Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
That which does not kill you, will only make you stranger.
Stranger still is how Christopher Nolan has managed to better the already formidable "Batman Begins", what with how tricky the franchise is. In the past 10 years or so, blockbuster adaptations of comic book superheroes have rarely touched the greatness, nor captured the essence, of the character at hand, perhaps with the exception of "Iron Man". Between Bruce Wayne and the Batman however, there's already enough character struggle to perish all thoughts of any Catwomen cleavage needed for blockbuster appeal.
Never has an overtly mainstream picture discussed ideas on power, justice, due process and the rule of law so accessibly for the regular moviegoer. Bruce Wayne is billionaire playboy and expert criminologist at the same time - yet the story is filled with legal themes, almost academic even. All the central characters in "The Dark Knight" are so intensely developed, each representing a school of thought in philosophy or sociology. Like Wayne in the movie, one would think that The Joker is just a loony criminal with an affinity for TNT - but as Alfred his butler would say: "... some men can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with, they just want to watch the world burn". Therein lies the attraction of "The Dark Knight" - it's a presentation on the difficulty of defeating 'jihadist' sentiments, a sort of Hollywood-endorsed study on the nature of crime and being.
On that point, Warner also played another hand well - a marketing strategy that mustn't be insensitive to the late Heath Ledger. Perhaps it's fitting then that he delivered his best ever performance as the maniacal Joker, the kind of acting precision that maybe occurs to an actor once or twice in his or her entire lifetime. I don't think it's out of order to say that Joker drew from Ledger as much as Ledger from Joker. The Chelsea grin carved across the jester's face already goes some way towards telling the tale of an entirely believable anarchist whose twisted appetite for destruction will shine brighter than all the Batman beacons Commissioner Gordon could ever assemble on Gotham's rooftops.
For a comic adaptation, it seems strange that the most unbelievable thing would actually be the busty Russian ballerina troupe that Bruce Wayne womanises!
Maybe only two decisions on this project were suspect - to retain Rachel Dawes' demure role (despite switching actresses to the much feistier Gyllenhaal) and also, to reduce Batman's 'thinking time' for The Joker's cinematic glory. It's also lamentable that Aaron Eckhart's turn as the Harvey Dent @ Two-Face has been completely eclipsed by Ledger. His is definitely the most interesting character, although screen time will most probably go to him in the next instalment.
Meanwhile, simply enjoy "The Dark Knight" for what it is - a truly entertaining movie with something for everyone. After all, why so serious?Cinema Online, 23 September 2008