WARNING: Young children are not recommended to watch this Batman film! It contains many highly disturbing scenes of violence, torture, gore and psychological suspense. This is NOT the Batman of their cartoons.
That aside, The Dark Knight is a superb piece of writing. Without being a non-stop action explosion fest, our attention wasn’t lost for even a minute. The suspense, surprises and twists kept us guessing from the start of the Joker’s plans to the end.
The film is still full of action, but feels much more like a plot-driven thriller. I could see this film winning Best Film of the year for its intricate storyline that would make the best Batman comic plots proud (on which, its themes, are based), along with superb acting and timing.
This is like an action film, a drama, a thriller, a detective mystery and a horror film – and a bit of that superhero stuff it’s supposed to be. No wonder it’s been killing at the box office!
The late Heath Ledger has done for the Joker what Danny Devito did for the Penguin way back in Batman Returns – namely, discarded all trace of goofiness and replaced it with disturbing and demented twistedness.
The real star actor of The Dark Knight
This Joker doesn’t play silly tricks or use lame gags. He is a pure psychopath, of the most highly disturbing and chaotically unpredictable kind.
He is a clown only in the mould of Stephen King’s It – laughing at the sick twistedness of the horrors he inflicts upon the populace. I can see why Heath Ledger’s playing of the Joker is considered superior to even Jack Nicholson’s.
While Batman is supposed to be ‘the great detective’, this Joker out-schemes him at every turn. The Bat’s physical superiority and fighting skill amounts to almost nothing in the face of the Joker’s evil, anarchic genius.
(In comic fan terms, Heath Ledger’s Joker has Dr. Doom’s infinite plotting without any of Doom’s honour or sanity. Replace ‘Batman’ with ‘Joker’ in this comic – this Joker is exactly like that. You’ll understand after watching the film. Hey… This Joker minus the craziness is exactly what Doom should have been like instead of that sucky movie version!)
I vote Heath Ledger for Best Actor. Playing the pretty nice-boy in films like A Knight’s Tale and The Patriot are who he is, but playing the Joker is truly acting.
A running theme repeated throughout the film is: Would you take a life to save a life? To save many lives? To save yourself? Are humans merely glorified, amoral animals?
And the film ties up the ‘loose ends’ introduced by the previous movie (i.e. Batman Begins). Though that film was dark, it was nothing compared to the darkness of the sequel…
Overall, a must-see that is far more thought-provoking and mature than Iron Man, and puts the eye-candy antics of Spider-Man 3 to shame.
See also the post, Batman = Bush? for some comparisons.