It’s incredible how well this movie holds up. Even today, in a market absolutely flooded with superhero media, this still stands as one of the greatest of all time. You could still argue that it is the greatest!
The Dark Knight is perfect in almost every single way. The script, the acting, the visual effects, they’re all completely timeless! This movie will hold up just as well fifteen years from now as it did back when it first came out! It’s a true classic through and through!
Batman’s war on crime in Gotham continues. Only now, he’s not alone; the new DA Harvey Dent is hammering down on crime, quickly becoming the true hero Gotham needs. But the mob is getting desperate, and in their desperation, they turn to a force of evil they aren’t prepared for: the Joker. Can Batman and his allies defeat this seemingly untouchable psychotic clown? Or will Gotham fall into chaos as the Clown Prince of Crime wants?
I love how disconnected this movie is from the two. In both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, the League of Assassins is a major factor in the stories. The Dark Knight doesn’t even mention it! It’s focused entirely on the story of Batman, Joker, Harvey Dent, and everyone connected to it. There are threads connecting each one, but they’re nothing more than a few lines of dialogue. Aside from them, the story of this movie is entirely self-contained.
Which is great. Because the plot here is absolutely perfect! It’s engaging from beginning to end, lacking a single dull moment even when the action isn’t going at full blast. It’s completely unpredictable, making each and every character feel like they’re in genuine danger and keeping the audience on their toes the whole time! Even when the Joker isn’t on-screen, this film is an utter delight to watch every single time!
But let’s be honest: if you’re watching it again, it’s because of the Joker.
Heath Ledger (RIP) as the Joker is still one of the best depictions of the character to date. He so perfectly manages to capture the terrifying intensity of the character. He may lack the comedic energy of other depictions of the iconic clown, but he more than makes up for it with his pure malicious insanity. Not only that, but he perfectly manages to capture a sense of control. Even when he is defeated at the end of the film, you feel as though he is still winning.
And in a way: he did. At least after Bane showed up and gave his ghost a helping hand in the next movie. But that’s a topic for another day.
The other actors are pulling just as much weight as Heath Ledger. Morgan Freeman is still the best on-screen Lucius Fox of all time. Michael Kane makes a phenomenal Alfred. Aaron Eckhart played a spectacular Harvey Dent, both as Dent and as Two-Face. Gary Oldman is still my favorite on-screen depiction of Jim Gordon. Honestly, the only one I’m not super hot on is Christian Bale; he plays a great Batman, but his Bruce Wayne is somewhat lacking to me.
That one critique was probably the most ‘nerd pushing up his glasses’ line that I have ever written.
The visuals in this movie are some of the best examples of practical effects in any movie to date! They went above and beyond with this one! They blew up a hospital for this movie! That wasn’t a special effect, they actually blew up a building! And that’s just one example of how insane the effects are in this movie, albeit the biggest example!
Although I’m not super hot on the music. While the Dark Knight theme is certainly memorable, the rest of the OST is kinda just… meh. It’s either just tension-building violin sounds or fairly generic action music. They all fit the scenes they accompany really well, but it isn’t the kind of music that you’ll want to listen to outside of the movie.
It’s hard to deny that this film is a masterpiece. The Dark Knight is a movie that will stand the test of time for decades to come. Of all the superhero films recently released, this is still among the best.
It’s certainly the best live-action DC film. Even today, they haven’t been able to match it. And not for lack of trying.