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The Dark Knight (2008)
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Review Date: September 08, 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Producers: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven
Actors:
Christian Bale as Batman
Heath Ledger as The Joker
Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent
Plot:
In this sequel to BATMAN BEGINS, Bruce Wayne continues his fight against the villains who reign over his precious Gotham City, only this time the man running the bad-guy show is a total anarchic loon who sports white make-up all over his face, green hair and red smeared lipstick (or is that a really really bad scar?). That’s right, kids…the Joker is on the prowl and the Dark Knight, he is on top of it all. Or is he? Another self-righteous do-gooder named Harvey Dent also enters the picture and falls in love with Bruce Wayne’s childhood love-fantasy to boot. A very dark, credible and fantastical comic book movie ensues.

CHECK OUT MY VIDEO TRIP TO SEE "TDK" IN THEATERS RIGHT HERE!
Critique:
An epic superhero adventure that delivers on a variety of levels including story, action, characters, visuals, acting and yes…even entertainment value! I’m not gonna call this movie a “masterpiece” because I’m not really big on hyperbole, but THE DARK KNIGHT is definitely the best film that I’ve seen to this point in 2008, and certainly ranks right up there in terms of best superhero movies of all-time, although I’m sure not everyone will fall in love with it as much as fanboys as it does present a pretty bleak environment, difficult moral choices and a loon of a madman as its lead bad guy. Personally, I lapped all that shit up, along with the film’s very dark look and feel (no Joker dancing around with Prince music in the background here). I was also reeled right into its storyline as soon as the film started because unlike its predecessor, BATMAN BEGINS, there was no need to set everyone and everything up. We all know the characters already, so director Christopher Nolan blasts us right into a HEAT-like bank robbery featuring a handful of creepy men in clown masks in the opening scene, and the “fun” doesn’t really stop until the very end after that.

Granted, we are introduced to a few new characters, namely Eric Roberts playing a mobster as only he could, a surprisingly low-watt turn by Anthony Michael Hall as a news reporter, William Fichtner brandishing a shotgun and Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend and love. But it’s Aaron Eckhart who is the real addition here, both in terms of his character’s importance to the plotline, but also his well-rounded performance. And to add to that point, one of the things that really separated this “comic book movie” from some of the others was the fact that all of its lead characters were fully realized characters and human beings, so you’re immediately invested in not only their emotional journey, but their respective stories wrapped into the one big one. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, for example, has to dig deeper into his vault of reasonings for doing what he’s doing when things start to get really bad in Gotham. Gary Oldman, as Lieutenant Gordon, has to balance his ongoing quest for truth and justice, but also the many turncoats within his midst and the love for his family. Everyone seems to have a true “raison d’etre” in this film including the Joker himself, played deliciously devious and dark by the late Heath Ledger, as a man who simply enjoys the chaos and destruction of society around him, while attempting to bring the entire world to his level.

But the characters and dense storyline make up only two parts of the film’s greater success, as Nolan doesn’t only set things up methodically from the start, but he also injects the movie with plenty of action, mayhem and murders, while at the same time, building up its momentum all the way to its final and grandiose showdown. Several memorable scenes can be re-watched with wonder in this picture including the massive Tumbler/Bat-Cycle sequence (Where does he get those wonderful toys?), the gadget-filled moments in Hong Kong, the Batman/Joker showdowns, as well as the transition into Two-Face for one (un)lucky character in the movie. But the film doesn’t stop there, it also sews a number of moral and timely messages into its epic quilt, asking the audience (as well as its characters) to consider what exactly it means to be a part of a society, what/how far we’re all willing to go in face of a super-villain (aka terrorists) and what kind of decision we’d be willing to make when faced with a life/death question mark. The film also looks spectacular, with many of its aerial shots of the city looking and feeling like an actual place, and all of its characters and locations feeling genuine, dark and grungy.

