So, this isn't something I'll probably do often, or something I've even really done before, but I feel I should. I am going to write my own little review of 'The Dark Knight', that little flick that has now grossed over $300 million in just 10 days since its release. So here goes, I'll try to make it as spoiler-free as possible (not like anyone reads this anyway).
It's often hard to judge how a superhero/comic book movie will be. As we all saw, many times a film is over-hyped and does not live up to expectations. For instance, Spider-man 3 had enjoyed the biggest opening night and weekend ever in the US (before The Dark Knight, that is) and did anyone actually think that was a great movie? I sure did not. How about X-Men: The Last Stand? All hype. So when I started seeing trailers for The Dark Knight, I really hoped it would not succumb to the same fate. Thankfully, it did not.
Let me just say first of all that this was the best superhero/comic book adaptation I have ever seen on the big screen. Many times directors make the mistake of making these movies too hokey or deviating from the core of the story (see all other Batman movies except Batman Begins). Where all these other movies failed, The Dark Knight succeeds. The movie was long, at two and a half hours, but it kept me interested the entire time. Christopher Nolan is truly a genius at his craft. Just when you think the movie is coming to a close when Batman meets the Joker face-to-face for the first time, you realize there is another 30 minutes left. This, at first, concerned me. But Nolan pulled it off and the rest of the movie did not feel anti-climactic at all.
Now, on to the critiques. I recently saw this movie for the second time and it was just as good the second time around. The pacing is nearly perfect, with not many lulls in the action. There is a great balance of action sequences and informative scenes, with just enough story elements to make the movie interesting but not overdo it. Christan Bale, as in every movie I have seen him in, knocks this one out of the park. His portrayal of Batman is perfect and nobody could do it better. My girlfriend said this about his performance after our second viewing: he never, in any scene during the movie, looks like he enjoys being Batman. That pretty much sums it up. He is the Dark Knight, the hero that Gotham needs. Bruce Wayne has no choice in the matter, he does what he must. And Bale pulls it off perfectly.
But let's get to what everyone is talking about: Heath Ledger. Yes, Heath Ledger was excellent in this movie, his defining role perhaps. The first time I watched this film, I was in awe of his performance. Watching it a second time was downright chilling. And, in a way, sad. Knowing all we know now, you can truly see how this role drove him to the edge. He became the Joker. When he got into costume, he was no longer Heath Ledger, he was the Joker. He was so indistinguishable in voice and appearance that you would not know it was him if you didn't see the credits. But he was spectacular, from his opening scene "disappearing pencil" trick, to the "candy striper" scene, to the very end when he tells Wayne of his "ace in the hole." There was not one scene in which he disappointed, which is amazing because none of his scenes were cut from the final version shown in theaters.
So, to recap, this was an outstanding movie that succeeds not only as a great superhero flick, but also as a great crime drama. But don't go if you're faint of heart. This movie is twisted to the core (I saw people leave the theater within the first 5 minutes) and it will make your heart wrench. It captures your emotions and gives you chills. It's the best movie I've seen in quite some time, and if it doesn't win multiple Oscars, shame on the Academy.
8 years ago