Got back from seeing the Dark Knight. It was everything that I expected out of the sequel, and then some. It ran nearly three hours, but it didn’t feel like it had to drag anything out to make it that long…everything kept moving at a breakneck pace, even the parts that were supposed to be slow and talky. Heath Ledger’s Joker was far darker than Nicholson’s, but purposeful and single-mindedly focused on being the embodiment of pure chaos. He was made out to be the perfect foil for Nolan’s grittier take on the Batman and the movie does an adept job at creating that dynamic in both word and deed especially towards the end. Just as with Brandon Lee’s final performance in The Crow, I can only wonder where Heath Ledger could have gone after Dark Knight. He was that damn good. Everyone was.
Aaron Eckhart (I remember him from Paycheck and The Core) was perfect as Harvey Dent, the White Knight of Gotham City hellbent on delivering justice to every criminal on the streets. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance as Rachel Dawes gave it a sense of realism that matched the film’s darker tone, Lucius Fox’s role as top man at Wayne Enterprises and Batman’s secret engineer was once again brought to subtle life by Morgan Freeman’s understated performance, and Michael Caine is always great to see on the silver screen especially as the fatherly Alfred. Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon was once again awesome, but the film pushes his character even further than the previous film, making him a more integral part of Gotham City and Batman’s work which was fantastic to watch.
There wasn’t anyone in the movie that I thought was simply thrown in for kicks. Even Eric Roberts who appears as mob godfather, Salvatore Maroni, wasn’t bad given how little of a part he actually had. The first film set us up for the ass kicking expertise that Wayne dishes out here, and there’s a lot of it. One problem from the first one, the all-too-fast cuts that made watching the actual fighting feel like a bunch of flashing images, was thankfully polished out as Batman pummels his way to justice along with being pummeled himself. Actually seeing him go hand to hand with the criminal scum of the city using the arts taught to him by an ancient order of assassins had a lot more weight to it now that we can actually see the results.
I’m not spoiling the end, only to say that it was so definitely worth it and sets it up neatly for the franchise to continue. Even if you don’t like superhero movies, it’s definitely worth seeing for the action, the characters, and the story. And no, you don’t have to sit through the credits…no surprise at the end.
The previews that preceded it were the coming of age comedy, College, the vampire book adaptation, Twilight, Tropic Thunder (which looks hilarious), the comic novel adaptation of Watchmen (which I’ve never read, but looks incredibly awesome), and the teaser for Terminator Salvation. No Harry Potter teaser, although there’s not a lot to see with the current one at all.