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Review of The Dark Knight (4.5 stars) July 17, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Other Random Stuff.
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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Intense is the word for Dark Knight. Without a doubt, it was the most terrifying, suspenseful, and dark superhero movie that I have seen. While this is its greatest asset, it also serves as its flaw. Yes, we get tons of violence, tons of jump moments, tons of scenes keeping you on the edge of your seat, but this dip into the world of dark gives viewers very little chances to “come up for air” as it were. Maybe I just enjoy humor too much, but this entire movie had a rain cloud hovering, if not down pouring, for almost the full two-and-a-half hours, with not but a rare short ray of sunshine (and most of the humor was dark humor anyway). Despite this, it was still very satisfying to me as a general movie-goer, and as a comic book fan.

If you do not want SPOILERS, READ NO FURTHER. If you want my spoiler-less review, go here.

First off, I was worried that the Joker might be a little over-the-top cheesy. After all, he’s the Joker! But not only was Heath Ledger able to perfectly play his character, the Joker came off as believable. The entire persona was that of a crazed murderer, who was anything but funny, and definitely frightening. It’s only once in a very great while that you see someone acting in a role they were born to play (superhero examples include Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man), but that was exactly the case here. It is therefore very unfortunate that this was Ledger’s final role. I’m sure the Joker will be in the next Batman movie, like the Scarecrow was featured here, but no matter how good the replacement, I highly doubt they will be able to recreate the insanity that Ledger brought to the role.

Speaking of role changes, Maggie Gyllenhaal successfully replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. While the “torn-between-two-men” scenario displayed here is certainly not new, especially to superhero lore, it is told here in a believable way. Perhaps most tragic is Bruce’s belief that she will wait for Batman to “save Gotham” and then unite with him, when in reality she knows that he will never forsake the Batman persona, and therefore intends to marry Harvey Dent. While this movie had many shocking scenes, her death tops the list. Of course, the Joker’s trick which leads to her death further shows that despite his chaotic manner, there lies a true criminal mastermind underneath, one with the perfect brain for creating maximum emotional torture.

Yet the most surprisingly good character progression was that of Harvey Dent. Despite not knowing too much DC-lore, I knew that he was destined to become Two-Face. But as we got to meet his character, I felt more and more that he wasn’t going to be able to believably transfer from the unashamed do-gooder that he was to a merciless villain. I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. The death of his beloved Rachel, the severe disfigurement of his face, and the city-wide emotion of absolute-terror seemed more than enough to cause his already weakened mind to snap.

But what about Batman himself? This movie certainly decided to take the “symbol more than a person” route. As such, we mostly just see Batman reacting to situations, and going to any measures to stop the spread of evil. While this provides a lot of entertainment, we don’t get to see too much of the man behind the mask. And while I can appreciate the heroic and sacrificial themes of the movie, I really wish this movie would have been more about Bruce Wayne, and less about virtually everyone else. Indeed, Bruce himself seemed more like a supporting character rather than the main character. Still, despite minor complaints, this movie is certainly a must see.




1. patrick - July 23, 2008

kudos to the makers Dark Knight for their record breaking opening weekend… it’s no wonder there’s talk of another one coming out ASAP

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