Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Dark Knight (v1)

The Dark Knight
4/4 stars

Is WOW! sufficient? I can't remember the last time I went to a movie and was in utter disbelief at how far the filmmakers went. They pulled out all the stops and the sad thing is that I can't tell you about any of them without spoiling the movie, which you need to see, at least if you can stand a grim and gritty foray into crime and morality. And believe me, they don't call it "The DARK Knight" for nothing.

The complicated plot involves Batman about a year or so after the earlier "Batman Begins" taking down the mob with the help of police lieutenant Jim Gordon and new DA Harvey Dent who is known to Gothamites as the "White Knight" for his tough stance on crime and by the corrupt cops as "Two Face" for his time in Internal Affairs. By working together Batman, Gordon, and Dent put a stop to the mob--at least temporarily--but enbolden an even greater threat in the Joker. The Joker isn't your typical movie villain in pursuit of money or world domination; he wants chaos, pure and simple. And what follows is chaos that pushes everyone to (and past) the limit.

Though it is a bit overlong at 2 1/2 hours, this is still an absolutely tremendous film. It takes the groundwork laid by more serious superhero flicks like the 1989 Batman or "Spider-Man 2" and completely takes it up to the next level in terms of substance. If it weren't for the crazy costumes this wouldn't be much different than watching something like "The Godfather" or "Heat."

Heath Ledger plays the evil Joker and if you don't know, he killed himself in January. Anyway, his performance was awesome, blowing away the Jack Nicholson version, which is a feat. What I think helped this out is they didn't try to create an origin for the Joker. He simply shows up on the scene, creating havoc. What that means is there's nothing that allows us to gain a lot of sympathy or understanding of him, because we don't see that he was some kid picked on on the playground or some crazy Mafia thug. He's simply an evil force unleashed upon the world. Ledger of course gets most of the kudos, but the other actors all did their thing, or as much as they needed to do. Maggie Gyllenhaal was slightly less irritating than Katie Holmes, but how hard was that?

I'm sure this movie isn't for everyone. After the first time I watched it, I felt as if I had been psychologically bludgeoned with a sack of doorknobs. There is just so much happening and not a lot of it is very pleasant. I'd say you probably shouldn't take young kiddies because even though most of the violence isn't shown on screen and there's not a lot of blood, the Joker is pretty terrifying and another character ends up pretty gross-looking. More importantly, it's really not an easy movie to follow because there are so many interlocking moving parts. And if you want something "fun" you're better off watching "Hellboy II" or "The Incredible Hulk" because this isn't your old-fashioned dumb superhero movie as I've already said.

At the end of the day, the real question I have is: where do they go from here? How can you possibly top that? Well, you probably can't.

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