Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight (Spoilers!!)

When I think of films that have captured what makes comics great they would be Spider-man 2, X2: X-men United, Batman Begins, and Iron Man come to mind. Now comes The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, that has now set the standard for how to take already well beloved characters and take them to the next level. I know that it may sound a bit dramatic but the truth is that The Dark Knight was truly not just an awsome comic book movie but one of the best movies I have ever seen, if not the best. Everyone who worked on this film from the director, writers, stunt crew, actors and who ever else work on this film capture everything that makes Batman and his universe so great.

What makes The Dark Knight such a great movie is not the fight or chase scenes, which were great, but the psychological aspect that Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and Aaron Eckhart brought to their respective characters. In this movie Christian Bale is playing a Bruce Wayne that has been Batman for about a year and has scared all the gangs of Gotham into hiding. One of the best things about how Batman is portrayed here is more of a symbol to be feared by criminals. Nolin did a smart thing to start the movie by having Lt. Gordon turn on the Bat-signal knowing Batman may not appear. But the real reason he turned it on was because he knew that every criminal in Gotham will see the Bat-signal and be scared off because it means Batman is out patrolling the city. This was an excellent way show how much criminals fear Batman's presence.

The letter Rachel wrote to Bruce before she left Wayne Enterprises was a brilliant move by Christopher Nolin. Throughout the movie Bruce was thinking about retiring from being Batman to live a normal life but we all know Bruce can never give up being Batman. And the letter Rachel wrote basically reinforced this fact because Bruce may be right that there may come a day Batman is not needed but Bruce may not be able to give up being Batman when the time comes. Almost every inch of Bruce's life is centered around being Batman that he is Batman and that the Bruce Wayne we see on screen or read in comics is just a mask.

I have to praise the performance of Heath Ledger because his Joker is the definitive Joker that all other Joker's will be compared to.I know that was a mouthful but Ledger's performance was truly top notch and I hope that he does get an Acadamy Award for this role. What was great about Ledger's performance is the psychological aspect he, Nolin, and the writers brought to the Joker. Because throughout the movie the Joker was almost always one step ahead of Batman, Gordon and Dent. Even when he was caught the Joker already had an escape plan no one saw. The way the Joker is portrayed he made every character question there actions and that people can be corrupted given the proper motivation. This brought an interesting question to Batman's moral of never killing and in the end Batman proved to be strong enough to not be corrrupted by Joker's influence.

Probably my favorite scene of the movie was Joker's magic tick that involve a pencil it was both histerical and showed how sadistic the Joker is. This is not the same Joker as Jack Nicholsons Joker. Unlike Nocholsons Joker, who was actually given a name (Jack Nappier), was the one who killed Bruce Waynes parents, crack some jokes, and was more out for himself as a mob leader, Ledger's Joker had no motivation outside of his own entertainment of watching people suffer with zero empathy. But if you are a person that liked Nicholsons portrayal of Joker than you may not like Ledger's performance. I say this because I have heard and read articles that did not like Ledger's performance because they might be expecting a much tamer version such as Nicholsons Joker. Me personally loved Ledger's performance.

Now the third star of this film was Aaron Eckhart who brought a much, much, better performance as Harvey Dent/Two Face than Tommy Lee Jones previous performance, which was horrible. What is interesting about Dent in this movie is that he started of as probably the most honorable person in the movie, people in Gotham even call him "The White Knight," but was corrupted by the death of Rachel (SPOILER!!) and Joker's influence. I actually thought that we would not see Two-Face until the end of the film to set up the sequel but is was suprised he turned to be the second villain of the film. Also the parallels between Bruce and Harvey in the film was impresively presented because Harvey, at least the first half of the movie, was what Bruce Wayne could have been if his parents weren't killed. Also how both dealt with the death of their loved ones was portrayed similarly since in the first film(Batman Begins) Bruce was out to kill his parents killer but chose not to and train himself so it would not happen again. But for Harvey could not take the timme Bruce took to get over Rachel's death like Bruce did and took action immediatly. So Harvey's downfall was tragic in the end.

Also let me just mention the performance of the supporting cast. Morgan Freman and Michael Caine turned in excellent performance as Lucious Fox and Alfred, respectively, because they were both the moral compase to Bruce Wayne giving him advise when needed. Gary Oldman performance as Lt. (later Commissioner) James Gordon was great because he played the straight man and turned in one of the best line of the film by saying Batman is not a heor but a guardian of Gotham. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who replaced Katie Holmes, Rachel Dawnes was provided the neccessary job for the role and her death was impactful when it happend.

In the this was an excellent film that may go down as one of the best films made, at least the best film of the year. Now only if DC could have taken advantage of The Dark Knight and made there move to sell more books. But that is not the case since this month DC got beat again by Marvel in sales but that is another topic altogether. If you have not seen The Dark Knight yet than do yourselves a favor and see the movie.

Movie Rating: 10/10