Movie Review - The Dark Knight
Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Micheal Caine, Aaron Eckhardt, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Directed by Christopher Nolan.
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace
Runtime: 2 hrs 32 mins
The Dark Knight is the second film in the 'new' Batman series. Back in 1989, the first Batman film was released with Tim Burton as director and Micheal Keaton wearing the batsuit. This was an excellent Batman film and was followed by three more flicks that ended up running the series to a halt in 1997 with the horrible Batman & Robin. In 2005, Christopher Nolan took the reins of Batman and made a critically acclaimed fan favorite flick called Batman Begins. In The Dark Knight, Nolan returns with the same 'real-world' Batman that made Batman Begins so appealing.
In this flick, Batman (Christian Bale) is coping with a city who believes he is a vigilante and should turn himself in, even though he is helping clean Gotham city up. The leading bad men soon find themselves propositioned by a madman only referred to as The Joker (Heath Ledger). They reluctantly give in to The Joker's deal when they feel they have no other choice. The rest of the movie has The Joker causing chaos while Batman must help stop it with the help of Gotham's new district attorney, Harvey Dent.
Above all else, this movie is a crime drama/thriller. There are men in batsuits and joker outfits, but the theatrics and costumes take a backseat to the crime, making this the most grounded in reality superhero flick ever made. From the brilliant acting to the wonderful action sequences, this is a top notch production begging your extreme attention and it holds it for the full two and a half hour running time. Yes, it's that good. Yes, the hype was right, this is a film not too be missed.
I've always been a fan of Batman from a young age and was thrilled when they started making Batman flicks again. Batman Begins is one of my favorites and I had been looking forward to The Dark Knight ever since the credits of Batman Begins in 2005. It seems like an extremely long 3 year period to wait for The Dark Knight, but I'm so glad Christopher Nolan took his time and made another classic Batman movie.
The acting is one of the most talked about aspects of this flick and mostly due to a performance from the late Heath Ledger. Ledger tackled the role of The Joker, that was last made famous by Jack Nicholson. Just tackling a role made famous by such a legendary actor as Jack Nicholson is already quite the task, but making it your own? A whole 'nother ballpark. Ledger hit a homerun with the bases loaded. This is a knockout performance by an extremely talented young actor. I've enjoyed many of Ledger's performance's from Mel Gibson's son in The Patriot to the controversial role everyone remembers from Brokeback Mountain. This is easily his most risky and most rewarding, as he commands the screen whenever he is in a scene. This is particularly amazing considering who he is going up against for screen time, Christian Bale. Bale is another amazing actor who seems to just completely transform for each of his performances. Bale playing Batman is a huge screen presence by itself, but when Ledger and Bale square off as The Joker and Batman, sparks fly and the audience is the real winner. Throw in Aaron Eckhardt who marvelously plays Harvey Dent and you've got three hugely talented stars acting their heart out. Lots of supporting characters are both believable and excellent in thier respective roles as well. Micheal Caine as Alfred the Butler is a role he was made to play and Morgan Freeman plays a small role but adds extra heft to a normally simple role. Maggie Gyllenhaal is the replacement for Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, the attorney who dates Batman and now Harvey Dent. I was sad to hear that they were replacing Katie Holmes in this Batman flick. I was a fan of the show Dawson's Creek, where Holmes got her start and I always enjoyed her on-screen. However, I am now convinced they did the right thing with her replacement. Even though there are tons of great actors/actresses playing larger than life characters, Heath Ledger continues to outshine them all. This truly is a wonderful portrait of a villian with no purpose.
The story is top notch as well and gives the actors that amazing source to draw the dynamic characters from. The script is also written by the director Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan. This is a testament to Christopher Nolan's talent in writing and directing as he has crafted a wonderful flick from the ground up.
I was also quite impressed with the special effects/action sequences in the movie as they were quite heavy, but never seemed unnecessary or just there to add some action. Everything felt like it had to happen to move on and keep the story going. There are some great special effects and lots of stuff that blows up as The Joker tends to enjoy dynamite.
I was surprised that even though the entire flick is quite dark, there are definite moments of comedy in this film. It's a wierd laughter as The Joker is extremely menacing, but somehow manages to get a laugh out of you as he is just that crazy. You'll see what I mean when he does his first 'magic' trick.
I try to stay vague when describing movies so I don't ruin the experience for someone reading the review and then going to see the flick. So - I'm not going to go into specifics about what I liked about this movie. I did, however, really really really really really like this flick. It's not my favorite of all time, but it's up there. I'm personally going back to watch it again this weekend, and I'll probably end up feeling the need to watch it again after that. This flick is well worth your time to go check it out.
The Dark Knight is playing at Cinema 3 in McCook, Nebraska and you can find more info about showtimes by clicking over to www.fridleytheatres.com
. Feel free to comment about your own Batman experience below.