Batman Retrospective Review Part 7: The Dark Knight
Here's the final part of my retrospective look at the Batman franchise. This time I review a rather familiar film that should get us in the mood to see The Dark Knight Rises.
Welcome to the final installment of my Batman Retrospective Reviews. If this is the first of my reviews that you are reading then please read my other retrospectives before continuing. I would also like to thank those that have been reading these reviews since the beginning and have contributed in the comments of said reviews.
For this installment I will be taking a look at The Dark Knight, the most recent Batman movie until today with the release of The Dark Knight Rises. I will be doing this review differently than the others because, as everyone on the internet has been making their opinions heard about Batman and Robin, they have also said pretty much everything there needs to be said about The Dark Knight. We've heard people praise the performances, namely Heath Ledger's, we've heard the praise of the score, direction, cinematography, and pretty much everything else that you can think of that this movie did right. The fact remains that when I saw this movie again in order to do this review I instead focused on the first time I watched it, in the theater with my dad. I'll get into more of my impact with the movie but first here's the history.
With the success of Batman Begins they decided to do what they did with Tim Burton and give Christopher Nolan more freedom with the inevitable sequel. Now this is basically the history on how the film was made but something everyone talks about when discussing this movie is the death of Heath Ledger. While production was still going on with the movie (the Joker scenes were finished at this point apparently) Ledger met his tragic end. This event is believed to have been the reason why the Dark Knight got the opening day box office result that it did and why Heath was even nominated for an Oscar in the first place. But despite this misfortune the film turned out to be a huge success, gaining praise from both critics and general audience members alike and being the first comic book movie ever to make it onto the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time. Many people still consider it one of the greatest comic book movies ever.
Again I'm not going to review this in my traditional fashion because it's going to be redundant repeating what everyone else has said about this movie so the actual review will be rather short (trust me you won't be disappointed where this article ends up). Let's start off with the cast as each actor in this movie gives it their all, which says a lot considering we have the likes of Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, and Micheal Caine. But the biggest surprise of the cast was the magnificent performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker. He managed to portray the Joker in a way that encompassed all previous Jokers while still doing his own take. This in a way wasn't the Joker from the comics but it still included everything we loved about the character (in my humble opinion the perfect adaptation).
The cinematography was expertly done making every moment feel genuinely epic. The plot threw everything at us, but still managed to stay organized and comprehensible. It managed to give us huge moments all the while constantly building the atmosphere to the final confrontation that left the whole audience in awe. While there are minor issues I had with the movie (Batman's voice does get distracting in certain scenes and Racheal still wasn't as developed as I would like) it's still a marvel to behold and should be viewed at least once by anyone regardless about their feelings towards Batman and comic book movies.
This is how I'm going to differentiate this review from the thousand other ones on this site alone. Here I'm going to talk about my experience first seeing this movie. As you can probably tell I'm a big Batman fan. I've grown up on the animated series and enjoyed other shows from the animated universe involving Batman like Batman Beyond and the Justice League. While I enjoy the character of Superman more than I do of the character of Batman, Batman did always embark on some pretty interesting adventures. In the animated series we saw Batman face incredibly dark tales of good people going bad, crime running rampant, and a hero who wouldn't necessarily win all the time (with episodes centered around villains like Two-Face and Mr. Freeze how could he). It was a great show that treated us like we were smart and could understand the dark side of life. I also enjoyed the movies but they didn't have the same sense of awe that the animated series, at least until I saw The Dark Knight.
Having grown up with Batman for years before this point I had no idea what was going to truly be shown to me when I sat down in my theater seat having a conversation with my dad about how the prissy guy from A Knight's Tale was the villain. When I left that theater that day everything I thought about comic book movies changed. No longer did they need to be these basic films about good versus evil with flashy special effects. They can be so much more than that. They can include plots with twists you'd never see coming, characters you thought were never going to be killed suddenly became expendable, and the ending can be triumphant without necessarily being happy. From that day forward I never looked at movies the same way again as I had a deeper apreciation for the craft that goes into these productions and I even gained a desire to become a director and/or a critic (guess which I decided on).
Naturally I had to watch this masterpiece again. Unlike other movies I reviewed for this retrospective I didn't need to go out and rent it since a copy of it was in my Blu Ray collection. I didn't watch it for a while because nothing really matched the enjoyment I had when first watching it, until this viewing. Suddenly those memories came on me and it was as if I were transported back into the theater with my dad as we watched this epic movie (not to be confused the movie "Epic Movie", which I hope you don't). In fact at the end of the film I had to hold back the desire to applaud the movie as I forgot that I was watching it in my room with my sister and her friends downstairs. All in all this is a masterpiece of cinema and even though there are those on this site that don't like the movie I urge anyone who hasn't seen it to watch it at least once.
So that's the end of my retrospective. Like if you liked and comment below on your feelings on the movie (no Marvelites vs Nolanites please). Also please share your thoughts on any movies I should review or retrospectives you think you'd like to see (I'm already doing one for Superman whenever Man of Steel comes out). Soon I'll have a review up for The Dark Knight Rises either tonight or tomorrow morning for my view of the IMAX version. See you then.
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