The Dark Knight — Review (finally)


Well, it took me two takes of this movie to feel comfortable writing much about it.  The way I was thinking, watching it the first time, made me fail to see some of the better qualities of this movie.  Hint to self, if you are going to see a midnight show, take a nap first.  I didn’t fall asleep, but my mind was thinking of different things way too often (see here ).

Now on to the movie itself. The Dark Knight’s title says it all, this movie was dark. The character of Batman is dark, the character of the Joker is extremely dark. The City of Gotham and its police force is dark. The only light in the movie is the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent. The unmasked hero Gotham needs.

The show starts with a mid-day bank robbery, by guys in clown masks. One by one the clowns off themselves and others. A Joker run scheme to rob banks that hold mob money. This was a great introduction to the character of the Joker. Harking back to various stages in DC comic book history, this Joker is not just a raving lunatic, he is also a cold and calculating killer. Anything that will forward his plans is OK with him. This is the darkness that the Joker brings to the movie.

Batman and his past bring up his dark side. His actions may be making the criminal element of Gotham react with the likes of the Joker. Confronting these inner demons is the life of Bruce Wayne/Batman. This Batman has depth. The perfect counterpoint to the Joker. He says he has one rule, where the Joker has no rules. This one rule separates Good from Evil, and Order from Chaos.

In watching this movie it is easy to be taken in as to exactly what the Gotham Police, DA’s Office and Batman are fighting. The movie is about the confrontation between Batman and The Joker. Every other plot device, and character development drives home that point. Batman on one hand is trying to protect the people and City he cares about. The Joker is trying to destroy the same. A big game devised by The Joker to test the mettle of Batman. The Joker and Batman are polar opposites again, destined to battle for the control of the city of Gotham.

To get this across the acting need at a very high level. The main actors all portrayed there parts very well. I really think the ‘new’ Rachel Dawes was a much better fit. She seemed more like a hard nosed attorney to me. I don’t think I would have wanted to get in her way. Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman again) again made this role his. Even the minor roles were good, I really liked the fake cop Rachel Dawes, he seemed like someone the Joker would hire.

Now my biggest concern of this movie is that it is 2 1/2 hours long. That is a very long movie. I saw this movie the first time at our little local theater for the Midnight show. At the prices that you pay for a movie, the $5 and $3 matinee prices usually make up for the fact that this is not the latest in movie theater seating or comfort. For this movie it was definitely a factor. The second time I saw this movie was at a newer theater with full stadium seating. The extra room and comfort of the chairs made the movie fly by. I no longer had the feeling that the movie should be ending soon, based on the number of times I shifted in my seat. I’m sure that seeing the movie once before helped to keep my attention up too, but I know the seating comfort helped a lot.

The sick and twisted plot of the Joker is to cause as much panic and chaos as possible in the City of Gotham. He is working to get control of all of the Mobs in place. He is working to cause panic in the streets. He is working to destroy Batman and the New DA. And for most of the movie it appears that he succeeds. Destruction, violence, murder and mayhem are his stock and trade. He robs a Mob bank and then breaks into their meeting saying he wants to be hired to kill the Batman. He then takes over one of the mobs.

Many people die until the Joker finally reveals most of his plan to Batman just after he is captured. The end of the show Batman is in a different place than he was at the beginning. At the beginning he is an overlooked vigilante, at the end a hunted vigilante, never to be overlooked again. Did the Joker win this battle?

The saddest part of the movie is this line from the Joker:

You just couldn’t let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won’t kill you, because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.

This looks like a lead in to a certain sequel, but with the death of actor Heath Ledger, if one comes about it, this quote will remain just that a quote. I can’t see them putting another actor in the place of this Joker. Played in a way never seen on the screen before, and probably never seen again.

1 thought on “The Dark Knight — Review (finally)”

  1. Did you catch who the “fake cop” Rachel Dawes was? The character was a MAJOR PART of Batman Begins? Yes indeed, Ledger played the Joker as he should be played. Even Nicholson could be campy at times.

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