Thursday, July 31, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

Ok, you know what? The Dark Knight is so great and you should all see it. I loved it so much I saw it twice! The second time after rewatching Batman Begins because I didn't remember a damn thing about it. Anyone else find Batman Begins TOTALLY BORING after watching the sequel? I know I did! It might be because, while I adore Cillian Murphy, and really liked him as the Scarecrow, he could not be as entertaining as the Joker and Two-Face. (Sorry, Cillian. You're pretty and I was very happy to see you for two seconds in The Dark Knight!)

Heath Ledger is great. His Joker is completely terrifying. When I saw the movie the first time, I was filled with anxiety whenever he was onscreen because I literally had no idea what he would do next, just that it would be awful. His makeup is gross and scary and I love that he always had little smears of greasepaint on his hands. It's a really interesting performance; Ledger doesn't get caught up in the tics and the odd voice and cackles, there's something really going on in that twisted head. The Joker is smart and has NO boundaries. I can't compare his Joker to Jack Nicholson's. I've never seen that movie and I despise Jack Nicholson. I can't imagine Nicholson's Joker being ANYWHERE NEAR as interesting as Ledger's. Just like everyone else, it made me really sad all over again that Ledger is dead. What a great actor.

Also! For as much chatter as you're probably hearing about how fantastic Ledger is as the Joker (and he is), Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent is just as good. It's a bit of a shame that he's getting kind of overshadowed because he does good, solid work as kind of a straight man at first, then not so much. Also, he's got a great, square jaw that's PERFECT for comic book movies. I really loved him in this role. He's kind of underrated as an actor, I think. I hope this gets him more exposure and roles.

I don't have a lot to say about Christian Bale in this movie because it didn't feel like he was IN it that much. My brother has been mocking his "Batman Voice" non-stop and it did make me want to offer him a Ricola or something. He's a good Batman and a better Bruce Wayne. I ADORE all the supporting actors in this movie! Morgan Freeman is so strong and decent as Lucius Fox. That's a character I'd like to know more about. (Also, I typed his name as "Lucious" at first. HA.) I am inexplicably fond of Eric Roberts, so I really enjoyed him as mob boss Maroni. He was slimy, but with a bit of compassion. And how awesome is Gary Oldman? SO AWESOME. Jim Gordon should be a pretty boring character. Pretty much your standard cop, boring good guy. But Oldman makes him something more, makes him kind of weary but game, tough but kind. I don't want to be a spoily jerk, but his answer to the question his son asks him at the very end of the movie brought tears to my eyes.

I did like Maggie Gyllenhaal better than Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, but that's not saying much as I don't care for Holmes and Gyllenhaal is one of my favorite actresses. Also, Rachel is really under-written and I don't care that much about her. (Seriously, would it have killed the writers to expend some energy making Rachel a little more solid? I feel like I know Harvey much better and Rachel was in BOTH movies. I still couldn't tell you much about her other than she disapproves of Batman? Or something? I don't know. It annoyed me. I feel like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk did a much better job of giving me female characters who had interior lives and selves that were not dependent upon their superhero boyfriends. It's like Rachel just stands around like the mannequin from Today's Special* and only comes to life when Harvey, Bruce or Batman walk into the room. Wow. I digress.)

One of the things I liked so much about The Dark Knight was the little details. The smudges on the Joker's hands, Dent's pillow (shudder), "Slaughter is the Best Medicine!", the way Batman steels himself before he does something really ridiculous (like the jump in the parking garage), the Joker's socks, the over-the-top, 30s-gangster line deliveries of the bank robbers in the opening scene...I could go on forever. The ACTUAL Prisoner's Dilemma tickled me. I loved the ending. I loved all the performances. It's the best movie I've seen all summer. I really hope they make another Batman movie. SOON.

*'80s children's tv shout-outs!!! WHOO!!

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