Movie Review: ‘The Dark Knight’

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

“Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
– Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight [2008]

A great movie as I had expected it to be! I enjoyed it so much though there were parts where I can’t keep up with the dialogue, I had to say to myself “ok, what was that again?” and “who are we talking about here?”

Basically, the movie was about Batman‘s greatest challenge – mentally and emotionally. Being Gotham city’s masked crime-fighting vigilante for the longest time, he is now faced with a fearful and angry crowd, an emotional rival, and an anonymous antagonist with a twisted appetite for destruction and chaos, who will eventually become his greatest nemesis.

Joker to Bats: “You’re just a freak like me…”

Generally, the film gave me a sense of conclusion in the end, and confusion at first. I had to wonder what that Chinese guy was doing in a meeting with Wayne Industries when he was actually with the mob, and why the movie had to show Batman (in his old bat suit from Batman Begins) handing down Scarecrow to the cops. I say the first part of the movie just had too much in it which isn’t really necessary and probably made some people (including me) really confused. It was difficult to catch up; this movie really made me THINK!

One top factor that made this movie stand out – it was Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the psycho-sadist villain Joker, which can merit only praises from me (and from all the film critics, as far as I’ve read!). In a site, Ledger’s Joker was described as “…creepy as Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, [as] slimey as Robert De Niro’s Max Cady, and [as] malevolent as Kevin Spacey’s John Doe.” (guttervomit.com) Which I can only agree to, being a fan myself of the movies “The Silence Of The Lambs” and “Se7en”. In this movie, Ledger’s performance as the Joker had the deadly combination of a trigger-happy sadomasochist psychopath, a creepy clown with a morbid sense of humor, and a genius ultra-villain who always have a plan. Though I don’t like the thought of Batman being overshadowed by Joker’s character, it’s most likely the case in this film, at least for me (it makes me feel even more sorry for the loss of such a potentially great actor. *sigh* But I have a strong feeling he will get an award for his performance in this film. He deserves it!)

Joker’s character in this film is a bit different from the original comic book Joker, who always seemed happy and playful. Behind the greasy hair and the really bad paintjob makeup is an melancholy that had definitely resulted to insanity. In a scene he was telling a story to a bunch of cops about his parents, how his dad killed his mom, how his wife left him. I think that was really sad, whether or not he was lying, and for a moment I felt pity for the heartless criminal. It made me feel that once upon a time this non-feeling piece of work did have a heart, which was broken long ago. And thus the masterplan to prove to the world that everyone is corruptible, no matter how good, no matter how loyal, in which he did succeed, being responsible for Harvey Dent’s transformation into Two-Face.

Heath Ledger: There’s no better Joker

There were a lot of great, explosive, surprising, and funny moments in this movie. Joker, although sinister and everything, contributed a lot to the lighter side of story, having a dark yet appealingly funny sense of humor. One of my favorite scenes was when he dressed up as a nurse, greeting Harvey Dent by his hospital bedside with a nerdy “Hi”. Then there’s this scene when he was walking outside the hospital, waddling like a penguin as the building went KABOOM!. I think that was really hilarious.

Joker: “Here’s my card…”

One technicality which they included in this film was the “formal announcement” (through a conversation between Lucius and Bruce) about modifying Batman’s suit so he would be able to turn his head. Although I think they don’t really need to do that, since the actors did have different Batman costumes in the past Batman movies. But a great breakthrough about getting rid of the stiff neck nonetheless!

Christian Bale: bye-bye, stiff neck!

I’m going to say best thing about this movie is its powerhouse cast. Michael Caine was perfect for his role as Bruce Wayne’s “butler-slash-confidante-slash-bestfriend” Alfred; Gary Oldman had given life to the humble beginnings of Commissioner Gordon; Morgan Freeman was ever reliable as the innovative Lucius Fox of Wayne Industries; Maggie Gyllenhaal was smart, strong, and intimidating as the love of Bruce’s life, Rachel Dawes (originally portrayed by Katie Holmes), and Aaron Eckhart was more than believable as Gotham’s “white knight” and district attorney, Harvey Dent.

Alfred, Lucius, and Jim – oldies but goodies!
Rachel and Harvey: legally perfect

Honestly, I did miss the Wayne mansion and the old (traditional/literal) Bat Cave in this movie (remember the Wayne mansion got burned and the Bat Cave “caved in” in Batman Begins ). I was also kinda sad about the Bat Mobile’s demise, but it was awesome when something suddenly popped out of it, which people now call as the Bat Bike!

tenenenenenenenenenenenenenenen,..it’s the Batman!

All in all, though having small flaws here and there, “The Dark Knight” is a spectacular film. Great acting, great script, awesome soundtrack and jaw-dropping action! Definitely one of my favorite superhero movies of all time!

The Batman RULEZ!!!

Check out some clips from the movie and official trailers here.

Cheers, everyone!


2 Responses to “Movie Review: ‘The Dark Knight’”

  1. July 31, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I need to repost this since I accidentally deleted this post. This was originally posted two days ago.

    Comment From Daniel’s Critical Corner: (http://criticalcorner.net)
    Great review, of a great movie ! I saw it again yesterday,
    and was surprised at how much I missed the first time
    around. So many layers ! Yes, the first part with “The
    Scarecrow” was a bit odd. Took a minute for it to all sink
    in. LOL ! 🙂

  2. July 31, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Thanks, Daniel! Although I had to reedit this post since I can’t seem to get satisfied with the contents! I saw your site and I think your reviews are great! Keep it up!

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