The Dark Knight is a complex and violent tale with such an exquisite order in the chaos: between art and industry, poetry and entertainment. It is an explosively provocative film with straightforward action sequences collaborating with the character study and metaphor of what Gotham City is (both in the fictional world of its characters and the mundane world of its audience). It is a dark, disturbing, complex, ambitious, and visionary crime epic about people of courage, repressed love, firm dispositions, individual perspectives, and clashing egos.
Other Movie Reviews from 2010 Archive: Adventure, Epic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Superhero Films
Locked in a struggle for Gotham City’s soul, The Dark Knight transports the viewer to an alternate yet recognizable realm. This is matched by a kind of moral complexity that is not usually associated with comic book film franchises.
Director Christopher Nolan lets the film’s spectacular action scenes seem like the natural consequences of the conflicts between characters; which is then parallel to the contemporary state of this age’s terrorism-obsessed actuality. The setting may be Gotham, but its landscape is transformed into a series of disquieting issues that effectively place the conflict between the tortured good and the contented chaos seen in the world’s past, present, and perhaps, even its future. Gotham stands in for any of today’s nations, superpowers, terrorism, and the rules of law and order. From these thematic explorations, it digs through the ideas of heroism, human nature, and fragile morality. Its riveting psychological thrill creates a masterful drama and tragedy shaking both the conscious and the sub-conscious.
The Dark Knight weaves a high level of bond between the outcast hero and the outrageous criminal. Its emphasis on plot and character development is very much apparent especially if compared with most current film adaptations from comic book sources. It goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic book kind with a diverse impact on art, literature, and human emotions. With the uncontested hype and the exhilarated artistry of this pitch-black thriller, it is a rare pop-culture oddity that shall certainly keep both comics fans and uninitiated audiences equally happy. This film is subtle and powerful that it renews the audience’s faith in adaptations and sequels.
The Dark Knight is one of the most hyped movies to date with its marketing and promotion, the success of its predecessor (also crafted from Nolan’s aesthetic lead), the manic zest seen on the teasers/trailers especially of the late Heath Ledger’s The Joker, and the untimely death of Ledger who undoubtedly makes history with his jaw-dropping performance as the malevolent villain. Irregardless of the tragic loss of his life too early on, he has marked himself as one of the best classic villains ever to appear in film. For an acting talent tragically curtailed, it is rather a deeply felt loss that his life has come to an end at a very young age; but this film bringing such an extraordinary performance from him should be the best way to remember and acknowledge him.
This film earns much respect for Nolan’s creatively intelligent direction, he and his brother Jonathan Nolan’s engagingly psychological screenplay, Wally Pfister’s pin-sharp cinematography, Nathan Crowley’s brilliantly dark production design, Lee Smith’s formidable editing, and James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer’s zealous music. There are many excellent moments and action set-pieces from the initial shots of dizzying, vertiginous overhead scenes of glittering skyscrapers and minuscule streets to the electrifying fight scenes that exude modern wages of fear – everything is crafted with absolute brilliance that never runs out of fuel.
The film’s energy is deeply felt until the credits begin to roll. For those checking it out on the big screen, a delightful addition to the magnificent experience is a healthy amount of IMAX footage, which significantly adds to the thought-provoking meditation of being on a personal and gruesome tour of Gotham. Truly, the powerful technical and thematic elements, the huge IMAX sequences, and the endearing performances give this Batmanfilm a truly great commanding feel.
The Dark Knight ably stands on its own with or without Nolan’s first offer of the franchise Batman Begins. He has definitely crafted this newest Batman film with a remarkable impact that clearly presents the title character’s wavelength with a valuable understanding of how a crisis of such magnitude could affect good men trying to do the right thing. While the caped avenger stands for the good of Gotham in the place of the police force and its counterparts who are unable to keep up with their duties given the various circumstances, the questions of what is good and what is right become such genuine topics for debate and pondering.
Christian Bale plays such a well rounded Batman and Bruce Wayne. Countering him is Heath Ledger’s The Joker whose cruelty and cleverness becomes such a fearsome combination. Facing each other from opposite ends, they create a mesmerizing and unforgettable completeness to the story. They both turn in superb performances with a sensitivity of making their characters work together to make the best out of the already high quality material.
Bale continues to maintain both the elite gentleman demeanor and the intense and misunderstood cape crusader character in the world of crime and chaos.
Ledger’s manically creepy, unhinged, deranged psycho role takes evil to a new level. With The Joker’s anarchist mind, his ability to make a clown into the most terrifying character takes the audience’s psyche for a twirl in the same way as he gives both the cops and the crooks nightmares in the film. He remains mysterious with his every eye contact, every gesture, every delivery of words – all getting under the viewer’s skin the way they get into his victim’s throats. While providing humor amidst the terror, it is impossible to not have chills for the valuable screen time he has for the film. Some may say that his untimely death becomes the ultimate source of hype for The Joker, but I beg to disagree. And what makes everything more riveting is the fact that there is just no more chance for him to explore all the roles he could possibly tackle if he were still alive.
Aaron Eckhart is equally good as Gotham’s new District Attorney Harvey Dent. His transformation into Two-Face ably assumes the mantle of fine performance and characterization. Maggie Gyllenhaal deserves praise for taking over the role of Rachel Dawes from Katie Holmes as she provides such a strong-willed character blending perfectly with the rest of the characters in the film. Supporting roles including those of Gary Oldman as Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox all deliver tour de force performances to further solidify the film’s greatness.
As the film circles on Wayne’s weariness and loneliness, Harvey Dent’s transition into Two-Face, and The Joker’s mysterious heart and soul, this superhero story’s dark unpredictability goes beyond the typical epic standards. The characters are disturbed in their own ways, and they effectively extend their lives, issues, questions, and struggles to the audience.
The Dark Knight is every inch a classic superhero noir.