‘THE DARK KNIGHT’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Dark Knight Trilogy Continues
Let’s get this ‘joke’ out of the way. It was a very ‘dark night’ indeed! 😀
‘Batman Begins’ was obviously a successful film in 2005. So it was natural that there should be a sequel after this. And right there was, as the second film, ‘The Dark Knight’ was released in 2008. I watched this blockbuster movie at the cinema when I went with my best mate Stephen at the time.
I later had ‘The Dark Knight’ on a 2-disc Special Edition DVD when I received ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ DVD box set in December 2017 for Christmas. ‘The Dark Knight’ is actually the second ‘Batman’ movie that I saw at the cinema after ‘Batman Begins’. I have vivid memories of this movie.
I enjoyed watching ‘The Dark Knight’ as a film at the cinema. But I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed ‘Batman Begins’. Now that’s not to say ‘The Dark Knight’ is a terrible film. Far from it! There are lots of exciting action sequences and emotionally-driven drama scenes that make this film good.
But I’m afraid I found there was a lot going in this movie that made it a challenge to know what the story was about. I don’t know if this was due to me not being a dedicated ‘Batman’ fan, since I’ve not read any of the comics. But there are many complexities to the plot that were a challenge to enjoy.
There’s a political atmosphere going on with this movie that made it difficult for me to absorb it whilst watching the movie. It certainly added a gritty and realistic nature to the film, but it wasn’t as fun as I would have liked in the original ‘Batman’ films and the ‘Batman’ TV series with Adam West.
‘The Dark Knight’ is again directed by Christopher Nolan, who previously directed ‘Batman Begins’. I like how Christopher Nolan delivers the believable, realistic nature to the film, especially with the action scenes and emotionally-charged moments that I found gripping despite the film’s complexity.
Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the movie. It seems that Bruce has settled well into his role of Batman and has been fighting crime for quite a while in Gotham City. But this movie sees Batman put to the test, as he finds himself in troubling dilemmas when he tackles with the foes.
In the movie, Batman continues his war on organised crime in Gotham City. But a new element has arisen in the crime world, since a criminal mastermind named the Joker causes trouble. The Joker is determined to expose Batman as a fraud and to thrust Gotham into the world of chaos and disorder.
Meanwhile, Batman seems to have found a new ally in a district attorney named Harvey Dent. With Batman, Lt. Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent in unison, they attempt to capture the Joker and stop all organised crime. But as the movie progresses, the Joker seems to have more cards up his sleeves.
Again, I enjoyed Christian Bales’ performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, as he balances both aspects to his character well. It does seem strange when Bruce has his normal voice whilst Batman has a gravelly voice in battle. I don’t know if it’s because of the mask he wears or that he’s putting this voice on.
I know this might be a little silly at times when I hear Batman talk. But thinking about it, it does make sense. Batman has to keep his identity a secret and having talk like Bruce Wayne under the mask might give the game away. It also seems to be an ‘in-thing’ now with Batman having a gravelly voice.
In this movie, Bruce Wayne/Batman struggles to keep the crime rates down and has a challenge trying to stop the Joker in his tracks. Bruce/Batman also faces some hard choices and dilemmas, which will mean ending up losing his loved ones and causing the world to lose faith in him as a hero.
Michael Caine returns as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler in the movie. Alfred continues to guide Bruce in his dual life as himself and Batman. He always questions Bruce’s actions when he’s tackling crime and also seems to be give him speeches about what to do when doing the right thing.
There’s an intriguing moment when Alfred meets up with Rachel Dawes and she gives him a letter to give to Bruce. Alfred reads the letter himself and finds that Rachel is intent on marrying Harvey Dent. Alfred burns up the letter to prevent his master from knowing after Rachel died (more on this later).
Heath Ledger stars as the main villain of the movie, the Joker. I must admit, I was dubious about Heath Leader playing the Joker, since I saw him in ‘A Knight’s Tale’. But after seeing this movie, I absolutely loved Heath Leader’s performance as the Joker. He had this criminal mastermind spot on.
The Joker in this movie is sadistic, manipulative and very crazy despite him denying it. Heath Ledger adds on many different layers to the Joker’s character from psychotic to murderous. It’s interesting to note that we don’t know much about the Joker, as his secret identity doesn’t get revealed in this.
And it would also be remiss of me to mention that Heath Ledger sadly passed away after this movie was made due to an overdose of sleeping tablets. This is a shame as Heath Ledger’s performance as Joker is brilliant in this film. I would’ve liked to have seen more ‘Batman’ films with Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Some of the Joker’s lines in this movie have a legacy of their own, including “Why so serious?!” and “Let’s put a smile on that face!” It helps to make Heath Ledger’s Joker memorable and the make-up he has is so disturbing and gruesome, especially when he threatens people with dangerous knives.
