Not only is The Dark Knight the greatest superhero movie ever made, but also one of the greatest crime-thrillers; and not to mention my 2nd favorite movie of all time.
So after Batman Begins changed the game for superhero movies to follow, The Dark Knight was somehow able to do even better. At the end of Batman Begins, you see Jim Gordon give Batman a Joker card and give a brief description of the havoc this new criminal is wreaking, which sets up for this movie. The first move I have to admire is waiting to put the Joker in the second movie. It can be so easy for an origin story to do the main villain first (1990 Batman and 2002 Spider-Man) that Christopher Nolan actually thought it through to wait. Because in this movie, it actually makes sense: the Mob is still tearing Gotham apart, and the universe feels like it’s expanding as more aspects are explored (such as Gotham’s D.A., who we’ll get to later).
But while we’re still remotely on the Joker I’ll talk about him first, because let’s face it: he’s the one to talk about. Every single person you will ever talk to about this movie will tell you how fantastic the Joker is. Heath Ledger (God rest his soul) won an Academy Award for his portrayal of this character. This is not just some superhero movie when the actors are winning Oscars. Ledger is dark, he’s scary, he’s dangerous and saying he knocks it out of the park just doesn’t capture how immensely incredible he is in this role. It’s in my top 3 performances by any actor ever. Then we go to Christian Bale playing Bruce Wayne/Batman, who’s one of the only few in the trilogy that I’ll touch on here. Christian Bale, if you’ve read my Batman v Superman concerns is the ultimate Batman. He trumps Michael Keaton, he trumps Val Kilmer, he even trumps George Clooney! But Bale is so good because you really believe that he’s Bruce Wayne and Batman, not just one or the other. His whole damaged throat thing while being Batman, some people give him crap for, I love it. And then Aaron Eckhart is in the movie as Gotham’s new D.A. Harvey Dent, who’s helping Batman and Gordon pick off the Mob. And Eckhart is awesome as the politician in this, and later a more wicked role. He really has the emotion in his face that sells you his very character. Those are the only three actors I’ll touch on here, I’ll get everyone else either in my Batman Begins or Dark Knight Rises reviews down the road (even Maggie Gyllenhaal).
But then going to the plot, this movie is very plot-heavy. The movie is like north of 2-and-a-half hours so there is a lot of ground that can be covered, and that really shows. The movie can be divided at different points especially. There’s the first quarter where the Mob is an issue, then there’s the Joker for the next ½ especially and then a little less in the last quarter, but then there’s also Harvey Dent in the last quarter complicating the plot. And the main story of this movie is so well thought-out and scripted so beautifully I wish Christopher and Jonathan Nolan could write literally every piece of film and television ever. Like this is some super writing. If you think I loved Now You See Me’s writing, then I completely take back all my praises in exchange for this movie’s praises.
And speaking of the writing and plot, this movie has some of the best one liners in movie history. Gordon has a bit at the end (no spoilers) where he’s saying what makes Batman Batman, Harvey Dent has his “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain bit, and the Joker is just spitting off memorable quotes every line. My favorite one, however, may be Alfred when he says (in reference to the Joker), “some men just want to watch the world burn”. I don’t know, it’s just so heavy and truthful to their situation, and that one line just adds some of the realism. All the one-liners are great though.
And I’ll discuss the directing briefly. Here it is, flat-out, for you all to debate in the comment section: Christopher Nolan, in my opinion, is the greatest director currently living and working today, maybe even of all time. He creates a movie that looks real and feels real and is made for movie critics and fans alike, which usually causes a division. The man is a master at crafting movies, and will go down in history as possibly the greatest director ever. (Seriously, he’s yet to make a bad movie! The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Memento, I’m told The Prestige and Insomnia are great also, but I haven’t seen them. And yeah he’s probably going to get an Oscar nomination for Interstellar this November.)
To conclude, mastermind Christopher Nolan directs this spectacle that is complemented by one of the best written scripts of all time, on top of that a great villain that makes the entire movie, and it features the most realistic and gritty tone a movie could ever hope to find. So when you put these things together, of course you’re gonna say The Dark Knight is the greatest superhero movie of all time, and one of the greatest crime-thrillers ever also.
So those are my thoughts on my 2nd favorite movie ever: The Dark Knight. I’ll review Batman Begins, Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel in the next few weeks too, in addition to any suggestions you leave down below! And if you want some more Batman talk from me, check out this link to Why I’m Worried about Man of Steel 2. So since I know you guys will all think The Dark Knight is awesome too, the comment question of the day is: favorite Batman villain? Whoever he or she may be, leave me a comment down below and thanks for reading guys.