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Whatever else it may be, "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's follow
up to his "Batman Begins," the film that resurrected the Batman
franchise, is the most ambitious superhero film ever made. It's full of
brooding ruminations about the inherent nature of humanity, obviously
fueled by the troubled state of a post-9/11 world, and it packs an
awful lot of plot into its two-and-a-half-hour running time. However,
be cautioned, and don't let its #1 rating at IMDb set up expectations
that the film can't possibly meet. I doubt any experienced film goer is
truly going to think that this is the best film ever made.
The praise heaped on Heath Ledger for his performance as the Joker is well deserved. Indeed, the Joker becomes the focus of this movie, which may not be such a desirable thing, given that this is...you know....a Batman movie. The caped crusader fades into the background in this installment, to the point where you might leave the movie and forget that he was in it. Ditto Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays the love interest, and who, true to the superhero movie formula, gets practically nothing to do. But Ledger you WILL remember. He creates a fascinating character in the Joker, and it's through him that the movie poses all of its major moral questions. Is it human nature, as the Joker suggests, to devolve into chaos when the illusion of order is taken away; or do humans have an inherent kindness that will cause them to look out for one another even when circumstances seem to call for self preservation? One of the most fascinating things about Ledger's creation is that the Joker has no more motive as a criminal than to pose questions like this. He's not out for money or even power -- he just wants to create anarchy and see what happens.
I was not prepared for the other villain the screenplay throws into the mix: Two Face, played well by Aaron Eckhart. The film is too long, and it's this storyline that makes it so. Chrisotpher Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, the co-writers of the film, would have done well to leave this plot line out. By the end of the film, there are too many characters doing too many things independently of one another, so that the film loses focus slightly.
The movie looks fantastic though, and the production team does wonders with Chicago (where I live by the way). In fact the look of the film is one of its major selling points, and I was pleased to finally see a superhero film that looks cinematic rather than cartoonish.
So...an excellent addition to the superhero genre and a completely entertaining experience....but it's still, after all, a Batman movie, and it's not the best film since "Citizen Kane."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't think that in my quarter century of living I've ever felt more
disconnected from the pop-culture at large than after seeing this
movie. With all the hype and uniform praise I thought beforehand that
this is at least a solid piece of cinematic craft, maybe embellished
slightly by Heath Ledger's unexpected death.
Unfortunately, this movie is rock solid proof that sometimes mass delusion can strike an entire society at one time. There is absolutely no way that this film can be regarded not just as a masterpiece, but even as half-way decent.
Let's get to the point. First - the plot. It's just unconvincing as a whole. Batman is basically a side character with little to do as he takes backseat on the Joker train. He whines incessantly about how no one needs him and how he needs to hang up his cape. Do it already! His troubled relationship with Rachel Dawes has zero chemistry and it's hard to care about the outcome. The idea of Joker being an anarchist, goalless and malevolent force sounds good on paper, but it translates to aimlessness on the screen. Joker shows up out of nowhere seemingly with no one backing him and then... snap! It seems like the whole world is at his service. Not only he has no trouble hijacking a school bus (and then blending into a line of school buses after driving out of a half collapsed bank), hacking into the public TV feed or rigging an entire hospital with explosives; he apparently does it with such ease that the creators didn't feel the need to reveal a shred of information about how he did it. Many events in the movie make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For example - what was the purpose of Lt. Gordon faking his death? And why did they make a point of showing the scene where his family is informed of the death - was that just to get the audience to buy into it as well? That's just dumb and a waste of time. Why did Harvey Dent become evil all of a sudden? Sure he was badly burned, but he had to know the risks going into this business and he had a steely resolve just minutes prior. There are many other plot issues, but it's pointless listing them all. They are there and easy to spot.
The acting in the movie is a-OK, but most of the actors just don't have any good lines as their characters are irrelevant puppets. Heath Ledger is good for sure, but his take on the character gets tedious after a while - mostly from overexposure. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a good actress, but she's just so wrong for the role. She's a nice-girl-next-door type and as superficial as it sounds, it's hard to believe that she would have two hotshots like Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne chasing after her. Christian Bale has zero material to work with and they've turned Morgan Freeman into a moralizing nerd. Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart and especially Michael Caine do a decent job considering the script they were given to work with.
