The Dark Knight

Release Year: 2008
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Christoper Nolan, David S. Goyer, and Jonathan Nolan
RT: 94% (193 reviews), IMDB: 9.6 (7,041 votes), Metacritic: 82 (39 reviews)

Finally! I went to see this just after work yesterday. Although I think that the film was too overhyped, the main interest that made me excited enough to see it was Heath Ledger’s final role as The Joker.

Well, why not Christian Bale or Aaron Eckhart? The problem is, if Batman dominates the screen rather than Bruce Wayne, then there would be hard to appraise Bale’s acting behind the mask. The voice? Forget it, the voice sounded the same as Batman Begins. The action? From the first Batman movie back then, not the Adam West’s Batman though, the bat suit was always the obstacle to mobility. It was like looking at a caped cyborg. It was different with Spider Man, where mobility looked a lot better.

What about as Bruce Wayne? Pretty good, but not spectacular. Sorry Mr. Bale, but I liked you more in Rescue Dawn and the Empire of the Sun (I haven’t seen the Machinist and I think I would revisit the American Psycho). Besides, Bruce Wayne got shorter screen time. The only memorable act was in Batman Begins when Bruce attended the trial of the killer who shot his parents. Honestly, I think Robert Downey, Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark is currently the best there is.
Let’s take a look at Harvey Dent, then. Unfortunately, Harvey lacked menacing looks. Of course, he was “half-menacing” after half of his face got burnt, but even then the “good half” still couldn’t be menacing enough. Perhaps too cute for Eckhart to play Dent?

What about Maggie Gyllenhaal? I definitely don’t think that she was the right pick to replace Katie Holmes. Why not Rachel Weisz or Natalie Portman? Maggie looked too old for the role. Not that she couldn’t act, but it was simply a matter of compatibility between the actress and the role.
Gary Oldman remained great, as well as Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. I believe these three will remain in the third installment.

As for the Joker, well he was the star from start to finish. I even thought: “Is this the Dark Knight or the Joker”. There have been only a few movies in which the excitement and power came from the antagonist rather than the protagonist, and the Dark Knight is definitely one of them. When you look closely at him, you would not say that he’s a vicious criminal. No, he’s not vicious. He’s simply crazy, but not a gung-ho type, no. He’s a calculating (but not a scheming, like what he admitted to Dent), crazy criminal. He enjoys doing crime. The goal of doing it was the pleasure of doing it. Remember Natural Born Killer? Well, sort of that kind of criminal, although he didn’t seem to be naturally born to kill. He got issues and based on those issues, madness consumed him.

The plot was rather usual. I didn’t see anything extraordinary, not from the story, not from the directing. So, in the end, the most powerful factor from the movie was simply Heath Ledger’s performance as well as some contribution from Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. Although the plot was a bit similar to the Batman Begins, there was an opposite ending.

What’s beyond the Dark Knight, then? The mention of “cats” by Alfred immediately dragged my mind towards Catwoman. So, as the Dark Knight was left alone again at the end of the movie, adding Catwoman would be a good idea. The million-dollar question would be who would play the Joker? Maybe nobody could be as powerful as Heath, and maybe it would be best to have him locked in the asylum and just pop out a new one. But Joker also said that he and Batman were bound to combat each other forever. So, initially Joker was on the layout of the third part. Poor Heath. Still another powerful nemesis could be added, and it could be the Killer Croc. But then again, who knows?

I was hoping to give this one a perfect 10, but I couldn’t because with only one power factor, the movie got only an 8.0. And that was mostly for the Joker.


Jaccstev said...

Great review. I also think this film is truly belong to Heath Ledger. He is so awesome as Joker which i think deserve to reward with Oscar or Golden Globe awards nomination. Bale is somewhat share an average performance meanwhile i pretty like what Maggie has done to bring some new point of view to Rachel Dawes character.

Linz McC said...

While I liked Maggie G as Rachel, I do agree that she was looking a bit too old for Rachel. But I will forgive her for that, because I still thought she gave a good performance.

I constantly thought during the movie how sad it is that Heath Ledger is gone. He could have helped to carry this franchise for a few more movies.

Eternal Future said...

I rarely watched Heath's movies before TDK. I watched Brokeback Mountain but got bored to death so I didn't complete watching it. So far, I must say TDK was his all-time best. As for Bale, I admired his dedication to his roles. It's just unfortunate that I could not enjoy much of his acting behind the bat mask. But he got a lot of screen time during Batman Begins, and there you could see Bale's talent as an actor.
I think Christopher Nolan should opt to exclude the Joker if he wants to make the third movie, because I doubt any actor could do it as better as Heath.