The Dark Knight

Posted by prla1983 on August 04, 2008 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

"It's easy, we, uh, kill the Batman"

So says The Joker in "The Dark Knight", the latest of the Batman franchise. If only it were that easy. Perhaps what makes this sequel to "Batman Begins" so appealing is how ironic that plan actually is because the Joker simply has no plan. That's what makes him such a menace. Generating so much hype that it spectacularly landed and got stuck at #1 of IMDb's Top 250 Movies of All-Time, "The Dark Knight" may not actually be the best movie ever but it certainly makes a good attempt at being the best comics hero movie to reach theaters worldwide.

Reasons for this are manyfold and not every one of them has to do with its story. Ledger's untimely passing has no doubt been a decisive factor as it is human nature to sympathize with these situations. Fortunately for us moviegoers, Ledger was still very much alive and kicking when he did what's certainly the best performance of his career as a completely deranged Joker who sees himself as an agent of chaos. Comparisons to Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the character almost twenty years ago abound, but to me they're just pointless. Different time, different actors.

But most of all, different approaches to the Batman story. Think "Heat" or "The Departed" and you see how far removed from Tim Burton's overall feel Christopher Nolan has gotten. So to say you prefer one Joker over the other, for me is really a matter of preferring Nolan's or Burton's way of doing things. In any case, regardless of all the Oscar talk coming from the sympathetic global heart of the world, the truth is that with this performance Ledger is no less deserving of at least a nomination for supporting actor than anybody else. In fact, if you heard it, it's true: he steals the movie, he's the one whose next scene I kept eagerly awaiting, he's the main reason why I went back to the theater a couple of days later.

But this is definitely an ensemble movie. Everyone has just the right amount of screen time - including the Joker. I don't know whether there was any last minute editing after Ledger's death, but Nolan was definitely smart not to overuse him. Michael Caine as Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as Gordon all reprise their roles from "Batman Begins" and all support the action pretty much perfectly. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent is also spot on but unfortunately I couldn't feel much for him and his situation as I couldn't sympathize with Maggie Gyllenhaal as much as I wanted to. I think the right actress to play Rachel Dawes is still to come along, but it's certainly not Gyllenhaal.

I've never been much of comic books/films fan, but I gotta admit "The Dark Knight" turned me on. I went in surrounded by all the hype and came out delighted because the movie ends up being light on the fantasy aspect and heavy on the real life believable side of things. So much so that if someone had to go and the film remain very strong, it could be the Batman. He wasn't the center of my attention and in fact the story focuses as much on him as it does on Bruce Wayne. That's telling.

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