Film Review: The Dark Knight

In the Dark Knight (sequel to the hit film, 2005's Batman Begins), Christian Bale returns as the dark cape crusader Batman and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne with Michael Cain (as Alfred Pennyworth), the late Heath Ledger (as Joker), Maggie Gyllenhaal (as Rachel Dawes replacing Katie Holmes from BB), Gary Oldman (Lt. James Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), and Aaron Eckhart (as Harvey Dent).

I saw this movie last month and my review here is a lil' late, I know, but I thought I'd still post it here for you to read. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend you see this as it was simply brilliant (and perhaps the best film I've seen this year...thus far) and worth-watching with an incredible ensemble cast and the late Heath Ledger's best performance here as The Joker.

Check out my review and just a lil''s slightly spoilerish (esp. if you haven't seen this movie yet)...

starring: Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Morgan Freeman,
Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal,
Gary Oldman, and Aaron Eckhart

Brief Synopsis:

With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as the Joker, who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces the Dark Knight ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.

My Review:
Where do I begin? This movie was so much more than I expected. Pretty much everything about this movie was awesome. Excellent casting (though I have a lil' tiny problem with Maggie Gyllenhaal's casting as Rachel Dawes. I will talk more about why here in a bit...). Check. Superb acting from the cast (most especially Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the Joker was very impressive). Check. Brilliant screenplay (Christopher Nolan outdid himself on this one) and storyline. Check. Fantastic direction (again Chris Nolan outdid himself on this one), visual and sound effects. Check. And of course, TDK film itself = Masterpiece. Check. Check. Check!

I haven't experienced and seen a phenomenal film with a huge hype, media buzz, and so many positive rave-reviews, not too mention the super long lines at the theaters and sold-out tickets for almost every show times it was on, and the record-breaking Box-Office grosses for the first 3-day weekend opening debut (with an impressive an over $314 million+ BO gross and continues to break more BO record 2 more weekends after that...and still going and counting...). Well, not since Titanic and The Passion of the Christ (to name a couple of many other BO record-breaking films), anyway...and live up to its hype and expectations as this film did.

From the opening scene with the Heath-inspired bank robbery scene through the centerpiece of the highway was, simply spectacular! Another scene with The Joker's random and unexpected appearance in the beginning with the pencil sharpener thing, which surprised and scared the faces out of the Mob Squad was awesome, lol. The late Heath Ledger's performance in this film as The Joker was incredible and very impressive...definitely Oscar-worthy! He deserves all the positive reviews, recognition and sure nominations and awards posthumously. It would be ashamed if he doesn't get some kind of recognition and nominations at upcoming award shows for this role, because even if he was still alive when this film was released a month ago, he still did a brilliant job in his performance as The Joker. Besides, he was such an incredible actor that there would still be a lot of buzz and curiosity of his turn of The Joker from movie critics, Batman/comic book fans, moviegoers alike as he delivered such as realistic, believable, funny, menacing, entertaining, scary, violent, energetic, and very impressive performance with this character in TDK. I was surprised at how I really enjoyed hearing his voice as The Joker and his one-liners were great and memorable (my favorite ones were: "Why so serious?" , "I believe what doesn't kill you makes you...stranger!" , "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. We are tonight's entertainment!" and "Come on, I want you to do it, I want you to do it. Come on, hit me. *Hit me!*" lol). He sure stole the spotlight here (even with an incredible ensemble of a cast) and was the highlight of this movie, at least in my opinion. Two thumbs-way up to Heath Ledger! It's very sad, unfortunate, and still hard to believe though that he was gone just before this film was released.

Christian Bale, on the other hand, was awesome here and elegantly brooding as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Like Heath Ledger, he did an equally amazing performance in this film as does the rest of the cast/ensemble. Also, like I said it was a brilliant casting here too with great acting from Michael Cain as Bruce Wayne's paternalistic (and at times funny) butler Alfred Pennyworth. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, the Wayne Enterprises' CEO, Batman's ally, and Batpod mobile expert. And the brilliant (as always) Gary Oldman as Liutenant Gordon, Batman's closest ally in the police force. In addition, Aaron Eckhart as DA Harvey Dent (who later in the movie turned into a surprisingly Two-Faced man) was impressive as does Eric Roberts as Salvatori Maroni, leader of the Mob was very good here too.

