This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Scott Bailey’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
The Dark Knight is by far the best of the trilogy by Christopher Nolan in my opinion. For me this film not only re-defined how we see films in the comic book genre, but also how we look at action. It is a great film that I think anyone who has an appreciation for film should enjoy.
For me as much as I enjoyed Batman Begins as a fan of the comics, where this film truly improved is in it's action. It is enthralling to watch through out. Gone is the overuse of shaky cam and it really makes a massive difference to the fight scenes in my opinion. The car chase scene where you see an eighteen-wheeler flipped over is incredible to watch, because of the minimal CGI. The film opens with a bang when you see people wearing clown masks breaking into a mob bank and feel like you're seeing real stunts happening in front of your very eyes, because the are!
Personally since this film was released I have not seen a single movie of this genre hit me in the same way The Dark Knight has largely because a lot of today's superhero market kinda feels the same. That's not to say they are not fun to watch, but I've never get that same feeling of tension I have had with this film.
I will avoid comparing this to the 1989 Batman film (another favourite of mine) except where the review requires it. As different as the films are in tone and visually there is a few similarities. For one this film also borrows heavily from The Killing Joke. While the '89 film covers the origin of The Joker, this film focuses on him at his maniacal best as he targets a face of the justice system, in this case Havey Dentwhere he makes him lose everything in his life to turn him into what he hates.
Another thing where I find the two films very similar is how one character gets an origin and you pretty much know everything about the character while the other is an enigma and this one completely switches it around and I really think it works both ways. Heath Ledger as The Joker is in my humble opinion is not only the best villain I've ever seen in the comic book genre, his performance is one of the best and one of the most frightening performances I have ever seen put to screen.
One of the things that really works about his version is that his performance is that his performance does resemble and respect previous iterations like Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill and you can see influences from each of those great performances, but he still truly owns it as The Joker and really puts his own stamp on it. He is terrifying because you know absolutely nothing about him and it makes him truly unpredictable. The only things you ever find out about him is through his dialogue and it is truly riveting and psychological to watch. Finding out more about him is like trying to get into the head of a psychopath. He gets so many scenes that stand out in this movie and he steals the show to the point where it's iconic.
"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain"
Aaron Eckhart is also outstanding as "Gothams White Knight" Harvey Dent and Two-Face. Watching his plight is really heart wrenching to watch because you can see he is a good man hell bent on cleaning out the streets of the criminals that plague Gotham, and seeing him turn into what he hates over losing everything he loves is just riveting to watch. I couldn't think of a better person to cast in this role and it's great to see him done justice on the big screen. I only wish he would have had more screen time as Two-Face but really thats a nit pick.
I've already covered how I feel about Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman in my Batman Begins review and my thoughts on them have not changed at all. I will say I think Oldman's role as James Gordon feels even bigger and more important in this film and it's always great when you see scenes where you're seeing him, Batman and Harvey Dent interacting together at different points of the movie.
I'm also finally won over by the 'Practical' Batsuit in this one. I love Keaton and Affleck's appearances in the suit more and they just feel more iconic to me, but this one is still a very creative design and it makes sense on the 'realism' aspect this film goes for.
My only real issue with this one is that I felt a disconnect with Rachel Dawes in this film. I don't think Maggie Gyllenhaal is to blame for this, but the change between her and Katie Holmes in the first film is obvious because they look nothing like each other. I didn't find her death hit me in the way it should have.
I can't rate this lower than 5 stars though, because this is a comic book movie I am instantly comparing any newer releases of the genre to and this has not been matched or surpassed since in my opinion and very few blockbuster releases are at the same standard this one reaches. I'd say this is a must watch, but the chances are you've seen it already :)