The screenplay is atrocious, incongruent and messy. It's like the movie was cut-up into a thousand pieces of varying length, reshuffled and then strung together. There is no natural progression of events and subsequent scenes frequently befuddle. It takes a couple of minutes to figure out what the hell is going on or why should we care. It's just poorly done.
For all the car chases, fight scenes, and giant explosions, the movie is just unforgivably boring. It's a combination stemming from a poor script, naive (or barely existent) plot, flat characters (that can't be remotely identified with much less loved or hated), and a general lack of good sense. There is also an annoying feeling that the creators had a rather low opinion of the viewers intelligence or maybe they just rushed the movie and had to come up with a lot of material in a little time, hence the low quality.
Before I end this overlong diatribe, let me just mention three scenes that I absolutely cannot get over with in terms of their pointlessness and stupidity. 1. Batman is riding his wicked-cool motorcycle approaching an aftermath of a multi vehicle crash and accelerates aiming it straight at the Joker. What he is trying to accomplish is never explained. One thing certain is that at the last moment he veers right, barely avoiding the villain, and drives his bike without touching the brakes, straight into a wall. I mean he drives it into a wall (or overturned truck, can't remember) full speed like a blind man. Had he even chosen to hit the Joker, how the hell did he expect to stop? 2. This one actually occurs a couple of times at least. Batman leaps out of a 20th story window and falls onto the ground unharmed. Unharmed! He didn't have a parachute, a bungee cord, and he didn't even spread his cape on the way down. He just hit full blast and walked away. And on one occasion his squeeze Ms Dawes fell with him and experienced a similarly puzzling lack of after-effects. Filmmakers, needless to say, didn't find it prudent to even try to provide some explanation.
3. Joker enters the hospital in a nurse uniform. That should present a logistical problem by itself, but OK. However, not only he seems to move around the hospital freely, he also does it still wearing his face paint. I mean the lower half his face is covered by a protective mask, but the rest is clearly visible. What's even funnier is that Harvey Dent looks at Joker straight in the eyes and the face paint doesn't give him away until he takes of the mask. Is this a cartoon?
Christopeher Nolan is a talented director. With batman begins,he
created such a fantastic atmosphere that he brought batman character
back in game. With the dark knight, he made not only a great second
sequel, but also one of the best movies of the past 10 years. He mixed
action, heroism, feeling, literature, colors so well that you feel kind
of high when the movie ends. There is no doubt about it.
But i see some people who don't mind to compare this movie with some old masterpieces and say the dark knight is the best movie so far.Haha, this is completely unacceptable.
Let me clear this: If a movie can bring freshness to creativity, If a movie happens to change your insights, If a movie starts a new genre, gives away new techniques and styles, If a movie makes you understand your heart better; then I call that movie a masterpiece. As far as I see, The Dark Knight is far from it.
But I still feel like I have to congratulate Christopher Nolan for making such a good film. Thanks...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Time for a corrective. As I write this review, The Dark Knight is, according to IMDb voters, the Best. Film. Ever. At the risk of incurring a hail of brickbats, I must demur. Yes, Heath Ledger delivers an excellent performance, as does Gary Oldman as Lieutenant--er, COMMISSIONER Gordon--and it's always a pleasure to watch Michael Caine and Aaron Eckhart. But The Dark Knight is an overlong, over plotted, logically flawed, and philosophically confused film that cannot (and should not) be mistaken for great art. Compared to most comic book movies, it's not bad. Compared to La Regle du Jeu, it ain't so hot. The film's first half is actually quite good, and seems to come to a timely conclusion somewhere around the eighty minute mark. Unfortunately, this being a summer blockbuster, there's another 70 plus minutes to go, and the film's second half is a distinct letdown. Instead of ending on a neat and tidy note, The Dark Knight spirals off into a muddled mess of bizarre plotting (how DID that prisoner get the bomb sewn into him?), illogic (how does Harvey escape the hospital explosion--and why is he apparently impervious to pain?) and confusing action (too many ass-kickings in too little time). I don't expect 100% logical consistency from my genre product, but there are so many flaws and elisions of simple common sense in Christopher Nolan's screenplay that utter frustration sets in around the two-hour mark. By the end of the film, we're expected to believe that, for some reason, the residents of Gotham now need to revile Batman rather than reward him for his good work, setting up a police pursuit into the sunset that presumably will end with our hero receiving a ticket for speeding on the Batcycle. So let's tell it like it is: in terms of 2008 comic book flicks, The Dark Knight is inferior to both Hellboy II (which at least is charming and amusing) and Hancock (which raises far more interesting questions about the nature of the super hero).
