The Dark Knight is the first film I can remember that people actually applauded the trailers in the months leading up to its release. It left you wondering: Were those the best three minutes? Could any movie be that good?
Count me in as among those on who the advertising worked. I purchased a ticket on-line last week and caught the movie last night in a packed house. Yes, it was that good. Director Christopher Nolan starts with a gripping scene and there’s one after another right until the end. There’s no building to a climax here.
Mark down Heath Ledger for a posthumous Academy Award. The Joker is his greatest role and he was better than Jack Nicholson, which didn’t seem possible. Christian Bale does the brooding Batman thing better than the previous Batmans and adds a nice touch of irony.
The supporting cast is over-the-top good. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are the wise old heads on Batman’s staff. Gary Oldman is the incorruptible cop. Also dug Eric Roberts as a mobster. Maggie Gyllenhaal is the girl in the middle, Batman’s secret love.
The third man in to the Batman/Joker battle is Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. He’s the key to the whole film from a story sense. The Dark Knight isn’t remotely a goofy comic book movie. It’s a classic battle of good against evil where the protagonists happen to be comic book characters. This film has much more the tone of Michael Mann’s Heat in that it’s about Gotham and it’s internal struggle. Things have to get worse before they better in Gotham and do they get worse. The city (Chicago, never looking more sinister) is a character in the film as much as any person.
The morality play aside, the action sequences had people cheering in the theater. The most amusing moments are from Ledger, whose Joker is equally a sadistic anarchist and comedian. He makes blowing up a hospital hilarious. This is not a flick for the kids. It’s complex and disturbing at times.
Other than Iron Man, it has been a disappointing summer at the movies so far. The Dark Knight made up for it and then some.
Don’t flip a coin, go see this. But buy your tickets on line and get there early. The place will be a madhouse. I want to see it again, supposedly it’s even better in IMAX.