Is it the best comic book movie ever? Yes, sorta. I’d say it’s the best one for adults. There is something aesthetically pleasing to the kid in me about movies like Superman II, Spider-Man 2 and X2: X-Men United in that they exist in complete fantasy worlds and appeal to kid and teens. The Dark Knight was made with the conceit that “Let’s pretend that Bruce Wayne actually existed and that there was a terrorist that wore makeup.” This was like Heat with a cape. The Dark Knight is a comic book movie in the way that Road to Perdition and A History of Violence were comic book movies.
What I Loved:
- Heath Ledger as The Joker. Believe the hype. As a guy who can say he’s seen 80% of the movies Heath Ledger has been in, even I didn’t think he had this in him. To get a full range of what we lost with Ledger’s death, compare Ennis De Mar from Brokeback Mountain to The Joker.
- Gary Oldman as James Gordon. Talk about range. It’s already been established what a great actor Gary Oldman is but it’s rare to see him do such restrained work. It’s a shame that his performance is getting lost behind all the (well-deserved) praise Ledger’s Joker is getting
- Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. Eckhart is one of my favorite actors and he sold the transition of the “White Knight” to Two-Face. Especially the scenes in the hospital with Gordon and Joker
- The characterization of the Joker and Two-Face. The Joker is a pull from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke where The Joker is convinced that all it would take is one bad day to make someone lose it like him (and Batman) Harvey Dent is pulled from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween where the only killings Two-Face does are to the people he feels are responsible for his situation. Also that’s where the idea of Harvey Dent, Gordon and Batman working together on cases came from. Since these are two of my all-time favorite Batman stories, I was quite pleased.
- Maggie Gyllenthal did what she could with what little she was given but she made me care about her fate. I doubt Katie Holmes could have pulled off her last scene over the phone with Harvey.
- Batman as a detective. I’m glad they didn’t just have Batman figuring stuff out by looking at like he’s Monk.
- The IMAX shots. Holy shit. When you see the picture fill up the entire IMAX screen for the first time, you will be taken aback.
- I’m glad Two-Face wasn’t the main villain. The way this universe that Nolan has created works, it’s not like Harvey Dent was going to start gathering henchmen and start to rob banks.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Bale’s Batman voice. It works when he’s only saying one or two lines but when he’s having full conversations with The Joker, Gordon or Harvey, he starts to sound ridiculous. I know everyone can’t be Kevin Conroy but if there is one thing Michael Keaton had over fellow Batmen is his voice didn’t sound silly.
- Speeches. There were too many speeches driving home the themes of the movie
What Made Me Think:
- Batman sure causes a lot of property damage when he hits the street. I’m not the only one who thinks so. I hope Bruce Wayne is somehow paying for all of this.