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Jul 25

The Dark Knight

Category: Movies,Reviews

The Dark Knight is not only the best comicbook adaptation to date but one of the best films ever made.

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- Spoiler Alert -

       As the most anticipated film of 2008, The Dark Knight had a lot to prove in order to exceed it’s predecessor, Batman Begins. The hype surrounding it was enormous. The prologue which featured the first six minutes of the film was shown before “I Am Legend” in IMAX and it left many wanting more. It had a great viral marketing campaign which kept some busy before its mid summer release. Then there was the sad part of it all when Heath Ledger past away in January. Now we come to July and the wait is over. After multiple viewings, words cannot describe the greatness that is The Dark knight. It is a movie that will live with each one of us for ever.      

       Batman Begins focused on retelling the story of Bruce Wayne and his transformation into the Batman. It was the best origin story put on film. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia and The Prestige) knows how to tell a story even if it is one that has been done several times. He was the right man for the job and he brought the Batman back to life after his death following Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever”. While that wasn’t a horrible movie it sure wasn’t close to what Tim Burton gave us. Now we have the Dark Knight which continues the story following the events of Batman Begins. Batman has brought justice to the streets of  Gotham and fear to his enemies. However not all feel that his ways are just. Many are against having a costume vigilante cleaning up the filth that lives in Gotham. Things get worse for our hero as a new level of criminal is introduced to Gotham.

       The film doesn’t waste any time as it kicks off with a bank robbery which put us face to face with the Joker. From there on the ride never stops and it just sucks you in until the closing credits. There are so many twists in the film that you can never be sure in what direction it is leading you. The story telling is fantastic which is expected from Nolan. The acting is incredible especially Heath Ledgers psychotic portrayal of the Joker. The filming is breath taking and the score is phenomenal. This is also the first must see IMAX film. The shots filmed in IMAX are gorgeous. Most of them are aerial shots which make you feel like you are in Gotham City. Seeing the film a second time in a regular size screen didn’t take away from the film itself  but I did get spoiled with those IMAX shots.       

       You can tell that Nolan really did his research on the character and the stories that he has been involved in throughout the years. The relationship between batman and the joker is something straight out of The Killing Joke. These two characters cannot be who they are without each others existence. As stated in the film, they complete each other. Other great Batman stories were referenced in this film. We saw Maroni become the head of the crime family. We saw the vigilante Batman wannabes (the sons of batman) take a stand as played out in The Dark Knight Returns. Even a tribute to the origin of Two Face from The Long Halloween was shown as he was almost attacked in the courtroom by one of Maroni‘s men. So much detail was taken straight out of the comics and graphic novels which show how loyal Nolan was to the source. With the help of his brother Jonathan Nolan they were able to pen down an excellent script. Many times writers feel the need to change the source material around and just screw it up. Along with the Dark Knight, we saw many superhero films this summer that made sure they didn’t derail from the source. We saw how successful those films were. Of course it is great to see the director’s own vision in these films as well as long as it remains faithful to the source.

       The Dark Knight is as flawless as they come. However, I did have my share of issues after my first viewing. This was because certain expectations weren’t met. However these are things that I needed to let go. Just because one or two things played out differently than how it did in the books doesn’t mean the film suffers especially when so much was actually dead on. This is Nolan’s vision of the Dark Knight and I have to view it for what it is. On a side note I still wished that Two Face survived for the next installment. It was awesome that the joker proved that he cannot be beat by having Harvey Dent play a role in his final joke. However, they could have done without the death of Dent. It is to my understanding that Nolan wanted Heath Ledger to reprise his role as the Joker but his sad death will not make that into reality. I wouldn’t want to see someone else play this role since I don’t believe that anyone else can do it better than Heath. I am not certain if Nolan would even recast someone else. For this reason maybe plans could have changed and Two Face could have had a bigger role in the next film. Also, shouldn’t Arkum Asylum be filled with Batman’s arch enemies? I guess with the villains being killed off we will only see the Scarecrow in that rogue gallery until he escapes. These are small things that fans might question but doesn’t influence how good this film is.

        With a summer filled with great films and superhero films topping the list, nothing comes close to the greatness that is The Dark Knight. This is not only the best superhero film of all time but one of the best films ever made. Christopher Nolan is such a visionary film maker who once again creates an amazingly dark Gotham filled with believable characters. Heath Ledgers performance of the Joker is outstanding and is worth the price of admission alone. This movie definitely raises the bar which will probably be reached in the next installment of the Batman franchise.

5 out of 5 stars

 One last thing I want to talk about is the comparison between this film and Tim Burtons Batman. Many are saying that this is a better film which it is. However, these two films are for the ages. Many young people who didn’t grow up around Tim Burtons Batman will laugh at it. Same as those who grow up with future versions of Batman in years to come would laugh at Nolan’s version. What I’m trying to say is that for the time, Tim Burtons Batman was epic. It was dark, it was humorous and it gave us some of the best lines that people still use to this day. Jack Nicholson will always be a great Joker and watching The Dark Knight doesn’t make me forget his great portrayal as the clown prince of crime. Burtons Batman film will always be one of the best around and it will sit right next to The Dark Knight in the DVD shelf. 

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