July 25, 2008

The Dark Knight - $8


I went into The Dark Knight with high expectations and it delivered - for the most part. This is a comic/superhero movie which, unlike the many others in this genre, tries very hard to also be a good movie and a compelling story. Director Christopher Nolan has succeeded in making a very good movie here and in a way he has transcended the genre while perfecting it at the same time.

I won't go into a big plot summary, since you've all already seen it according to box office numbers, but essentially you've got Batman saving people from the Joker and assorted other criminals while wrestling with his purpose and the question of whether he is actually helping Gotham in the long run. I like that Nolan has given the Batman story something more than it's other incarnations by focusing on moral dilemma's and Batman's own lack of innocence.

The Dark Knight works on a lot of levels, the effects are amazing but great effects alone never make a good movie. Dark Knight also gives it's audience fairly good writing which is the last thing I expect in a big budget comic book adaptation.


Everything you've heard about the acting in this movie is true, if a little over hyped. Ledger is incredible as the Joker and Bale turns in another great performance as Batman. For me Aaron Ekhart's performance as Two-Face/Harvey Dent stole the show a bit from the bigger names around him. The supporting cast is good as well and I agree with most that Maggie Gyllenhaal playing Rachel Dawes is an improvement on Katie Holmes. Thankfully though she's not different enough as to distract the audience. Normally using a different actor to play the same character is a huge distraction for me (Fresh Prince of Bel Air anyone?) but it worked here.

As I said, I enjoyed this movie. The hype is overblown for sure, especially when you look at it's IMDB rating, but it's still the best blockbuster to hit theatres in a long time. I still think Batman Begins is the superior of the two but I'm a sucker for origin stories. I'm definitely hoping Nolan doesn't stop with Dark Knight and continues to redeem the Batman franchise from the horrific Warner Bros versions.

The Dark Knight is on my 'Watch It' list and I'm giving it a value of $8.

11 comments:

Trev said...

Great Review Toni,

I would have to say that Christian Bale has outdone himself as "Bruce Wayne" but is only the second-best "Batman" to hit the big screen. Micheal Keaton still takes the cake in my opinion. Did you find Bale's voice at all cheesy? I laughed out loud a couple of times when Batman spoke. Other than that, an amazing flick! Here's pulling for Ledger on the post-mortem oscar. Imagine two back-to-back years of villains taking the oscars?

Jess said...

I loved your review! Did you like Eckhart's acting or just think it distracting, I wasn't sure. I really liked it, but i've seen other reviews sayign he was the worst, just curious what you thought.

jon said...

this movie was too much for me. ledger was great but no one else was amazing. its not like he was that much better than nicholson though.

it felt like a grab-bag of action sequence scenarios to me. some of them worked, lots i felt like i'd seen before. it all got a bit tiring to me. if not for the joker i'd have been mighty bored.

but take that with a grain of salt. i have little time anymore for fight scenes, cgi, and superfast action scenes that everyone says are amazing but i just feel like i'm watching someone play a video game who already knows the level backwards and frontwards --- except i'm supposed to believe it is all going down in realtime.

i realize that superhero movies are a genre where not everything has to be plausible to the same level that a more realistic movie has to. but i was under the impression that this was a break from the genre. not really.

i did appreciate the clouding of batman's innocence. there were some complexities in there that i thought were more interesting than the usual comic book/action movie fare. a pretty accurate portrayal of the fragile fabric of justice in a secular society . . . but i imagine no one wants to talk about that.

i would have given it 5 or 6 out of 10. 4 of which belong to ledger and 1 or 2 to the ferry scene (which i doubt would happen that way, but was gripping nonetheless).

Tony Tanti said...

trev - Bale does do a slightly cheesy Batman voice, I almost brought it up in my review but decided not to. I'm glad to see someone else noticed.

jess - I thought Eckhart was great.

jon - I hear what you're saying, I still enjoy a good action movie though and this was way above average in that genre. Good analogy about the video game, with The Dark Knight there were a few times that something happened I wasn't expecting at all. I don't agree with your low rating at all though, this is an action movie and though it's hype made it out to be more and it lived up to that slightly, it's still an action movie. I can't see how the guy who loved Die Hard 4 could say this wasn't better than that trainwreck of a movie.

jon said...

ha ha, touche. i had total buy-in on die hard 4, i'll admit that. loved it.

* (asterisk) said...

I have some interest in this, but I know it'll be disappointing, just as all comic book movies are, and just as most Nolan movies are. I'm torn.

Tony Tanti said...

* - it's been overhyped for sure, just go in with realistic expectations for an action movie and you'll enjoy it.

Joseph said...

The 3rd movie that I've ever watched twice in the theater. :)

Bryce Ashlin-Mayo said...

For me...it surpassed my high expectation. In my option the Nolan brothers (I have been a huge fan since "The Following" and "Memento") have brilliantly re-imagined the Batman franchise.

movie junkie said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted...

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