I must say I was excited for this movie since the instant BATMAN BEGINS appeared on screen at the end of the first film. It was always going to be good, and sadly, it was always going to be over-hyped by the advertising warhorses.
It is rare though, that a movie can surpass all the hype and pass all expectations on the film. Nolan (The Prestige, Begins) delivers on more than the Joker we remember from the ‘Old Days’ of Burton and Nicholson. Instead we’re given a psychopathic sadist who pleasures from sheer anarchy.
All the hailing of Ledger’s performance are grounded. Watching it will make you feel a different chill down your spine than you’d remember from any other film. It’s impossible, quite literally to relate to The Joker. He gets inside your head with his stories of how he got his scars, makes you laugh at his sick jokes, then makes you instantly wonder why you’re laughing.
If Ledger wasn’t enough to horrify you – wait for Harvey Dent. Brilliantly portrayed by Aaron Eckhart as Gotham’s ‘fallen White Knight’ and Batman’s direct counterpart. His transformation will put Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal look like children’s breakfast cartoons. Gyllenhaal had perfect chemistry with both Bale and Eckhart, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both work well as Batman’s ‘conscience’ and of course, Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Gordon were all solid.
There are some major differences between The Dark Knight and Begins. Firstly, the music is extremely disconcerted compared with the ‘majestic but unfinished’ tones of Begins – but it suits the film’s tone: Anarchy in every sense. There was a more solid singular villain (compared with the many in Begins) – but there was also a lot more henchmen in TDK. The martial art direction was faster and more efficient – as mentioned in the film, learning through experience.
I was disappointed at the role of Scarecrow in this film, it just felt like a loose thread and wasn’t quite closed up or explained, and the ending, while it wasn’t what I expected (others have said that it was predictable, but for me it wasn’t) was solid and suited the film well.
All in all, this is a film that is quite close, if it isn’t already, a masterpiece. Nolan has a great thing going and unlike previous ‘Superhero’ adaptations (Spiderman and Fantastic Four for example), there isn’t campiness creeping in. In face, if Batman Begins was 10/10, The Dark Knight deserves a 12. Quite simply, the best possible sequel that could’ve been given.
If you watch this (which I implore that you do), you certainly won’t regret it. One of the best movies of 2008 (I’ll wait till Quantum of Solace comes out before I pass judgement) – but certainly a film worth getting excited for. If you don’t like it, then that’s also fine – but keep in mind that you probably thought Meet The Spartans was a good movie, so the rest of us won’t take it to heart.
Stunning in every aspect, and exceeds all hype and expectation… Can’t wait to watch it again, or for the Blu-Ray!