Review - The Dark Knight (2008)
Delorted - wrote on 07/19/08
So I just saw The Dark Knight, and I'm going to just run through the movie in my head and type what I think. Let's hope this isn't a complete disaster.
Okay, so the movie started with a great introduction to The Joker, a new villain in town played by Heath Ledger. He's a sadistic, psychotic terrorist who wears a purple jacket and clown make-up with red lips that highlight his Glasgow scars. The character is one we've seen in movies three times before (Batman: The Movie in 1966, Batman in 1989, and Mask of the Phantasm in the 90s, but I'm too lazy to look up when), but we have never seen anything like what Ledger brings to the table. He's a killer who just kills to kill, with no real desire in life other than to create chaos.
We have another new character named Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart, who is the new district attorney in Gotham. He's a good guy who does things his way, but his way isn't always the right way. He's dating a girl you may remember from Batman Begins, Rachel Dawes, who is this time played by Maggie Gyllenhall.
Bruce Wayne, played once again by Christian Bale, is The Dark Knight himself, Batman. He (Bruce) is personally trying to accept the fact that he can't be with Rachel, but doing an extremely poor job of it. At the same time, he (Batman) is also trying desperately to find, and possibly understand The Joker.
I'm already losing the structure of this review, so I think I'll just start saying what I liked:
This is the definition of the perfect movie. I can't think of a single thing this movie could have done differently to be better. There are some personal problems I have with it that I will get to later, but on the whole there is absolutely nothing to complain about. The obvious highlight of the film is Joker, as Ledger really did create something brand new, something particularly special. This is a creature we've never seen before, and one that is done so perfectly that you really do forget there's an actor under that make-up. I did stay into the credits to pay my respects, as the film was dedicated to Ledger, as well as a stuntman who had died during filming. He really put his all into this film, and he will surely be missed.
Harvey "Two-Face" Dent is another character I really enjoyed, almost just as much as Joker. Eckhart took the character and made it his own, but kept him classic, more like the comics. I really wish they hadn't killed off this character, though, as I'd love to have seen more of the Two-Face stories brought into play. The more I think about it, however, I do realize that this is not the old stories, that this is what Nolan wants for the story, and I fully respect that and really do appreciate what he did.
The two weakest characters in the film for me, ironically, are Bruce and Rachel, and to a lesser extent, Batman. The movie was all about Joker, and while I believe they gave every character fair screentime, Bruce Wayne is just a useless character at this point. Rachel is another sort of lifeless character, but really I've never liked here in the first place. I do think these characters were used very well though and did what they needed to do.
The only thing that really bothered me other than how they handled Two-Face in the end (which, as I said, I'm really okay with) is Batman's voice. The thing is, you listen to it at first and you realize that Christian Bale still hasn't learned how to do it right. On the other hand, as you get more into the movie, you really just don't care because it's such a minor thing to deal with. I'm hoping if they make a sequel that they might teach Bale to do the voice right and say that Batman practiced with it.
All in all, I still say it's a perfect movie. I think that if the Academy really wants to nominate a brilliant film for Best Picture, this would be a great contender. I don't see it happening, but we did get Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark way back. This movie takes every element of a true quality crime drama and mixes it with everything that makes a great action film, while throwing in a psychiatric aspect that rounds out the entire thing.
Now, there's a lot of talk about Heath Ledger being a candidate for Best Actor, and I can't understand why people think that's the right category. Yes, Joker really did steal the show, but he's really a supporting character that just happens to be very important to the story. I think if they sold him as a candidate for Best Supporting Actor, he could very well be unstoppable. But then again, it's only July, so we'll just have to see.
I do want to add one last note, just saying how much I really loved this film. I rank it up with some of the best films ever made, which honestly, I never expected to do with a comic book movie. I know this is a bold move that some might disagree with, but I seriously think this movie is up to The Shawshank Redemption's standards. If anything, I'm beginning to believe this has topped my list of favorite movies of all time.