Dark Knight, The
The Dark Knight
A love letter to Gotham City
By Adam Frazier

Breathless. That's the only way to describe my initial reaction to "The Dark Knight." For the years of waiting, the months of staring at pictures and watching theatrical trailers frame-by-frame, I was still completely blown away by this film. From Heath Ledger's tragic death and all the insurmountable hype surrounding this film, I was still left shaken and staggered by "The Dark Knight."

At the finish of Christopher Nolan's 2005 film, "Batman Begins," Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Batman (Christian Bale) meet on a Gotham rooftop to discuss their next move in purging the city of crime and corruption.

"Now, take this guy," says Gordon, who presents Batman with a clear plastic evidence bag containing what appears to be a single playing card. "Armed robbery, double homicide. Got a taste for theatrical, like you. Leaves a calling card."

Batman turns the playing card over to reveal a Joker. Our fearless Dark Knight examines it a moment and simply replies, "I'll look into it."

The card belongs to Batman's nemesis, the Joker (Heath Ledger). An agent of chaos, the Joker is an anarchist in the vein of Sid Vicious, with a peculiar fashion sense. His green hair, white clown makeup and daring purple suit are a direct reflection of the escalation Gordon and Batman spoke of in "Batman Begins."

Some men just want to watch the world burn, and nothing could be more true for the Joker, who rips through Gotham City with no master plan or overall goal - except to upset order and introduce a little mayhem to the system.

Since he first appeared in Batman #1 in 1940, the Joker has gone through several interpretations. Some people might be familiar with Caesar Romero's portrayal of the clown prince of crime in the ‘60s "Batman" television series, where he was a goofy trickster of little to no real threat.

Then, of course, there's Jack Nicholson's performance in Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman." Nicholson's interpretation took the fun loving trickster of ‘60s camp and gave it a more murderous edge - but even still the Joker's role was more a comical jester than anything.

What you might not know is that when writer Bill Finger and Batman creator Bob Kane invented the Joker, he was a violent sociopath who murdered people and committed crimes for his own amusement - not quite Adam West material, I guess.

That Joker is very much alive in "The Dark Knight," thanks in great part by the brilliant performance of Heath Ledger, who died shortly after the film's completion. You've already heard how chilling and fearless Ledger's performance is, and all I can really say is that everything you've heard is right. Ledger's Joker is one of the best movie villains of all-time.

How fitting that the greatest foe to ever grace comic book panels has found his cinematic counterpart. The Joker is a sadistic, depraved liar with a lust for lawlessness and Ledger gives the performance of his, sadly short, career. No one will ever be able to top or even duplicate Ledger's role - it's that awing.

To combat the Joker, Batman and Gordon gain a powerful ally in District Attorney Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart ("Thank You For Smoking"). Dent is a new political force sweeping through the city, Gotham's own "white knight," vowing to clean up the streets and put corruption behind bars. This newly formed trio has their work cut out for them, as every mobster in Gotham is out to get them, and the Joker's crimes grow more and more deadly by the minute.

In the comics, Harvey Dent eventually becomes one of Batman's greatest foes, the conflicted coin-flipping Two-Face. Where as the Joker is the embodiment of pure chaos and disorder, Two-Face is an example of a good guy gone bad. Harvey knows the difference between good and evil, but is so conflicted by his duel personas that his choices are left to a coin flip.

In "The Dark Knight," Eckhart takes the considerable challenge of playing such a complex, nuanced character and performs exceptionally. As the District Attornery, Dent is a pure and just force to be reckoned with. Batman sees Dent as the heir to his throne - someone to take up his mantle. Wayne believes that there will be a day when Gotham no longer needs Batman.

Among the long list of memorable performances in "The Dark Knight," Eckhart provides his best on-screen performance to date. He's a guy that you can really get behind - an equal to Batman - and when he is victimized by the city he tried to save, it's truly heartbreaking. If I had my way, Eckhart and Ledger would both get Best Supporting Actor nominations.

