Last week, I reviewed the Christopher Reeve's “Superman” movie. This week, I decided to jump forward in time to 2008 to watch Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.”
This film is one of the rare occasions where the villain, in this case the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, is more compelling than the titular superhero Batman.
Thousands of reviews, blogs and YouTube videos have dissected this movie to its core, examining psychology, socio-economic class structures, police and the list goes on.
If you can think of a topic, I can guarantee there is a video essay out there exploring that subject in regards to “The Dark Knight.”
It will come as no surprise when I say that I have watched this movie countless times for different reasons.
Some viewings have me paying close attention to the joker and others have me examine the dynamic between Harvey Dent and Batman.
Heck, I even broke down the interrogation scene for a video production class in college.
Ledger’s performance as The Joker has ingrained itself into my mind as one of the best performances not just in any superhero movie, but in any movie in general.
Unfortunately, we will never know what role The Joker would have in the third film because Ledger passed away after the film was completed.
I watched an interview featuring Ledger talking about how he put himself into a dark place to get into character and while he produced a masterful performance it leaves me to wonder if it was worth it?
For me, this films leaps past the typical comic book movie boundaries and sets the tone that a superhero is actually far from perfection.
Joker presents several ethical dilemmas to characters throughout the movie and by the end of the movie while Batman won the battle, Joker won the mental war.
It almost feels like a “Saw” horror film when one terrifying scheme near the end of the film, Joker tells two ferry-loads of passengers to blow up the other before they are blown up themselves.
The movie to me is a roller coaster of different types of movies from an opening bank sequence, to car chases, to hostage situations and of course explosions — I mean, it is a Batman movie after all.
I think the transition from one scene to the next is seamless and because of this I found myself being 100% attentive during re-watches.
The plot is simple enough to draw casual moviegoers in but complex enough to keep their butts in the seats — back when theaters could still have people in seats that is.
Set within a year after the events of Batman Begins (2005), Batman, Lieutenant James Gordon and new District Attorney Harvey Dent successfully begin to round up the criminals that plague Gotham City, until a mysterious and sadistic criminal mastermind known only as The Joker appears in Gotham, creating a new wave of chaos. Batman’s struggle against The Joker becomes deeply personal, forcing him to “confront everything he believes” and improve his technology to stop him.
I would have to say the weakest part of this film is Batman portrayed by Christian Bale. It’s not to say Bale did a terrible job but when compared to Ledger’s Joker and Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent and eventual Two Face, Bale’s portrayal falls a little flat to me when Batman was away from The Joker.
I will say the interaction between Batman and Joker is amazing and in the end makes me realize they are not that different from each other. Batman plays outside the law and is clearly mentally damaged to dress up as a bat and then there is Joker who is a sure fire psychopath.
I would ask for parents not to show this film to the younger kids because of the graphic nature of the movie.
This film is almost perfection and should be studied in film school for years to come.
Movies that are reviewed by me will be on a scale of one bucket of popcorn to five buckets of popcorn. “The Dark Knight” earns a 4.5 out of five buckets of popcorn, just falling short of buttery perfection but is absolutely worth a watch during a time where people are hunkered down in their homes.
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