One of my favorite movies ever and my favorite superhero movie, The Dark Knight shows the potential of a Batman movie. The film has some flaws but those are easily glossed over with the brilliant performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker, for which he won an Academy Award. Christian Bale returns to play the Batman and though this movie continues the story that started with Batman Begins, it feels like a wholly separate film that stands easily on its own.
The movie starts with a very cool robbery scene. I remember this scene being released early to build excitement and I watched it several times. It introduced the villain in a very cool way and showed his craziness from his first reveal. The story of Gotham continues in the wake of the appearance of Batman. It draws from the phase of the comics that I am more familiar with in that Batman has been practicing his crime fighting for a while and most criminals are scared.
The Joker is the oddball and perfect ingredient in this mix but other characters also shine. Aaron Eckhart is great as Harvey Dent who eventually burns into the evil deranged villain Two Face. His makeup was disturbingly awesome mixing the realism of Christopher Nolan's vision with the cartoonish comic book villain. I also like how they brought back Cillian Murphy for a short cameo at the beginning as the Scarecrow.
The movie has several very cool action scenes including one in China where Batman flings out of a building attached to a plane. The car chase through the middle is hard to see the first time around but now that I know every action beat, I think it is fun to watch, especially when the truck flips. The helicopter crash is one of the weakest in film but Joker's dialogue keeps the tension up.
Nolan was not afraid to trick the crowd and take risks with the plot, which I really appreciated. There were plenty of shocks and these mysteries were able to be covered up before the release so caught me totally off guard on my first viewing. The ending was a little long but I appreciate having a lot of a Batman movie to watch. Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox, the executive of the Wayne Foundation. His character jockeyed back and forth over the ethical nature of surveillance, still an important issue several years later.
The reviews don't look great for the new film coming out and I'm going to see it tonight so I will be with a review shortly. I have heard it is a bit violent, which I don't mind, and full of action. I am looking forward to it but I don't think it will match the awesomeness of The Dark Knight!