Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight

(Fanboy mode on) WOW! (Fanboy mode off :-)

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is amazing. It balances the requisite action-adventure set pieces with a script that delves into the thin lines between heroism and villainy, between chaos and order, between the evil that men do because they can and the evil that men might do in the name of justice or for the sake of survival.

It’s atmospheric (it’s Gotham City after all), explosive and kinetic, fast-paced (despite its 2+ hour running time), brooding, brutal, and, yes, unabashedly over-the-top (we’ve had the discussion about the inherent preposterous in super-hero movies in this space before so I won’t bore you with it again.)

Christian Bale’s Batman is much more seasoned than he was in Batman Begins…he’s also more conflicted as his caped alter ego threatens to subsume his life; he’s also afraid that Batman may be the catalyst for as much madness as he is for goodness. Bale is great (especially when he puts on the Batman “growl” when he’s in the cape and cowl.)

The late Heath Ledger gives a bravura performance as the Joker. Where Jack Nicholson’s Joker did crazy with an impish wink, Ledger’s Joker is a full-on nihilist, a rampaging id bent on nothing less than creating as much chaos as possible. Ledger’s Joker is frightening, unpredictable, wily, disturbing, and mysterious (he gives a couple of different explanations of his origin along the way.)

Gary Oldman has some really nice moments as the conflicted Police Lt. Gordon and the other returning old pros…Michael Caine as the acerbic Alfred and Morgan Freeman as the wise Lucius Fox…also shine in their moments. Aaron Eckhart gets to display a wide range of emotions in his role of crusading District Attorney Harvey Dent (comic book fans will probably know where he’s headed and the movie goes there full on) and Maggie Gyllenhaal steps ably into the role of assistant DA Rachel Dawes (taking over the role from Katie Holmes who played the character in Begins.)

The Dark Knight tickled this fanboy’s jaded heart with an ending that, almost as a matter of course, leaves the door wide open for yet another sequel. Bring it on.


movie buff said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted...

Shawn Michel de Montaigne said...

I haven't seen it, not being a big Batman fan; but I did see the first one and was mildly impressed.

Given what people are saying about the second one, I'll split the difference, take the average, and go from there.

I did write a screed poking my anger at the postmodernist themes continually drawn (or put there) by so many reviewers; your review is probably the best I've read to date, because it avoids such nonsense. Thanks for that.

Great blog, sir!

--from a fellow San Diegan