23 July 2008

The Dark Knight: a movie review

It was in the news: The Dark Knight broke box office records for first day ticket sales and weekend sales! Is it simply because of the late Heath Ledger that drove people to watch his performance? Well... I think that's one element. But the film is truly so much more.

The Dark Knight is not your comic-book BatMan; this film version is definitely not for the average kid. I would describe this film as intense. Disturbing even, to a point.

BatMan's "career" as a crimefighter was at its peak as organized crime finds its world getting cramped. As last ditch efforts are being made to salvage their fortune and lives, along comes the Joker whose solution to the problem was quite simple: kill the BatMan.

What follows is a bizarre twist of events orchestrated by the Joker. I am reminded of my comment for the movie Hancock, where every superhero has a supervillain. In the Dark Knight, the Joker personifies super villainy! His actions were deadly and precise, underlying his calm demeanor. I cannot personally believe that it was the late Heath Ledger under that makeup. I remember him best from A Knight's Tale. His persona as the Joker was a complete character altogether. Indeed, I can say that he even outshone BatMan in this movie.

The story of Harvey Dent was a delightful surprise. When we saw him flip a coin the first time, my friends and I gave knowing glances... that's Two-Face! Whoops... wait, is that a spoiler? Ummm... I actually didn't know Two-Face was going to be in this movie because he wasn't mentioned in the trailers at all, and the posters displayed in cinemas were just about BatMan and the Joker. It was really a surprise for me to see him played in the movie. His was a passion that overtook his sense of loss over his sense of justice.

For this second installment, the characters were complex and engaging. The Joker, most especially. And of course with a clown around, expect a few laughs. It was madness, that Joker. The audience laughs while he tries to bombard an armored truck to smithereens. Is that suppose to be funny? Maddening, isn't it?

Ok Ok... I really can't skip out the spoilers but I'll make a couple more in this paragraph. It was a surprise as well that the BatMan left Gotham City on a mission. Well, I have grown accustomed to having BatMan stay always in Gotham City that it was really a surprise that this fictional city received a "reality treatment". And the BatMan fan club! That was a riot. My only gripe is that BatMan's hoarse voice made me want to clear my throat, and we were actually speaking like him already when we left the cinema! Also I wonder if Two-Face always had Eye-Mo handy.

If you're going to watch the movie, take your wiwi break early on; it's about two and a half hours long and the story moves along quickly; you can get lost if you miss out on a couple of minutes. Engaging story with lots of human drama, lots of action, cool car and bike! This movie is well worth the wait.

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