Friday morning as 12:01 a.m. struck, theaters all over the United States started the official showings of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins. Highly anticipated because of Heath Ledger’s final performance and the hype that has been ramping up for months now, this film is set to break records at the box office. But is it all the hype says it is? Simply answered, no, even though I would give this film a B+ rating. Let me explain…
With the case of many films, such as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Dark Knight may have fallen victim to too much praise before its release. Building the film up to phenomenal status will leave some movie viewers less than satisfied once the closing credits roll. For example, at the midnight showing I attended, there was a relatively young crowd writhing in their seats. Some with Joker face paint and some with Batman attire. Random bouts of cheering took place before the film started. But after the two and a half hours, not one shout of excitement rang out. I will say the most astounding thing to me was the fact that the crowd was dead silent throughout the entire movie. No side conversations and no text messaging on cell phones.
Now that some of the bad has been revealed, let me move onto the highlights of the film. The writing and acting done for the Joker was nothing short of genius. With Nolan and his brother Jonathan obviously working hard to create a dark, quirky and fiendishly pleasing clown villain, it was great to see a near perfect translation to the big screen. Ledger more than kept the movie alive, he was the movie in my opinion. Everything about the Joker’s wit and sadistic love for chaos keeps viewers glued to the story, while the mannerisms and voice acting of Ledger keep everyone yearning to continually see him on the screen.
As I sat and watched I found myself utterly astounded by Ledger and the Joker’s character. Never before have I seen such a dark character written and acted to the point where I could not get enough. From the exhilarating opening bank robbery to the moments of insight into the madness of the brightly painted freak, I could not let go. Which may have turned out to be a bit of a bad thing as I found myself not caring about any other characters in the film. Christian Bale was flat as Batman and everyone else just seemed blah compared to Ledger’s vivid character.
Overall, everyone should see this film at least once. The first hour and a half is stupendous. The downfall of the film was in the last hour or so. A certain character, which will remain unnamed should not have even been attempted to be put in the movie. As one moviegoer accurately put it, “the last hour didn’t add anything to the film.”
As said before, this film draws a B+ from me, mainly by the grace of Nolan’s Joker writing, superior directing and awesome cinematography and Ledger’s Joker acting. It is just too bad Ledger is not around to share his amazing talents with the masses anymore. His screen presence will be missed, especially after people see The Dark Knight and realize he and his character carried the entire film.