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Review: THE DARK KNIGHT
Author: Gregg Bray
Friday, July 25, 2008

THE DARK KNIGHT - A Warner Bros. release, presented in association with Legendary Pictures, of a Syncopy production. Produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan. Executive producers, Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy, Thomas Tull. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay, Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan; story, Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer, based upon characters appearing in comicbooks published by DC Comics, "Batman" created by Bob Kane.

Bruce Wayne/Batman - Christian Bale
The Joker - Heath Ledger
Harvey Dent - Aaron Eckhart
Alfred Pennyworth - Michael Caine
Rachel Dawes - Maggie Gyllenhaal
Jim Gordon - Gary Oldman
Lucius Fox - Morgan Freeman

Just walked in from seeing THE DARK KNIGHT....

First, a quote from my brother: “THE DARK KNIGHT is amazing. Something I wish critics such as Robert Ebert (who I tend to adore, but I have to call out on this) would grasp is that the film is not "elevated above the material." No, it is the material” –John Patrick Bray

Well, I had to make a phone call to a friend and offer a small apology for being a doubter.

My excitement for THE DARK KNIGHT was not as strong as other's excitement. I hated the non-permawhite Joker. I really did not like The Joker's look in the trailers. I didn't care for the "Prologue." Some of the dialogue seemed wooden -- again. And while Maggie Gyllenhaal is certainly an improvement over Katie Holmes, I was prepared to hate the "love triangle" between her, Bruce, and Harvey Dent. Also, the first trailer felt like BATMAN (1989): Remade.

So, I arrived--excited, because I'm always excited to see Batman on the BIG screen (a drive in, in fact). But already prepped to say what I didn't like about

I love the film. Love it. There are minor nit picks (hello complaints thread), but who cares? I feel this was the best script of any Batman film to date. The performances were dead on. The Harvey Dent tragedy played note-perfect, and I thought The Joker's involvement in his transformation was inspired. "To make a point. Here's to crime." --if I may quote Alan Moore.

The constant revision to his origin was also consistent with the constant revision in the comics. I enjoyed that, despite his inability to tell his origin without either lying or remembering things differently or just not caring but living for the moment--he had no origin. The Joker just "IS."

Where have I read that sentence before? Hmmm?

Not enough could be said about Heath Ledger. And it never will be enough. Every review, every fan giving him accolades everything. Not enough. My words will not be enough. I won't even try.

...Okay, I lied. He's brilliant! When he was dangling upside down, or thanks to the camera right-side-up, and he and Batman talked about being linked in their dual for years to come, I thought to myself “...if only.”

I reverse my earlier position. They can't recast him. Joker's story, at least in this series, is done.

Lucius Fox was incredible! I'm pleased they answered the age old question 'so, nobody could figure out Wayne is Batman?' Great scene between Lucius and the employee -- and that his story actually has a mini-climax!

The prisoner throwing the detonator out the window? Inspired. Excellent character moment for a walk-on. Just excellent.

The dialogue worked for me when the entire film was not decontextualized. Quite frankly, I feel the trailers, teasers, and promos did not do it justice. Although the virals were fun!

Even when the script moved in a direction that made me nervous (Batman films and press conferences never go over very well for my taste); it pulled itself into an unexpected direction (Harvey Dent, "I'm Batman.")

Alfred burning the note? YES!

The YEAR ONE moment -- Batman saving Gordon's son -- yes! “But he didn't do anything wrong.“ Well, Jimmy, it's a complex world and a complex film.

I can not wait to see it again!

Gregg Bray is a longtime BOF'er and site contributor.
Send feedback to Gregg at GREGGBRAY@YAHOO.COM.

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