After reading quite a few reviews from the states i was very curious
about this movie. As a kid i loved to read superhero comic books,
spiderman and batman were my favourites. Loving the spiderman movies
and also liking the first new Batman movie by Nolan and wanting to see
the last performance by Heath Ledger i couldn't wait to see this movie.
Man was i disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, i liked the movie, i had fun with it and the performance bij Heath Ledger is something i will never forget. I was sceptical about him because people tend to exaggerate performances of popular dead actors but i must honestly admit, he blew me away. He also blew every actor away he shared screen time with, i liked gary oldman best together with him in a scene. I am still wowed by Hedgers performance, and i must admit i really feel frustrated that he is gone, this performance MUST get an Oscar.
Caine was very good, Bale was OK although i don't like him as batman, he is a good Bruce Wayne but not a good batman and i really enjoyed Aaron Eckart as Harvey Dent.
But i thought the movie also had quite a few flaws.
Without giving away too much i really though most of the combat action scenes were not easily watchable because they were to fast to follow, I really didn't like the way they went with two face, and the ending sequence with the bat and the joker to me was a let down. Also i don't like the way Nolan tells the story but i must admit, thats a personal opinion.
There were 2 surprising moments that i really loved, one containing a pencil which got me laughing very hard and the other the choice sequence which ended in a way i didn't see coming but loved it.
All in all, an OK superhero movie, 7 stars but 9? come on people, that's crazy.
It's unbelievable that movies like the matrix 1 , gladiator, as good as it gets, l.a. confidential, eternal sunshine and the spotless mind don't rank as high as this movie, i cant understand it although i respect it.
Happy to share my feel about this movie,
Some of the very first words Christian Bale utters as the eponymous
role of 'soon-to-be-Batman' Bruce Wayne, in the preceding Batman film
to this entitled Batman Begins, are to a thug in a remote prison
located in the Far East: "you're not The Devil, you're practise" he
hisses. The feeling's that 2008's The Dark Knight is where the practise
ends and the fight with The Devil begins. This is my second crack at
writing something up about the film, and while what I said initially
was a little unfocused and targeted the wrong areas; I stand by the
initial grade I gave it and similarly retained that similar sense of
feeling underwhelmed when it finished. Even if it is deemed that The
Dark Knight is one of the better comic book adaptations ever made, this
is not saying a terrible lot given the bulk of entries in said film
That old problem of dealing with the war genre and doing one's very best to document war as a horrid, gut-wrenching thing whilst maintaining sequences of war that cannot help but carry a sense of spectacle anyway, rears its head here. The Dark Knight documents a war on terrorism and sees Christohper Nolan attempt to echo a greater sense of things in the real world as he unleashes a character known as The Joker (Ledger) amongst the inhabitants of Gotham City, The results of his terrorist 'acts' in bringing down entire buildings allow Nolan to shoot the wreckage of said act with firefighters in the foreground and smoking rubble in the back, clearly calling on immediate 'post' imagery of the 9/11 New York attacks. Incidentally, and as one source which escapes me suggested, Joker's videos of captives held and forced to talk into video cameras evoke the actions of overseas terrorist cells, and their own methods of getting the message across to The West; while most of his scenes in which he is seen pottering around an area trying to intimidate carry an odd, distorted and erratic hand held aesthetic suggesting danger, distortion and chaos. Later on, semiology linked to fire fighting will be used again in the briefest of fashions, when a certain character, who's under threat from The Joker, is being transported in a police van: a burning fire truck is used as a blockade, and Nolan cleverly instills a further sense of victimised anguish into the audience.
