Sunday, June 17, 2012


BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) -starring- Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Morgan Freeman. Directed by Christopher Dolan.

There is no question about it, Batman: The Dark Knight (2008) is definitely the greatest comic book/superhero movie ever made but to be touted as one of the greatest movies ever made is a slight overstatement. Don't get me wrong, this was an action-packed, extremely powerful and intelligent movie w/ surreal and Best Supporting Actor Oscar-worthy performance from the late-Heath Ledger R.I.P. (as the Joker) and Aaron Eckhart as (Harvey Dent) but better than The Godfather, Scarface, Braveheart and Gladiator? I think not.

The cinematography -as usual, was top-notch. The movie's soundscape was deafeningly amplified, gripping and intense…the background composition played out perfectly during the riveting and demented 'villian speaking to the camera (audience)' scenes from the Joker. The cityscape sequences filmed w/ IMAX technology and overall massive scale of the whole movie was Hollywood at it's best!

The Dark Knight is the continuation of British director Christopher Nolan's reinvention of the Batman's storied franchise and it takes the story up to his primal confrontation with the Joker, the super villain with dried and smeared painted-on mask equipped with grotesque slash-scars at the corners of his mouth. Nolan's stellar cast has returned – Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman (who adapts perfectly to the comic role of Lt. Gordon, before his historic promotion to "Commissioner" status) with the addition of Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart. The only missing piece here is Katie Holmes. While one might think it wouldn't be a great loss, for whatever reason, her otherwise 'supposed' impressive replacement, Maggie Gyllenhaal, seemed out of place here. In all honesty, and I will be blunt…b*tch is pretty ugly and isn't at all convincing as the love of Batman's life.

My favorite actor: Bale is once again Batman/Bruce Wayne, perfect for the role of a man who is a stranger to himself and only comes alive when he pretends to be someone or something else. Wayne seems even cockier and Playboy-ish this time around, but most noticeably, his voice when he's in the Batman costume is much deeper and somewhat guttural. It seems odd at first, but does manage to lose its strange factor as the movie progresses and the film's tone itself gets darker and darker.

He has a perfect foil in the late Heath Ledger's Joker, a psychotic, sarcastic motor mouth…a master of mayhem, he is an unpredictable character who's performance is menacing to say the least! He is the epitome of what The Joker is at his most effective—and he says it himself…an "agent of chaos." Ledger is insanely good and terrifyingly scary in a tour de force performance in which he has incorporated a weird collection of tics and twitches, kinks and quirks as his tongue seems to roll around in his mouth like a creepy lizard. Ledger could have written his own ticket after this outing, had he lived. A young Marlon Brando would have echoed throughout theatres across the world.


† R.I.P. Heath Ledger 1979 – 2008 R.I.P. †

Interestingly enough, an uncanny performance was also rendered by Aaron Eckhart, a handsome, dashing district attorney who believes that the rule of law has to be upheld by a democratically accountable person, not some shadowy figure of the night. Eckhart does an impeccable job portraying Harvey Dent as an Idealist, a crusader for justice that isn't exactly ready for the task in front of him. Like Batman, Dent has to make difficult decisions balancing his personal anger and ambition vs. the best interests for Gotham City.


The movie's minor downfall is the complicated and unwieldy scripts, at times -impossible plots to follow. A bit far-fetched how a man with a painted face can seize and take-over an entire city and brainwash those in his way but then again, it is a comic book story. Initially, the story unwinds with poise keeping up with the "A" elements, however –at around midway, the script skids out of control. Silly twists and turns, new and very absurd "out-of-place" story plots are introduced; diluting the production and destroying some otherwise well-earned momentum. It's a long movie anyway, but after the midpoint, it just begins to feel relentless; rather than reveling in it, forgive me for saying this but my lil' Chinese butt cheeks were starting to hurt and I looked forward to the closing credits.

Other than that, it was still a 'larger-than-life' comic book/crime-thriller experience to remember especially with the mesmerizing and spellbinding performance by the late-great Heath Ledger. It's an accomplished, thoroughly satisfying, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, "high-end" commercial entertainment whose action rises out of "well-crafted" action & drama. Two thumbs way up...the best movie of the year!

96 out of 100

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