Wow, what a summer. Its only halfway over and already I've been treated to two incredible super hero films, The Incredible Hulk [Theatrical Release] and the masterpiece Iron Man (Special Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] which, to me, is one of the top three super hero films of all time along side the likes of Spider-Man 2 (Widescreen Special Edition) and Batman Begins (Widescreen Edition). From deeper then expected films like Wall-E [Theatrical Release] to the resurrection of the Indiana Jones franchise in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [Theatrical Release], this has been one incredible summer for movies. But as good as those films were, they pale miserably when compared to the newest installment of to the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight, staring the recently deceased Heath Ledger. Where Iron Man brought the super hero genera back to life with its wit and satire after the incredible flop that was Spider-Man 3 (Widescreen Edition), The Dark Knight manages to combine beautify choreographed action sequences, dark and grotesque hummer, and just the right amount of moral philosophy to make this film meaningful without making it self important and preachy.
Gotham City isn't the same it once was. Where crime lords and thugs once walked the streets at night unopposed and unchallenged, now they cower in fear, hiding their faces at night. Where Gotham City in the first film was a bleak, lifeless, hell hole, it has undergone a change of lighting which has transformed it from an almost mythical city to something a little more realistic and relatable. Gotham has always seemed, to me at least, considering the various comics, animated shows and films, to be somewhat, I don't know, demonic and unreal. It never seemed like a real place to me, just somewhere for crazy villains to run around and fight the Dark Knight; not so in this new movie. This could very easily be any large city in the US. The great lengths the craters put into making even the nuttiest villains, such as The Joker and Two Face, believable is outstanding. Remember the insanely stupid Two Face from Batman Forever? He's given a complete overhaul in this film, given character and personality as well as some wicked awesome makeup.
But the real story of this film isn't Two Face, its Joker. Because of the untimely death of Heath Ledger The Dark Knight became not just another summer blockbuster but also a homepage to a great actor. I remember something my friend said a few months back about this film which made me smirk, "It better be good, or else he's always going to be remembered as the gay cowboy guy." Ha, well, there's no fear of that, he will be forever remembered as the man who gave us the best super villain acting of all time. His performance as Joker is nothing short of incredible. Joker is utterly terrifying, not simply creepy or maybe disturbing like many other comic book bad guys, but down right bone chilling. Let me put it this way, HE SCARED ME TO DEATH! Its not so much the face paint, the scares on his cheeks, or the way he constantly smacks his lips together; its his maddening attention to detail, his complete disregard for life including his own, its the glee he shows while watching his victims die; but most of all its his unpredictable, spontaneous, and chaotic nature which scares me to death. See, Joker isn't like your typical criminal who commits crime for the sake of money, wealth, or power. No, as he said himself, "there are two things I like; gunpowder and knives, and both are cheap." He simply likes watching the world burn; he gets a kick out of showing off the hypocrisy of modern society by stripping us of our security and watching us destroy one another out of fear. He doesn't want anything, he simply wants to prove that, deep down, we're no different then he. He's not crazy, he tells us, he's simply "ahead of the curve."
We fear Joker because he doesn't have a plan; he simply does things almost at random. "I'm like a dog chasing a car, I have no idea what I'd do if I actually caught it, I just do things." "People never panic when things go according to plan. If I say a truck full of soldiers will die tomorrow, no one panics, because its part of a plan. But if I say I killed the mayor, then everyone goes crazy." In a way, Joker isn't just a crazy anarchist; he's a symbol of what we humans really are deep down inside. We don't just fear him out of his disregard for human life, we fear him because, in a way, he reminds too much of ourselves, of what we'd like to pretend we're not. He's an animal who wants to show the rest of us that we are too, that when push comes to shove, the animalistic nature in all of us will win out and consume us. That's his goal all along, that and simply having a little fun.
"Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to turn into the villain." Words of wisdom indeed. The three main characters in this film, Batman, Joker, and Two Face, each symbolize something different; Batman, absolute good, a protector of the weak, the "hero we deserve, but don't necessarily need," the moral compass which tells us right from wrong; Joker, absolute evil, anarchy, the evil nature of us all; and Two Face, the wary soul caught in between. He is us, the common man stripped of everything he values. With just the right push, gravity takes hold and he plummets into a downward spiral. His double face isn't merely the punch line of a bad joke as it was in Batman Forever; it's a tragic symbol of our own humanity. "Evil is beyond the reach of no man." -Emmanuel Kant.
But as Joker would say, "Why so serious?" I could talk all night about the philosophical ideals and truths of this film, but this is still a super hero movie is it not? Shouldn't I say something about the action? No need to fear my little Batman loving minions, The Dark Knight may be a deep moralistic film but that doesn't mean it neglects the action. True, he doesn't use his little throwing bats that much, but from sonar eyes one really awesome motorcycle, the Bat carries enough gizmo's and gadgets to satisfy even the most avid fans.
I could go one and on about how this is one of the best movie I've ever seen. From the political spin it puts on the issue of warentless wiretapping, its commentary on the war on terror, the contrast between doing the right thing because of ones convictions as opposed to simply doing it out of fear for the consequences, to its aggressive attack on the hypocrisy of our modern society, The Dark Knight doesn't cut any corners. This is quite likely the best film of the year, and if its not nominated for best picture at the end of the year I'm going to throw a fit.
In the end, when we mankind is stripped of its security and possessions, we are nothing more then the most dangerous of animals.
Finally, after what seems like an eternity of buzz, waiting, hype, and tragedy, what could easily be the biggest movie of 2008 is upon us: Christopher Nolan's second installment in his re-imagining of DC Comics' Batman, The Dark Knight. Does this mammoth two-and-a-half-hour superhero magnum opus live up to expectations? The simple answer is yes. With The Dark Knight Nolan has crafted what may be the greatest superhero film to date. In a summer where Marvel blew the doors wide open with the … more
By now, The Dark Knight is known to be the best of the best when it comes to super hero movies as well as Heath Ledger's final Oscar winning performance. What some people fail to realize about Christopher Nolan's masterpiece is that it is also the best crime drama of the decade. Forget that Batman is in this movie for a second. Without him you have a movie that focuses on the Mob, dirty cops, inner city politics and a mad man watching all of this unravel as he adds his own breed … more
We've all been there. Sitting in the theater regretting spending $9 on a movie based on a childhood superhero. Thankfully, The Dark Knight is not one of those superhero movies. Christopher Nolan, the man behind movies like Memento and Batman Begins, took Batman and Gotham city to a place that most superhero movies dare to go. Reality. Nolan made The Dark Knight gritty, realistic, and... well dark. This wasn't just a popcorn movie, this wasn't just a superhero movie, this was … more
The sequel to the 2005 Batman Begins is even better than its predecessor. Much different than the earlier comical Batman series, this one is much darker, much tragic, and portrays the Batman that you read in comic books. Batman with his fears and values refuses to cross the line that all the villains cross. He uses his head to combat villains. He tries to prevent bad things from happening to others that he has experienced himself. He's an icon of yin … more
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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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.