It did take me a little while to get used to the switch from Holmes to Gyllenhaal though, and even though I absolutely adored the Joker as a character, I think his many-many-many nasty shenanigans felt a tad unrealistic at some points, considering that the film was moving so fast and it seemed like every time you batted an eyelash, he had organized another major plan of attack in some other section of town. Seemed a little too well organized, if you ask me, especially for such a “chaotic” guy, but God knows that maybe I missed something that might’ve explained all that at some point. And speaking of eyelashes, was it me or was the Mayor of Gotham City painted up in black eye-liner? Weiiiiiiiird. But the film had even more goodness, including a surprising number of “light” scenes (although granted, most of these were early on), plenty of very cool technological doohickeys, jarring twists and turns (including some deaths you might not expect), the same awesome score as in the original movie and superlative dialogue across the board. Oh, I’m also happy to report that the movie had almost no blatant CGI throughout its entire runtime, so the rest of Hollywood’s trigger-happy-CGI directors should take note and attempt to strengthen their screenplays in the future, rather than continually overdoing the CG effects in their films.

All that to say that THE DARK KNIGHT delivered on many fronts that interested me, including an engrossing storyline featuring a number of characters fighting one another over the state of their city and the future of their society during a time of great menace around them. I look forward to watching this movie again, several times, and hoping that Christopher Nolan and his screenwriting brother Jonathan return for the third and final installment of this amazing Batman re-boot franchise.

"So, you're saying that you think your billionaire boss is a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare fists. And you want to blackmail this man?"
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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1:58PM on 09/09/2012

One Of My Favorite Films

This Is One Of My Favorite Films, I Like Heath Ledger's Performance As The Joker.
This Is One Of My Favorite Films, I Like Heath Ledger's Performance As The Joker.
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2:46PM on 05/18/2010

Loved it.

I thought the overall film was fantastic. The plot was thick, the CGI was great fun to watch and the actors were great at fullfilling their roles. Heath Ledger especially, his part as the Joker was the best I think there has ever been.
The explosions were great as well, what good is an sction/superhero movie without massive out-of-contorl explosions and miraculous recoveries?
This has to be one of my favourtie movies, even though I'm not a massive fan of the superhero genre, this one
I thought the overall film was fantastic. The plot was thick, the CGI was great fun to watch and the actors were great at fullfilling their roles. Heath Ledger especially, his part as the Joker was the best I think there has ever been.
The explosions were great as well, what good is an sction/superhero movie without massive out-of-contorl explosions and miraculous recoveries?
This has to be one of my favourtie movies, even though I'm not a massive fan of the superhero genre, this one completely took my breath away.

I think the only thing that really bugged me, the only reason I don't say it's perfect, it because of Christian Bales voice when he acts as 'The Batman'.

Why so deep Christian, why?
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3:01PM on 02/10/2009
The only thing I didn't like about this movie was the CGI when riding the bike. His cape is clearly to close to that back wheel. It was close enough I asked myself during the movie if he was actually going to get ripped off the bike and sucked up in the wheel like some loony toons animation. I think the 3D geeks could have fixed that up a bit. Too close for comfort. He was almost a goner.

Im just sayin.
The only thing I didn't like about this movie was the CGI when riding the bike. His cape is clearly to close to that back wheel. It was close enough I asked myself during the movie if he was actually going to get ripped off the bike and sucked up in the wheel like some loony toons animation. I think the 3D geeks could have fixed that up a bit. Too close for comfort. He was almost a goner.

Im just sayin.
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12:32AM on 01/22/2009
Theres already some backlash towards this film. Some just cant seem to accept a superhero film can be so fucking good. It really is that good. It truly, truly is.
Theres already some backlash towards this film. Some just cant seem to accept a superhero film can be so fucking good. It really is that good. It truly, truly is.
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4:45AM on 10/24/2008

Suprisingly Outstanding, a master class in comic book filmmaking

I actually was not a massive fan of the first installment. Watching after the hype I thought, not bad, but still doesnt top Burtons Batman and Batman Returns.