Gary Oldman returns as James Gordon, a police lieutenant in Gotham City who works with Batman. I like Jim Gordon’s scenes with Batman when they’re investigating crimes. It shows them both working well together and they have this connection, despite Batman vanishing at the end of a conversation.
There’s a moment when Jim Gordon self-sacrifices himself to save someone and is believed to be dead. I thought Jim Gordon was dead for a while, before an amazing twist happened as he was still alive. Jim Gordon too faces some troubling dilemmas in this movie when his family becomes at risk.
Aaron Eckhart stars as Harvey Dent, a district attorney who gets hailed as Gotham’s ‘white knight’. Harvey seems like the perfect ally for Batman, as he believes in chance and is willing to help Batman capture the Joker. He’s also the new love interest for Rachel Dawes, Bruce’s childhood sweetheart.
But by the second half of the movie, something terrible happens to Harvey Dent as the left side of his face becomes disfigured by boiling acid and he becomes Two-Face. The special effects for Harvey Dent as Two-Face are really terrifying. Harvey becomes mad and vengeful after Rachel’s tragic death.
Now when I saw this movie for the first time, I had no idea what Harvey Dent’s connection to the ‘Batman’ comics was. I didn’t know he became Two-Face and I didn’t know that Two-Face was one of the ‘Batman’ villains. So to see it here in this movie as my introduction to Two-Face was interesting.
Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Rachel Dawes in this movie. Yeah okay, let’s talk about this. I was disappointed that Katie Holmes wasn’t able to reprise her role as Rachel for this film. I like Katie Holmes and it makes ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ inconsistent when you have a different actress playing Rachel.
But saying this, Maggie Gyllenhaal is actually very good as Rachel. She more or less carries on from what Katie Holmes did with Rachel in ‘Batman Begins’. It’s just such a shame that Rachel actually dies in this film when the Joker makes Batman and the others choose between her and Harvey Dent.
Now I’m not one for characters dying in a film, especially if they’re a love interest for a superhero and that they’re one of the main characters. But Rachel’s death adds on an effect in the film that drives Batman forward in the choice he makes afterwards and it’s emotionally effective the way it’s done.
Morgan Freeman returns as Luicus Fox, the recently promoted CEO of Wayne Enterprises and the one who develops Batman’s artillery. Fox seems to be fully aware of his employer’s dual identity. He helps out with finding ways to get to the Joker through his associates and to give him new Bat armour.
In a way, Luicus Fox has a dual identity at Wayne Enterprises in being in charge of the company itself as well as being Batman’s armourer. It gets tense towards the end of the film when Batman has Luicus Fox use a sonar device to track down the Joker via cell phones and he gives in his resignation.
There’s something about this movie that I can’t help but mention. I recognised one of the supporting cast members who plays an Italian mafia boss named Sal Maroni. That happens to be…Eric Roberts! As in the Eric Roberts who played the Master in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV Movie! What’s he doing in this?! 😀
The Batmobile does make an appearance in this movie, but it’s short-lived as Batman soon ditches it and drives the Batpod, or as I prefer to call it, the Batcycle. I think Batman riding the Batcycle is pretty cool. It’s sleeker and less chunky than the Batmobile and it does get Batman to various places.
There aren’t so many bats in this ‘Batman’ movie as there were in ‘Batman Begins’. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Wayne Manor isn’t in this movie, since it was destroyed in the previous film. Bruce Wayne and Alfred have to have a temporary base in Gotham whilst Wayne Manor gets rebuilt.
The film’s music is composed again by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. It continues from where it left off in ‘Batman Begins’. Again, I found the music compelling and epic, especially with the central Batman theme resounding throughout. It works well for those action and emotional scenes.
The DVD special features for the 2-disc Special Edition are as follows. On Disc 2, there’s ‘Gotham Uncovered: Creation of a Scene’ which looks into the making of the movie. This has ‘Shooting Outside The Box’, ‘The Sound of Anarchy’, ‘The Chase’, ‘In Camera – The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Evolution of the Knight’. There are also ‘The Dark Knight’ IMAX Sequences’, which include six scenes shot in this immersive high-resolution format. There’s also ‘Gotham Tonight’, which include six episodes of Gotham Cable’s Premier News Program. There are also the galleries; trailers and more for ‘The Dark Knight’ movie.
‘The Dark Knight’ is a very well-made instalment in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ by Christopher Nolan with Christian Bale as Batman. I can’t say this is better than ‘Batman Begins’, but I found many moments in this film pretty amazing, including the late Heath Ledger who was brilliant as the Joker.
I wondered what was going to happen next. It seemed the Joker had won, even though Batman defeated him. It also seemed Batman was on the run and was now considered a threat to society in Gotham City. Would Batman ever be redeemed and would he return as the hero he deserves to be?
‘The Dark Knight’ rating – 8/10
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