The Dark Knight

Why would anyone read this review when they could be watching The Dark Knight?  Seriously, it’s worth the hype and continues the excellence started by Batman Begins, but it’s not perfect.

The film starts off with Gotham City no longer being the dank, corrupt city it was a year ago.  Yes, there’s still crime but the mob leaders’ hold on the city has been weakened.  All thanks to an alliance between Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon.  An upstart district attorney Harvey Dent catches their eye, no doubt because his pursuit of justice in the courtroom rivals Batman’s.  Batman and Gordon contemplate letting Dent in on their plan to take down the mobs.

The mobs, meanwhile, have been hit hard but still have plenty of fight in them.  They meet with a Chinese mobster accountant by the name of Lau, who has transferred all their money to China to avoid police investigation.  The meeting is interrupted by an upstart criminal known as The Joker.  The Joker knows that while their money may be safe with Lau from Dent and the Gotham police, it won’t be safe from Batman.  The Joker’s hypothesis proves to be correct, as Batman catches Lau and delivers him to the police.  Lau’s capture is a huge victory for Batman, Gordon and Dent.  Out of desperation, the mob turns to The Joker.  The Joker’s plan is simple…kill Batman.

Of course, that’s only the beginning.  The plot is very solid, with many twists and turns along the way.  Dark Knight is also packed to the point where the viewer wonders if it was only two and a half hours.  There weren’t any problems with the plot as far as I was concerned, just the ending.  The rest of this paragraph contains a serious spoiler, of course.  It was very irritating to see that they killed off Harvey Dent after spending the whole movie building him up.  He didn’t have enough time as Two-Face, whose moments of awesomeness had me craving for him to be in the next movie.

While the plot isn’t perfect, the action certainly is.  One of the criticisms of Batman Begins were the fight scenes, which were hard to follow.  Dark Knight improves upon this flaw.  The fights are easier to watch but keep true to the gritty realness of Begins.  And, wow, the violence factor!  Maybe it’s because I watched this up close and personal in theaters, but damn, I bet you could feel every punch delivered by Batman.  And damn, is it satisfying!

Of course, there’s the acting.  Christian Bale is perfect as Bruce Wayne and Batman.  His gruff Batman voice is better in this movie too.  He’s backed up by one of the best supporting casts in recent memory.  Heath Ledger plays a damn good Joker.  His portrayal is better than Jack Nicholson’s, although Mark Hamill is still king as far as I’m concerned.  Aaron Eckhart doesn’t just look like Harvey Dent, he is Harvey Dent.  His acting is worthy of an Oscar and it gets better as the film progresses.  Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman reprise their respective roles from the first movie, with Oldman and Freeman’s roles stepping up from their relatively minor roles in the first movie.  The only real knock on the acting is that Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes.  Rachel’s character in this movie looks older, which is odd because only a year has passed.  It’s just a little jarring, especially since she looks young and youthful in Begins.

Overall, Dark Knight is very enjoyable.  If you like Batman, comic books, super heroes, or movies in general, Dark Knight is worth the price of admission.  If you’re still reading this and haven’t seen Dark Knight yet…what are you waiting for?

Final Score:  9.6/10

I just want my phone call…

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