“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
The Dark Knight was a film that I had extremely high expectations set for. As my most anticipated film of 2008, with one of the most talented actors ever – Heath Ledger – in his last completed performance, and a convincing take on the Batman franchise with director Christopher Nolan’s first Batman film, Batman Begins in 2005; this could have easily gone either way. I have been extremely disappointed before with films like this that have had my excitement ever since they have been announced, but The Dark Knight has proven to be one that I am incredibly happy with. Astoundingly happy with in fact; it has proven to be an absolute masterpiece and did not disappoint me in any way at all.
The Dark Knight has what I consider to be a extensive running time, but I can say with certainty that it was one of the best two and a half hours of my life. The whole film overall was striking and potent to an extreme so far that I was speechless throughout the whole viewing. It has been a long, long time since watching a movie has had this much of an impact on myself.
Being a fan of the Batman franchise in general, and particularly the recent Batman Begins, the whole idea of a sequel to the Christopher Nolan addition was spectacular even just to think about. Finally seeing it on the big screen was almost impossibly amazing to watch. The story was unbelievably powerful and transfixing, creating an atmosphere so alluring and compelling that the viewer has no choice but to become completely connected within the movie. Gotham has had its share of notorious villains before, but the new wave of crime coming from the psychopathic killer, The Joker, sends chaos throughout the city. Some consider Batman a hero, while others see him as a villain on his own. But when The Joker is exposed to the city, the two are willing to change every part of what they believe in to stop the other. In amongst these two defining characters, several other unlikely ones are introduced, bringing even more chaos to Gotham and creating an even more intricate plot.
Christopher Nolan’s directing was phenomenal and completely ingenious. Coming back after Batman Begins with no mistakes and absolutely no moments that weren’t needed, his talent shines with his latest masterpiece. Every single moment during The Dark Knight was enthralling and engrossing beyond anything I have experienced before. I was left in awe, and I’m sure the whole cinema was stunned by how affecting this film is. The ending is conclusive, but unsurprisingly is left with more than enough space for a third installment of Nolan’s Batman films, which I would be all for is that was the case. After seeing Nolan’s sequel, it’s clear to me that he simply can’t go wrong.
The screenplay was riveting and was exactly what was needed. Perfect, in my view. Some of the scenes were indescribable with the excellence in screenplay, and each line was perfect and added entirety to the overall film. It was incredibly gripping to watch, and sometimes even humorous. There were times when the whole cinema erupted with laughter – particularly parts coming from the joker. One of the greatest things about The Dark Knight is that it should do more than satisfy any viewer; bringing all kinds of genres into place and a variety of different aspects shown.
Christian Bale could be the best actor to ever take the role of Batman in my opinion. He executes to character perfectly and gives a mesmerizing and influential performance that is both gripping and engaging. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker has left me speechless. He went into the character very deep and really ‘became’ the Joker. He is chilling and terrifying throughout his role performance, giving a very different and unique take on the Joker, and for better. Just by taking one glance at the criminal is spine-chilling, and the unusual but also remarkable voice has the same effect. I will mention in particular a certain scene with the “why so serious” speech, which had a huge impact on what I thought of the performance overall. That scene was indescribable... it really showed the depth that Heath put into his character and the darkness to the Joker. It also hit me with reality of what talent Heath still had to show us but we will never see, but I am grateful that we get to witness his mind-blowing performance in The Dark Knight. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent is very powerful to watch. His performance exceeded my expectations and is incomparable to any other actor that could have pulled off the role as well as he did. Watching Michael Caine return once again as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler has made me more aware of his incredible talent. He is a more than worthy addition to this already strong cast. Maggie Gyllenhaal was also brilliant to watch, giving a riveting performance, a lot better than I would have expected. I thought that Gary Oldman’s character, James Gordon, was focused on a lot more than I would have predicted. This was a positive thing of course, with Gary Oldman delivering an exceptional performance far better than any other could match. Morgan Freeman was also an excellent addition to the cast, adding a whole lot more diversity to the actors, and of course his performance is transfixing as you would imagine it to be. Overall, the cast of The Dark Knight were incredible and perfectly fitted to their characters, the kind of cast that is very rare to find with the diverse and immense talent.
The Dark Knight cannot be described simply, if it can be described at all. There is no option with this, it’s a must see if you want to call yourself a fan of the actors, director, Batman franchise, or even just a fan of movies in general; you must see it for yourself. Ledger’s last performance is captivating just as the other performances are, the directing is riveting, the script is gripping and the overall movie is stunning, striking and noticeably dark. I have no doubt that this film will earn the success it deserves... this is a true masterpiece.