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The Dark Knight (2008) Review



The Dark Knight is an incredible movie with stunning performances from the entire cast; it would have been nice to have more Batman vs. thugs fights but there’s enough action to keep fans satisfied.

Plot: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has been able to keep a tight lid on crime in Gotham City. But when a vile young criminal calling himself the Joker (Heath Ledger) suddenly throws the town into chaos, the caped Crusader begins to tread a fine line between heroism and vigilantism.

Review: I remember the first time I came out of the theatre after watching The Dark Knight; everyone around me was buzzing with excitement stating it was one of the greatest movies of all time. I’ll never forget that I didn’t feel the same way; I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that Heath Ledger was phenomenal as The Joker but I felt myself unmoved and so did my cousin but I couldn’t understand why.

Needless to say everyone thought I was nuts so I went back to see it a few more times and it slowly grew on me and I could appreciate it for what it was. I realized that it was quite a shock to see how different the visual aesthetic was to Batman Begins which was grimy (and very brown) which felt like a more intimate story that focused on Bruce Wayne and his grief over the loss of his parents and eventual transformation into Batman.

TDK expands on the mythos and brings us to a brighter looking Gotham City with a new White Knight called Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) who has vowed to end corruption by using the law so he begins a quest to take down the mob. Bruce Wayne finds out that his alter ego Batman may no longer be required with Dent proving to be everything the city needed. However, a certain clown prince of crime has other plans and doesn’t want a city without crime as it just makes life boring. So before Bruce can hang up the cape once and for all he’s going to have to take down The Joker before Dent becomes another victim and as we all know by now things don’t go as planned and Dent is transformed (briefly) into Two-Face.

Not enough credit is given to Aaron Eckhart for his role in this movie and when he becomes Two-Face it’s genuinely disturbing to look at and he’s believably crazy, pushed too far by The Joker and grief.

Gone is Katie Holmes now replaced by the far superior Maggie Gyllenhaal who is immediately more appealing but really the only reason she is in this is so she can die in order to push Harvey and Bruce over the edge.

Although there are some impressive action set-pieces in this movie I do find it a little talky in the first half when really all I want to see is more of Batman fighting bad guys. Nolan has always said he was more interested in studying the psyche of Bruce Wayne rather than a Batman movie and that’s very much what that is. Batman still plays a large part but I’m always more interested in seeing him as a back alley brawler which was sorely missing from this movie.

Themes explored in Begins are even murkier this time around looking at the flaws in the justice system and how there is always a cost.

Hans Zimmer’s score is incredibly innovative and yet I miss the theme tune created for Batman from Batman Begins so I’m not sure why he didn’t use it again. It’s not music I want to listen to outside of the movie but it’s still a unique score and one of the most influential of recent times.

Overall, The Dark Knight remains a seminal classic but it’s not without its flaws and I still think Batman Begins is the better movie as it’s smaller in scale with more intimate characterization.