The Dark Knight exceeds all expectations and transcends so many genres that it’s not a superhero movie, nor an action flick. No, it deserves the title ‘crime saga’. For the first time for a VERY long time in this movie, I smiled with satisfaction throughout the film. It’s just excellent in every category.
Billionare Bruce Wayne patrols Gotham City by night, as masked crime-fighter Batman. It’s starting to make Gotham a better place, and with police commissioner James Gordon and new District Attorney Harvey Dent aiding him, organized crime in Gotham is quickly vanishing. Until The Joker.
The Joker is a maniac who kills just for killing, who has no grand plan other than destruction. This is shown in the prologue with a carefully constructed bank robbery where he kills all of his henchmen, as a sudden whim. He vows to Gotham that he will kill a person a day until Batman reveals his true identity. The Joker begins killing city officials and many people close to Batman.
Batman begins to consider: Should he give himself in and let Harvey Dent clean up the city? Or should he endure at the cost of many lives? Things don’t help when Batman’s childhood sweetheart Rachel starts a relationship with Harvey Dent, and when Harvey Dent is bent into Two-Face, a badly burnt psychopath who decides fate by flipping a coin. (Just like No Country for Old Men, except Two-Face was made in comics about 60 years prior to No Country)
The best part of the movie is two words: Heath Ledger. He was an immensely talented actor and will be sorely missed…His Joker is simply amazing, I personally think he could get a posthumous Oscar nomination. He’s unpredictable, chilling, but surprisingly, hilarious as a sociopath who’s out to make Batman reveal his identity. An especially good scene is Joker’s ‘magic trick’ where he makes a pencil disappear, into what, I won’t give away. Okay, onto the plot, which is much better and more complex than what you’d expect from a movie based on comic books.
I saw The Dark Knight in IMAX, and boy was it great. For the first time ever in a movie they shot action sequences and establishing shots with an IMAX camera, and it’s incredible how beautiful and yet how awesome it is. Some action sequences have literally never been done before, and also an extra note is Aaron Eckhart as the city District Attorney, Harvey Dent. He is great as Harvey Dent, which is because he fits the part so perfectly. Eckhart very convincingly portrays Harvey’s drive to rid Gotham of organized crime, but when he eventually becomes the villain Two-Face it’s an amazing transformation, via acting, visual effects, and a heck of a lot of make-up.
Gary Oldman has alot more to do as Commissioner Gordon, one of the few cops in Gotham City that aren’t corrupt. He’s great in this role, especially towards the end…And of course, Christian Bale as Batman is really good – again – predictably. The new gadgets are really cool, especially the Bat-pod, a one-wheeled motorcycle that comes out of the Batmobile.
However, here’s a note to parents. Since it’s Batman and all, many parents will probably take their 5 to 9 year olds to see this – this movie is WAY too intense for that age group. Yes, I know I’m not much older than that, but The Joker and Two-Face are psychopaths, badly, BADLY scarred psychopaths who kill people, sometimes very brutally. I even flinched at times during the movie, and that doesn’t happen often.
The real magic of the movie isn’t the action, sets, or elaborate sequences – although they’re incredible too. No, the real magic is the acting and the script. Every performance is strong in this movie, and the script is great because it reaches deep into the psyche of three men and plays them against each other. In many ways, this movie doesn’t belong with Spider-Man 2 or Superman – strong as those films are, this belongs with The Departed and No Country for Old Men as sprawling crime epics. And actually, no not even those. This belongs with The Godfather, Part II as a true sequel that outdoes the original in every way, expands the story, ups the stakes, and yet remains a classic for its time. A