Another new face to Nolan's Batman franchise is Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Stranger Than Fiction") who takes over for Katie Holmes in the role of Rachel Dawes. Gyllenhaal is a considerable upgrade from Holmes and fits nicely into a love triangle between Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne.

As for the returning cast, there's Michael Caine ("Children of Men") as Alfred Pennyworth, the fatherly butler of Wayne Manor. Alfred doesn't just wait on Bruce hand and foot, he guides him along and provides invaluable wisdom - and when he must, deliver the honest truth.

Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox, Batman's gadget guru who is now the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Lucius provides our caped crusader with all the tools of the trade, and there are plenty of new gadgets and gear to gape at in "The Dark Knight."

And as previously mentioned, the magnificent Gary Oldman returns as Lt. James Gordon - one of the few good cops in Gotham who believes in Batman's cause, and aids him in putting criminals behind bars.

As he has for the past 60 years, the joker pushes Batman to his limits in "The Dark Knight." And while Bruce Wayne tells himself, "Batman has no limits," he does have one rule - he won't kill. So what happens when this brooding, incorruptible figure faces a killer without rules? As the joker puts it best, it's what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object.

"The Dark Knight," is one of the best films of the year. I'm not going to sit around and say, "Oh it's the best ‘Batman' movie," or "The best comic book movie ever" because frankly that's just insulting. This film deserves to be taken seriously, which is why it succeeds in the first place - because Christopher Nolan and all parties involved set out to make a great dramatic film, not just some simple superhero flick.

Bottom line, "The Dark Knight" is the reason I love movies. It's a haunting, poetic experience that will stick with you long after viewing. Its multiple layers, each so deep with subtle nuance, may completely absorb you into the universe DC Comics and Christopher Nolan have created.
Reviewed by: adam
63 Comment(s)
* (asterisk) said...
I'm tempted. We'll see how time works out.
Shea said...
IMAX tonight... i cannot wait.
Paul said...
I understand that it's more than a "comic book movie"...but at the same time, IS IT the best Batman and/or comic book movie ever???
Adam said...
No - everyone knows the best Batman and Comic Book Movie is "Batman & Robin" - of course it is!
Adam said...
Sean O'Connell - a film critic here in charlotte (you can currently read his awesome review on filmcritic.com) said he wasn't sure if he liked "The Dark Knight" more than "Batman Begins" and in a way, I too can't decide. They're totally different beasts - I'm can't wait for the roundtable discussion tonight
Shea said...
It's almost too much to even comprehend. Especially when it is is spread out across the galaxy of an IMAX screen. I no doubt loved it... but I no doubt need to see it again... no doubt.
Awesome. Amazing. Wonderbra.

(the only negative comments I had, which I mention in my review, deal with the somewhat speedy/choppy beginning and the lame re-introduction to the Scarecrow. But it's still an amazing movie. Best Ledger performance ever).
Michele said...
Absolute amazing. It had me hooked from start to finish. I wasn't let down even the slightest little bit. It was everything I had expected plus more. I'm ready to watch it again right this second.
Becky said...
I loved every minute of this movie - can't wait to see it in IMAX.
Adam said...
It was amazing in IMAX, but seeing it in the standard theater first is definitely the way to go.

And yeah, maybe the Scarecrow's bit was lame - but in the world of batman, villains escape jail / asylums every other day - so who knows, maybe we'll see him again ha.
As much as it pains me to agree on so many points with the rest of America... Best comic book movie of all time, Ledger deserves "Best Supporting Actor", Joker one of the best villains of all time...

That being said I will share my single disappointment in a nearly flawless film.... Bale. Maybe it's just because Leger was "so good", but I found myself not caring much at all about the Bat (more so as the movie went on), and mostly rooting for Heath and his demented take on society. I thought all the ending speeches by the Bat and Gordon were anti-climactic, wanna-be, cop-outs compared to the Joker's neverending eloquent soliloquy, but then again maybe that was the point... You can't truly beat someone like the Joker, you have to just make some lame attempt at a comeback and get chased by dogs down some back alley.

