Past Opinion Articles
Article for the week of 8/24/08
The Dark Knight, that thing you have all seen
A movie review over a month after the thing was released, hit the number one spot on IMDB (at time of writing sadly ranked #3... the Godfather is overrated though) and has probably been seen by everyone and their grandma seems rather pointless, doesn't it? But it was either this or me griping about how it took me a few hours to try and figure out just how X3: Reunion, which is even older is supposed to be played and this will contain far fewer jokes about male anatomy (I supposed if I was reviewing Batman & Robin it wouldn't..) and also, according to Internet celebrity Yahtzee Croshaw, will let me claim to have written a series of Batman-reviews, this being my third and thus moving up from “pair” to “series of”, this seemed like the better deal (and this sentence is now rivaling the last chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses in the running for “longest freaking sentence ever”, but hopefully mine is at least readable without your brain imploding.) Who says you even need an actual review of the movie, you have probably seen it and formed your own opinion anyway, I could just do this all day, but I won't, because, frankly, it will be really hard to keep up while still feeling fresh and.. okay, seriously, I'll stop now, I promise.
So, Batman Begins was what really got me back into the caped crusader and proved why he is possibly the coolest guy in the whole superhero comic bit. It was dark, gritty and contained a frighteningly long list of talented actors. The Dark Knight manages to catch all the things that made Begins such a great movie, and improve upon large parts of it.
Gotham is a city trying to clean its act up, and the mob is more or less on the run from Batman (Christian Bale) and the only non-crooked cop in the force, James Gordon (Gary Oldman). Things seem to be going pretty good for Gotham, the new D.A Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is the most shining white knight Gotham could ask for, and every criminal fears a certain bat-like creature. However, this is before the Joker (Heath Ledger) really enters the game. It is impossible not to mention Heath ledger when talking about the Dark Knight, because not only is it his last roll, it is also the roll of the main villain, and, as such, he gets a lot of screen time. Fortunately, it is impossible to complain about the Joker in the Dark Knight. This is the Joker as he should be: completely insane, cunning, terrifying and with a very strange sense of humor. Chris Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and Heath Ledger manage to portray the Joker as I think he was always intended, as one of the most terrifying and fascinating villains in history. As Alfred (Michael Caine) puts it: “Some people just want to watch the world burn.” The entire movie ends up more or less revolving around the Joker's sick machinations, with Bruce trying to pass on his legacy a bit on the side, as well as solving that whole Rachel situation (replaced with Maggie Gyllenhaal).
The plot, basically, is rather superb, without any stand-out fantastic qualities, minus perhaps the general morality underlying it. It is strange but this is one of those movies that feels like it moves seamlessly from A to B, while you can never really expect exactly what is going to happen. It also contains some action scenes that leaves one all giddy, showcasing new Batman gadgets and generally having that feeling of being all too awesome.
If the plot is in a small way fantastic and the action is freaking awesome, then the acting is about as fantastic as it gets. I have already mentioned Ledger's performance, which is what most people will probably focus on, and the ones who managed to tag along from Begins are obviously just as fantastic in this one, so we might as well deal with the other two newcomers, Gyllenhaal and Eckhart. Gyllenhaal does a good job, but Rachel Dawes as a character might not be the most exciting thing ever, and this makes it hard to judge. Eckhart's shining white knight hero portrayal of Harvey Dent, with all the character of Harvey Dent entails, is however a memorable performance that, in lesser company, would be appreciated more.
All in all, The Dark Knight feels like everything a Batman movie ever could be, and sums up just what is so cool about the character.
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