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The second film in Christopher Nolan's Batman film trilogy released in 2008.

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"Either You Die a HERO or LIVE Long Enough to Become the Villain..."

  • Dec 20, 2008
Rating:
+5

Rarely has a film left me speechless, much less a comic book inspired film. Christopher Nolan's rendition of the DC comic character has. "THE DARK KNIGHT" may well be the best comic book film I have ever seen. Christopher Nolan, along with Jonathan Nolan has crafted a screenplay of nearly unbelievable proportions. The duo has taken the "Batman" mythos and has turned it into their own; what results is a film that captures the essence of the comic book and combines it to a truly gripping and engaging psychological crime drama-action-adventure. You heard that right, a psychological crime drama and an adventure.

I'll get right to the point, you don't need to read any reviews, (including this one) just watch this film. It stomps Burton's rendition of the caped crusader to the ground and may well eat "Batman Begins" for breakfast, lunch and dinner; all the more evolving the concept of Gotham City's "Dark Knight".

Still here, no trust? Ok then, here we go…

                 

Gotham City is the battle ground. The mysterious "Batman" has the crime element by its ear. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is an incorruptible force in court and Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) has his special unit to combat crime. Seems like a good time to be in Gotham, doesn't it? Wrong.

A mysterious "Joker" (Heath Ledger) has surfaced and seemed poised to take Gotham's soul by creating mass hysteria and chaos. Gotham's population is at the mercy of this madman--and what does he want? To prove a point.

Christopher Nolan has impressed me before, with his films; "Blade" and "Memento". But never as much this time around. The director has abandoned the idea that "Batman" has to have a comic book feel. The film goes for the comic book's soul. Nolan is armed with a near flawless script that exudes the spirit of Gotham City as well as its Dark Angel. If there are any holes in it then I cannot see it. The movie is unstoppable, the direction it went is awe-inspiring that it almost gave me goose bumps. The movie not only portrays the usual Batman vs. Joker main event, it also defines the meaning of the word "hero" as well as the morality that surrounds the idea.

"The Dark Knight" has a lot of characters and the film develops each one. No one is a plot device, everyone has a purpose in the screenplay. Heath Ledger gives the performance of his career (Rest in Peace, Heath) and trumps Nicholson's portrayal. Ledger's "Joker" is very reminiscent of the Joker in the comic book "The Killing Joke". The maniac is not after money, he has no grand scheme but he wants to prove a point. This Joker isn't joking around, this villain is frighteningly twisted, maniacal and homicidal. Ledger performs as if he saw the adage: "Crazy people don't know they're crazy" and brings all to bear. There is no "origin" as to where he came from, although his past was suggested by his "quippy" remarks. The Joker will remain an enigma in this film, and I think it was a very smart move to do so. Christian Bale is still a great Bruce Wayne and as his alter-go. Bale changes his voice to a raspy one when he is Batman. Aaron Eckhart is an intriguing Harvey Dent, the district attorney is charismatic, heroic and the embodiment of Gotham's hope, until he--well, has a very bad day. Yes, Two-Face makes an appearance and not to worry, the character won't be one-dimensional.

     Here's my card

                           Joker burns money

The film's success is that the plot has attained a life of its own. The characters can breathe and everything has a purpose. The film's main premise is not limited to our two nemeses. Even Gotham City itself has become a character in the movie as well as its inhabitants. Gotham is portrayed as a melting pot of chaos and disorder and one nudge towards the wrong direction may unbalance the city's moral fiber. Yes, the film has its bit of morality in it and explores the decency of everyday folk. Before, in "Batman Begins" James Gordon and Bruce's lost love Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) embodied this idea, but the concept is more widely expressed this time around. The Joker's target is the soul of Gotham and never more has the stakes been this high. The Mantle of the Bat is by itself a separate entity from Bruce and the concept is even given more depth, just what it means and what it is.

The movie still has the tank-like Batmobile and a newer version of a Bat-cycle or in this case, a "Bat-Pod". The mantle of the Bat has undergone some updates to make it lighter but for me, it looked bulkier. Tim Burton's rendition of the Bat-suit may have the edge over this one but none are more accurate than the Bat suit in the fan film: ‘Batman Dead End". If the film had a fault, is that the fight sequences need some smoothening up. They're not bad, it's just that it's not as hard-hitting as I would've liked and the camera work needs to hang back a little bit so the audience can see the fight a little more. The action sequences itself are exciting, the movie does have some very cool car chases which are intense and adrenaline-pumping; further complemented by Hans Zimmer‘s powerful soundtrack. The proceedings have that somber but intimidating "dark" feel that the film's cinematographer needs to be commended. The visuals are great, the CGI doesn't look they're CGI at all.

   bat pod

                               batman

There are cleverly placed bits of humor that help the film's pace. Alfred (Michael Caine) supplies the sarcasm that is reminiscent of his character. The sarcastic exchanges between him and Wayne give a lot of depth to their relationship. Morgan Freeman reprises his role as "Lucius Fox" and his character has a humorous exchange in sarcasm with a Wayne Enterprises employee. Fox also has a significant role as Bruce's conscience almost as much as Alfred himself. Even "The Joker" adds some twisted bits of black humor--"I have a magic trick..", boy, what a way to add an exclamation point to his character. The bits of humor help the film balance its darkness towards its gripping build-up to its end game.

