REVIEW: With the exception of Superman (1978) and Batman (1989), movies based on comic book superheroes have always been considered a low-grade form of entertainment. It wasn’t until Spider-Man 2 (2004) came on the scene that many saw the complex direction a comic book superhero movie could go in. Spider-Man 2 lead the way for Batman Begins (2005), a movie that redefined the superhero genre for the better. Batman Begins represents the most possible real word interpretation of the character we’ve come to know as Batman. It is quite possibly, in my opinion, one of the best comic book superhero movies ever make, until now. The Dark Knight continues where Batman Begins left off creating what could be considered an epic crime story that transcends the superhero genre.
In The Dark Knight, Batman has hampered the operations of most of Gotham’s mobsters, and they are now struggling to survive. It seems that Batman is a force that no one can defeat, but as the law of nature would dictate with a better class of hero comes a better class of criminal. The Joker enters the scene demanding the mob hire him to get rid of the problem: The Batman. The mob refuses, labeling The Joker a demented freak in clown makeup. However, when Batman together with Lt. James Gordon and D.A. Harvey Dent are about to take down the entire mob, the mobsters give in and hire The Joker. Little do the mobsters know that they have unlashed a force that will torment Gotham in ways nobody thought possible.
The Dark Knight represents the epic battle between good and evil and brings about questions concerning any society striving for civility has to answer. How do you defeat an evil that has no rules, when society’s heroes have to abided by them. Here The Joker represents the worst of the worst and an evil that has no purpose but to destroy. Heath Ledger nails this sense of dread in his performance. Even the voice Ledger uses to portrait The Joker gives an off-center eerie feeling. It’s hard to describe, but even the ticks and make-up are so uncomforting that it would feel terrifying to just stand next to The Joker. They really did an excellent job developing this character. Director Christopher Nolan gives The Joker the right amount of screen time. Usually when a performance is good, directors tend to give the character more screen time, overexposing the character, but Nolan does not give in and in turn keeps us wanting more.
The entire cast was excellent. Michael Caine’s Alfred is possibly the best in the series. I also liked the back story constructed for him. Aaron Eckhart was the perfect Harvey Dent and his Two-Face was visually terrifying. Maggie Gyllenhaal did a great job replaceing, Katie Holmes, her Rachel Dawes is a stronger more independent women but I kind of missed Katie’s softer performance. Gary Oldman as Lt. James Gordon was as good as in Batman Begins and Morgan Freeman who plays Lucius Fox, the mastermind behind Batman’s weaponry, is as good as ever.
Christian Bale is an actor I’ve liked since his stellar performance in American Psycho. He lends a little of Patrick Batemen’s ego to Bruce Wayne. His Batman doesn’t require as must acting, but is still very strong. The only complaint I have is the hoarse voice Bale uses for Batman. It does get annoying after some time.
Like any superhero movie, Batman delivers big in the action and special effect departments. Nolan’s work with the special effects is something every filmmaker working today should note: Do not let the special effects overwhelm the film. Here the stunt work and special effects are so intertwined that you barley notice them but they are nevertheless spectacular.
I’m usually not awed by the soundtrack of a movie, but with The Dark Knight, I found the soundtrack to be superb. The music for our hero is dark but heroic, on the other hand, the music for The Joker is that of pure insanity. The soundtrack is a work of art in itself.
I spoke to a couple of my fellow critics and they didn’t like the ending of the movie as much as I did. I think The Dark Knight has one of the best endings in comic book movie history. I don’t want to spoiler it for anyone, but I got chills when Batman said, “Batman is whatever Gotham needs him to be.” and rode away in his Bat-cycle overlaid by James Gordon’s narrative.
Movie Review By Milton Brayson
DVD: The transfer used by Warner Home Entertainment for the film it is just spectacular. The widescreen looks beautifully, probably not as good as Blu-ray but eye popping for those who don’t own a Blu-ray player. I watched the film in an HD TV set, using HDMI up conversion and it looks excellent, no complains, however this is a movie that deserves a Blu-Ray copy. If you have a Blu-ray player or you are thinking about getting one this Christmas, you should make the Dark Knight you first copy.
The Single Disk Widescreen Edition like it was expected doesn’t have any special features, do to the length of the film. This edition is just for those people who have no interest in getting any inside information about this masterpiece. Those of you interested in getting an inside look at the film, should go for the 2 Disc Special Edition or the Blu-ray.
Warner Bros Home Entertainment is promoting two websites for The Dark Knight fans. mydarkknights.com and darkkinghtpuzzle.com. In these sites fans can check out some really cool games, widgets and other applications. You can even pick your favorite character and personalize your social network profile/website.
Release Date: December 9, 2008