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Review of THE DARK KNIGHT- Highly hyped movie delivers in Spades!

It’s always tricky going into a film with the type of hype Warner Bros new Batman movie, The DARK KNIGHT, has received. It almost feels like July 18th, 2008, the day this film opens on a record 4366 screens, should be declared a national holiday.

First, let me point out I’m a big fan of the bat and, based on my love for director Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins, and the tremendous advance buzz, my expectations were mighty high. Having said that, Chris Nolan does not disappoint as The Dark Knight is a highly ambitious and tremendously intense movie going experience that must be witnessed on the big screen. In so many ways director and co-writer Nolan have opened the scope of the comic book movie by such a wide margin that any future films in the genre will have an almost impossible task to outdo it. Although it’s being sold as a pure comic book movie The Dark Knight has the feel of a great crime drama similar in tone to Brian DePalma’s classic 1987 movie “The Untouchables” with Batman and the Joker taking the parts of Elliot Ness and Al Capone.

What makes this film so satisfying is that it plays liked a perfectly executed ensemble piece with all the main characters getting rich and equal screen time. Christian Bale is once again terrific as Bruce Wayne/Batman and really proves there could be no other actor better for the part. The screenplay fleshes out the character’s inner conflict of dealing with the ramifications of the things he’s set in motion. Aaron Eckhart is perfectly cast in the role of Gothams white knight; district Attorney Harvey Dent, who ultimately evolves into Two-Face (the make up work is stunning). I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved his story arc of Dent, a man set out to finish the job Batman has started. Eckhart is so good in the role that you’ll actually wish he never takes the turn. In terms of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, there’s nothing else to be said that hasn’t been said already – it demands to be seen by all movie fans. Nothing in his previous work prepared me for his demented take on the famed character, here written as an insane terrorist. As the story goes on and the criminal threat continues to escalate, the tension mounts to a pulse pounding level and the Joker is the mastermind behind it all. The character is given just the right amount of time on screen and every second he’s on it is absolutely memorizing. There’s one sequence where he’s alone in a room with Gary Odlman’s Lt.Gordon that’s beautifully acted and shot with the director using a brilliant choice of lighting. It’s one of the films best scenes.

Oldman is once again terrific as the conflicted Lt Gordon. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a big upgrade from Katie Holmes in the role of Assistant DA Rachel Dawes and still sweetheart to Bruce. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine once again give the proceedings their usual class as gadget man Lucius Fox, and Alfred, the confidant and butler of Bruce Wayne. The action set pieces are pretty impressive with the highlight being a confrontation between Batman on a high tech bat pod motorcycle and the Joker driving a huge Mac truck. It’s a real showstopper! If there is one minor flaw it might be that the movie goes on a tad too long. At 152 minutes, I wish it were shaved down by about 15 minutes toward the end but that’s a minor point in an overall great movie going experience! POST your comments and let me know what YOU think!

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July 18, 2008 - Posted by | Reviews | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I’d love to see it again. Except this time, not in the front row!!!

    Comment by kayla8687 | July 22, 2008 | Reply

  2. PURELY UNBELIEVABLE! I SAW IT IN AN IMAX THEATER AND THE PLACE SHOOK – IT IS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE ON THE EYES AND EARS! THE THEATER ACTUALLY SHIVERED LIKE “SENSESURROUND”. I AGREE WITH YOU ALL THE CHARACTERS WERE FLESHED OUT WONDERFULLY WITH MR. LEDGER DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE – MAKING JACK NICHOLSON SEEM LIKE CESAR ROMERO. I LIKE YOU HAD ONLY WISHED IT WAS A LITTLE SHORTER, IT WAS ALMOST TOO MUCH MOVIE. PERHAPS THE ARC OF HARVEY DENT SHOULD’VE BEEN COMPLETED IN THE NEXT FILM! THE ACTION SCENES WERE AWESOME AND CHRISTIAN BALE FURTHER SOLIDIFIES HIS GRASP ON REALLY BEING THE PERFECT BATMAN. FOR ME THOUGH, I THINK THERE COULD BE A SPIN OFF MOVIE ON COMMISIONER GORDON. OLDMAN DOES SUCH A GOOD JOB OF MAKING HIM SO HUMAN YOU ACTUALLY WANT HIM TO SAVE THE DAY AS MUCH AS BATMAN.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK? BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER? I STILL THINK IT MAY GO TO SPIDEY 2 BUT I’D HAVE TO WATCH BOTH AGAIN.

    Comment by mikeragz | July 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. Since I have only seen THE DARK KNIGHT once so far I’ll reserve my judgement on whether its the greatest comic book movie ever made, although for the most part it sure felt that way as I was watching it. My only fault of note would be wrapping up the Two-Face story line. Personaly I would have concluded it when he walks into the bar and picked it up in a 3rd film. If Nolan made that choice I think the comparisons to The Godfather 2 and The Empire Strikes Back as the greatest sequels ever made would have been justified. As for Spiderman 2 it’s a great movie, and I still believe there was no better director for that franchise than Sam Raimi.
    As for sitting in the front row. I agree, the way back is so much better! Keep the comments coming! CHUCK

    Comment by etbcoop | July 24, 2008 | Reply


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