July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight Review

The Dark Knight
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gylenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
Released by Warner Bros. Pictures

In a nutshell: A movie that transcends the genre, and almost, almost a masterpiece.

After watching this a while ago, I have to admit that I found it to be a tad bit overrated, but nonetheless, a great movie. It's obvious that I've hotly anticipated this movie for quite a while, and I'm glad to say that the wait was worth it.

Set one year after Batman Begins, The Dark Knight has Batman doing what he does best: beating up the baddies and tying them up for police capture. One unprecedented thing that happens however, is that although it was Bruce Wayne's original vision for Batman to become an inspiration to the helpless citizens of Gotham, it only spawned some imitators instead as seen in the first scene.

The thing is, however, his example has influenced District Attorney Harvey Dent to take a stand against the crime wave hounding Gotham, but a new threat lurks among Gotham in the form of the Joker- a smart, flawed and psychotic man of his word.

Still, Rachel, Batman's ex-girlfriend, is dating Harvey so yeah, Wayne definitely has some issues.

Now, this wouldn't be a review of The Dark Knight were I not to address the issue surrounding the performance of the late, great Heath Ledger. And with all the hype surrounding it since January, it would be no surprise if even professional critics got to discussing this point first. So now you're probably asking, "Was it worth the hype?".

My answer to you is a big, fat "Yes" and that's because his scenes are at times really intense, and you can even hear him and his saliva and making you think that he is indeed, a psychological mess. I mean, the Joker is indeed a nutcase, and even with all those past portrayals from Romero and the more famous Nicholson, Ledger's performance simply makes their names irrelevant, although that is not to say that Jack Nicholson is a lesser actor than Ledger, oh no, it's just that this Joker is definitely a believable, chillingly evil one that not only sends tingles to your spine at times, but balances it off with some dark humor that will guarantee your laughter.

Seriously, I was especially taken by surprise when during the part when people were being evacuated from Gotham General Hospital, a nurse that was taking care of Dent was actually The Joker. Wow, how slim is this guy?

Really, really long
People will probably be put off by the fact that the movie lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes long. But then again, Spiderman 3 was also 2 hours and 30 minutes long and it broke box office records.

Personally, I don't find myself really irritated by the length of this movie, but I think it would be a prerequisite for me to give you a heads up about this aspect. I mean, it does feel long, but the content is the thing that matters. Lord of the Rings didn't get that Oscar for nothing, you know?

Comments on the movie
I definitely liked the movie and frankly, it met my high expectations (although my expectations are higher for Wall-E). I mean, I never knew how the movie could tie Two-Face and the Joker's backstories together, but damn they sure did.

To be honest, I really find it hard to make comments about the movie because I risk spoiling everything for you.

With that in mind, I'm just gonna say that the action scenes are really good (the one in the trailer kicks ass) and you can see Christopher Nolan's increased confidence in his direction of these scenes, and that the movie simply doesn't care about no standards nor boundaries, it just does stuff freely, therefore it even transcends the comic book genre and the stereotype of the typical superhero movie which is mindless fun.

Now this is where the screenplay's intelligence comes into play. It does away with the unrealistic set pieces found in its predecessors (the Joel Schumacher and 60's movies) and goes for that gritty, realistic view of the world's current problem of crime and terrorism. What I mean by that is that this, sans all the technology blahs, can actually happen in real life when you think about it.

The fact that vigilantes, despite good intentions, could also be regarded by many as a villain, is a prevailing topic in this movie, and that in reaching towards a goal, the fact that others will suffer for your endeavor is simply the inevitable truth.

Other than that, witty writing also goes to its lighter, comedic moments such as Commissioner Gordon after "re-appearing". I mean, that pun I got an hour after watching the movie. Damn, I'm so stupid.

Also a case study?
You can actually consider this movie to be a case study not only between the relationship of the Joker and the Batman, but also the balance of nature: If there is one of this, there is also a contrasting that.

Another interesting case study made by the movie is the study of the righteous man itself, with Harvey Dent as Exhibit A and Batman as Exhibit B. They could either succumb to the temptation of revenge or go back to their senses and remain incorruptible- It's all about choice, and the resistance of man to sweet, but empty promises and words.

There are a lot of these to be found (I had another example in my brain, but I forgot because Nuevo buzzed me), and it would probably take a lot of analyzing and a second viewing to understand all the underlying themes the movie seems to tackle. Of course, I'll leave that to the nerds.

Simply intense
I simply can't express my feelings into words, so here I give you an almost accurate representation of how I feel, through a link. Yeah, it's not me, but it sums up almost accurately how I feel about the film. And that's not exactly bad either.

A minor annoyance
It's Christian Bale's Batman voice... it sounds like he should be doing Catman instead. -Growl growl growl-

I can't think very straightly since it's pretty late. But bottom line, this movie is the best superhero film ever made, and it even transcends into the ranks of The Departed and that's because it just feels so seemingly real, it's creepy.

Take note though that this movie is not made for audiences looking to have a good time, that's Mamma Mia's job. But if you are looking for something that's surprisingly thought-provoking and serious, this is the movie for you. Personally, this movie has kept me pretty satisfied, that is, until Wall-E.

The only thing that scares me now is if Nolan will return as director next time! Tim Burton also made the darker movies in the early days, but after making 2 Batman movies, he was booted off. Hope Nolan doesn't meet the same fate (although I've heard he only chose to reprise his directorial role in the resurrected Batman series because the script, or rather, concept appealed to him). This, of course, is a great new addition to his budding resume, and I'm looking forward to the next Nolan film.

Rating: 9.5/10

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