For Batweek here at P*N we decided to take a look at everything Batman. The Dark Knight is a movie that has been out for two years already but it’s never too late to write a review. Here is what I thought of the movie when I checked it out on Blu-Ray.
Christopher Nolan is one of those filmmakers that always come up with something new – something mind boggling. There are similarities and even many of the same actors within each of his movies, but the ideas are what set them apart from any other movie. Looking at Nolan’s past and even recent work with Inception, The Dark Knight was based on an existing idea but something completely different from previous work. It was more of an emotional, dark, mysterious, and action packed movie compared to the emotional, mind boggling, and deep thought movies that keep you thinking for many years to come. I mean, The Dark Knight actually had a structure that was easy to follow compared to the other movies like The Prestige or Inception where it jumps all over the place. These movies are great, but you have to really watch and listen otherwise you’ll miss something and have to watch a scene over again. With The Dark Knight, you always had a sense of what was going on. You were almost always told what was going on ahead of time or if something happened, it was explained afterwards.
Compared to previous Batman movies, the Dark Knight presents a darker and more mysterious Batman. It’s a movie about the people of Gotham, and even Batman himself, questioning his actions in Gotham City and whether or not he should stop doing what he does and just reveal is identity. Throughout the movie, his main target is really only The Joker; always falling for his sneaky tricks and traps.
The Dark Knight is all about being pushed to the limit. There are many examples in which Joker pushes everyone in Gotham City to the limits. Take Batman for instance. He serves to protect the people of Gotham City by hiding in the shadows and eliminating the evil within Gotham. However the people of Gotham and even Joker push him to reveal his true identity so he can serve his time in jail for the wrong acts he has supposedly done. Will he give in and risk a greater threat to the City? Secondly, take Harvey Dent. He is looking to clean up the streets of Gotham City in an orderly and legal manor by finding crime lords and taking them to court before putting them behind bars. At one point, Batman even agrees to help him with this to make him the new hero of Gotham; a “hero with a face”. Do things go as planned? Third example is a test between the citizens and convicts of Gotham. What would they do without Batman or Harvey when the choice is in their hands? Lastly, we have the movie itself. Christopher Nolan pushes himself and the IMAX experience by shooting The Dark Knight, an action movie of sorts, to be viewed in IMAX theatres. Previously the IMAX was used for nature or space documentaries with little movement. The overall experience turned out quite well.
Visually the movie is stunning. Using the IMAX technology presented a great challenge for Nolan. Many of the stunts and sequences were shot without too much additional visual effects to provide a more realistic experience. With the high resolution of IMAX and blu-ray, every little detail counts, so when you try to virtually create something to look real, it becomes a lot harder to do. When it comes to the soundtrack, Nolan always knows the right person for the job. Before the movie was out, and even to this day, the standard trailer music is used everywhere; it’s almost used too much but it just goes to show that the right music can have an impact on everything and still be tied back to one source.
The performance by most of the actors is really well done. In my opinion, the way Heath Ledger portrayed The Joker is almost perfect. You couldn’t have asked for a better performance. He is crazy, a mad man, always joking and getting away with things. He has a way of getting into people’s minds to make them think one thing while he already has something else planned. Christian Bale did a good job with Batman but I wouldn’t say it was the best portrayal of Batman. He played the part especially well with Bruce Wayne, but then again, that’s the type of person he is.
My final thoughts:
Overall I found The Dark Knight to be a fun and enjoyable movie. It was fairly slow to start with a lot of boring but necessary scenes for the first half, but once it got to about the last three quarters of the movie, things really picked up. Plenty of action mixed in with dark emotional sequences. Out of the previous and most recent movies by Nolan, The Dark Knight stands out as being different. It wasn’t as great as say The Prestige or Inception, but it was a great continuation of the Batman series. I hear they are working on a sequel to The Dark Knight which would be really nice, but it’s too bad Heath won’t be back to reprise the role of The Joker. His performance is what really sold this movie in my opinion. If you like Batman and Christopher Nolan movies, this is not something you want to miss. If you prefer an action movie with a common movie structure over Nolan’s other mind boggling movies, this movie is for you.