All I'm trying to say is, for me, Bale was lost in the shadows of Ledger's performance, and I wish he had stepped up to the plate with a little more mustard.
Shea said...
Bale's performance didnt bother me...

Scarecrow sucked a bit...

CHIRS...I liked that last speech though... at first I was thinking of all the ways to argue my view but then I realized that you gave 10000 BC a good review and figured that was all I needed to say ;)


I liked your comment too... at first I was thinking of all the ways you could mispell my name, but then I realized that when I said in my review of 10000 BC that it was NOT a "good" movie, but a "fun" movie that you thought that meant that it WAS a good movie... I could see how Bale's performance would not bother you following that logic, and I figured that was all I need to say ;)
Shea said...

two shea you fool of a took!
haha. But seriously. I am not the avid Batman follower that you are... I am Batboy... I would like to hear your defense of Bale... Just keep in mind what happened to the prophets of Bale in the old days...

Adam said...
I see what you're saying, Flanny - but I felt that Batman's character was taking a backseat to all the events anyway. This film isn't about Batman - it's about Gotham City, and Batman seems to just be a very small, unique part of that. We've got Harvey Dent, the mob, all this corruption and crime, the good cops, and then a terrorist named Joker - and Batman's trying to juggle all of it.

There wasn't really that much Batman to do in this movie other than the action sequences and the occasional rooftop meeting, so I don't think that's really Bale's fault - he did have some amazing scenes in the interrogation room and whatnot.

I would say that he was better as bruce wayne - bringing that completely fake billionaire stereotype to life while not in molded rubber.
Shea said...
Well Adam... in this one "segmented rubber" for cat protection(nod to catwoman?)

Thank you Adam for explaining these things to Batboy Flanigan.

BTW way Flanny... can I have my DK Returns back?
Paul said...
Couple things bothered me about Batman/Bale in this one:

1) New batsuit...why?
2) Too many gruff-sounding speeches...too forced
3) Not enough fear from Batman. Had the great scene of him dropping Maroni off the balcony, but nothing like in Begins when he's hanging from the crane like a giant bat.

I agree that Batman took a backseat to the greater story, that might be one reason I think I prefer Begins.
I did love the interrogation room scene for both actors. I see your point there. Consider me a Batolecent now...

DK Returns... Is that Donkey Kong for N64? I don't remember borrowing it :) I think I will hang on to it. It gives me leverage to get you to hang out with me.

I miss you so much it hurts sometimes...
Adam said...
I certainly prefer The Dark Knight - though for me you can't have one without the other. I love everything about Batman Begins, but this film elevated so much - and while there wasn't as much fear of Batman... that's a given when you introduce someone like the Joker.

In Batman Begins, Batman was there before the villains - so of course people feared him more, but when you've got someone like the Joker running around... a guy that's got the whole city afraid, whereas the general consensus is that batman is a vigilante cleaning up the streets.

And the Batsuit, I mean the old one was too heavy and such - they played off a joke with the whole head-turning gag b/c everyone knows that's what Bale said about the suit after the first one. And going into what Shea always says about the superhero shoulder turn, it's just nice to see something a little more realistic even.

It didn't bother me - I think for all of his high-flying antics in this movie, the suit seemed like a necessity.

I'd like to propose a little topic for discussion.

What was Ledger's most iconic element in his performance? (since we love the "iconic" word over here)... The laugh? The videos? The Anarchy? The paint? The scars? The scar-stories?

I would have to say the limp walk. Oh, it gave me shivers the whole movie through... he didn't even really break it when he was doing his lunging fight scenes with the Bat.
Shea said...
Iconic= "the magic trick", the constant licking of his scar", "this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable one"
Shea said...
Oh... and "why so serious?" has already become a common work place phrase.
Yeah. the magic trick kind of reminded me of the alien from the chest scene in Alien 1... not trying to compare the two scenes... just the feeling of HOLY CRAP DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!?!

Uh Mazing.
Paul said...
Adam, I realize the Joker "changed everything" but still think the fear element could be played more with the cops and mobsters. I understand that he's more widely-known at this point in Gotham, he's more of a masked vigilante then some fearful creature, it's just a different feel and I miss it.

