The Dark Knight ★★★★½

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My advice is, go and see The Dark Knight in the cinema. I echo a friend’s view that we should make sure good quality blockbuster movies (as opposed to low quality blockbuster movies) continue to get made because people are prepared to go and see them in the cinema. You do need to see this on the big screen to do it full justice, but it’s a solid, character driven movie with depth and quality acting that will work well in any format.

The Dark Knight is the second Nolan directed Batman movie and is without a doubt the darkest of any Batman movie to-date. This is no jolly on-screen action romp, no adrenaline fuelled crazy rush of action, it’s a dramatic, well paced, solid and dark look into heroes, heroics and sacrifice. This is a modern, real Gotham city filled with modern and real people. There’s just that edge of decay that makes sure you know it’s Gotham but it could be anywhere in our current time, the story is contemporary and the people and emotions are built on a foundation of reality that makes the violence and horror of the Joker even more dreadful.

Heath is fantastic as The Joker, but he’s not a god. His performance is fantastic because the backdrop on which it plays out is also fantastic, everyone around him puts in amazing performances to make sure he doesn’t steal every scene. Bale is excellent, giving us a flawed and emotionally torn Batman without turning him into a caricature, and his counter-play with Heath is totally engaging. The story is as you would expect, a slight parallel to the first Batman movie (and probably some of the comics, although I’ve never read them), The Joker taking on the Mob, the City and Batman all together. There are no major flaws, although there are one or two places where I wonder if we missed an edit or are supposed to have to read between the lines a little.

The pace is good despite a slow start which worried me. There’s not as much direct action as I was expecting, and far more personal drama which is no bad thing. What action there is feels deadly enough and The Joker’s body count is certainly high enough to give the story an edge and a feeling of danger. All of the major characters see character development of one kind or another, and there doesn’t feel like any wasted space on screen or wasted time with any particular person. The dialogue is dramatic without being melodramatic, and there are some really nice touches and emotional triggers (which I won’t spoil for you).

I was slightly disappointed with the Bat Pod and one or two ‘moves’ felt pretty contrived (the wall flip) but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment, I just hope we get a new Batmobile in the next one (assuming there is going to be a next one). It’s a tiny complaint in what is otherwise a really, really enjoyable flick.

The end is simply brilliant in my view, simple, honest and deeply satisfying.

It doesn’t quite live up to the insane hype, but then what movie could; it does however deliver an excellent and entertaining two and a half hours of dramatic quality movie going fun.