There is a lot to be said about The Dark Knight, and I liked it a lot more on this viewing.
The Dark Knight opened with the famous Bank Heist scene, which set the tone for the movie and introduced The Joker well. Unlike the previous Batman Begins, the look and atmosphere has changed because the movie mostly focuses on the main city and not the slums of Gotham. Also there are a few new characters introduced into the movie like Harvey Dent played by Aaron Eckhart and The Joker played by Heath Ledger (more on him later). The Dark Knight is one of those sequels that is far better than the original, yet stays true to the original. Although Batman Begins is a very good movie, The Dark Knight is a phenomenal movie. The movie plays more like a terrorism thriller than a standard comic book movie, which worked very well. Christopher Nolan's direction and camera was mostly well done.
Batman's new costume actually looks functional unlike the one in Batman Begins. However, the one thing that I have always found ridiculous is Christian Bale's voice as Batman. Although he is trying to sound menacing, it comes off as really unnecessary, especially when he is wearing the Batman suit in his "Batcave" and talking to someone who knows his identity. His voice in Batman Begins was just fine for the character, he was still menacing and you could clearly understand what he was saying. But when he is wearing the costume, you can hardly even tell that it is Bale be-hind the mask.
The Joker: There is a lot to say about Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker. He was a sadistic psychopath that kills people just because he enjoys creating chaos. This version of The Joker is a good match for Batman to battle wits and The Joker is always one step ahead of Batman. Although The Joker is less of a character with dimension and depth than a force that cannot be reasoned with. Heath Ledger's performance was in some ways a mix of the various versions of The Joker yet brought something new to the table. Surprisingly, there was some humor to the character in a very dark and twisted way but it did not feel cheap and some would not even find it humorous. Despite Heath Ledger's performance being over hyped by his unfortunate death, he was definitely deserving of his Oscar, it is unfortunate that other comic book movies of equal or better quality have not received such praise. “You want to see a magic trick?”
There are a few thing that are often said about The Dark Knight, which I really do not see in the movie but it has no effect on the quality of the movie. One of them being the violence. Many have said that The Dark Knight is a very violent for a PG-13 movie, but really do not see why someone would say. Although there is a lot of implied violence and death, there is little to no blood. Compared to a movie like The Amazing Spider-Man were was some a good deal of blood, The Dark Knight is not pushing the boundaries of the PG-13 rating. Only that the context and tension makes it seem more violent to some than other. Another thing that is often said is that The Dark Knight is a "scary" movie to some degree, while there are some unexpected thrills, the movie is not frightening to me in that sense but I guess some might be. These do not effect the quality of the movie in any way but are observations.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Comic Book, Action Thriller, Crime Thriller,
Release date: July 18, 2008
Running Time: 152 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Strong cast, Superb performances, Complex plot and themes, Brilliant performance by Heath Ledger, Surprisingly thought provoking, Unexpected plot twists, Memorable quotes, Fantastic soundtrack,
Plot: In Gotham City, the Joker and his accomplices rob a bank used by the local mob as a front for money laundering. Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon decide to include new district attorney Harvey Dent, who is dating Bruce Wayne's childhood sweetheart Rachel Dawes, in their plan to eradicate the mob. Bruce later meets Dent and offers him a fundraiser after realizing his sincerity. Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet to discuss the new pressure on their crime operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to Hong Kong in an attempt to preempt Gordon's plan to seize their funds and hide from Dent's jurisdiction. The Joker barges into the meeting, warning that Batman will come after Lau, and instead offers to kill Batman for half of the funds. They flatly refuse, and Gambol places a bounty on the Joker's head. Not long after, the Joker kills Gambol and takes control of his gang.
Batman captures Lau in Hong Kong and delivers him to the Gotham City police; he agrees to testify, allowing Dent and Gordon to arrest the mobsters en masse. In retaliation, the Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham that people will die each day unless Batman reveals his identity. Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 9.7/10- The plot is complex but not so complex that it would confuss the general audience. With most of the characters have enough screen time to fully flesh their character arc and the longer run time than most really helps give the movie more time enough to wrap up the plot.
Action:8.3/10- After the complete lack of well filmed action in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight does vastly improve in that area. The amount of action great and mostly well done. The car chase was mostly well made and the hand-to-hand fighting was solid.
Acting: 9.8/10- The Dark Knight has a phenomenal cast full of all-star performances. Although Heath Ledger is the stand out performance in the movie as The Joker (more on him above), the entire cast gave top notch performances. The only real weak link is Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. Sometimes it is hard to remember that she is the same character as the one in the previous movie.
Special effects: 8.5/10- The explosions and other effects looked very good and one CGI effect worked very well.
Soundtrack: 9.7/10- Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard improved upon the their previous score in Batman Begins with a more powerful theme and a Alfred Hitchcock like suspense theme for The Joker.
Comedy: 7.5/10- Surprisingly there was some good humor to lighten up the movie, mostly from Morgan Freeman's and Michael Caine's characters.
Would I Watch This Again: This is my 4th or 5th viewing of The Dark Knight and I plan to watch a least a few times more.
Overall: 9.7/10- The Dark Knight is an excellent movie that spans many genres and can appeal to many audiences.
Closing comments: Will The Dark Knight Rises match the greatness of The Dark Knight? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Recommended for: Action movie fans, Comic book movie fans, Batman fans, Action Thriller fans, Crime Thriller fans, Crime movie fans,
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