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Wick's Review

Created Jul 28, 2008 01:55AM PST • Edited Jun 21, 2013 12:33AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Wickedly funny, morally complex, tremendously engaging: Comik movies get no better. Worthy of its monumental hype, The Dark Knight far exceeds its immediate predecessor Batman Begins and arguably outshines the original Batman movie, even though that long ago picture was as lauded and even more revolutionary in its day.

    Avenging hero movies rise as high as their villains allow. Two Face and the Joker – especially – elevate this movie to dizzying heights: They’re fascinating and compelling in ways rarely seen in mainstream entertainment. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker gets much of the credit for this, but the lines he’s given to say are just as important. A cornucopia of self-serving impulses, this Joker stands as an icon of evil, interested in anarchy and pain as much as treasure. Two Face, OTOH, stands as an object lesson in perverted self-righteousness. Together they provide rare depth of counter-character.

    While comik movies have been a Hollywood staple for a couple decades now, 2008 – with The Dark Knight, the equally lauded Iron Man, plus the lesser but still hiqh quality Incredible Hulk and Hellboy 2 – will go down as the apogee of the genre’s golden age.

  3. Great 4.0

    Let’s not mince words: Heath Ledger’s Joker performance is one of the greatest in movie history, brilliantly mannered, stunningly unique, coldly terrifying. The fact that the guy died before the movie came out just adds to his legend, branding him worthy of mention in the same breath as original flameout James Dean and iconic Joker Jack Nicholson.

    Agents and producers may love debuts, but damn the debuts: Heath’s Oscar-winning Joker stands as the greatest swansong in Hollywood history.

    Christian Bale – celebrated as an uncommonly committed actor – seems callow to me. His Bruce/Batman doesn’t distinguish the movie. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, OTOH, lend their distinctive gravitas to the proceedings in very effective fashion.

    Aaron Eckhart kills as Batman’s white knight counterpart, his movie star profile employed to great effect as the divide between his good and evil sides.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal left me cold as the love interest. She simply doesn’t seem Movie Star worthy to share the big screen with Bale and Eckhart. Gary Oldman, OTOH, shows yet again that great looks aren’t required to be a great movie actor.

    Finally, let’s hear it for Eric Roberts as the perfectly cast mafia don. No one fits the role better than Julia’s creepy big brother.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Good 3.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Visually distinctive, LOL funny, complex yet coherent, Christopher Nolan’s creation stands as a benchmark for big time Hollywood movies.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    Memento proved that Christopher Nolan can master complex storytelling. The Dark Knight proves him a past master of the craft.

  10. Play Perfect 5.0

    Not a wasted line in this big movie, many of them downright hilarious. Even Batman gets a LOL punch line – “I’m counting on it.”

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Clean and modern, with a touch of art deco, the production design never strikes a tinny note. Plus Batman’s various accouterments are for once all purposeful. The functional cape, for instance, allows him to glide through the air like an avenging angel.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.7

    Deserves its PG-13, especially given the psychological menace that is Heath Ledger’s Joker.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5

    Mostly bloodless violence, typical for a comik movie. However, the dread created by the Joker is palpable, while Two Face’s bad side is wonderfully horrifying.

  17. Rudeness Salty 1.7
  18. Surreal 2.7

    2X to 3X across the board: circumstantially, physically and biologically, in similar fashion to Iron Man, given the non-alien, and therefore ostensibly natural grounding of both stories.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0

    Bruce Wayne secretly procures advanced technology that would require the work of thousands in real life. At least he has Wayne Enterprises behind him, so the notion is somewhat less ridiculous than with Tony Stark and Iron Man.

    Plus, the three semi-super characters have an uncanny ability to appear at the right place at the right time, no matter how outlandish the circumstance.

  20. Biological Supernatural 3.1

    The Joker – like Batman – has no supernatural powers. Unlike Batman, the Joker wears no armor. Yet he never so much as loses a tooth from the massive punishment he absorbs.

  21. Physical Surreal 2.1

Forum

Subscribe to The Dark Knight 11 replies, 4 voices
Apr 13, 2010 3:52PM
MJ5K

Ah, how could I forget. There were just too many good movies out that year.

Apr 12, 2010 10:57PM
Wick

Agreed. Let’s not forget Iron Man, also from 2008.

Apr 12, 2010 6:44PM
MJ5K

I gotta say, Wick, as far as movies go, I’d say 2008 was the best year for movies since 1994 and movies such as “The Dark Knight”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Wrestler”, and “Milk” prove my point.