Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Dark Knight is my favorite superhero movie

I’ve mostly stopped watching new superhero movies. They’ve lost their way. They have no heart. They are a coagulated mix of what initially sounded awesome - having as many characters as possible jam packed into the story - into just plain confused and confusing. 

The Dark Knight, however, from 2008, has heart and people and a storyline that makes it a classic, even without all the special effects, endless fighting and chase scenes, and layers of superheroes from who knows what DC or Marvel or Archie Comics or - who cares - universe. 

Seeing this movie for the first time - it's the one that everyone has always talked about mainly because of Heath Ledger's compelling performance as The Joker - amongst all the overdone latest superhero releases perhaps makes this one stand out even more.

The philosophical touches director Christopher Nolan brought to films like Memento and Inception are all over The Dark Knight. He and Ledger make The Joker more human than ever, as a somewhat and somehow ordinary dude - other than his desire to reap chaos. Ledger, you may recall, died of an accidental prescription overdose early in 2008 before the film was released and later that year posthumously won best supporting actor at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, making it the first superhero movie ever to win those trophies. He had said he was influenced by A Clockwork Orange and The Sex Pistols in his portrayal, which I can see in hindsight.

Ledger got all the love, and his performance is no doubt legendarily great, but I - controversially - may still think Joaquin Phoenix was the greatest Joker of all time. But enough about the main villian; how about the rest of that cast? Christian Bale and Michael Caine are the perfect Batman and Alfred Pennyworth respectively. Aaron Eckhart as district attorney Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Gary Oldman as police lieutenant Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Batman's tech chief, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as an assistant district attorney torn between Batman and Dent - you just can't get enough of any of their characters.

If you are one of the last people on the planet after me to have somehow missed this film, do yourself a favor and go to MAX right now to stream it.

5 out of 5 stars

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