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The Dark Knight

The Dark KnightDirected by: Christopher Nolan Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman Time: 2 hr 30 min Rating: PG-13

Plot: Batman (Bale) is back and with the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart), Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. A new criminal known as the Joker (Ledger) is out to make sure that doesn't happen at any price.

Who’s It For? Not kids. This is dark and scary and almost deserves an R rating. Everyone else should see it, especially fans of Chicago since the city looks amazing as the fictitious Gotham.

Expectations: I don't watch previews (as much as possible). Doesn't make sense since I want to go in fresh and previews have a way of simply showing me everything that will happen. I say this because this is the film I was most excited to see this summer. Absolutely giddy. Batman Begins is a great film and is only missing an amazing villain.


Actors: Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman: Bale is perfect as the fake drunk with excessive bravado Bruce Wayne. The dead growl of a voice that Batman has always takes a hint of getting used to, but after two films, I can easily say Bale is the best of the Batmen. Sorry Adam West and George Clooney. Score: 9

Heath Ledger as The Joker: It's done. Best. Superhero. Villain. Ever. I can't believe we have been given another great evil character this closely after Anton Chigurh and Billy Mitchell. Once the Joker makes a pencil disappear he's got you entertained in his clutches. There are tiny moments, like when he grabs a drink at Dent's fundraiser, that every actor should study. Without a doubt, Ledger will win Best Supporting Actor for the Oscars. Score: 10

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent: I can finally but Tommy Lee Jones' performance from Batman Forever out of my mind. Harvey is the perfect motivation for Bruce to realize his way out of the superhero lifestyle. I didn't fully understand the motivations of Two-Face, but as Harvey, Eckhart truly shines as the potential white knight of Gotham. Score: 8

Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Jim Gordon: Oldman is a great chameleon actor and here he's the everyman who we are lucky enough to see the Gotham world through. Filled with surprises this time around. Score: 9

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel: Yes, she's better than what has become of Katie Holmes, but not by the landslide I was hoping for. Rachel is oddly cocky and doesn't seem to know what she wants even though it becomes obvious later. It's always tough to be the damsel-in-distress, and since Gyllenhaal is one of my favorites, I wanted to be more emotionally connected than I was. Score: 6

Rest of Cast: Michael Caine is my favorite butler, Morgan Freeman continues to be a perfect side-sidekick, Eric Roberts is as slimy as ever, Cillian Murphy puts The Scarecrow to rest ... dear lord there is a lot going on. Score: 9

Talking: "What doesn't kill you makes you stranger." Just typing that line gives me chills all over again. Batman Begins had just a few too many one-liners, that isn't a problem this time around. This movie completes me, just like Joker borrowing that line from Jerry Maguire. Score: 9

Sights & Sounds: The Bat Pod is better than the Batmobile mainly because it puts Batman out in plan view. Ledger's makeup is as creepy as possible. Two-Face looks good. But all of that pales in comparison to the outstanding score. It's constantly intense. And since I am from Chicago where most of this was filmed... Score: 10


Best Scene: The semi against the Bat Pod, the Bat Pod against The Joker, there was just so much going on while trying to transfer Harvey on the wide open streets of Gotham.

Ending: There were many nice twists and turns to get to the end. In the first film they teased us with the Joker. Not this time. There is a definitive ending, this time heavier, with Batman headed in a new direction ... there's going to be more, right? Please!

Questions: Why was Two-Face so upset with Gordon? Just because of crooked cops? They definitely borrowed from other superhero movies, with Superman choosing to become Clark Kent, with Spider-Man having to choose between the bus and his girl, the difference here is that Batman does it better. I was insanely interested in the twist involving Harvey and Rachel, but I wasn't emotionally connected. And can you imagine being the other actors who will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor? Awful. Who wants to be the actor remembered for "stealing" Ledger's last best chance to win an Oscar?

Rewatchability: Can't wait. At 2.5 hours, normally I would say there are longs parts, but not this time. At 1 hour and 45 minutes a new plot begins, almost like a sequel, and it works. Earlier this summer, I gave Wall*E a 10, but I have a hunch, after a couple more viewing The Dark Knight has a chance of being remembered more fondly.

OVERALL The Dark Knight is the best adult superhero film of all time. This is heavy, violent and evil with the Joker proving to be the perfect anarchist villain to Batman's dark knight. For such a fantasy, it is amazing how director Christopher Nolan can make it feel real. The opening with the pounding score and a bank heist is more out of action movie like Heat instead of a superhero flick. There were hints of under-explained storylines but that is the only thing keeping this film away from perfection. They didn't run into too many villains and normally with a longer film you think there is too much. I say this with a smile from ear to ear, there is too much of a good thing. Score: 9 out of 10

Box Office Review - July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia!