Finally, on Saturday I was able to get into a screening of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. I went in to the film with very high expectations, as the hype was reaching an unbelievable pitch prior to release. Did it meet me expectations, most certaintly … however was it better than The Godfather Part II & The Shawshank Redemption? I don’t believe so. BUT …. it is one of the best comic adaptations ever put to film. A story wrought with emotion and tragedy, that makes you wonder how this could possibly be topped.
Nolan has in effect created his own version of the DC Universe on film, grounded highly in reality and extremely tangible. Gone are the goofy statues and neon-paint bikers gangs of Batman & Robin. Gotham is an actual city, an amalgam of sorts that allows us to accept the fact that in Gotham, politics and policework is no different than in Oakland, Philadelphia, or Memphis.
Ledger’s performance as the Joker was unreal. From his bank heist introduction to his magic trick, he absolutely owned the screen (which has only be amplified by his death). Sure the Oscar hype is there, and if there was ever a comic adaptation that could be seriously considered … this one would be it.
Let’s talk about Batman/Bruce Wayne. I’m a fan of Christian Bale, even though he (allegedly) beat up his mom and sister. What is with the gravely voice? I understand he is trying to disguise it … but it just comes off as an impression of Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge.
Unfortunately for Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two Face, his role while pivotal, is completely overshadowed by Ledger. The ending (I won’t spoil it) is ambiguous (at least to me and some fanboys). I’ll leave it at that. Also the Two Face you’ll see is nothing like Tommy Lee Jones it’s actually quite disturbing and grotesque.
The Dark Knight is a great FILM, masterfully directed by Christopher Nolan that really sets the bar high for comic adaptations coming down the way. Definitely better than Spider-Man 2 … but I’m not sure where it ranks against Iron Man (my favorite from the Summer thus far). I’m going to try and grab an IMAX screening in the near future, because it’s worth a repeat viewing in theaters. Also parents … do me a favor … don’t bring your kids to this!