Directed by Christopher Nolan
Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale)
Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine)
James Gordan (Gary Oldman)
Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman)
Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Harvey Dent/Two Face (Aaron Eckhart)
The Joker (Heath Ledger)
The only reason I billed the best performance last is because I always bill the antagonist last.
You know what? Everyone already knows what rating I’m going to give this movie, so I’ll just put that at the start. On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
The Dark Knight: MIHIR
Now, let’s talk about this movie.
The Dark Knight is a 2008-released Batman movie that changed the face of comic-book movies forever.
There are a few movies that are beloved by absolutely everyone. The Empire Strikes Back, Home Alone and Toy Story are a few examples. This is one of those movies. It’s been almost eight years, but it’s still talked about a lot.
The story follows an in-prime Batman, and a completely redesigned Joker. I’m not even going to reveal any of the plot, for anyone who hasn’t watched the movie. And by the way, for anyone who hasn’t watched the movie, how have you not watched this movie yet?
One thing this movie really isn’t all that greatly credited for is its cinematography. Everything looks so beautiful, and practical. Minimal CGI was used, and it made the film visually distinctive, and I personally think this looks even better than The Dark Knight Rises. Maybe it’s the way it’s lit, or the way it’s shot. There is one big reason though, and I’ll discuss that in my review for that movie.
The cast in this movie is perfect. Gary Oldman is a brilliant actor, Morgan Freeman never fails to deliver, Maggie Gyllenhaal made a good Rachel Dawes. Michael Caine will always be Alfred to me. The way he portrayed the Waynes’ butler was subtly spectacular. Aaron Eckhart really has to play two characters, and he plays both of them exactly as he should. And I don’t even need to mention Christian Bale’s performance.
You all know who I’m really going to talk about though.
Heath Ledger became The Joker. Despite the overload of negative criticism upon his casting, he silenced everyone. No, he made everyone gasp, take a deep breath, and then applaud.
Ledger’s Joker was made out to be exactly what The Joker is, a maniac. He wasn’t out for any personal gain. He was just a messed up person. It wasn’t exactly loyal to the source material. Is that a bad thing? It should be. Is that a bad thing? No, it isn’t. Ledger’s Joker was different, but in a great way. He made the role his own.
I don’t think people understand the kind of pressure he had on him. He had to fill in the shoes of one of the most, if not the most, infamous villains in all of popular culture, right up there with Darth Vader and Lord Voldemort. He had a massive fan base that he had to please, and a general audience that he had to entertain.
He did both, only to a much greater extent. He may not have been alive to collect the Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and People’s Choice Award for the role, but his legacy lives, and it always will. If he hadn’t tragically passed, you could bet that Christopher Nolan would have utilised him in some way in The Dark Knight Rises. Or at least the fans would have demanded it.
This movie shouldn’t be called The Dark Knight. It should be called The Joker. The top-billed actor shouldn’t be Christian Bale, it should be Heath Ledger. He went from zero to hero (quite ironic), and didn’t just own a great comic book movie – He owned a magnificent movie. Full stop.
You could watch this movie a million times over and still want to watch it again. It’s exceptionally scripted, beautifully shot, amazing acted, masterfully directed, and leaves an effect that no other movie can leave. Even the score, composed by Hans Zimmer, is so iconic. The Dark Knight deserves to go down in cinematic history, as one of the greatest films of all time. There’s no way around that.