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31 July 2008 @ 10:28 pm
The Dark Knight - OMG!  
I don't have a Dark Knight icon (oh the shame!) so I went with Adam because he's morally ambiguous and that's the closest I can get.

The non-spoilery part of the review is that this is a bloody fantastic film and if you haven't seen it go now. Or, you know, wait until the cinema is open, then go.

What I thought:

Heath as The Joker - Absolutely amazing. Seriously one of the best performances I have ever seen from anyone and it is such a massive pity that he will never get to hear all those plaudits. The thing is though, despite all the obvious hype around him, I forgot that it was Heath, and to me that's an indication of just how damn good he is. He completely disappeared into that character and made him into someone who wasn't 'grr argh!' scary but genuine, properly disturbing. Just watching and listening to him is an unsettling experience, no more so than in the scene where he holds one of the fake Batman's hostage and records a video for the press. I think the thing that makes him so disturbing is that he breaks one of the first rules of writing - he has no dicernable motive. He's not doing it for money, power, revenge, infamy or because he's a bastard. He's doing it just because. That makes him a total unknown and you really do have no idea what he's going to do next. Nolan's decision to have no backstory for the character really paid off here because as he starts to tell a completely different version of how he got his facial scars you begin to realise you know nothing of this 'thing' at all and that induces fear. One thing you can glean from him is he is a Class A crazy but in a horribly controlled manner. It makes those few times he seems to lose control stand out even more like when he almost angrilly tells the mobsters he's not crazy (inviting you to think he's an escaped Arkham patient who didn't think there was anything wrong with him?) and when he realises neither boat has blown the other up. Finally there's his makeup which I think was done brillaintly. It's like his face is decaying in some ways.

Christian as Batman - Nicely understated although I don't think he was given as much to do as last time. The gravelly bat voice still doesn't sound quite right though. And whilst he's very good at Batman and great at getting that inner conflict across, in some ways I think his Bruce Wayne act is even better. Like the moment where he crashes his lambo 'accidentally' to protect a police car from being rammed and then instead of taking the credit, says he was trying to run the lights and does the dumb act. The character everyone sees a Wayne is every bit as complicated as the Batman persona, an odd mixture of playboy, philanthropist and business man. But he should have taken his shirt off more... ;)

Aaron Harvey/Two-Face - Another one who was completely brilliant. He made Harvey's descent utterly believable and, because he made him a good man to start with, also utterly tragic. Wonderful foreshadowing with the nickname and the coin. Knowing what was to come made those moments quite stomach clenching. And as to the facial scarring? Completely horrific if somewhat hard to believe. Could he really live with his face like that or would he succumb to massive infection? Although I did like the way they threw in a mention to him refusing pain releif which could obviously be seen as another partial catalyst to why he loses it. Lastly, is he really dead? They didn't say he was dead, I don't remember them checking his pulse and his coin landed 'life' side up. I think Nolan et al might have been hedging their bets on that one, leaving it open in case they want to bring him back.

Gary as Lt Gordon - He really just owns this part. He perfectly plays that one good cop in a corrupt town with a great mixture of weariness and hope. The businesslike manner he gets things done and his subsequent disbelief almost at being promoted was great. And I'm so glad that in the end they didn't turn him against Batman. Batman needs te ally and Gordon needs to believe that there's someone extra special fighting out there to stop things looking hopeless. Also I was completely sure he wasn't dead so that was no surprise.

Maggie as Rachel - She's a good actress but she was giving little to do except die. She was brillaint in that scene, trying to comfort Harvey and I respect her decision in the end to marry him and leave Bruce and all his myriad of issues behind. It's a pity that Maggie didn't get a chance to play her in the first film where she had more involvement.

Michael as Alfred - Plays the role with such lovable charm, if only he'd been in it a bit more (what happened to him during the party scene when the Joker came in? Maybe I missed him doing something vital but I expected him to step in and try to stop them hurting Rachel). Nice to hear a bit of his backstory too. He and Bruce/Christian have a wonderfully easy gong chemistry.

