Dark Knight, The
For a critic, it’s best to watch a film, write your review, then research and read other reviews about the film. Changing that sequence of events in any way will negatively impact your review. However, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you start to hear things about a film before you can see it or write your review and fighting the external influences can be a rather daunting task. Such is the case with me and THE DARK KNIGHT.
I liked the film, I really did. It hits on all cylinders and is just a good time. But I don’t consider it the best film ever made, or even the best superhero film ever made. But regardless of how much praise I throw on THE DARK KNIGHT, it never seems to be enough to some fans. The following and loyalty this film has inspired is amazing. Not since the TITANIC-tweens of 1997/98 has there been a group as supportive of a movie as fanboys are of THE DARK KNIGHT.
The plot is a little more complicated than Batman vs. Joker, but essentially, a new criminal (The Joker) is terrorizing Gotham and at the same time, a new hero (Harvey Dent) has emerged to battle the evil in the city. Batman (Christian Bale), meanwhile, is busy fighting crime, but he’s also looking for a way to hang up the bat suit for good. After all, who wants to run around town every night in the same outfit? Of course, nothing is as easy as it should be and The Joker’s influence spreads chaos around the city and like every good politician, Dent is attacked and eventually becomes Two Face.
I think the basic story is pretty well told. It’s also something we’ve seen before in the earlier Batman films. Remember; this is the sixth Batman film we’ve seen in the last 20 years, and it offers nothing new in terms of characters and plot. What Nolan does better than every previous incarnation is ground the story in reality and show the impact a superhero and villain has on the society in which they thrive. Batman and The Joker act as each others Yin and Yang.
The performances are really where the meat of the film lies. Nolan has assembled an extremely talented cast and everyone brings their A-game to this film. There was a lot of hoopla surrounding Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, but I don’t think she did any better. The sad truth is that the character is never given an opportunity (probably for the best) to be anything more than a source of misery for Bruce Wayne. As great as Ledger’s performance was, I thought the brightest spot was Aaron Eckhart, who has yet to give a bad performance in his career, except maybe for PAYCHECK…
So what was wrong with the film? Nothing really. It was as good as it could have possibly been. The second part in a superhero franchise is almost always the best because it’s where you bring in your best villain and you don’t have to waste time setting up your characters. The odds were stack in favor of SUPERMAN II, SPIDER-MAN 2, X2 and THE DARK KNIGHT, all of which rank among the best superhero movies ever. Now the third one…that’s a different story.