The second film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and the more popular one of the three films, The Dark Knight was released in 2008 and soon become people’s favourite Batman film (and possibly comic book movie) of all time. It’s not hard to see why either, especially with Heath Ledgers portrayal of the famous clown prince of crime, The Joker!
The film opens up with crime, and the star of the show takes the spotlight almost straight away with a bank robbery, that shows us how brutal the crime in Gotham truly is, and how frightening and lawless it’s criminals have become. Each clown goon that completes his job is murdered on the spot, proving that there is no honour in what the Joker does. Then we cut to the reprisal roles of Scarecrow and Batman, along with some Batman copycats, that provides us with an idea of Gotham’s aftermath from the previous films events. Batman achieved in some ways what he hoped to achieve, to become a symbol so that people don’t have to fear criminals. However, the method in which is symbol became effective was not what he had in mind because as he said himself, the difference between what he does and what his copycats are doing, is that he’s not wearing hockey pads. The films opening 20 minutes are all about introducing and reintroducing it’s characters for the set up of the film which as mentioned include The Joker, Batman, Scarecrow, Harvey Dent, Rachel Dawes, Lucius Fox, Alfred, and of course the various other criminals that will fall under The Jokers control. This film continues the Nolan magic of bringing the world of Batman into the real world, and by doing so, he has brought into the world a version of the Joker that is even more horrifying than the comic book version in some ways, because we see a scarred, insane mastermind who has no real plan, making him unpredictable and more dangerous than Batman’s previous foe. The dark, gritty film gives us a truly twisted criminal who’s full of mystery just as the Joker should be. However unlike the comic book version of The Joker, Ledger’s version is actually a lot more serious for the majority of the film. He’s a criminal who wants to toy with Gotham’s criminal mob bosses, he wants to murder and steal just for the fun of it but he does take his job seriously it seems, probably to seem more frightening in ways. An insane criminal who laughs constantly at everything he does might be taken as a joke but if he’s doing all this with a serious expression, people believe he is to be taken for his word.
The Dark Knight is an origin story of its own, as the see the rise and fall of Harvey Dent a.k.a Two Face, who soon interacts with The Joker which forms a strange bond between them as The Joker sets him off on his trail of destruction (after being the one who caused his horrific scars in the first place, both physical and mental). The Gotham D.A has a great backstory that deserved the spotlight throughout the film even though I think The Joker is still the most talked about movie villain of all time, although I’m sure the MCU’s Thanos will be taking that spotlight soon enough.
Mypoint from my previous review of this trilogy about Bales Batman, still stands. I despise the gravely voice and had really hoped the production team would have done something about it for the second film but instead it gets worse. Every word he says in the suit is a grumble and it just doesn’t work for me. It’s a joke. The voices we came to know and love for Batman in previous adaptations such as Batman: The Animated Series, and even the Tim Burton films, were powerful, clear, and fitted the character in ways that Bale’s voice in TDK trilogy just doesn’t.
The score of the trilogy is always brilliant, composed by Hans Zimmer and used brilliantly by Nolan in certain scenes such as when Joker kills Gambol, the music is used to portray the action of his death. It’s a brilliant use of music in film and a method that is very rarely used in modern cinema. The score throughout brings forth the emotions of a scene adding to its atmosphere, and creating an all round vibe to the film throughout.
There are some truly incredible scenes in this film, such as the highway chase, the Joker vs Batman on the Batcycle, and of course the Batman/Joker interrogation scene, that truly reveals the theme of the film. Anarchy, betrayal, realism, brutality, and loss. It’s a great scene that brings the film closer to its big finale. The anger from Batman and the sheer insanity of the Joker as Batman beats him to a pulp whilst he simply laughs it off. This is where The Joker from the comics comes out in some sense. The maniacal laughter brings out the fear in the other characters and makes the audience feel uncomfortable which is what makes his portrayal so great.
Overall because of it’s criminal characters and the character developments in this film, the film gets a 3.5/5 from me. I do think this film is brilliant and a great watch, but once again, for a comic book adaptation movie I honestly believe this film is overrated.
Yes it’s a great film that brings Batman into the real world, but a lot of people I know who overly praise this film, only do so because of one reason, Ledger’s Joker. One great character does not make the whole film great. I’m sorry but that’s just my opinion. I love Ledger’s Joker but it does not make this film any better than it actual is. It’s a great film without a doubt, but in my opinion it’s not as great as some people believe it is.
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