The Dark Knight (2008)

Review Date: September 08, 2008

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan

Producers: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven

Christian Bale as Batman
Heath Ledger as The Joker
Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent


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.



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) 2017 Berge Garabedian

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Viewing 1-19 of 19 User Comments
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Sep 8 2008, 12:46:47 PM

Hey can anyone tell me.. In the Dark Knight when Harvey Dent and Jim Gordon meet in that office for the first time, Harvey says that he hears that the guys in m.c.u "have another name for him" and of course after he gets his face burned off, in the hospital he demands for Gordon to say "Harvey Two-Face" but do they ever explain or give reason where the name comes from of why the guys in m.c.u would call him that? I've seen TDK three times now and its one of the few movies that actually keeps getting better with each view but even after that many views, i stll didn't pick that up and i'm not sure it's in the movie at all.

I've also noticed that there are a few takes in the previews that are not in the movie at all, most notably the Joker tossing the knife between hands after Batman crashes his bike is not in the movie at all. When the Joker says "it's simple, kill the batman" there is a dfferent take in the film then there was in the preview. This led me to believe that there could be an amazing directors cut in the works, but according to Batman-on-film, whom i emailed, the "theatrical cut is the directors cut", which is dissapointng to say the least and I still don't want to believe it, but i suppose they should know what they're talking about...

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Sep 8 2008, 12:42:46 PM

I honestly could not think of one thing that I didnt like. The only minor flaw that I felt could have been fixed is the Rachel character. She has been the only sour spot in the two films and I was hoping she would be better in Dark Knight, but she wasnt. Other than that the Dark Knight is imo, perfect.

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Sep 8 2008, 11:31:22 AM

I am soo glad you loved this movie as much as I did!!! I was really hoping you would see this one!!!! I'm glad you loved it! I totally agree with everything you said!

Profile | E-mail | Buddy
Sep 8 2008, 11:09:25 AM

Okay, okay, I'll settle this. The movie was awesome in every way. Everyone rating it a ten is correct. All those rating it lower than at least a nine are incorrect; and for your own safety you should ignore their opinions. And don't be afraid if they try to argue, because remember, you're ignoring what they have to say anyway.

The movie was amazing; that's not only my opinion, that's scientific fact. A team of movie scientists have been working nonstop since TDK was completed to find some kind of proof that it is less than awesome... and they have been unable to do so. Do a Google search and see if you can find information to prove that that's untrue. lol.

Anyway, seriously, I loved the movie. Now, whether it stands as a flawless specimen of text-book cinematic film-making masterpiecery!!! ...that, I don't know. Nor do I think 99.9% of movies achieve that. Nor do I think most are shooting for that. Nor do I think it really freakin' matters. For a movie about a man who dresses up like a bat and fights crime... I think it was as well made as it needed to be... and better than we really should've expected.

Oh, and hey, Randomhero... what the hell are you talking about? And I mean, WHO the hell are you talking TO? Who exactly are the, "you guys", whom you are addressing? And who is Miss Quote?

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Sep 8 2008, 11:04:15 AM

I almost don't wanna like this movie after all the praise. But critics tend to overdo it, too. This and "Iron Man" were both terrific films, and both smart. I think at times it felt like this movie was almost too epic, but then the very bleak picture it painted was one that needed time to create. Heath Ledger got under my skin like few movie villains do. Whether or not that makes him deserving of an Oscar I can't speak to. I'm surprised that a studio would allow such a franchise to go so dark, and even more surprised that people buy into it so much. But then, I've been waiting years for Hollywood to go all nihilistic on its audience, so as long as they don't completely abandon lighter fare (like "Iron Man") this is a welcome change.

Profile | Buddy
Sep 8 2008, 9:13:21 AM

No hating here DarkElfa... so please allow everyone their opinion if we have to humor you and allow you yours. Dark Knight is deeply flawed as entertainment and as serious crime fiction. I felt bored by the second half of the film, scenes became very predictable and appeared constructed only to serve the following or prior scenes purpose, giving little way to logic or coherence, even defying rules the film sets up. It has some rare but very nice moments, mostly thanks to Ledger's joker, but as a whole the film doesn't work. As separate scenes, or a trailer, you got something!

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Sep 8 2008, 7:57:29 AM

I think both of the other posters are haters and I disagree with them. It isn't the best movie of all time. but then again, what film actually is. This film did what a film should in every way for me and that makes it a 10 in my book and the only movie other than Iron Man in the last 2 years that felt worth my admission price.

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Sep 8 2008, 4:47:57 AM

Definitely a very good film, and a very good superhero film, but also one of the most overrated films of recent years.

The third act needed serious work, it all but completely falls apart. After everything that's happened to people we care about, we're supposed to give a damn about a group of non-descript extras in a boat? It was too much. And the dialogue in the final scene needed much cleaning.

Still, awesome performances, and awesome ideas and themes, even if it fell a bit short on the execution of them.

Profile | Buddy
Sep 8 2008, 3:51:39 AM

Ya, an 8 to 9 seems about right.
It was a great movie, but not as great as everyone's making you believe.

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Viewing 1-19 of 19 User Comments
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