I find it hard to believe the "suite is too heavy" reasoning. I mean, wtf were you doing in the whole first film? I understand the NEED to turn his head, esp as an actor, but a poor explanation after a full movie. Yes the new one worked well with all the base-jumping, but the Begins suit seemed to work as well. And ultimately, I just like the more imposing look of the original.
Andy said...
The licking of the scars / chops
Paul said...
Chris, I abs love the scar stories, probably my favorite part of his character, but as far as iconic I'd go with the ending speech.

"I feel like we're destined to do this forever"
Michele said...
oh the pencil trick. as soon as i saw that i knew i was in for a ride. i agree on the licking of the scar and definitely the walk. it was all of his little mannerisms combined that made him so.. i don't even know what the word is for it.
wtToosk said...
I've seen this movie twice now and in both screenings there are three specific moments where the crowd REACTS!!!

1) Magic trick
2) Dropping Sal off the building
3) Flipping the semi scene
Damn Bat Sonar (http://www.hatethechese.com) said...

otherwise perfect movie...
Paul said...
Hah, Damn Bat Sonar! Didn't hate it necessarily, but didn't think it was necessary in the least. Not sure why he was using it to fight the Joker at the end either, hah!
Girl In Parking Gara said...
So where was Heath Ledger? I looked for him the whole time, but never saw him....
Guy Walking with Her said...
...at least she's hot
Adam said...
Every scene with Ledger in it is so memorable:

The magic trick is great, but I think the hospital sequence is by far the best - from having that talk with Harvey Dent, the gun pointed against his head, then blowing up the hospital and fighting w/ the detonator some - I think it's just so awesome.

Also, the interrogation room sequence - so amazing.

As for Sonar, He wasn't really using it so much as what Lucius is seeing is being transmitted to his visor thing. So Lucius was using it to show him a detailed layout of the place - where the SWAT guys were etc, and because of all the electronics it mapped the whole place out, making it actually easier to see the Joker in there b/c it was so dark - shortly after finding him, he turns it off.

To me it just seemed like a practical use, how bat's use their own built-in sonar - I enjoyed it, though I know why people disliked it - at that point they already had you invested in so much that it seemed easy to believe in - I could accept Two-Face and Joker existing, a guy dressed up like a Bat, so the frighteningly real concept of tapping cell phones and stuff, combined with Sonar, just seemed kinda cool to me.
Paul said...
Umm, yeah I understand the purpose of it. I got the whole imaging of the different floors, seeing where the Joker was and the SWAT team, etc. But he didn't turn it off, or at least he turned it back on. At the very end after the dogs, he is having problems with it and Lucius says something like "stand by". He loses the Joker and that's when Ledger jumps on him and pins him down.
Shea said...
Dont give me that comic book logic bs. The film successfully convinced me that Batman, Joker, and Two Face existed and that is a hard thing to pull off. But the Bat Sonar pulled me out of the story and the ficticious reality created. Instead of enjoying the world created, things start to not make since like "How and when did bruce set all this up?, how did the joker predict that Gordon would put prisoners on one fairy and people on the other?", "wait why is Lucious quitting?"... i think the sonar worked in Asia, it had a mission impossible feel but when he taps into every cell phone in Gotham... i am like "toosk that!"

Also... he was trying to use the Bat Sonar to fight the joker because the only reason the Joker was able to take him is because it stopped working. He is figiting with it and it keeps going in and out... BOOM it comes on to a JOKER IN YO FACE!!!
Paul said...
Exactly, why did he need it to fight the Joker? Isn't Batman a ninja?
Shea said...
Mmmm... ninja. And The Joker?... a kicking crow bar swinging fool
Andy said...
I think it was all thinly veiled political commentary. Bat Sonar = Govt Wiretapping... Joker = Terrorist... Gotham = US... Batman = GW... Gordan = Cheney... Lucious = Obama... Rachel = Condeleeza... Two Face = McCain
My thought was that the MAIN point of the sonar was that it was the modern day "Ceasar Power" preluded at the dinner table with Dent and Wayne. I too thought it was a little forced, but I think it was largely symbolic of the difference between Dent and Batman. Dent sees the need for a ruler to ditch democracy and take power in a time of need... and thus becomes two-face taking the law into his own hands, while the bat sees the need for that kind of power, but decides to take measures to keep "Ceasar" from staying in power... ie handing it over to Lucius and having it self destruct immediately after using...

