“IT’S THE BATMAN!” MOVIE REVIEW (CHRISTIAN BALE EDITION): “The Dark Knight” stars Christian Bale (The Prestige, American Hustle), the late Heath Ledger (10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot), Aaron Eckhart (Olympus Has Fallen, Thank You For Smoking), Michael Caine (Children of Men, Inception), Maggie Gyllenhaal (White House Down, Donnie Darko), Gary Oldman (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Lawless), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy), Nestor Carbonell (Lost [TV series], Bates Motel [TV series]), Chin Han (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Contagion), and Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later…, In Time). It is directed by Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Memento) who also co-wrote it with Johnathan Nolan (The Prestige, Interstellar) and David S. Goyer (Jumper, Blade). As Batman, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has been taking out criminals left and right, and with the help of Harvey Dent (Eckhart), the new district attorney, and Jim Gordon (Oldman), the crime rate in Gotham has lowered to an astonishing rate. It seems as though Gotham will become a clean place and have its former glory restored. That is, until the Joker (Ledger) shows up. An unknown psycho whose only plan is to stop Batman, the Joker begins to wreak havoc on Gotham, crippling all the attempts to make it right again. It is up to Batman to stop the Joker, at whatever costs.
“You can either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Finally I have seen “The Dark Knight” and boy was I skeptical walking in. Why was I skeptical? Because of the people who watched it. I’ve seen many accounts, especially from critics, saying how terrific this film is as well as how it is the best comic book movie of all time. Although I have read these reviews, people I know who have seen this picture say otherwise, stating that it was overrated. With these different sides of the coin, I didn’t know what to think. It lowered my expectations to a steady mid-level. And after watching this movie, I have to say, and I’m sorry to those who think it’s overrated, this film has got to be one of the best comic book movies of all time. There, I said it. And why would I think so? Well, let me explain. The first thing I have to discuss is the plot. Everyone has seen the Joker in many incarnations, by many actors whether in voice or in physicality. So how would a film like this ever create something new? By not making this about the Joker, but what he represents. It took until halfway through the movie for me to realize the whole scope of this and that’s where my love for it soaked in. Gotham is a dying city, in need of a hero. But with a hero like Batman, how could you trust someone you can’t see or know? That’s where Harvey Dent comes in, representing the white knight of Gotham. It’s someone people can see, someone who can clean up this city and show his face for it. With Gotham improving and the monsters losing power, all heck breaks loose (sorry for the language). The mob controls the city in a way, and when they begin to lose power, some corrupt people on the inside get mad, hence the point of this movie. Not THE point, or theme, but the conflict. I explained the main plot because I wanted to give you guys a feel for what this is. I really can’t explain my opinion without doing so. This conflict that arises, and all cards having to be placed on the table to keep the peace and the consequences of doing so are what make this film spectacular. The themes of this entire picture, all of which surround a central theme, are what drives this story to a brilliance. It’s a long film, and in its entirety, there’s a lot of ground covered. It reminded me of the Spider-Man 3 situation where they had two villains towards the end. People were angry because of how crammed and thrown in they felt. With this movie, there are also two villains (technically three with the Scarecrow guest appearing in the beginning), but they get their fair share of screen time. What they do is they have one central villain until the final act where they introduce a new one, and this one gives way to the devastating theme this movie represents. It works perfectly. Being a picture about Gotham also takes the weight off of making a villain cool, since they are more of plot devices than singular characters. We don’t know who the Joker is. This whole movie gave no background information on him. We couldn’t connect to the guy and neither could our heroes. It’s what he does that brings the light in the story, not who he is. This film feels more mature than most, and having watched the series “Gotham” and how stupid it can get, it’s refreshing to see a plot with so many details put into it. Everything makes sense. What’s funny is I could talk, or write, about this for hours, but that wouldn’t be fair to those who don’t want to read really long reviews. Off of the plot comes the acting. The acting was phenomenal. Every actor performed masterfully in this and if there is one thing that the lovers and not-so-lovers of this film can agree on is that Heath Ledger as the Joker was unbelievable. You’ve heard about his performance a thousand times, so there isn’t much I could say that is different. Just see it to believe it. He was the Joker in this, not Heath Ledger. He embodied the villain as well as chaos itself. He deserved that Oscar he won for the role. The directing in this was top-notch, with great camera angles and seamless cinematography. Thanks Christopher Nolan for all of your brilliant work! Some parts of this movie were filmed in IMAX, and I could definitely tell on my Blu-ray. What IMAX does, if you don’t know, is give a broader view of a scene. Instead of a 35 mm shot, you get a 70 mm one. It took up my whole screen, and every scene that was shown in it was beautiful. The first six minutes of this picture was filmed in it. To be honest, I wish the whole thing was because sometimes it was a bit annoying when they would switch back to digital. Nonetheless, I loved the sleek finish of it all. The special effects were amazing, and I loved all the action scenes. They were choreographed well and they were fun and dark at the same time. Several scenes in this movie were intense, and the ones with action were some of my favorite. Looking back, I think my favorite scene was the interrogation between Joker and Batman. It was spine-tingling. What added to the intensity was the musical score, performed by the mastermind that is Hans Zimmer. When the music got increasingly loud and scratchy, it made my blood boil, and it did wonders for the movie’s feel. So much greatness is entwined in this story, and if you asked me what was wrong with it, it would be hard to say. A pet peeve of mine has been Christian Bale’s Batman voice, but he’ll do it whether I like it or not, and I admit that for most of this movie it didn’t bother me. The plot does pick up and get more of a punch once the second act arrives, but even before then the story is good. I don’t know, all I can really say is the film isn’t perfect. But it does come very close. Say what you will about my review, and I know what some of you will say, but I found this to be a flick that others should admire when making a comic book movie. It feels like a staple for that genre, and I adored it. For those of you who haven’t seen it, go in with regular expectations. Don’t overdo it. I feel like my expectations helped me. I recommend anyone to try this who haven’t seen it for it is truly a wonderful experience and a grand piece of cinematography. FINAL SCORE: 98%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer: