The Dark Knight

Batman begins on a whole new level

Since the The Dark Knight
’s unique marketing campaign took off over a year ago, the buzz for the sequel to Batman Begins has taken off to completely new levels. You couldn’t see a movie in the theater without seeing The Dark Knight trailer before it. With the constant bombardment of trailers and posters and overall buzz, you think that audiences would’ve gotten tired of the relentless advertising – but that has proven to be the farthest thing from the truth.

The Dark Knight has been in theaters for just over a week, it has broken two major box office records (highest grossing weekend and highest grossing first day), everyone is talking about it and if you haven’t seen it, you’re considered odd.

The Dark Knight is set around a year after Batman Begins and it quickly becomes evident that the caped crusader is still cleaning up some of the mess left behind from previous film. Because the Joker only goes after mob bosses and other criminals, the new threat has been placed on the back burner. It’s only when Batman’s actions affect the Joker’s capers that their two cross paths and their fated dance back and forth, between good and evil begins.

Lots of cynics believe that the reason for the hype and success of The Dark Knight was Heath Ledger’s death, but when you hear people discussing the film, they’re talking just as much about the elaborate story, the action, the violence, the stunts, the twists and the movie, as a whole, as they are about Ledger – and even then, they mostly mention his brilliant performance and his character’s maniacal actions, not his death. The Dark Knight has earned its success all by itself, not by the passing of one of its great actors.

I will go ahead and say the same thing about The Dark Knight that I said about Batman Begins three years ago – only with more emphasis: The Dark Knight is not only an amazing Batman movie, it’s an amazing movie. Period. In fact, it’s so good that I would go as far as to call this one a film – not a movie. It is just as much artistic, emotional and beautiful as it is entertaining.

With The Dark Knight, director and co-writer Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, Memento, The Prestige) is at the very top of his game. When the Joker appeared in Tim Burton’s Batman, though the film’s tone was dark, he was not. The Joker was simply a gag-playing clown with dirty tricks up his sleeves. Nolan’s Joker is pure, plain evil. He doesn’t have a plan to take over Gotham. He’s an agent of chaos. He represents anarchy. Or, as Alfred (Michael Caine) puts it, “some men just want to watch the world burn.” Instead of seeking money or power, he delights in seeing what people do when placed in horrible positions. He wants to see where people draw the line in seeking the greater good.

The directing Nolan pulled off creates a tone that feels like a mix of The Departed and 9/11. The editing, as well as a good portion of the story, feels much like Martin Scorcese’s The Departed. The tone of the film, created mostly in part by the actions of the Joker, feel like you’re personally living through 9/11 in New York City. During The Dark Knight, I felt as if I was an average person living in Gotham City while these horrible terrorist attacks were constantly going off – and there was no safe place to run to; I felt trapped.

Though The Dark Knight has received a PG-13 rating, it is not a family film. It is extremely dark, violent and even terrifying. It is not the family friendly Batman that Joel Schumacher created in the ‘90s with Batman Forever and Batman and Robin – this is a new, gritty Batman. In essence, this is The Dark Knight.

If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight yet, what are you waiting for? Sure you’ve heard a lot about the story, the action, and maybe even the Joker’s brilliant magic trick, but you really have no idea for what you’re in store for. It’s a brilliant film without any downtime. And if you haven’t seen it on IMAX, now you have a reason to see it again. Throughout the film, Nolan filmed with an IMAX camera so that major action sequences jump and fill the entire massive screen – creating amazing effects.

No matter what, having seen it already or not, seeing The Dark Knight this week over any other movie is the best choice you can make.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

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