Monday, August 25, 2008

The Dark Knight

I’ve waited for this movie for half a year or so. Finally, this Saturday, I could see it. And I’m glad to note the new Batman movie is just as great as I hoped.

With the hype the movie has been going through (in Germany, can’t say much about other countries), I was unsure whether or not I’d like it. Normally good critics are a good sign for me to avoid a movie, as I never have the same taste as those writing them. In this case, though, it was different.

What I found most surprising, was Heath Ledger. Yes, a lot has been written about his last performance after he’d died at the beginning of the year, but you can never be too sure about such articles. People tend to say a lot of good things about the recently deceased, omitting, as it were, the bad things. So how good would this Joker really be? What kind of mad villain would he be? Would he be at least as good as Jack Nicholson?

The answers to these questions are like this:

He was an extremely good Joker. I’ve never seen this character played as dark and insane as he’s done it. He did not try to mirror the Joker seen in the TV series or the Joker seen in the first Batman movie. He created a new version, one that was much, much closer to the comics.

The Joker is not your ordinary villain. A villain - even a super villain - usually is after something. Money, revenge, power, influence, whatever. The Joker - at least the way Heath Ledger played him - is not. He is only after one thing: utter and ultimate chaos and anarchy. (Because chaos is the ultimately fair state - his words, not mine.) He cannot be bought, he cannot be threatened, he cannot be intimidated. And that’s a great, new approach to the Bat’s archenemy.

Now, is he as good as Jack Nicholson? He’s different. In my eyes, he’s better. He’s a villain the likes of which are extremely rare on screen. You can despise and hate him, but you won’t forget him in a hurry. (And not just because of the violet and green clothing - the regular colours of the Joker.)

So, the Joker was good (he was great), but how about the others? They were just as good. Since “Batman Begins” I’ve known Christian Bale to be the perfect actor playing Batman. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are just as perfect for their roles. The same goes, of course, for Gary Oldman (and finally we have the Commissioner Gordon at the end of the movie). But the other roles were casted just as well.

The movie has a lot of good points: great actors, good story, great action scenes, great effects. Unfortunately the Tumbler (my Batmobile No. 1) is destroyed during the movie, but the new motorbike is just as great. Compared to the last movie, everything is faster, bigger, darker and more intense - finally giving the Batman the look of the comics and doing away with the laughable figure he’s become on screen for decades.

If you like action movies, Batman, comic-related movies or just one or more of the actors, I can only recommend “The Dark Knight” to you.

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