Movie Review: The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

It took the genius of Alan Moore and Frank Miller to retell the Batman folklore and transform it from a child's comic book to a literary graphic novel art form that even the intellectual could enjoy. It took the skills of director Christopher Nolan and a stellar cast of Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman and Maggie Gyllenhaal to create a Batman closer to the one envisioned by Moore and Miller.

Batman fans know that the Joker is by far the most twisted and complicated among all of the caped crusader's villains. The Heath Ledger incarnation of this fiend is perhaps the greatest villain to ever make a presence on the movie screen. What made playing the Joker an intimidating task was that Ledger had big shoes to fill. Ledger had to create a Joker at least as fearful as the one Jack Nicholson created more than a decade ago.

Ledger's Joker is by far more psychotic and terrorizing than his Nicholson counterpart. Many predict a posthumous Academy award for his role. It is indeed a big loss to the movie world that Ledger would meet an untimely death after this role.

Christian Bale is easily the best Batman ever. Christian Bale brings out the dark character of the Batman and all the inner conflicts that the dark knight must endure much better than anyone else.

Director Nolan deserves special kudos for bringing so many of the Batman complexities on the screen. Though Batman the Beginning did not succeed at the Box office, critics hailed it as the only Batman movie that had got it right until then. This story focused on the Batman rather than his colorful villains like other movies had done before.

Undeterred by his prior setback, Nolan has brought forth this masterpiece that begins where the last Batman left off. This time Batman must meet his deadly nemesis who has struck an unholy alliance with the local mob in Gotham city.

Batman has his allies too. There is inspector Gordon, played extremely well by Gary Oldman and the new DA, Harvey Dent played by Aaron Eckhart. The paradox of Harvey Dent is one of the most complicated of all Batman sub-plots. I did not expect any director or actor to explore this character. Nolan has succeeded in doing this beyond my expectations. Eckhart brings a charm to Dent's character that I have not seen in any of the Batman comics.

Finally, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman true to their reputation add more luster to this Batman saga. I am the least bit surprised that this movie shattered all box office records with its $155 million opening. This movie is a must-see.

Do I now believe that Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns' will ever make it to the big screen? Most probably not! The whole idea of a seventy year old batman coming out from retirement to save Gotham does not look appropriate for Batman movie. But then, who knows? Maybe Nolan and Bale can work their magic again!

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