In addition to biting all of this off, Nolan does his best to render the film a gangster film-come-neo noir whilst operating under this banner of a low MPAA/BBFC rating as the film additionally attempts to draw on parallels between The Joker, Batman and a third piece to the triangle in district attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart). Indeed the film opens with an audacious robbery of mob money, as perpetrated by The Joker; his menace established by the fact his cohorts contribute varying perspectives of the man whilst we perceive him to still be off screen. The robbery itself carries a clever twist in that each member kills the other when his job is done, a small but highly affecting twinge to proceedings as dreamt up by The Joker thus cementing his personality and mindset in being able to cook up something such as this. As a fighter of crime, Dent lacks the physical strength Batman does but talks a good talk and is able to place a number of criminals in jail after some hard work as he adopts his own stance on the front line of crime. Shortly afterwards, it is Gary Oldman's police lieutenant Jim Gordon whom refers to him as Gotham's "white knight", suggesting the man shares a similar overview to Batman's "dark" but is just different in technique and characteristics.
Joker's parallel with Batman sees the film establish such a relationship by way of two accompanying scenes, one seeing The Joker and a handful of representatives from Gotham's gangs occupy a kitchen and talk of certain issues. Annoyingly, the representatives are your more generic bling-wielding African-Americans; well dressed Italian American mobsters and gruff, greasy haired eastern European criminals. Cut to Gordon, Batman and Dent beside the bat signal doing the exact same thing but whose discussions and ideologies obviously differ; a later pairing of sequences seeing The Joker deal with a black criminal, whom he feels ought to be working with him, in a blunt fashion just as Batman does the same to a Chinese businessman named Lau whom he feels similarly towards in this sense, thus suggesting a more intrinsic link between the two. As is the rule of thumb in films such as Heat or American Gangster, Joker and Batman share a sequence in which they sit opposite one another at a table; on this occasion, and as other sources have stated, right before contemporary issues on the treatment of terrorists once in custody have arisen.
Where the film falls apart is its want to cater to an audience with superhero sub-genre frills, an interesting parallel drawn up between Dent as a frothing at the mouth monster named Two-Face seeking revenge and Batman, as two people differently channelling anger born out of injustices towards people they love plays out, but getting bogged down with out of sorts fight scenes and ridiculous sequences in 'sonar vision' which does nothing but juvenalise adult content. Most of the second unit stuff is nowhere near as interesting as the talk and studious observations on identity and personality; a chase through a tunnel which spills onto the streets involving a police van; a large truck and a bat-bike rather underwhelming. The film relies on rife corruption all too often to further its narrative so as to send it down another avenue of twists and turns, ultimately a story which is not as interesting as all the aforementioned character studies and power play going on as binary opposites supposedly attract and everybody's linked to each other. Ultimately only fleetingly interesting, and all too often feels bogged down.
OK, lets get it out of the way, I'm a massive Batman fan. I loved the TV show when I was a kid, really enjoyed the early Tim Burton films and have even worn the costume on a few occasions. I've even taken the time to read Batman comics and graphic novels. I thought Christian Bale was an excellent choice of the lead role for the new films and thought the first one was a great start and I was really looking forward to this one. So how come I've just walked out of the cinema feeling very disappointed? Why? Because this film just wasn't that good. It's far too long, has very little fun in it and takes itself so seriously it's painful. The makers have thrown the kitchen sink at it with very little thought. The whole thing was one great, big, dreadful, noisy, mess. The only good thing in it is Heath Ledger's performance. I had my doubts when I first heard who'd they'd cast but I gotta hand it to Heath, he pulled it off. No thanks to the film however, which is so over cooked it's burnt. Sure there's loads of action, cool bat gadgets and lots of running about and shouting but absolutely no soul. It was great looking but has no personality. I felt neither happy, scared or even mildly concerned let alone entertained. I really didn't give a damn. So next time people, slim it down, less is more. It's not Apocalypse Now, put some fun into it.....Why so serious?
Many commenters said they were "blown away," so it probably has
succeeded in blowing away the box office. I waited until the second
week, and had high expectations from the 9 and 10 ratings it was
receiving. But, fellow movie/film viewers (and especially great film
lovers) ... really!? There's no doubt about the action and action and
action in this one, and thus, the special effects. That's the main
reason I enjoy such fantasy flicks -- the comic book genre. So, this
one does more of it and perhaps better than the last Batman and the
last Spiderman and the last super heroes (but I would not rank it up
with Iron Man). So, special effects and makeup may earn it awards.
