Thursday, August 14, 2008

MOVIE REVIEW - THE DARK KNIGHT

This summer has been full of comic book heroes and not so comic book, but heroes, hitting the big screen. And when I say ‘hitting the big screen’, I mean bringing it so hard to the silver screen your popcorn jumps out of your hand.

Case in point, THE DARK KNIGHT. Yes, everyone and their mother have heard that this sequel to BATMAN is something to behold. And the reasons are simple. First off, let’s talk about the late Heath Ledger’s phenomenal turn as a psychotic Joker. I know I am not making any huge leaps by saying that Ledger made some really interesting and strong choices as an actor in this role, playing the Joker as a man whose brain is as chillingly screwed up as Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. I feel like Alex and Cruella Deville got together for one night of lust and all of a sudden The Joker pops out, full grown and ready for mayhem. There has been much talk about a posthumous Oscar nod to Ledger, and in my opinion, he totally deserves it.

Now with so many acting props being given to Ledger for playing The Joker so perfectly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the rest of the cast were lackluster, but to my surprise, Christian Bale played a good mature, confidant, and almost cocky Bruce Wayne. His Batman, however, I have an issue with. Now when I first saw BATMAN RETURNS, I thought this is a definite upgrade from George Clooney. And then I heard him talk. Allow me to lay this out for you. I understand that Batman is a mysterious man who has to have a raspy voice, but this time around, the raspy is walking a fine line between acceptable and ridiculous. And honestly, with his mouth breathing and open bite talking, I could barely keep my palm from constantly smacking myself in the forehead and eye long enough to hear Bale speak in his rubber suit. And Maggie Gyllenhaal, although a GREAT improvement as Rachel Dawes when compared to Katie Holmes, really needs to stand up straight. And saying lines with a little more emotion to make me care about her would have helped, but hey, this movie is more about the man in the rubber suit, right? Yes, I am that judgmental.

I have to admit one of my favorite things about this film is that it tells an incredibly fun story with great stunts, practical stunts! I am a fan of action and love great stunt choreography, and was smiling from ear to ear during the Bat Pod sequence. Why this particular scene, you ask? Honestly, this is one of the most magnificent scenes because it isn’t CG, it’s a stunt guy, riding a motorcycle through a building, all shot extremely well. Real stunts like that inspire a certain adrenaline rush in me…when I first started watching movies, most action scenes were done for real, with stunt men. Seeing this being done in THE DARK KNIGHT was like remembering a first kiss was, or holding the hand of that guy in 7th grade I had a huge crush on. It was that good.

And the goods don’t stop there; Christopher Nolan did great jobs with the Director and Screenwriter hat. The story keeps you interested with its twists and turns, and Nolan isn’t shy about exacting the right emotion in the right location for a certain scene. Two of my favorite movies in recent years have been MEMENTO and THE PRESTIGE, so with those movies under his belt, you know to expect more than just a comic book movie for the sake of satisfying a comic book fan, you know you’re in for a full story, and no doubt this movie delivers it.

And although it has taken me a few weeks to post this review (do I really need to with everyone saying how good it is?) I did see it at the midnight showing, the night it opened. Yes I am one of those. I hope you don’t mind.

3 comments:

Jimmy OneBlack said...

Thanks for giving the fans what they want! And it was a good review of the movie, while still being critical enough to not be another gushing fanboy/fangirl review.......although I didn't have as much problem with the BatBale voice besides trouble understanding what he says sometimes. Before this, my favorite comic book movie was probably X-Men 2, because it really captured the "essence" of a good comic book story arc, and extracted it to a believable format. "Dark Knight" extracts the essence of a high-end Batman graphic novel or "crucial" issue, and gives it a very realistic feel, with the Joker getting some seriously great dialogue and scenes. Some deny it's a comic book movie, and say it's a "crime drama", but.......guess what? It's BOTH.

"Keep it classy, San Diego........."

DavidRC said...

Nicely done Chi-Lan

movie kingdom said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted...