Kevin's Review: The Dark Knight - The Dark Has Never Been So Bright

July 16, 2008

It feels completely counter-intuitive to care little about the special effects and action in The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan's sequel to his 2005 Batman Begins. For a movie like this, you naturally expect to be engrossed by garish gadgetry, incredible stunts and seat-gripping adventure. The Dark Knight has all of this, don't get me wrong, but even the most intricately executed explosion or choreographed car crash does little to shock you out of the stunning, unrelenting dark drama created in what amounts to one of the best sequels in cinematic history. Nolan takes the basic idea of good versus evil to depths rarely seen, and awes the audience with the heady psychology and physics of what happens when "an unstoppable force meets an immovable object."

Obviously, The Dark Knight's intensity is enhanced by the incredible performance of the late Heath Ledger. His ability in Brokeback Mountain is something else. His turn here is almost too wicked for words. Put plainly, Ledger's Joker is one of the most frightening, smart and well-played villains ever. Ever. Believe me when I say I'm not being hyperbolic - it's just unavoidable. What makes Ledger's clown so amazing is the sheer awareness and purity he brings to the role. The Joker isn't a bad guy, so much as a perfect, un-bargaining force of chaos and anarchy. And he knows it. Throughout much of the film, the Joker delivers some of the best existential answers I've ever heard. "He's like a dog chasing a car. He'll chase it forever, but wouldn't know what to do if he catches it." The Joker is that unwavering and motivated. He simply follows his instincts for mayhem and disorder. Ledger not only disappeared into the Joker (as many reports have lauded), but he also caused the Joker to disappear into unmeasurable destructive purity.

The late Heath Ledger exquisitely portrays the chaotic mastermind the Joker in The Dark Knight.The Dark Knight Review

What makes The Dark Knight so compelling is the mind-wrangling dichotomy of Batman and the Joker. Despite their near super-human abilities and diametrically opposed natures, neither wants to kill the other. Batman cannot premeditatedly take a life, while the Joker won't destroy his only worthy adversary (or play thing). In essence, the two exist because of each other. Congrats to Christian Bale for stepping up his game, then, and bringing a new brooding quality to Gotham's protector that is complementary to Ledger's performance. Batman grapples with his own character, battling his obligations to the city, what it means to be a hero, and how to handle someone who is his complete antithesis, physically and mentally. Both have a rage that motivates them, but in entirely different ways.

Speaking of opposites side of the same coin, sitting smack between the two is Harvey Dent played by the very capable Aaron Eckhart. While Batman and the Joker remain on their respective sides of good and bad, Dent manifests what it's like for someone to shift, painfully, from one side to the other. As Dent gains political prominence in Gotham, Batman begins to retreat from the spotlight as the city's hero. Dent is poised to be the shining knight of Gotham - that is until the Joker systematically breaks the optimistic crime-fighter down, poisoning him with resentment, anger and the desire to act. It shouldn't come as a spoiler that Harvey Dent eventually becomes the villain Two-Face. If you look at the moral poles of the film and Dent's inner turmoil, the division of his face takes on a wonderfully complex meaning. The Dark Knight is riddled with so many intellectual wells like this, you'll be dissecting the film for hours.

Christian Bale reprises his role as Gotham's savior, the dark knight, in Christian Bale's sequel.The Dark Knight Review

The Dark Knight certainly has a dark shadow cast over it because of Ledger's death. However, I would venture to say that seeing him in one of the last roles of his career is almost a fleeting concern. The truth is, it's not Ledger in the film. The young actor delivers such a dark, forceful and complete performance that you don't discern the actor behind the make-up, but rather see only the hypnotic chaos within. There is not enough that can be said of Ledger's performance, and yet, at the same time, there are no words. But to be fair, Ledger is just one part of the film. At two-and-a-half hours, believe me when I tell you the The Dark Knight feels short. Everything from the supporting cast (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine) to the cinematography to the score come together to create a thick, poetic and realistic drama unlike any other. Well done, Christopher Nolan! Well done!

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yes! awesome

sean on Jul 16, 2008


"He's like a dog chasing a car. He'll chase it forever, but wouldn't know what to do if he catches it." - I agree, one of the greatest quotes to be ever said!!!!! I love this movie and can not wait for it to come out!!!! I need it! Its the only thing keepinh me going this week!

sean on Jul 16, 2008


Is it safe to ask a spoilerific question now? Something has been bugging me since I saw the film yesterday...but I won't ask my question yet if it will spoil the film for others....

Derek on Jul 16, 2008


wow what a shocker. we all knew it was 10 out of 10 after you guys went all crazy with the gotham pizza and all the weird why so serious websites. I bet you guys got fuckin orgies while watching this film. PLEASE write about something besides the dark knight.

darrin on Jul 16, 2008


Darrin, ever consider that there isn't much else interesting on the day before Dark Knight is released? Also, what would happen if they didn't post a review about Dark Knight?

Kelley and Alec on Jul 16, 2008


Only makes me sad that Heath Ledger is gone. One of those actors you take for granted and now miss. Damn!

vu on Jul 16, 2008


hey #4 this website has nothing to do with Dominoes. Don't look at all the fans as one entity. They're writing about movies and Batman is the hottest thing at the moment. As for orgies, I bet you constantly take part in them. All with guys.

Matrix Fan 01 on Jul 16, 2008


I saw already, what can I say... this is the best ever Batman series. Joker and Two Faces rocks!

Jepf on Jul 16, 2008


wow OMG, people, THE DARK KNIGHT FUCKING ROCKS. as i live in Australia and we got the film on the 16th i won't spoil any thing for you. but god damn. MR NOLAN YOU'VE GOT PERFECTION DONE. pat your back you have made a perfect EMPIRE STRIKES BACK/GOD FATHER 2. Kudos to Heath Ledger. he was so amazing. The trailers only tip the ice burg of his role. There is perfect "extreme" method to his characters anarchy fuelled madness that its pure brilliance. Alfred the butler is right he just wants to watch the world burn. nothing means anything to him. but to bring chaotic order. and he does it in such away it leaves you breathless. IT was like the joker was who he is every day and he acts to the world he is heath ledger such was his convincing performance. the creativeness, and the perfect attention to detail. put OCD,craziness,brains of a professor, torture in to one mould and you've got heath's JOKER. Buy Nolan bringing him as the "Joker" at the height of his crazed ways, it truly adds that much need brutal edge to the movie. You don't even feel sadness and remorse for him when he tells you "DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW I GOT THESE SCARS" AS HE TAUNTS HIS VICTIMS. and you realise he is a lot like batman. actually ras al gul. if you take everything he said in portrayed in the "batman begins" and the same plan but on a more simplistic version and add sheer fucking craziness to it. you have your joker. Id explain how there alike but that would give parts of the movie away. But the their link is further strengthened by the fact that neither can kill the other. its like in the BATMAN:SECRETS graphic novel. Joker says were made for each other. will kill each other to the end of time, in hell even. Gotham needs us. the media need us. we need us. with out the other we don't exist. Nolan has made such a smart,intuitive,brilliant script and screen play that you cant comprehend ho good the movie is at first. So much happens to the characters that you'll all be leaving breathless at what just happened. if anyone wants to continue this talk ill be happy to after you've all seen the movie on the 18th.

the critic on Jul 16, 2008


oh and the new york times "critic" can go jump off a ledge. and kill himslef. even if you didnt like the movie in regards to batman. you still have to marvle at the pure brilliant workmanship of Nolans film. from the script,screenplay to fuck everything. id love to meet this guy in person

the critic on Jul 16, 2008


I am a film fan and a Batman fan, and I loving how many film centric sites are raving about this upcoming picture. The Dark Knight brought me to FirstShowing.Net and after the film closes its run, I will keep coming to this site, that's for goddamn sure!

Ivan on Jul 16, 2008


hey no.4 i got to admit you are right about the fact that this website over hypes a movie that is already over hyped. We all know that this film would be the best because everyone was talking about how great it was after the screening.As for the orgy thing, when i read that part i was laughing my ass off. As for the review i would give this film a 9.5 reason being that there were parts in this movie that could have been deleted, not because it was too long but some scenes were just unnecessary. Either way i loved the film and i hope it does well.

Drake on Jul 17, 2008


This movie was incredible! My heart pounded, my jaw dropped, I was shaking as I left the theater. Heath Ledger was nothing short of ASTOUNDING! Aaron Eckhardt surprised me, and was excellent. The music was incredible, and Chris Nolan is a visionary master! I will see this movie over, and over again. If this movie doesn't take most of the Oscars I would be flabbergasted! The bar has been set so high, it's out of this stratosphere! Good luck to any other movie that tries to follow in it's footsteps. This movie will go down as one of the top 10, to top 15 best movies on the AFI list in the coming years. I haven't felt this way about a film, in forever. This made my life complete.

Brian on Jul 17, 2008


aaron echart has one good scene. but god damn, is it a touching scene. i cried. =(

TDK FAN on Jul 17, 2008


Who bets Ledger gets an Oscar for his performance in this movie.

John on Jul 17, 2008


AT THIS POINT AND TIME YES HE SHOULD GET THE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR BY FAR. you could htrow him in as a lead actor for the role and demot bale. whci hcan be done. it makes no difference if he is dead or a live. he did the work in time for the 2009 oscars so it should be judged on that. although saying the james dean had two of his three movies come out to the oscars just after his death. both were nominated. but he didnt get any. ledgers performance is one of those rare freakish performances that come out to define a deacade like scarface.heat.god father.donnie brasco. indian jones.pirates of carib etc.

the critic on Jul 17, 2008


ah! i was left speechless! my jaw was dropped the whole time. the film left me no room to pick it up. a job perfectly done by all.

craziemutant on Jul 17, 2008


A masterpiece.

Mat on Jul 17, 2008


I was one of the first people to see it here in Australia too. We got it two days ahead of the US release but I won't spoil it. I took the whole day of work to watch it and now.......... I DON'T EVER WANT TO GO BACK TO WORK......IT WAS THAT MIND BLOWINGLY AWESOME. I couldn't believe how good this movie actually was. Even with all the hype around it. In fact I think it surpassed all the hype in the first five minutes. The Dark Knight sure did own Iron Man's ass. I think Marvel will be looking for holes to hide in when everyone gets to see this movie. Go DC and now the WATCHMEN trailer looked awesome too woot. I give it 15billion stars out of 10 lol jokes but it was a perfect movie in my opinion.

TKaihea on Jul 17, 2008


#15, is there anything else that we should know???? Thanks for the spoiler, ASS O!!!!!!

Omega728 on Jul 17, 2008


@ the critic (aka #15)...I removed the comment. Let's be fair and keep from spoiling the movie for others. Feel free to comment again, but keep those deets to yourself. 🙂

Kevin Powers on Jul 17, 2008


i can already see that this movie was amazing in every way, hence why i am asking this question. How was the trailer for watchmen? I don't need to ask any batman questions as i will be seeing it shortly lol.

big r on Jul 17, 2008


just watched it in singapore ... and it was mindfcking awesome

Jalibhoy on Jul 17, 2008


Great review.... I do have an issue thought in relation to another "site" bashing this one....

Ron on Jul 17, 2008


Why does Devin F. and others from a "certain website" continue to downplay what so many people have been saying about this movie. If you go to their site, other than the "advertising banners" for the movie, they have nothing about THE DARK KNIGHT. Shouldn't this film be "front page" material for a "so called" movie site????? Theres nothing. On top of that, Devin has purposely waiting to review the film even though he screened it 2 weeks ago. My guess is that he is waiting until after the movie comes out that way he won't get "ripped" into as much because there will be soooo many other reviews out there. No one will be paying much attention. Then his whole beef with you guys..... So my point is that you need to "call them out" on the carpet for their most obvious "bias" againsted the whole Batman/DC thing. Talk about being "pretentious." I think their site is VERY much "lacking" and see o think that what they say is "gospel". Expose them that site and Devin for the frauds they are....

Ron on Jul 17, 2008


i am in canada cannot wait i live in toronto cant wait i really wanna see if every thing you guys say is true must be cuz i have not seen a movie this hyped sine lord of the rings 3

alan on Jul 17, 2008


It was terrific, with a few minor flaws. Heath Ledger's Joker was an amazing characterization and performance. (I'm glad they left in that particular scene that was going to be removed...). It's sad to think we won't get to see more of this wonderful actor and character. Aaron Eckhart proves once again how great a charismatic character actor he is. Gary Oldman was again great as James Gordon. Nice to see the always-slimy Eric Roberts on the screen again, too. And maybe they'll use more of Cillian Murphy next time? They should have cast another actress for Rachel Dawes, though. Maggie Gyllenhaal is just really unappealing to look at, and her performance was the weakest too. The action sequences are strong but don't dominate the movie; although it's still not easy to see the Bourne-like fights. A bit too long, but it's a hell of a ride 🙂

avoidz on Jul 17, 2008


Omega728 what was said by the critic that was a spoiler.

the critic on Jul 17, 2008


The Critic, sorry I didn't mean to be so up front about it but you did revealed a couple of things which I'm not going to repeat. You know what you posted or Kevin Powers would've never deleted your comment.

omega728 on Jul 17, 2008


Dark, depressing atmosphere. Great story and direction. Great acting performances. One of the best movies of the year.

aposva on Jul 18, 2008


Here be very vague spoilers. Just got home from seeing it. I loved every second of it, until the last little bit. It felt a little rushed and I was disappointed with what they did with certain characters. But I can definitely overlook that. Please come back for a third installment Nolan! By the way, don't worry about hanging around for some sort of scene after the credits. There isn't one. I'm a man of my word.

Viper on Jul 18, 2008


Wow, just wow. Deeply thoughtful and provocative, I too loved it immensely. I have never had a single favorite film. This might be it.

Keith on Jul 18, 2008


Hey guys i just finished watching DK, it was simply awesome, a masterpiece from mr.Nolan, as a Batman fan i couldnt ask for more, its just sad that Heath cant reprise his role anymore, i wonder who the new Joker would be, or would there be another Joker at all, props to Aaron tho, i never expected him to perform so well, gonna watch it again on sunday, WOOOOOOO Dark Knight rocks !!!

andrew on Jul 18, 2008


I saw the movie last night. Is a freakin' masterpiece. Everythin (literally, EVERYTHING) that has said over the film is real. All the excitement, the depth in terms of story, the beyond-of-the-ordinary-great-Heath-Ledger-performance, the visuals... i mean, everything is just perfect. And in IMAX... oh god... freakin' awesome!!!!! This is the best example of how can a movie touch you and leave you perplexed. The Dark Knight elevates cinema to a whole new level. Believe me... Go and see it for yourself.

Jorge Leiner on Jul 18, 2008


Damn good movie, certainly the best movie of it's genre. The acting,... RIP Heath, story line, action, and intensity. There were a couple of bits that I would've liked done differently, but over all the movie is still mind blowing. Definitely have to catch it at the Imax now!!!

omega728 on Jul 18, 2008


Have seen it now. All I can say is, an absolutely awesome flick. a 9/10 and I really hope Ledger gets an oscar for his performance. However it is not a Batman movie, at least not as the comic books and the cartoons go. It is much more thriller/drama than the Batman I remember from the 80s when I first picked up a batman comic book. Could discuss it in detail but it would bring too many spoilers.

Shige on Jul 18, 2008


Thoughts after seeing TDK for the second time in 36 hours.... -I must say that i was initially disappointed with the movie. I went into it thinking it was going to be the greatest superhero movie of all time. Alas, it is not a great superhero movie in the conventional sense of Spiderman or Xmen. instead, it is a timeless classic that uses the story of batman and the joker as a facade for a greater message. -After watching it a second time, i realized the depth of the story and the amazing message it presents: that people need the facade of a hero...because without someone to look up to, someone who will set an example, who can the rest of us follow? btw, kevin do you have any details on the next installment of the series? this will be one hell of a movie to follow!

BRBomber on Jul 19, 2008


ok I don't think this spoils anything but everyone knows the Joker doesn't know batmans identity, so why the hell did he have him choose between Harvey Dent and Rachel? If you've seen the movie you know what scene I'm talking about. He doesn't know the connection between Batman and Rachel, there's no way he knew Bruce dated Rachel... someone help me out here?

curiousone7 on Jul 22, 2008


(possible spoiler) curioiusone7, the reason the joker knew to choose rachel is because in the scene with the party the joker sensed something when he had rachel by the throat and threw her out the window then batman jumped out with out thinking and saved her "so quickly". the joker explained it all when he was being questioned by batman in the presinct.

jamie on Jul 25, 2008


No I dont think so. It was just to piss Harvey Dent off. Because Batman would have jumped after anyone thrown out of a window. And he's smart so he knows he has to do it quickly.

Muntasir on Aug 3, 2008


Went to see it a few weeks back here in the uk and am still blown away by the movie - I agreee with all the positive comments on here . Every single bit of casting is spot on - From Michael Caine through to even Eckhart (Was surprised at him in this as he has done some stinkers). However even Christian Bale is dwarved on the screen by Heath Ledger. I never saw Brokeback Mountain but what a performance. He was unrecognisable and I think as any significant characters go this performance will take some beating ! Simply awesome - Nolan has set the bar so high - I just pray he stays on for the third film.... I'm not sure how valid they are but the early rumours of Johnny Depp Playing the riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Penguin would work just fine with me.......... Lets hope that they don't mess the series up as happened To Tim Burton's Batman. In fact I don't know why I'm bringing that series up as Nolan's vision of Batman is in a different class. Awesome - well done all !

Simsyboy on Aug 13, 2008


Before I saw this, I thought Heath Ledger's acting was just getting talked up, but that wasn't the case at all. It was the real deal. Definitely the performance of his life.

Strip on Aug 15, 2008


I didnt want to comment when I first seen it because, like everyone else, I was amazed. Now a month later I can say its easily the best super-hero movie OF ALL TIME!!!!!!! Def. in my top three movies of all time! Its nothin I can write to say how good this damn movie is!

Ohio Knight on Aug 16, 2008


well guys i will try and keep it simple, great /the best joker very very good two face great bruce wayne / bad batman bad bat-cycle great crime thriller flick (heat style) bad batman movie (because batman is not batman, for those who wonders "ok how hould a batman be" please refer Batman: Dead End ) the only thing that should get 10/10 is the joker. it was a performance to watch over and over and over again its not a good superhero movie as Iron-man or Incredible Hulk but a darn good movie 😀

burak on Nov 14, 2008


I would have given this movie a 9 or an 8. I hated Batman's fake deep voice. It was annoying.

Guy on Dec 5, 2008


Watched the movie again on DVD, the second disc was CRAP, the "Special features" are NOT that speacil at all. Crap movie have hours of content, this 2 disc set has NOTHING!! Buy the single disc because the second disc is NOT worth an extra $5.00. The Walmart only version coins with a movie inspired "Two Face" 1922 Peace dollar flip coin and a graphic novel for only $25.00 (and yes it is the 2 disc version) which makes it worth it.

Bill on Dec 11, 2008


i know im like really really late but i had a terrifying apifamy...i love this movie...i mean like alot, everything tied in together so dam well that now when i do watch a superhero movie i cannot help but compare and contrast everysingle superhero movie with THE DARK KNIGHT and i honestly dont think there will be another one of comparison as for as authenticy...this sux and i hate this dam movie for its perfection cause its not like when i wanna watch this movie everytime i wanna watch a good superhero movie, but at the same time i'd like it to be up to par like this one(im sooo american...having my cake and eat it too) but reguardless of my bitching this movie was FLAWLESS VICTORY.....

ill will on Dec 22, 2008


Lets face it, The Dark Knight is the best movie of 2008 and one of the best films in decades out of the sheer evidence of its feat. VARY FEW movies get a 10% of less negative or neutral feedback let alone it broke more box-office records then 3 movies combined. Not only that but the fact out of all the comic-gerne root movies The Batman/The Dark Knight is one of the most believable and real and you only had ONE part that you had to doubt its believability (Dent without spoiler). Finally Heath Ledge outdid many of his past performences with a character one could easily mess up on and perfected it to its highest yet! And one last note on the The Dark Knight its one of those rare movies where the trailer gives nothing away from the movie itself. As even 4 minute trailer does nothing to the films feat. #4, those are your issues too, maybe more. If you can't find a movie that can break those records in the next 3 years thats NOT batman then you can say that accuratly. As for now give up, try again in a few years.

Kroe on Feb 3, 2009


I've really grown tired of the Batman franchise but I finally watched this one last weekend with my family in town. This was much different than the past 'junk'. Ledger was awesome and I must say it was truly a dark movie.

Chris on May 7, 2009


I'm not much of a movie buff and typically wait for thing to hit DVD. I kinda assumed Keith Ledger's performance was 'talked up' because of his sad suicide. But I have to say this was an all time great performance especially within the Batman movie series.

Tim on May 12, 2009


Simply put there will be NO other Batman movie that can compare to "The Dark Knight" let alone any other "super" hero around. There are mainly (as in two top notch heroes caliber 10/10) two heroes who are purily human with advanced technology of Marvel and DC combined; Iron Man, Batman. And for those who like Iron Man more then Batman (on grounds of challenges), Batman is stronger becuase he won't intentally kill his opponent. To beat but not kill and opponent regardless if he tries to kill is stronger then simply killing your opponent. Ledger made is more then clear the madness is a weapon unto itself. And not just madness but the love of chaos can cut even the strong. "The Dark Knight" rightfully belongs in cinema history despite the Oscars is did not recieve it deserved (more then two, come on!). As #2 in box office history as of yet, don't mess with this Joker.

Arcanus on May 12, 2009


Darrin, ever consider that there isn't much else interesting on the day before Dark Knight is released? Also, what would happen if they didn't post a review about Dark Knight?

Link Degisimi on Jul 21, 2009


without dude one of the best films of 2008.

bingo on Sep 1, 2009


I enjoy like a child with this awesome film.

divisas on Sep 1, 2009


A perfect movie in 2008.

get pregnant fast on Oct 23, 2009


I will see this movie over, and over again

Jugar bingo online on Nov 2, 2009


probably the most OVERRATED movie EVER made, but i did enjoy watching aaron eckhart as two face

guh on Nov 11, 2009


Best movie ever! better than any movie of 2009!!!!

George on Nov 14, 2009


most OVERRATED movie was transformers 2 and it was horrible a completely disappointment!!!

George on Nov 14, 2009


i no longer think this movie is OVERRATED but it is definetly not the greatest movie ever, its one of those movies where you can only watch it maybe once a year so you don't kill it

guh on Dec 6, 2009


This is one of my favorites movies, I love it when I was younger and I think that is one of the most that I love 🙂

robot forex on Jan 23, 2010


That's right it was a great performance by Heath Ledger but Christian Bale was so horrible. He spoiled the move the same way Megan Fox ruined Transformers.

MyHappyTel on Jul 22, 2010

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