Maybe I'm beginning to burn out on all the action and special effects of movies, though. Or perhaps I need more from a movie. With 45 minutes to go, I was ready for it to end. It was way too long. Some reviewers thought the acting was superb. What acting -- do they mean the one- or two-minute interludes between the fast and furious segments of action and destruction? I'm not down on any of the actors for their roles or parts -- but where were there any parts of substance in acting? True, Heath Ledger does a very good Joker. But, then, who hasn't (Nicholson, et al) who have ever played those roles in Batman, Superman, etc? As for plot -- well, anyone who knows the genre and a story that combines Batman with the Joker, knows to expect the unexpected with the Joker. So, the plot goes from one unexpected to another -- as though the variety and mixture and change in "unexpecteds" is trying to outdo the action mayhem.
When I saw that this stands as #1 in the top 250 right now, I clicked on the list. But how this movie for acting and plot (and yes, even action in many cases) could rank up there with the likes of the Lord of the Rings, the Star Wars films, and many great classics with real suspense (I have to mention Casablanca, Vertigo, North by Northwest), is beyond me. I'm not that far off with the overall trends in the IMDb reviews, but can't agree with so many who rate this film at the top.
It's good and entertaining -- but too long. It's not great, by any means. I love the youth of today (I have a few grandchildren), and I don't mean to disparage them by this observation -- but I think this high acclaim by many for this film may reflect a very large, very young audience, most members of whom don't have a great deal of quality and varied films in their viewing history. To all of those young people, I urge a look at the top 250 list or other major review ratings -- and then that you rent, borrow or otherwise watch some of the other great films. I promise you won't be disappointed or bored --and you may get an understanding (maybe appreciation for) of some past customs, life styles, dress, behaviors, etc. To be sure, you will have great entertainment.
This is one of the best I've watched the movie trilogy. I don't see TDK just as a superhero comic book movie because screenplay was written in a perfect way. Created by Nolan Batsuit-mobile perfect design. The most beautiful thing in the film to return to The Joker's and Ledger as the Joker was created to be such an amazing acting. When good and evil sits down to have a talk like an interrogation scene, everyone in the audience shuts up and listens to what they have to say. That's I think this movie is great. I just did not like the actor who portray the character of Rachel Dawes. Other than that Nolan and his team did a great job. They can make 100 movies but we will feel its something missing perfect acting, one of the best actors of all time nobody can be better than Ledger as the Joker.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I completely fail to see how this movie could be considered, even at
such an early stage 'The greatest movie of all time'!
Heath Ledger is pretty good in it, but not that good. It is a good performance, but essentially he is just playing a pretty generic psychotic role in the mantle of the joker. Christian Bale is completely wooden in his role as Bruce Wayne, Batman is a minor character. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are there to lend credibility, but do very little. Aaron Eckhardt plays the rather bland Harvey Dent, but again, not a terrific performance.
This is a ridiculous movie, based upon a ridiculous concept that takes itself so seriously that I found it painful to watch. The script is in parts cringe worthy. The plot is incoherent, there are no real character arcs, save for Harvey Dent's and it is very poorly executed.
The 'sonar imaging' using Gotham's 30 million mobile phones was a real jump the shark moment.
The violence is extreme, especially when you consider Batman is essentially a children's comic. The movie revels in sadism and extreme violence, shame on Christopher Nolan for the glorification of this.
The art direction extends to a few Batman gadgets and some lo-fi emo make up on the Joker. No effort whatsoever was made to show Gotham as anything other than a generic American city.
Glaring plot holes abound, from dogs chewing through the bat-suit where as bullets have no effect to Joker somehow being able to blow up an entire hospital despite giving prior warning! Joker describes himself as an 'agent of chaos' who just does random things, yet everything he does is meticulously planned. The joker has no real sense of humour, he rarely ever smiles which is a total deviation from the comic character.
This film - for me personally - signifies the death of the blockbuster. It might have made a vast amount of money at the box office, but i sets out to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
The Dark Knight is a humourless, negative, sadistic movie with no substance to it, a weak script, which as one reviewer pointed out that for all the pseudo-intellectual monologues and pseudo- philosophical rambling just ended up with someone getting punched or shot.
An immature film that should be for kids, but was really made for adults.
I don't want to see it again, it was a waste of time. This is film as junk food, it is bad for the soul.
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