Review – The Dark Knight (2008)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Produced by: Chris Nolan & Charles Rovan
Release Date: July 24th 2008 (UK)
Getting to revisit The Dark Knight for review 13 years after its original release was incredible. It still holds up as the best superhero film ever made up until this point in my eyes. Whilst a few movies, (such as Logan and Winter Soldier,) have come close to the quality of TDK, for me there is nothing that has surpassed it in the last decade.
There is so much to love here, whether it is Nolan’s deliberate and effective direction, Hans Zimmer’s uplifting yet melancholy score, the beautifully epic cinematography provided by Wally Pfister and of course Heath Ledger’s incredible, electrifying performance as the Clown Prince Of Crime.
The movie starts as it means to go on, with an awesome opening sequence introducing the Joker. It plays out like a short film that could even be viewed independently of the rest of the movie and still make complete sense. We see a group of criminals dressed in clown masks robbing a bank and offing each other one by one after they complete their part of the heist.
This all builds up to the reveal of the enigmatic Joker, complete with an awesome Cesar Romero reference in the Joker’s mask as well. The sequence works so well, because it shows even those who aren’t comic book fans or aren’t familiar with these characters, exactly what kind of villain we are dealing with.
On the other hand though, there is a lot here for long time fans of Batman comics as well. A good amount of plot elements in the movie were taken from one of my favourite Batman stories ever written; The Long Halloween. Things such as the Harvey Dent working with Jim Gordon and Batman to prevent crime to then go on to show his eventual transformation into the totally unhinged Two-Face. The design choices for the characters were also clearly inspired by a comic by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, simply titled: Joker.
Lastly, the ending of the movie shares similar elements to the ending of The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, in that they both end with Batman being framed for a murder he didn’t commit and subsequently having to go into hiding and retire from crime fighting.
Overall, this is a perfect movie in my opinion. It is an astonishing achievement for a comic book movie and it is a great crime epic in its own right as well. The performances across the board are great, with Heath Ledger being the obvious standout and absolutely stealing every single scene that he appears in.
The technical elements of the movie are great and it is just a fantastic cinematic experience all around. I first saw the movie in IMAX and that definitely was the premium way to initially experience this movie, but no matter what format you watch it on, it is hard to deny that The Dark Knight is a cinematic masterpiece.
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