BATMAN is a dark character and he is arguably the most interesting character in DC's line of comic books. The man is an enigma and very mysterious. Obsessed? Crazy? a Genius? This man is an urban legend and Nolan and company has successfully represented all these factors. Ledger's performance may have taken the spotlight since this is his last film and he does somewhat steal the show from Bale--from Bale not the character itself.

I'm not exactly sure how Christopher Nolan will be able to top this film. The promise of things to come and its climax has such an impact the way everything was structured through its storytelling. Comic book fans have a reason to rejoice, the director has taken the Batman myth to new heights. "The Dark Knight" is epic, deliciously exciting, unforgettable, groundbreaking, scary and manages to put the audience in the struggle between Gotham's Dark Knight and his arch-nemesis. The film is very sincere and precise in its execution.

HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION! [5- Stars]

This review is Dedicated to the Memory of Heath Ledger.





Dvd Video/Audio quality:
2.35 anamorphic widescreen. The ratio on the disc doesn't change from 2.35 to 1.78 on some scenes as with the Blu-ray disc (as in IMAX). The American releases' dvd quality is ok, heavy edge enhancements, colors are murky. A Clear stunt to make dvd look bad and to push Blu-ray.
Why do I say this?
Because I own the Korean region-3 release and the picture looks better with some light enhancements but the colors were vibrant and solid.  The HK REGION-3 release by Deltamac also looks better. I heard the Japanese region-2 release looks even better.
The difference? the Asian OFFICIAL releases have a better quality, remastered in HD and looks amazing when up-converted to 1080p. (they have removable kOREAN, CHINESE, INDONESIAN, MALAYSIAN subtitles)
The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is powerful on all versions.
If you want multi-region playability, buy the Asian releases, assuming you can find them!
They are online from YesAsia.com, but I have my contacts, so I didn't need to.
scene Bale and the Bat suit Joker burns money batman Here's my card bat pod

What did you think of this review?

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Post a Comment
July 08, 2010
With out a doubt one of the best films out there WP, Heath Ledger rightfully won that Oscar.
 
May 14, 2009
Great review- I agree that Burton's suit from the 1988 Batman still may be the finest of all of them.
October 05, 2009
Yeh. But the suit in Batman Dead End beats them all!!
 
January 25, 2009
So. Now that Heath Ledger has one posthumous award for this film I wonder what the odds are on an Oscar? Lead pipe cinch, I'd say. I can't wait for the DVD on this one. You guys have certainly set my expectations pretty high.
March 24, 2009
so, Karen, have you seen this movie yet?
March 24, 2009
Nope. Its inevitable though. I have 254 flix on my Netflix list. I may well wait until this comes on demand and I can see it for free. Or I might just say what the hell one day and boost it up to the top. I did that with the new Polanski documentary WANTED AND DESIRED the other day.
 
December 23, 2008
Yes, I will, Count. I will be reposting some of my classic reviews and some newer ones. Thanks for stopping by.
 
December 22, 2008
Will you be doing new reviews as well as "classic" Woo reviews? I hope so, because I have to say that I still haven't read all of your older stuff.
 
December 21, 2008
T-man, the three of us have common interests. so it is no surprise that this film would be among our first reviews here at Lunch.com Dave, you're welcome. I'm not leaving amazon yet and will be posting reviews at both until I decide what to do. Can't wait for your review.
 
1
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About this movie

Wiki

The Dark Knight is a 2008 American superhero film co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is a sequel to Batman Begins. Christian Bale reprises the lead role. Batman's primary conflicts in the film include his fight against his arch-nemesis the Joker and his strained friendship with district attorney Harvey Dent. For his conception of the film, Nolan was inspired by the Joker's first two appearances in the comics and Batman: The Long Halloween. The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as well as in several other locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. The director used an IMAX camera to film six major action sequences, including the Joker's first appearance in the film. The Batsuit was redesigned, with a cowl allowing Bale to move his head.

The film was released on July 18, 2008 in North America, and on July 21, 2008 in the United Kingdom. During its opening weekend, the movie brought in over $155 million, breaking nearly every box office record.
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Details

Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Release Date: July 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: December 9, 2008
Runtime: 152 minutes
Studio: Syncopy Films, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios
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