Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: Movie #89

The Dark Knight (2008)

Plot: As Batman (Christian Bale), Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman), and new aggressive D.A. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) come closer to bringing down crime in Gotham City, the mob turns to the Joker (Heath Ledger), a crazed criminal who drives the city into chaos.

I feel stupid writing a review of the Dark Knight.  What the hell am I supposed to say at this point?  The film has been analyzed and talked about to death over the last three years.  It’s not only one of the greatest superhero movies of all time…it’s one of the greatest films of all time.  Well, I guess I’ll just rattle off a few things.  First of all, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachael blows Katie Holmes out of the water.  Her best moment is probably when the Joker holds her up at knife point in the party scene.  She reacts very well to this psycho-path.  The development of the Harvey Dent character is pretty astounding.  You really grow to like this guy, which makes it that much harder when ‘stuff’ happens to him later in the movie.  I love Alfred and his superpower of always being able to give Bruce a big speech or sage like advice whenever he feels like it.  Speaking of Bruce, Christian Bale will never be topped as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  We also get the Bat Pod…that was awesome.  The score is incredible.  I’ve never heard a score where it fits the mood and tone of a scene better than this one…Simply outstanding.  Am I forgetting anything?  Oh yea, Heath Ledger.  When you watch a movie, particularly when you are watching a great performance like Tom Hanks in Philadelphia or Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, you might walk away saying, ‘Wow, those guys had 4 scenes that really knocked me on my ass.’  Heath Ledger’s Joker is at an 11 every single second he’s on screen.  It’s a perfect performance.  Every time he speaks, moves his eyes, or licks his lips is memorable.  His best moment isn’t even on camera for most of the scene, and that would be when he’s video taping and torturing the fake Batman he captured.  Granted, the script for the Joker was an ‘A+,’ but its Ledger who gives the role it’s life blood.  But after all the things I’ve talked about, the primary reason why this movie means so much to me is the hero/villain relationship will never be better on screen.  This is the pinnacle.  The Joker said it best: ‘This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.’  Alright, that’s all I have to say.  If you haven’t seen this movie, then you’ve been living under a Bat Cave the last 3 years.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t quickly mention the director of this masterpiece.  Most will argue Heath Ledger is the MVP of the film…but I say it’s Christopher Nolan.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 (OMG, OMG)

Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):

Best Performance: Heath Ledger as the Joker

Worst Performance: Monique Gabriela Curnen as Ramirez
-Just really bad delivery.  The worst is when they realize Joker is going after Harvey Dent after he kills two people with ‘Harvey’ and ‘Dent’ in their names.  She says ‘Harvey Dent’ so proudly.  Wow…a five year old could have deduced that, good job.

Best Line: “You see, madness as you know, is like gravity.  All it takes is a little push.” –Joker
-It’s his last line, but his best.  And then he laughs hysterically.  That’s the last we see of Heath Ledger’s Joker.

Worst Line: “Just talk me through.  Talk me through what’s going on with you.” –Rachael to Harvey as they are tied up in different locations
-The actual line is fine, but it’s Maggie Gyllenhaal’s one bad delivery.  She asks him like, ‘So what’s going on with you today?  What did you get for lunch?’

Best Fight:
-Batman vs. Joker at the end is amazing.  No, it’s not the typical choreographed amazing fight sequence, but it’s one of the most emotional confrontations on film after everything that transpired in the movie.  I love the way it begins.  We get a great shot of Batman using his grappling hook as he ascends to the top.  The Joker is there waiting for him and simply says: ‘you made it…I’m so thrilled.’  We’re off and running.

WTF Moment:
-I’m not crazy about the random accountant finding out who Batman is.  I get that it makes sense in the Nolan realism superhero world, and it’s used as a great plot point later on.  But I feel like finding out Batman’s identity is too big of a deal, even though we are treated to one of the best lines in the film because of it:

Lucius Fox: Let me get this straight: You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck.

Best Scene:
-I had about 500 choices.  As much as I love the interrogation scene, the final exchange of dialogue between Batman and Joker is my pick.  The writing is pure brilliance.  Batman thinks he’s won, but the Joker pulling out his final ace, reveling in his corruption of Harvey Dent, and then laughing hysterically at Batman as he hangs upside down is the highpoint of this film.  The music could not have been more perfect. 

Worst Scene:
-I had to really dig deep.  I guess during the Bat Pod chase, we could have done without the little kids making gun noises as Batman drives by.  As I said…I had to dig deep.

Funniest Moment:
-How is it not the Joker in a nurse costume?

Bad Ass Moment:
-‘How about a magic trick…’


One comment

  1. Pingback: Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: THE FINAL RANKINGS « The Green Light

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