Movie Review: Batman – The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

The second installment of the new Batman franchise, begun with Batman Begins, picks up our story not long after where we left off. But I’m not going to talk about the plot of The Dark Knight, other than to say it starts with a bang involving a powerful scene augmented by pervasive music.

All our favorites are back

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

Three new players

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

The criminal Salvatori Maroni is played by Eric Roberts, who we haven’t seen much since his role in the TV series Heroes. He’s mature, smooth, attractive, and the perfect gangland gentleman.

Heath Ledger as the Joker in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

He achieves his art with three things, beyond the makeup:

  • His gait: he walks all spindly, like a marionette
  • His tongue: he licks his lips nervously, like Jabba the Hut
  • His voice: like many screen villains (think Darth Vader) he drops his voice into an almost gravelly monotone that seems like pure evil itself.

There is already talk of an Oscar for this performance, and indeed, it is the magnum opus of his career. Some may see this movie just to see the last performance of this amazing talent. It is incredible what he’s done with the part, making it all his own.

The movie

Batman in Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

This film is an incremental level above the first: it’s taut, immersive, moody, exciting and scary, all at once. At times it is mind blowing in its intensity, and stunning in its inventiveness. It opens to midnight debuts tonight across 1,700 theaters in the US. Some believe this could be this summer’s first $100M opening weekend blockbuster.*

While the previous film had a confusing third act, this one has a series of smaller crescendos that build into a satisfying conclusion.

Get there early enough to see the previews, including the coming Terminator Salvation. You’ll be excited to learn who plays the adult John Connor.

Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight - 2008

Grade: A-/B+

You’ll like it if: you like comics, sci-fi, action, detective stories

You won’t like it if: excessive violence and rampant insanity aren’t your cup of tea

*UPDATE: At the close of the first weekend, the movie did $158.355 million, making it the biggest movie opening of all time at the North American box office.

*UPDATE 2: After 18 days, the movie has done over $400 million at the boxoffice, the biggest blockbuster movie of the summer, 4 weeks at #1 and ranks as all-time No. 2 behind Titanic. By the way, it really is better in IMAX.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood culturevulture

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About billpetro

Bill Petro has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.


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