate so that I can build some credibility, you know?  Or at least to stop exhausting my thesaurus in search for new synonyms for words like spectacular and tremendous and mesmerizing and enchanting, etc.

I’d like to say that The Dark Knight picks up where Batman Begins left off, mainly because it just sounds cool, but I don’t really remember a lot of Batman Begins.  I enjoyed it, but I only saw it once, and it wasn’t one that I felt like I needed to add to my collection.  So for artistic sake, we’ll just say that it picks up where it left off, k? K.

Christian Bale reprises the role of multi-billionaire Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman.  This time around the Joker is his arch nemesis, which the amazing Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Jim Gordon alluded to at the end of Batman Begins. 

The story line goes a little something like this:  Batman, Gordon and Gotham City’s new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are successfully ridding Gotham of some of the city’s worst criminals; until the psychopathic Joker (Ledger) comes along and spoils their plans.

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No story would be complete without the love angle, and this one’s actually got a tri”angle.”  Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the role of Rachel Dawes from Katie Holmes, and Dent is just as determined to win her heart as he is to defeat the Joker and make Gotham City a respectable place to live. 

Of course, Bruce still hopes that one day he can put the Batman suit away, and he and Rachel can live happily ever after in Wayne Tower, surveying the city they helped to make livable.

But do you really care about the story line in a film like this?  Sure it has to have a believable plot to follow or it flounders, but for the most part, it plays third or fourth fiddle to the special effects, the characters and the performances, which I suppose wouldn’t be nearly as fantastic without decent material from which to work.

All three (special effects, characters and performances) are tremendous in The Dark Knight.  Bale’s Batman voice can be a little off-putting, but he’s got to fool everyone somehow because that gigantic bat mask covering the top half of his face just isn’t enough, right? Oldman is brilliant in anything, and Gyllenhaal and Eckhart turn in solid performances. 

But the real shining light is Ledger, and I’m not just saying that because he’s dead.  He was awe-inspiring.  It takes a lot to be super-creepy and humorous at the same time, and he pulled it off.  It saddens me that he won’t be around to reprise his role in the next film.

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I can’t say enough about the special effects.  The bat gadgets are just plain fun, and there’s one chase sequence that left me breathless.  It’s definitely one of the more innovative ones I’ve seen, and the make-up, especially for Dent as he begins to transition into the villain Two Face, is a little too believable.

My favorite thing about the new evolution of Batman: it doesn’t feel like a movie about a comic book.  It feels real.  I feel like Gotham City actually exists.  The Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher renditions were entertaining and amusing, but Christopher Nolan’s creations are staggering.  These are the sorts of timeless films that we’ll be showing our children in 10 to 15 years, and I think they’ll be every bit as mesmerizing then as they are now.

I do apologize for taking so long to blog about this one, but I tend to be a champion of the lesser-known films about which you’ve probably never heard.  The Dark Knight was at the top of the box office for four weeks.  The first weekend it pulled in a walloping $158,411,483.  It’s safe to say that you’ve heard of it, and now you officially have my permission to see it.

 

5 Comments

  1. Michael Callaway

    I too loved the movie, I was affraid that it would not live up to the hype, I think it did.

     
  2. I just saw this film yesterday. Being a relatively new father comes with some time restrictions.

    I was completely fixed on the story. The acting was, on the whole, very well done. I agree with you on the overall feel of these films. There’s much more realism. They didn’t look to turn Gotham into some mythical gothic city, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Gotham could be New York, which makes the rest of the superhero storyline more effective. The same can be said for the explanation and detail of Batman’s weaponry and toys. They’re not just some magical technology. They’re believable, though highly advanced.

    What affected me most about this film, however, was the realization of how powerfully this will impact our youth. There is a deeper darkness to this film than in any Batman film prior. Millions of teenagers will see this film, and I wonder how many will trip on acid and fall in love with the Joker’s madness. If you never experimented as a teenager, you won’t understand enough to respond. But this is the type of film that can affect a generation.

    That film, for me, was The Crow. I won’t go into details, but it had a profound affect on me at a time when I was very impressionable and open to morbidity and madness as an escape from normalcy. It’s a very real threat to some percentage of our youth, and films such as The Dark Knight pull of the portrayal so well that I am concerned about how it will affect our kids.

    I would most definitely NOT show this film to my children. I can appreciate the film, but I don’t want my kids to witness everything I’ve witnessed in order to be less overwhelmed by powerfully dark performances.

     
  3. i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes in the Dark Knight…

     
  4. I much prefer that sequels maintain their original casts; however, I thought Maggie Gyllenhaal was a good choice to replace Holmes. And honestly I don’t know if Holmes was booted out or if she decided to no longer participate.

     
  5. I loved this movie. I also was afraid it would be really hyped up but it wasn’t- it was just as great as I thought it would be.

     

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