The Dark Knight was astounding. I can’t really finish this post without going into detail about the brilliance of the acting, the great story, and the excellent character. Trust me, I will get to The Dark Knight Rises, however, I have to touch on The Dark Knight first.
This movie had Christian Bale continue as the character of Batman, and again he played a dark, brooding Batman that is a classic. It returned Michael Caine as the faithful butler and Morgan Freeman as well. A minor change was Maggie Gyllenhaal as the love interest of Batman/Harvey Dent, however this didn’t really affect the movie for me. It also introduced Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and eventually Two-Face, and Heath Ledger as the Joker.
At first I was uncertain with Heath Ledger. The fact is I was sure he would absolutely suck. The man, may he rest in peace, proved me wrong. He was creepy, psychotic; the kind of man who you didn’t know what he would do next.
I was always a big fan of Jack Nicholson as the Joker. As much as I loved him playing the role, I have to admit Heath beat him out. Where Jack was a Joker that was evil, and killed indiscriminately, you could still get a laugh at his antics and lines.
I did not find myself laughing at all at Heath Ledger’s Joker. Where Batman was dark and brooding, silent and disciplined, the Joker in The Dark Knight was loud, outlandish, and made my skin crawl. There was no sarcasm, it was simply mayhem and words of insanity. Anyone who has seen the movie knows this simply from how he tells different stories of how he got his facial scars. The change in his tone, how he changes from smiling and cordial to deep bellows, is the epitome of psychotic.
In the original Batman, the Joker has a love interest. The Joker actually goes to great lengths to protect her. At several points he tries to win her affection. In The Dark Knight, one can tell that love is not something that Heath’s Joker understands. He may be attracted as he shows to Gyllenhaal’s character at one point, but love to him is hurting and causing her pain.
The best aspect of this movie is the clash between the characters of Batman and Joker. One can see that they both had serious traumatic experiences at some point in their lives that has driven them to the lives they live. Where Batman keeps his sanity by fighting crime, the Joker has embraced his dark nature and let it flourish. What is seen is almost a mirror, what Bruce Wayne could have become if he had let his childhood anguish consume him.
This is actually the way it is supposed to be between these characters. As it is mentioned Batman is not a stable hero. He has a lot of demons and fights them by trying to do good. In the movies, one can constantly see him toe the line between being a vigilante hero, and really letting himself go. He takes pleasure in causing fear in others, and in causing villains pain. It is only his discipline that keeps him from crossing the line.
The Joker does not have this problem. Where Batman is silent, the Joker makes morbid jokes. Where Batman tries to restrain himself, the Joker lets loose and hurts as many people as he can because it relieves his own inner turmoil. This clash between these two characters is what makes this one of the best hero versus villain situations in comics and film.
This movie was quite possibly the best Batman film I’ve ever seen. Even though I will always have a special place for the 1989 Batman, this one definitely tops it. I will admit after seeing it, I couldn’t wait for another sequel, because the chemistry between Heath and Christian was phenomenal. Unfortunately, that will never happen. After the sudden death of Heath Ledger, his brand of Joker will never be seen again. This alone causes me problems for the last movie. However, the rest will have to wait for my final thoughts.
Continued “Will The Dark Knight Rise…or Fall? Part IV