The Dark Knight

THE DARK KNIGHT

GRADE: A+

Simply stated, The Dark Knight is the best comic book movie ever made. Yet, The Dark Knight is much more than a comic book movie – it’s depth brings it to a level with the best dramas and tragedies put on film.

The Dark Knight is Christopher Nolan‘s follow-up to Batman Begins, the relaunch of the Batman story. Cowritten by Nolan with his brother Jonathan, The Dark Knight continues where Begins left off. Batman, played brilliantly by Christian Bale, is Gotham City’s white knight. Batman no longer feared by the police, is welcomed at crime scenes. But, the emergence of a new criminal, the Joker, has Batman against the ropes.

The Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, is everything you heard, hoped and wished he would be. Ledger’s performance is legendary and iconic. Terrifying, exciting and impossible to take your eyes off, Ledger disappears into the character of the Joker. For some people, its difficult to forget the celebrity of the actor on screen when watching a movie; and one would think Ledger’s tragic passing and following media storm would have this effect on the film, but it doesn’t.

Like Ledger, all the actors brings their A-game. Morgan Freeman as Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred act as Bruce Wayne’s moral compass. As Wayne/ Batman struggles to understand the psyche of a remorseless and senseless Joker, Fox and Alfred help to offer guidance and assistance in the coming challenges.

We are introduced to Harvey Dent, Gotham City District Attorney – played by Aaron Eckhart, who has taken the charge of bringing down organized crime and restoring justice to Gotham through legal means. Batman quickly grasps onto Dent and promises to help him. Batman knows the city needs a hero without a mask to rescue it, and Dent is that hero. Dent is also courting Bruce’s love and one lingering hope for a normal life – Rachel Dawes, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

As Wayne walks the tightrope between his three lives (public Wayne, private Wayne and Batman), Dawes is there as his ever hopeful love. When the Joker’s master plan begins to unfold, only then do we realize the frightening genius of the Joker.

In a story that throws one red herring after another at you, with subplots and complicated character arches crossing over and over again, its easy to see how someone could feel confused. The film is paced quickly and despite its long run time (2 hr 32 mins), it’s over faster than you’d wish.

Oscar talk has surrounded the film, specifically Ledger’s performance, but comic book movies are always overlooked by the Academy. However, seeing as this is more than a comic book movie, we can only hope The Dark Knight receives the accolades it deserves. Watching Batman become Gotham’s dark knight is a breathtaking experience and likely to go down as one of cinema’s greatest achievements.

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