As for Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, here's my lil' problem with her casting. I'm probably the only minority here, lol. It wasn't so much as she wasn't a good actress. She can certainly act and does hold on her own (I've seen her in Monalisa Smile and I thought she did good there) despite all the men in the cast here (though in this film she seemed to be out of place most of the time), leaving her the sole female lead (and supporting character, which at the same time kinda pointless as she had a very minor role here in this film). While she did good on her part and what was written for her Rachel Dawes character (and her tragic fate towards the end) of this film sequel...I was actually missing Katie Holme's presence and my visual image of her Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins. I don't know why, not that Katie Holmes own the role either (though in my opinion, she didn't do too bad in BB as others said she did...but that's just me) as I wouldn't have minded it if it was Rachel MacAdams who replaced her (as she's a great actress who can basically play any character and can also, visually look similar to Katie Holmes' look of Rachel Dawes in BB), but I mostly don't like watching sequels with original actors of an ensemble cast that portrayed a certain role (whether he/she was my favorite character or not in the first film or 2nd) being replaced or leave to be replaced by another actor because, for just ruined my visual image of the next actor playing that same character. Though there are times (rarely seen) that a replacement actor turned out to be so much better than the previous actor playing the character originally. Christian Bale himself was an example of one of those rare (and brilliant) actors who actually was so much better than George Clooney's Batman, in my opinion. Though a lot of people (and Batman fans esp.) probably didn't care or missed Katie Holmes' presence here or her portrayal of Rachel Dawes from BB. Still, I think with the minor role that her character was played in TDK, Holmes should've stayed (if she was indeed replaced, let go or whatever was the reason for her not being in this sequel) and just finished her part. It wasn't like the character Rachel Dawes was so important in this film anyway. I just didn't care much for Maggie Gyllenhaal's Rachel Dawes nor her presence (no offense to her as an actress/person)...but for me, I just didn't get used to her Rachel Dawes portrayal and look-wise...esp. watching her visually on-screen as small her part was. I kept on waiting for Katie Holmes/Rachel Dawes to appear on-screen, lol. It would probably be the same (though not hugely the same) as watching The Mummy 3, the new film (from The Mummy franchise) without the beautiful and brilliant actress Rachel Weisz and her much loved (and fan favorite) character Evie (aka Evelyn Carnahan O'Connel). I don't know if I even want to see it without Rachel Weisz there as Evie. She was one of the best things I loved and enjoyed about the first 2 Mummy films. But that's another film to talk about, which I haven't seen yet.

Anyway, back to this film...despite my lil' issue with the Rachel Dawes character replacement (this movie wasn't perfect and has its flaw, after all), the overall ensemble cast was still stellar. Though as stellar as the ensemble cast were, they were all eventually upstaged by The Joker's elaborate psychotic pranks, which include kidnapping, assassination, blowing up hospitals and inciting people to mass murder – it's all in a day's work for him.

Overall, TDK was simply amazing! It is currently the best blockbuster film release this summer, in my opinion. In addition, It was absolutely worth-watching and just a fantastic film to watch even with the long 152 min. running time (you will hardly notice the time). Also, I heard that it was even way much better watching it on iMax theater and worth paying the extra money.

My TDK Film Rating: ! (10/10; A+)


ScoopGirl said…
Hey Jeane I do agree with you on the issue with female role of the movie. Seeing that she was a made up character to fit into the movie, the actural comic doesn't have a female leading lady at all. I know also in the animated series during the time between Harvey became Two Face there was a young woman he wanted to marry, and she ends up leaving him.
I do hope Heath get's an award. He definitly should get one. Along with anyone else in the movie.
Knowing that I've already seen it twice. I would love to see it again... :) And it will be a part of my Batman collection most definitly. :)
movie junkie said…
i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was as though all that time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was lost...

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