I’ve been trying to write this brief review since I got out of the movie theater Friday morning.
The Dark Knight is one of those rare films that lives up to all the hype surrounding it. It’s not just a great comic book movie, but a great movie in general. Considering the main characters are dressed up as a giant rodent and a clown, it’s gritty and realistic. One of the greatest movies ever? Not quite. But it does rank just slightly below some of the great crime films of our time–The Godfather, The Untouchables, The Usual Suspects and The Departed. The fact that it is a comic book movie takes a little bit away from canonizing it, although it is a four star film in itself.
Now I haven’t even actually been to a movie since Ocean’s 12 (I really don’t consider sitting quietly in a dark room for two hours “fun time” with friends), so it had to take a special kind of movie to get me back in the theater. The Dark Knight was that movie.
Despite all of the high flying antics, what the movie has at its core is a story about a city searching for hope. Batman is the dark masked beacon while Harvey Dent arrives on the scene as a “hero with a face.” Eventually, Dent’s fall from grace will leave him with a murderous split personality and the revelation to Batman and Commissioner Gordon that even the greatest can be corrupted.
Each hero loses something valuable in their war against the mob that corrupts Gotham. Batman, Dent and Gordon each struggle with crossing the line that separates them from the criminals. Holding onto their humanity and protecting those they care for prove to be more difficult than beating the mob itself.
Gary Oldman as Gordon and Michael Caine as Batman’s faithful butler Alfred put forth the best performances in the movie in my opinion.
Heath Ledger was great as the Joker, don’t get me wrong, but an Academy Award nomination seems doubtful. I bet that if he hadn’t died shortly after filming, we wouldn’t even be hearing the word “Oscar” now. The hype machine overreacted a bit on this one. People in the theater were laughing at his actions, but I found them to be more disturbing than humorous. The Joker in this film is more twisted and deranged than any version of the Joker we’ve seen before.
Ledger tauting one of the police officers in the interrogation room is one of the more memorable scenes that comes to my mind when I think about this film.
As far as a third Batman goes, I’m not sure what direction they will go in. A simple cat and mouse chase movie of Batman vs. the police vs. the mob might work. Then again, it might be best for them to just let it be after two (the box office returns will certainly disagree however).
I don’t want to spoil too much, but if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should. Get past the fancy costumes and expensive gadgets and you’ve got an excellent crime epic that will have you talking about it days after.