Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

STEVE - It was perhaps the most anticipated movie of my lifetime. As I told a friend, “I can’t ever remember wanting to see a movie this bad.” True, I’m a big Bat fan, but nonetheless you also have considered the rest of the variables in this film equation. You have a great director, who on more than one occasion has wowed me with his skill at pointing a camera. Legendary actors such as Michael Cain, Christian Bale, and Gary Oldman just to name a few of the top A list actors in this film. And of course you have the hailed performance of the unfortunately late Heath Ledger. So many great things to look forward too… and usually when I’m close to this level of excitement about a movie, I almost always tend to be more than a little disappointed after the experience. Thank the heavens that every once in a while, the Hollywood Studio System gets things right.

So many wonderful things in this movie were done right. So many, that I can’t list them. Thank you Warner Brothers for letting a wonderful vision come to life. Thank you Mr. Chris Nolan for a wonderful movie going experience, and thank you cast and crew and everyone else involved for making a top notch movie worthy of multiple nominations and awards. The performances, music, cinematography, direction, action… all outstanding!

It isn’t a perfect movie but the flaws are few and far between and it would just be nitpicking for me to point them out. So I won’t, all I say is that this is a must see, one to see over and over again with many multiple viewings after that.


WARNING - Dan's review contains spoilers. Do not read it unless you've seen the film.

DAN - The Dark Knight is easily the most hyped film of this year. I had great expectations for it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Then again, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the result. My initial reaction was basically this - I knew the movie was amazing, but I couldn’t fully celebrate it for two reasons.

1. I had invested too much hope into the idea that this would be a great movie. It met my expectations, but I’ve been on sort of a Dark Knight high for a while now. As a result, I didn’t really feel much exhilaration while watching it. This was minor, though. I still thoroughly enjoyed the movie, even if the “wow” factor wasn’t entirely there.

2. What surprised me most was how depressing this film is. This is where the spoilers kick in.

First, Rachel Dawes’ death took me by surprise. Granted, I wasn’t very invested in her character, but she was a good, innocent person. What’s worse are the effects of her death on other people.

I honestly cared about Harvey Dent. I was convinced that he was what Gotham needed in order to become a better place. He seemed like a truly selfless person who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what is right in the face of death, and I was rooting for him. The fact that he became evil (and ended up dying in that state) made me lose a little hope in the world. I knew all along that he would become Two-Face, but I didn’t want to accept it.

Also, the Joker is just... mean. Unpleasant. And knowing that he is the cause of Harvey Dent’s downfall, and that he enjoyed it, makes me mad. And now he’s (theoretically) sitting in a jail cell somewhere, happy with what he accomplished, and planning a way to escape and cause more damage. It worries me that such a person exists, albeit in a fictional world.

On a lighter note, I was glad to find myself laughing at some of the Joker’s moments and mannerisms. Despite his evil nature (and the knowledge of Ledger’s death), I was able to enjoy the performance.

In addition to this, there were some morally uplifting moments in the movie. The people on the ferries, even the prisoners, make the right choice. I take that as a sign that Harvey Dent made a good impression on the people of Gotham. Even though Dent is gone, he seems to have created a legacy that is already taking hold in average citizens and criminals alike.

Also, I gained a new love for Batman, himself. He’s willing to look like a villain in the eyes of the people he’s protecting for the sake of keeping Dent’s honor alive. It’s comforting and admirable.

All in all, I think this is an awesome movie, but it has taken me time to process some unexpected reactions. Ultimately, I admire the fact that Nolan and company didn’t make a “Hollywood” movie with a happy ending. Elements of the real world are reflected in The Dark Knight, and though they may be hard-hitting, they are truthful. I’ve thought about the relation between this film’s themes and reality more so than with other dark movies, such as No Country for Old Men. This is definitely more than a comic book movie. Not only is it entertaining, but it has meaning.