Heath Ledger, this is the kind of thing legends are made of.
First of all, this movie is already a classic. Its no small feat to oust The Godfather from the #1 spot on IMDB’s top 250 films of all time… but TDK has done it in a matter of days. Apparently a second viewing of the movie will only raise your appreciation, expect The Dark Knight to generally become, the best of movie all time. Plus a $155 million opening weekend, the highest ever box office opening ever. Is it critically and financially awesome? Yes. Yes it is.
So, the acting… Phenomenal, easily the best all-round casting in a movie to this day. No role has been left shy of a truly brilliant actor. Gary Oldman brings a hesitant and commanding presence to a relatively young Commissioner Gordan. Morgan Freeman is scene stealer as Lucius Fox. Michael Caine had a significantly subdued role compared Batman Begins, however he was a benchmark Alfred whenever he was called upon to aid his ailing Master Wayne. Cillian Murphy made a brief cameo as Scarecrow; if his brilliance was any more involved than that then certainly we would’ve had three incredible villains. It would have been one too many however so props Christopher Nolan. Nestor Carbonell as the Mayor (who Lost fans will recognize as Richard!!!) was excellent, William Fichtner was a real treat to see in the beginning as well. Every corner of the film was wonderfully cast. No exceptions, well “one half of a thing” but we’ll get to that later.
Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart were amazing, although the former is running away with all the accolades due to his untimely passing. However in bringing two very significant character of Gotham alive, both of them were equally incredible. The highlight of this film was the pure anarchy and intelligence that the Joker portrayed. His cynicism was never overshadowed by his mortifying will to prove a point, but only complimented a very intelligent character. This mistake of the Joker being a clown has arisen countless times in the past, not this time. Marvellous work Heath Ledger, a benchmark. There is no way to go but down after this performance if his role is ever recast.
Aaron Eckhart was equally shining and pitifully over shadowed the protagonist. He has that remarkable demeanour of confidence that he brings wonderfully to Harvey Dent and Two-Face. In this portrayal, he truly was the hero Gotham deserved. His character arch over the 152 minutes was the center piece of the movie. The Joker was genius and visceral in bringing a shining white knight of justice to his knees in vengeance. Such the point of the story and the Joker, there will be evil in Gotham that no amount of symbolism from Batman can cure. The triangle created between Bruce Wayne, Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent was an epic climax in the making… one that deserved a continuation on to a third movie. But that was not to be, as Rachel’s last words caught fire and Harvey Dent took a little tumble. Convenient.
(Analytical Spoilers ahead, stop reading if you have not seen this film!)
Such begin my qualms with this film; it was unnecessary and blatantly abrupt and absurd ending to kill Two-Face in the most undignified of manners (even if he isn’t really dead which is kind of stupid). My disappointment arose from the anticipation of something brilliant in store for us two years down the road… that the best movie ever was going to get better. But no, Christopher Nolan crafted an absolute epic masterpiece… only to push it off the edge right at the end flat on its face, literally. Pun intended. Alas, what could’ve have been. If history is anything to go by, I should not have anticipated something brilliant for the end of the trilogy. Matrix Reloaded, Spiderman 2, X2 (Godfather 2 as well apparently) have all succumbed to an overblown and limping end after a successful part two. I expect the same from Batman now.
Some quarters are saying Nolan’s hand was somewhat forced by Heath’s death and that the ending could not be altered or setup differently. If anything, this should’ve forced Nolan to prepare a climax between Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne over Rachel. But he didn’t utilize it at all. On a few other minor notes, faking Gordan’s death may have been a plot device… but seriously? Come on. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne… perfect acting like our anti-heroes Heath and Aaron. But Bale as Batman? Some of the extra’s delivered more convincing lines than Mr. I-Have-koala-bear-stuck-in-my-throat. The set pieces and explosions were phenomenal (truck flipping – wow, tumbler driving head on in to garbage truck – damn), but oh man does Nolan suck at choreographing fist fights.
It’s unfortunate to see that David Goyer and Nolan completely overlooked their forward story. After watching the film I read up on it and these men are not contractually obligated to continue Batman, if I knew this then I’m sure I would not have hated the way this movie ended. It’s just sad to see the insurmountable amount of potential this movie delivers, as well as builds up. Only for the last part to be kind of chopped shut. I’m sure when I see this movie again, which I most 100% definitely will in a few days, I will completely adore it. But for now, I am left gasping at what could have been. I hope Nolan comes back and proves me wrong, but history says this is it… the peak.
8/10 – Pure brilliance on the part of Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart. That’s it.