I went last night to see “The Dark Knight” the latest installment in the new Batman series and what can I say? It blew me out of the water for the most part. I was aware of this when I went into the theaters of course. How could it not be?
The following is my review of The Dark Knight, there will be some spoilers – if you do not wish to be spoiled, do not keep reading.
You have Christian Bale – one of the industries secret gems until a few years ago. Who while he may pick some questionable roles to play on the screen, always gives a stellar performance. In truth, I think Steven Speilberg was genius and psychic when he picked this young actor to be the main character in Empire of the Sun. Alone, mysterious and intense from the beginning. Then you add in Heath Ledger, another gem of the industry but not so secret. He rampaged onto the US movie scene with his teen romance flick – 10 Things I Hate About You (one of my fav mind candy movies) and into the hearts of teenage girls in America.
Both of these actors have a precesnce of the screen that is undenable when they are seperated. Bring them together and its a rocky roller coaster you can’t look away from. Especially when they are playing against each other.
“You Complete Me”
While I watched the movie I could not help but realize, the best scenes in the movie were when these two were on the screen together. Fighting one another. Being the two sides of a coin (oh! Maybe there was another reason to bring that 2nd villian into the movie… hum, smart Mr. Nolan very smart). The director was smart that most of the time when they were on the screen together – no one else was present. It was smart because anyone else who happened to be there seemed to lack where the other two shined. I think they brought out the best in each other as much as the Joker and the Batman bring the worst out of each other.
“Question First, Agree Later”
I was kind of doubtful when Ledger was first cast. Could he handle the Joker? The character, as my mom so kindly put it is the opitime of evil and insanity. So, when he was announced I sat down and re watched every Ledger movie I could think of. And they were right. Last night confirmed it. Heath Ledger was the Joker in this movie. Where he was solemn and stoic in Brokeback Mountain – he was the complete opposite as the Joker. You could see the joy in his eyes when the Joker set Gotham on their toes during the film. Not because he was Heath during this time but he was truly the Joker. Or at least he made me believe it and I could not help but shed a few tears that he is gone.
And for me, it was one of the best performances by Ledger to date and if the Oscars will finally recognize the honesty in comic book movies and the acting that is in them… Ledger will once again be nominated for an Oscar for his performance in a film.
“The Toss of a Coin”
I mentioned earlier about Nolan using a second villain to be tied into the epic story of the Joker and Batman. For those versed in the comic book world, its widely known that without the Batman, there is no Joker. And without the Joker, there is no Batman. They are equals on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Just as Lex Luther is as smart as Superman is strong to balance the hero with his nemesis. Thus you have the Joker to the Batman… One wants order and justice, the other the complete opposite. Both seemingly the opposite sides of one coin. And they both consider Gotham their city.
I found it interesting that the extra villan that Nolan thru into the mix is the one Batman villain who stands in the middle of the Joker and Batman. Two Face.. now, I love the character of Two Face, he is one of my favourite villains and I always wondered why and now I understand a little bit more then why. Here is a man who starts out in the Batman saga as the shining beacon of hope for Gotham City. The unmasked man who can bring true justice for its citizens without fear. Only to be turned into what he hates. Constantly at odds with himself. Making his own destiny or chance with a flip of a coin. And with that same coin choosing the fate of those he hates and his enemies. There is something balanced with his character. And he is a wonderful tool in this film.
But what about the actor who portrays him in The Dark Knight? Aaron Eckhart? Does he pull it off? Yes, yes he does. Brilliantly. He plays the dashing, charming DA who has no fear when he faces evil very well. And you can slowly see him breaking down and starting to show his other side as the movie progresses. His trust in those that are on his side but his inability to trust their choices. In short – forget the horrible Tommy Lee Jones portrayal of Two Face. He was a facade of what Two Face truly is… where as Nolan brought out a true insanity to the role that wasn’t cheesy and goofy. But dark and full of rage.
Everyone else that is cast in The Dark Knight that plays an important role in Batman’s life were the same as always. Amazing actors whose lifetime and body of work can only show how amazing they really are. Except for Maggie Gyllenhaal. I usually like her work, she is a very talented actress but she has the unfortunate job of working on a film surrounded by some of the top actors in the industry. In ways she shines, in others she doesn’t so much. Remember earlier when I mentioned that having Bale and Ledger on the screen together at the same time diminishes everyone else. This is what I am talking about. Amazing actress but diminished by the abilities of the men on screen with her at times. She was still wonderful in the role of Rachel Dawes. Making you happy they recast it from Katie Holmes.
“The End of the Beginning”
In conclusion this is the movie of the summer. And that is saying something. With all the amazingly well done movies coming out these past few months and more coming up. This is the shining star of the summer. Rising higher then all the other stars and not just because of people’s morbid curiosity on Ledger’s last full movie role. But because this movie has surpassed the first one. You are prepared for the next movie the moment this one ends and you want it to be out as soon as possible to continue on with the saga of one the comic industries greatest heroes and one its greatest villains. But I do not know who they will get to replace the irreplaceable Ledger. All I know is he has HUGE shoes to fill and even then they may not make the grade.
So, get off the computer and go see it again. I’ll see you there just as soon as I can get the kink out of my next from sitting in the front row of the theater (which didn’t ruin the movie in anyway).