Morgan as Lucius - I always thought this was a genius bit of casting. Glad to see that unlike some of the others he did get more to do this time and that he still retains his morality. His calmly amused put down of the employee threatening to expose Batman was just excellent.

Cillan as Scarecrow - I wish he was in it more but I can see why they would decide they had enough villains. Nice that they wrapped up the loose end of his escape from last time but I'd love to see more from him in the third film. Perhaps on the road to recovery mentally, being given a second chance in society and Batman doesn't like it, bringing up the issue of what happens to the criminals of Gotham after they've done the time.

General plot - Not a typical beginning, middle and end by any stretch, more like lots and lots of middle and a bit of end. But, if this turns out to be  trilogy then this is the middle so that makes sense. I missed the Batcave and I hope Wayne manor is up and running again by the next film - about the only thing that this film I think lacked in comparison to the first was some of the atmosphere (this one seemed more open whereas the first more claustrophobic and visually dark, playing on fear) and I think the cave was part of that. The Joker's plans were handled very cleverly from correctly predicting that people would turn on each other in a crisis to switching the addresses knowing that Batman would chose to save Rachel but actually wanting Harvey to live so he could bring him down. The plot was complex but kept tight and nothing seemed to be there superfilously..There was an awful lot of tension, like with the assassination of the Judge and Commisioner and the decision to kill off Rachel was genuinely unexpected although necessary to take Harvey where they wanted him to go. About the only thing in the plot that I thought didn't work was Gordon's 'death'. I don't know if we were meant to realise that was him masked in that police truck but it became immediately obvious to me. Everything else though was well planned out and nicely revealed - there were plenty of moments where I went 'oh sh*t!' realising what was about to happen e.g. the guy in the police station with the bomb in him. It's a pity though that the Joker's story didn't have a more final ending. Yes, he was defeated because he was proved ultimately wrong when the people on the boats decided not to sacrifice one another, but it would have been nice for there to have been some mention of him being locked in a very padded cell for the rest of his days just to finalise things. Especially since it's very unlikely we'll be seeing the character again.

The action - Special mention because it was awesome. There really were some jaw dropping moment - like the Tumbler driving under the truck, the bat pod driving up the wall, flipping the Joker's lorry and escaping the building in Hong Kong via plane. About a dozen times the bro turned to me and asked 'How much was their budget?!' Truth is, not an obscene amount by modern Hollywood standards and they used it very well.

Probably as damn near the perfect film as you're ever likely to see (although I resevre the right to always think that Gordon's closing speech was cheesy in an otherwise cheese free zone :D)


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Sparks: Nine sorrowmorbid_sparks on July 31st, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
I came out of that film feeling so utterly sad that a) Heath Ledger will never see how people react to that amazing part (and, like you, 98% of the time I completely forgot it was him acting it), and b) that we will never see how much he could do. Because up until now - even in Brokeback Mountain - we had just touched the surface. The Joker was an incredible achievement, and it's so sad that we'll never know how much more he could have done.

I went home and watching 10 Things. Because what better tribute than him dancing about and singing to a girl he really shouldn't be falling for? *smiles*
keeping it vaguely imaginary...: Joker // creativeelf__kali__ on August 1st, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
We had sympathy winces for the Lambo. T'was very good. I really want to go and see it again.
doylefan22: adam/kenseidoylefan22 on August 1st, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
I may have already booked a couple of tickets at the IMAX for the bro's birthday.

And Dad wants to go and see it next week too.

Oh, the hardship.
Purpleyin/Hans: deceptionmissyvortexdv on August 2nd, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
I didn't see Gordon's return coming, I really had thought he was dead. So the masked driver not speaking flagged up for me, but I thought it'd be the Joker and when he was revealed elsewhere I thought that might be one of his lackey's or someone else foreboding who'd foil the police from the inside.

Have they mentioned if there will definitely be a third film then?