IMAGES COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
Visionary director Christopher Nolan delivers another masterpiece with The Dark Knight, a gritty and epic crime story full of intense action and terrific surprises.
To describe The Dark Knight as a thrill ride is an understatement, mainly because all of its explosive action is fueled by a compelling story with deeply interesting characters. But action is what drives the 2-hour-and-30-minute sequel to Batman Begins and makes it so much fun.
Visually the movie is just as stylish and sophisticated as the first, but now that Batman’s character has been established, we see him hard at work trying to rid Gotham City of crime with the help of James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and new district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). We also see him struggle with his own identity and whether he is a symbol of justice and hope or a vigilante who’s part of the problem.
The tone of the film is very dark, serious and violent, which makes you quickly forget you’re watching a comic-book movie and wonder how it kept its PG-13 rating. Screenwriters Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan create a wonderfully realistic and tense world where the mob, corrupt cops and “a better class of criminal” like The Joker thrive.
Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker is brilliant. He steals the show and stays true to the character’s roots by blending insanity with a sense of humor. Though much less funny than Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman, Ledger tops the previous incarnation by making the “clown prince of crime” more of a calculated killer and whirlwind of terror. Even though The Joker is crazy, he’s also a mastermind criminal, effectively turning any chance of peace into chaos. Whether he receives an Oscar for his performance or not, the late Heath Ledger created a fantastic and memorable Joker that will surely be a fan favorite.
In fact, everyone’s acting in The Dark Knight is excellent. Christian Bale again proves he’s the perfect choice as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Maggie Gyllenhaal also deliver wonderful performances.
Aaron Eckhart brings his A-game, first as Harvey Dent, the maskless savior of Gotham, and later as the gruesome and vengeful Two-Face who gets quite a bit of screen time and gives Batman and Commissioner Gordon a run for their money.
Overall, the story is smart, exciting and full interesting plot twists (that I’m intentionally not telling you about). The cinematography is beautiful as is the music by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. The Dark Knight is easily one of the best movies of the year, one of the best sequels ever made — and perhaps the most satisfying comic-book movie to date.
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