Isaac Klak’s review published on Letterboxd:
“The Dark Knight” transcends the super hero genre to create an amazing crime story containing a fascinating plot and one of the best on screen villains of all time.
Under new district Harvey Dent Gotham has cleaned its streets leaving the criminals running scared. This juxtaposition to the first film is quite fascinating in how the criminals accept a radical like the joker just like Gotham accepted Batman in the first film. While the stories might be similar the crime drama in this film is a dramatic improvement from is predecessor. For instead of just getting the idea that anyone can be a hero we now see that at least in the Joker’s mind everyone can be a criminal.
The Joker may not have the most screen time, but this is a film more about the Joker than it is about Batman. This choice of Nolan to not make the film centered on Batman contributes to the fact that this film has no sequel fatigue whatsoever. Yet this decision puts a lot of pressure on Ledger to deliver, and he creates one of the best on screen characters of all time. The Joker might not be physically gifted, but Nolan and Ledger create the most formidable super hero foe of all time. The joker takes a city full of noble people and brings them down to his level. The Joker says very early that they need to “kill the batman,” yet instead of physically killing him the Joker decides to destroy his image. The does however kill the Batman impersonators, as if to say, “I’m going to kill you, but make you watch.” This idea of torture is present throughout the film, particularly torture of the mind. The Joker knows what people’s breaking point is and he is able to use that to bring people down to his level. He also realizes that to beak the system not everyone has to fall and even just one person’s downfall can be the downfall of an entire system. This deep understanding of his enemies is what makes the Joker so far above other villains of cinema.
Ledger elevates this well written character with a performance that will stand the test of time. One of the most impressive aspects of the performance is that Ledger is so meticulous in his performance yet he is able to create a character that seems completely reckless. Ledger brings a childlike nature to the performance in that he seems giddy with excitement throughout and has an inability to take things serious. Causing the stakes to seem so high with him for his disregard for his own life makes it impossible to predict his next move. Finally there are so many small mannerisms he forms that create the disturbing nature that is the joker.
The score of the film is magnificent, creating suspense and adding to the epic nature of the film. The swells in the score that punctuate the action sequences and some dialogue emphasize the stakes of the film. It also helps the film establish its tragic nature and the amount of emotion it brings to the film is something that few composers can do and Hans Zimmer is one of them.
“The Dark Knight” is a masterpiece of its genre and as shown by the ending monologue has a better understanding of what a super hero is than any other films in the genre.