The Dark Knight…Or where does he get those toys????


Just going to get it out the way for the lazy Bastards that don’t like to read….

Batman Begins was easily one of the very best DC comic based films ever made. Yes, better than the Keaton Batman, and maybe better than the Reeve Superman. It was gritty, intense and fun all at the same time.. The only shortcoming I found was the lack of a clear and dangerous feeling villain…

The success of the film made it a virtual no brainer that there would be a follow up movie at some point… and the fact that Gordon shows Batman the Joker card made it even more obvious. But could another Batman flick live up to the expectations generated by the first? Would the film actually end up being as good as the fans WANT it to be? Would Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker be as good as everyone is going to say it is regardless if he was great or horrible since there is an unwritten rule that everyone is supposed to say how good he was since he has since passed on after completing shooting??

Jack was good, but Heath is the clown that will haunt your dreams...
Jack was good, but Heath is the clown that will haunt your dreams...

Well after seeing the movie a couple of times, (yes I sat though the 2.5 hour movie more then once and may watch it in the house later) I would yes this movie met all the hype and then some.. And Ledger’s performance was at once frightening and beautiful….

THE GENERAL IDEA

The synopsis from Moviefone for The Dark Knight looks like this: “In The Dark Knight, Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a backlash by the Mob who unleashes a reign of chaos caused by a new criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker.”

Wow.. a rather dry write up for a movie that is destined to go down in history as the bible for all comic based movie to try to live up too….

THE GOOD

One of the things I was preparing myself for was how over hyped the performance of Heath Ledger was going to be. Since he passed away, I knew he’d be getting rave reviews out the butt no matter what and anyone that said different would be drawn and quartered. But let me clear this up.. I had no clue who Ledger was, is, what he has been in or even what he died from and I can say this with no hesitation…. HE DESERVES TO WINNER THE FRICKIN OSCAR FOR THIS ROLE!!!! I was totally, 100% blown away like nothing I’ve ever seen in a comic based movie before. He is at all times completely believable, at all time relentlessly disturbing, at all times nightmarishly frightening and at all times THE JOKER. This is a slightly different vision of The Joker than we’ve ever seen before in movies more like the Joker shown in the graphic novel “The Killing Joke” His performance hits the mark so purely that even Batman himself is made to feel like a secondary character. It really was the performance of a lifetime for Ledger in all its tragedy. I cannot stress this enough… Ledger really was that good in this movie, he gave a performance worth of the honor of saying absolute best performance in a comic book movie I’ve ever seen. In fact I want to say that he did things in this role that pulled it outside a “comic book” movie and into the realm of the all time great movies in history..

The script was fantastic. The story moved forward at all times, the dialog was crisp, at times profound and always in character relative to the scenario. The way all the key characters are used all interconnecting in a very naturally feeling way was something to behold and sit in awe of…

The action in The Dark Knight was vastly superior to Batman Begins in every way, shape and form. And we’re not just talking about fight scenes either. There are a couple of scenes that are more like gritty crime movies than comic book ones and they totally work. The camera work is also much better for the fight and action in this movie than they were in the original with shots of the Gotham (Chicago) skyline that were breathtaking. Each shot felt purposefully selected to aide in moving the story without words and that’s what the point of it is.. isn’t it??

I bet I could beat him on my bike!!
I bet I could beat him on my bike!!

Maggie Gyllenhaal (who took over for Katie Holmes) actually made Rachel Dawes a ok character instead of the annoying one that Holmes managed to make her out to be. The Dawes character is an important one in this movie as she is shown as a means of escape for Batman to a normal life outside the cowl… but the way Holmes portrayed her made us all wish she was never there in the first place… Gyllenhaal made her work, and work well although at times she looked rather old and paunchy… lay off the catering truck sweetie…

Morgan Freeman provided his normal excellent skills in a more pronounced way this movie and once again reminded everyone why he can play GOD in one movie and a hit man in another… his Lucias Fox was at once intelligent, morally strong and more over stole most scenes he was in…

What else can I say? All the cast were solid. Christain Bale, Caine, Gary Oldman (who given the role or playing Gordon as he assumed the big desk did it well), even Eric Roberts did a plausible job playing the heavy… the list goes on and on. The only issue I had was the Michael Jai White from Spawn Fame as one of the two bit gangster’s… Just didn’t fit the mood having a Boyz in the Hood wanna be sitting with the big mob bosses…. But when an entire cast does such a good job, you have to look at the director and Mr. Nolan pulled some great stuff outta this one….

THE BAD

My biggest complaint about The Dark Knight is one that most will acknowledge but not see as a bad thing… until you watch it again then see if you’ll change your mind… at over 2.5 hours the movie was too long.. At about the 2 hour mark I was ready to call The Dark Knight the best film of the year … and maybe one of the top 5 movies of all times. Now, I have to be careful here to not give any major spoilers away… and once you see the movie you will understand my point here…

After about the 2 hour mark, a major component of the story gets finished… and it was the PERFECT time to stop the movie and be wide open to the next film, and that’s where I thought we were going….

But instead Nolan felt the need to tell a bit of part 3 to the story in this same movie… All that energy, perfect pacing and driving focus that the movie had for the first 120 minutes just got lost. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the last 30-40 minutes were bad… they just weren’t right for this movie. Something significant happens near the end (Not sharing what) that I believe ultimately made the last 30 minutes a waste of time and killed the chance to have an actor who gave a really good performance the chance to flip his coin as the villain in Batman 3 ( and making 200 mill the first weekend means there will be a 3)

I also thought that Scarecrow was rather pointless… and I don’t mean about him being on drugs. He’s on screen for about 30 seconds, then gone. Guess they had to close out the villain from Batman Begins.

This may sound like a little bit of a spoiler, but it’s so irrelevant to the movie that it really doesn’t matter. Scarecrow isn’t even taken down like a true super villain…he gets taken down during a routine drug busy!?! Really??? There was no need for Scarecrow to be used in that capacity… you could have had the same scene and had it be the Joker that off’ed him or even had him use his fear toxin on the Joker to no effect and at least he would have sat up the villain for this movie…

OVERALL

This is a fantastic movie! Yes it’s too long, yes one or two of the characters are wasted… but aside from that it is a wonderfully told, acted and beautifully shot movie that ranks amongst one of the best films (not just comic book films) ever… If you don’t really want to see this movie, see it for one reason only… HEATH FUCKING LEDGER…. Its like seeing Heston as Moses, Nicholson in the Shinning, or any other Iconic actor in his master role…

This review has been Colin Approved…

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