The Dark Knight

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” – Harvey Dent

Back in 2008, the hype was real. The Dark Knight had been promoted pretty aggressively for a year, going from a fictional political campaign for Harvey Dent, to the Joker scavenger hunts. Everyone and their dog knew about the movie and wanted to see it. And did it deliver? You bet it did.

In fact, it was received so well it is often considered one of the greatest movies ever made. Not many people would expect that from a superhero movie! It kept the traditional, dark tone and the action-packed storyline that you would expect from a Batman film, but it tackled such deep themes as the nature of justice, morality, right and wrong, hatred and vengeance. It has cemented itself as the best Batman movie, and possibly the best superhero movie ever.

So how did it manage to do that? Well, the key to its success was very likely the incredible performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker. It is now a well-known fact that Ledger had spent a month in a hotel room, creating the personality, posture and voice of The Joker, rooting it in such media as Batman: The Killing Joke and A Clockwork Orange, but managing to build on them and bring forward a performance nobody expected from the star of such films as 10 Things I Hate about You and A Knight’s Tale.

Ledger’s performance as a psychopathic, mass-murdering clown was so captivating, in fact, that many consider Batman, played by Christian Bale, to be a supporting character in The Dark Knight. This movie is the first live-action movie in the cinematic universe of Batman that doesn’t contain the name of the main character in its title, which is a hint in itself. Bale’s performance is very good – like in the first part of the trilogy, he’s probably the most believable Batman to this day – but it was just not as memorable as Ledger’s, or even Aaron Eckhart’s, whose portrayal of Harvey Dent was a perfect counterpart to the Batman’s character.

But these three characters work together in a way that binds the film together. The two knights opposing each other in their arcs, and the Joker as a constant, an absolute agent of chaos that moves the plot but remains unchanged. He’s scary. He’s unpredictable. He keeps you on your toes while providing a healthy dose of dark humor.

Sadly, the early death of Heath Ledger from an accidental overdose on prescription drugs has cast a shadow over the release of this movie. He has posthumously received an Academy Award for his performance in The Dark Knight. The director, Christopher Nolan, has said that he has not added digital effects to Ledger’s performance, keeping it intact, and has dedicated the movie in part to his memory. In a way, The Dark Knight turned out to be Ledger’s swansong, his performance in it truly a masterpiece.

If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight by now, we highly recommend you do. The scenography, costume design, digital effects and the score add so much to the experience and the life-like qualities of this movie, making it a stepping stone in affirming the legitimacy of the superhero movie genre, setting the stage for the enormous success of the superhero media we see everywhere today. They owe it all to this movie. So, if you’re curious to see how The Dark Knight did it, or if you’re skeptical about the genre, grab a copy right now.

Why so serious?

IMDb 4.5 /5
4.5 out of 5
Rotten Tomatoes 4.7 /5
4.7 out of 5
Rogue Cinema 4.8 /5
4.8 out of 5
Overall

Combined average

4.67out of 5

Good
4.67 out of 5
Category Action