I could overlook the seemingly forced concept of the sonar, for the sake of the underlying contrast of Dent and Wayne. The Joker / Bat contrast was much less subtle...
Shea said...
Chris... you almost made it sound intelligent.

Andy... hilarious.
Adam said...
They explain all of that early on - the numbers at Wayne Enterprises not adding up b/c of a telecommunications military project - playing close to the chest etc.

Lucius was quitting b/c where as in Asia the phone only effected a small number of people, the system Bruce put in place effected 30 million - too much power for once person, but Lucius isn't quiting b/c Bruce knew and so the machine was destroyed after he was done.

And you guys pretty much just explained why it's being used - Obviously Nolan found some merit in it - It's cool when the Joker pops out of no where, and that's all that scene is - an opportunity for a quick scare or jump, to make the joker scary yet again.

I don't see it any differently than the microwave emitter... it vaporizes everything right? So when it was turned on in that ocean tanker... how did the thing not sink or suck up half the ocean?

How did it not effectively blow up the city's water supply when Gordon and Batman stop the train about 5 feet from Wayne Enterprises, where as it sits in one place in the narrows and destroys that whole area?
Adam said...
And yes, Chris nailed it right on the head. Good work gumshoe.

Andy told me about that girl - how dumb, I had a similar person behind me who didn't even know who BATMAN was - and I don't mean who's playing him... I mean, the character... that's been around for 70 years now... never heard of him.
Shea said...
I understand all of that...

and dont get me started on the evaporator machine... its a cavity in Paul and I's relationship.
Paul said...
More importantly with the Microwave Emitter, why didn't it vaporize the water in everyone's bodies?! Hah.

Yes, they explained where the sonar came from and Lucius' involvement. I liked how it was used in China, but you honestly didn't give a reason as to why it was used against the Joker. He was right there in front of him, why all of a sudden turn on your Sonar? You're saying basically that we can get disoriented and then scared? Are you serious? If so...why so serious?
Andy said...
The sonar took it from dark and menacing to x-men 3 instantly. felt out of place
Shea said...
exactly andy exactly
Adam said...
As I said earlier, the idea of having your security and privacy compromised by a brooding guy dressed as a bat is pretty menacing - it was feeding into very relevant fears we have now of big brother, the phone tapping and the loss of rights etc - it was a central theme to the whole film - the Caesar speech, the terrorist agenda of the Joker - people put into panic to the point that they would "eat each other" as he puts it.

No one looks down on Iron Man for using all his cool little gadgets and toys - obviously gadgets have always been a part of Batman, and yeah - I think it was a purely visual thing that Nolan and gang wanted to do. It served a purpose while at the same time being visually interesting - more interesting than a dark, thousand-shades-of-black colored construction site.

I think too that, like the first movie, they researched w/ the military to find cool gadgets - like the memory cloth, all that stuff is actually stuff being tested and developed right now - and they probably went back and said "What else do you have for us?" and they said "well, we're working on a sonar technology" and immediately everyone was like "SONAR? BATS! BATMAN! WE MUST HAVE THIS!" haha.

"are you serious? If so... why so serious?" hahahah - thank you.
Paul said...
Hah, no problem.

Yes, that is a good point ab the power=fear etc., and I understand the visual aspects of it, I will concede there.

But again, hah, just kinda dumb he was using it to FIGHT the Joker. As I said, Batman aren't you a ninja?
Dishon said...
Even as i sit here a few days later i'm still having to ice my balls after seeing this movie.