Now this movie.. is a different animal completely. Perhaps the biggest flaw of Begins was the lack of any real villain as a centerpoint. The Dark Knight fixes this problem and then some with what I believe is the greatest interpretation of a comic book villain ever in the form of Ledgers Joker. Further refinement of the style
I actually was not a massive fan of the first installment. Watching after the hype I thought, not bad, but still doesnt top Burtons Batman and Batman Returns.

Now this movie.. is a different animal completely. Perhaps the biggest flaw of Begins was the lack of any real villain as a centerpoint. The Dark Knight fixes this problem and then some with what I believe is the greatest interpretation of a comic book villain ever in the form of Ledgers Joker. Further refinement of the style initiated in Begins and some better set peices, with more interesting dialogue and I was riveted throughout the entire run time. A master class in comic book movies and I very much doubt it will be topped anytime soon. Even by the 3rd installment. Fantastic movie. Lame-Man its a shame you couldnt enjoy the movie, I find it hard to believe that any comic, or film fan could not find something to like in the movie which will remembered for a very long time. Peace
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9:33PM on 10/04/2008

the joker owns this movie

heath ledger was amazing as the joker and this was the best batman movie i've seen since begings.i just hope that johnny depp really does play the riddler,i guess we have to wait and see.
heath ledger was amazing as the joker and this was the best batman movie i've seen since begings.i just hope that johnny depp really does play the riddler,i guess we have to wait and see.
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5:03PM on 09/26/2008

Lived Up To The Hype

Great review! This is my favorite film of 2008 so far as well. The story was gripping, intelligent, and almost too intense at times. And Heath Ledger... PHENOMINAL! Although I am a bit confused by the closing statement, "I look forward to watching this movie again, several times, and hoping that Christopher Nolan and his screenwriting brother Jonathan return for the third and final installment of this amazing Batman re-boot franchise."
Why do you think the next one would be the final
Great review! This is my favorite film of 2008 so far as well. The story was gripping, intelligent, and almost too intense at times. And Heath Ledger... PHENOMINAL! Although I am a bit confused by the closing statement, "I look forward to watching this movie again, several times, and hoping that Christopher Nolan and his screenwriting brother Jonathan return for the third and final installment of this amazing Batman re-boot franchise."
Why do you think the next one would be the final installment?
Your Reply:



2:51AM on 09/09/2008

SUPERB

Awesome movie with only a few flaws. Go to my profile for the full review.
Awesome movie with only a few flaws. Go to my profile for the full review.
Your Reply:



8:16PM on 09/08/2008
I do agree on that one point that for a chaotic maniac doing things on a whim, the Jokers plans are awfully intricate and involve alot of collecting henchmen and equipment. Not merely a dog chasing cars at all.

But this bit of a logic flaw didn't hit me until well after I'd left the movie, so it doesn't matter all that much.
I do agree on that one point that for a chaotic maniac doing things on a whim, the Jokers plans are awfully intricate and involve alot of collecting henchmen and equipment. Not merely a dog chasing cars at all.

But this bit of a logic flaw didn't hit me until well after I'd left the movie, so it doesn't matter all that much.
Your Reply:



2:30PM on 09/08/2008

BEST COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION I'VE SEEN

Yes, TDK is actually based on Batman comics The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween. Beside many issues Nolan is dealing with in this movie, the most important one is eternal battle between good and evil. Like Joker said: this is what happens when unstoppable force meets immovable object. Batman is faced with impossible choices, with an enemy that knows him better than anyone else. I won't deny the fact that Heath Ledger made monumental contribution to the film, but Christian Bale delivered
Yes, TDK is actually based on Batman comics The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween. Beside many issues Nolan is dealing with in this movie, the most important one is eternal battle between good and evil. Like Joker said: this is what happens when unstoppable force meets immovable object. Batman is faced with impossible choices, with an enemy that knows him better than anyone else. I won't deny the fact that Heath Ledger made monumental contribution to the film, but Christian Bale delivered equally great performance. His Batman is now more prepared than in the first movie, his detective skills are improving and his determination to save Gotham brings him to the edge of his own moral principles. The Dark Knight is a movie that holds - and it doesn't let go.
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