It was amazing, but like a couple other people have pointed out, batman wasn't the star of this movie at all. He lost a lot of his edge since Begins, no longer doing things his way in the shadows, but working with the police in broad daylight and being a good guy. Based on that, Begins was a better Batman movie, but DK was a better movie in general.

My favorite part was probably Joker dressing up like a nurse, that was straight out of the pages of a comic book.
Maybe I was just confused, but during the film I thought that the sonar turned on in error once the Joker whacked him... I thought he turned it on to find the hostages, terrorists, swat guys, and joker, but that it switching on during the joker battle was a hickup in his equipment... which actually gave the joker a puncher's chance in a fist fight with the Bat. Maybe I am remembering it wrong though...
Paul said...
You might be right Chris. I didn't catch what triggered it, just found myself wondering why it was on. That would certainly explain it.
Wade said...
To the earlier comments about Bale, I do like the observation that he's just busy juggling all that is happening in Gotham. The fire always gets more attention / reaction than whatever puts it out... But at the same time, I completely agree with Paul's 2nd point: the Bat-voice was wayyy too forced / gruff. My theory is that he needed a new suit because he wanted space to carry around the subwoofer he was projecting his voice through.

Re: iconic - The licking of the scars/chops. Almost everybody I know that has seen it has brought that up. Secondly, I think his dialogue/speeches. The scar stories, along with his Anarchy speech to Dent in the hospital, and him telling the guard in the interrogation room why he prefers using knives... and of course his final ending speech with Batman.
Adam said...
Dr. Squib said...
Ok. I think I have had enough time to let the thoughts and impressions of The Dark Knight percolate properly. First, it was definitely the best movie I have seen all year by far. I liked it better than Begins because the BIG villian was SOOOOOO much more mennacing than Raz al Ghoul, although I loved Scarecrow in Begins. Ledger was just awesome. What a great bad guy. I mean, Ledger's Joker is nipping at the heels of Darth Vader in the Mr. Villian pagent. I love the idea of a crazed genius pyro who plays with knives. The magic trick was great. The interogation was great. The whole movie was great.

There were a few things that just irritated the pants off me though. 1) What was up with the fingerprint from a shattered bullet? I mean WTF!!! That was so absurd! I don't care if Gotham is comic book land, I can't and won't buy somthing that cheap. I think that was lazy movie making. It was like the script folks said "Oh we forgot to figure out how Batman is supposed to know where to be for this upcoming scene. I know! We will throw in a pointless murder of a Harvey X and a whoever Dent and then Batman will get a vaproized bullet out o' the wall and piece it together with a computer to find a print on it. Computers can do anything. They are the new Duct tape!" 2) I really did not like the SONAR. I know we are talking about Batman, but I just was not ready to saddle up and ride along with that one. 3) Joker was getting awfully clever by staging his entry into jail by using Gordon (who he thought was dead) to save Batman and keep him (joker) from killing Dent. I am not sure the screen writers thought that one through.

There were some pretty wild socio/political undertones throughout the whole movie. It seems like Nolan was drawing attention to the notion that it is (at times) necessary to comprimise ones own beliefs in order to get something done. Example: Gordon. He has been a consistent comprimiser even from Batman Begins bending the law or turning a blind eye to make use of Batman's services or those of crooked cops. Nolan also parallels the wiretapping controversy. Without it, the Joker would not have been caught. But in its nature, it is a scary thing. The two men who would not comprimise lost the most, and the ultimate comprimiser was left to put the pieces together. In the end, Gordon had to leave the public out of the loop (not tell them everything/tell them what they had to hear) in order to get the job done. I am not going to say that Nolan nailed his analysis, but I do think a lot of what he was getting at was at least very astute from an observational standpoint given our current political climate. However, he totally missed it when he tried to present human nature inherently good and pure with the ferry boat fiasco. People pop out of their momma's belly selfish, and without training and teaching, they remain so. Not everyone is raised in a home where values are taught. Someone on one of those boats would have pressed the red button. It is interesting that the people of Gotham ended up not comprimising what was right while Gotham's shepherd, Gordon, was so willing to. I think Nolan wanted to have it both ways, and I don't buy it.

Ok. I got that off my chest. Great movie.
Nick said...
"People pop out of their momma's belly selfish, and without training and teaching, they remain so."

Well, at least we all know what philosophy you follow :P .

I'm more of a John Locke kinda guy myself (and I don't mean the bald dude from LOST). Tabula Rasa. Humans start with a blank slate. It's the environment/people/whatnot that fill in that blank slate and make a person whom he or she is.

But to each their own. There's plenty of philosophical beliefs dealing with human nature :P .
Adam said...
More questions arise:

Who were the 2 cops Harvey Killed? Apparently he killed 5 people, but for the life of me I can only think of 3... Wuertz (cop in the bar,) Maroni and his driver. Are they including Rachel? Is Gordon assuming he killed Ramirez? Maybe their including Harvey Dent as well? Toosklious?

How did Jim Gordon's children age 6-8 years between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight? And why is the daughter only shown at the end - not when the cops arrive to tell the family Jim is dead, or when Jim returns from the dead.

Why weren't the crimes Harvey committed pinned on the Joker? People had seen the joker - there was no way of covering him up - people would have easily believed he killed Harvey and those other folks.

Well written review.

I enjoyed this movie immensely too, I still think Batman Begins is superior but I'm a sucker for origin stories and really both movies are great.

I like your comments about refusing to categorize this as a comic book movie, as much as it is one I totally agree that Nolan made a great movie here and in a way transcended the genre while perfecting it at the same time.
Nick said...
Adam: I, too, noticed the aging of the children. There was at least one baby in Batman Begins, yet they're both young children in Dark Knight.

As for your question on why the daughter wasn't shown when Gordon was pronounced 'dead'... I don't know, but she was mentioned. Barbara (the mom) tells the boy to go play with his sister (or something along those lines).

But as for your question on why they didn't pin Harvey's crimes on The Joker... I actually read a decent explanation of this on IMDB. The Joker was already in known whereabouts and/or in custody when the crimes Harvey did were committed, meaning that it was obvious it couldn't have been The Joker. On the other hand, nobody was ever sure of where Batman had been at these times, so it was easier to pin it on him.
Dishon said...
Adam: those kids are using the same kinds of horse steroids that Walt from LOST is taking.
Haha said...

Shea, Adam, Nick and others:

I admit I had no desire to see this movie. Ever since the horror that was Batman and Robin, I had sworn I'd never watch another film starring the Caped Crusader. Yesterday, I got sucked in by the promise of Bale in skintight latex and shovelled out $12.50 to see The Dark Knight.

Given all the hype around the movie, especially Ledger's unfortunate death and the Oscar buzz for him immediatley following it, I was thinking it would be just another comic book remake and I'd be greatly disappointed.

I am so disappointed that I hadn't yet seen Batman Begins so I was a bit more prepared for what I was getting myself into (although I'm glad I've so far been spared the torture that is Katie Holmes). Adam's review is spot on and I should have paid more attention.

Simply put, I was amazed. Ledger's portrayal of the Joker was astonishing - and beyond creepy. Its easy to see how he could have become so caught up in this final role. How can you deliver a performance like that and not be affected? And Eckhart? I enjoyed him in Smoking but didn't think he was anything special. This has changed my opinion. Fantastic. The movie was dark, disturbing, and deep.

It was nice to have a Batman movie that not only provides a background on how some of the most notorious comic book villians became who they are (i.e. Dent) but also the motivation behind them and their animosity towards the Bat. Unlike previous films, I think the Dark Knight (and perhaps Batman Begins...when I get to see it) appeals to both the die hard comic book fan and those who're not big fans.

Kudos to Adam on a great review, and, well, I will now make this pledge: if 2/3 of you (Adam, Nick, Shea) recommend a film, I'll have to see it. I'm now a fan of the Big Black Bat. And not just because of the latex.

Adam said...
Wow, Karen. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it - and I think you'll equally enjoy Batman Begins as well. We have a hard time around here picking which one we like more. I think, actually, most of us would tell you we like the first one better - but it changes daily haha.