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Overall Rating
4.43

Awesome68.49%
Worth A Look: 18.49%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 2.1%
Total Crap: 5.04%

10 reviews, 178 user ratings


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Dark Knight, The
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by brianorndorf

"Batman truly returns"
5 stars

It’s been three lengthy years since “Batman Begins” clobbered the big screen, and the wait for the next chapter in this saga has been interminable. What director Christopher Nolan achieved with “Begins” was superhero tonality on an inspired, chilling scale; it was cartoon vigilantism turned into a mesmerizing metropolitan dirge, masterfully executed in a manner that made previous attempts to bring Batman to life seem juvenile and insincere.

Well, “The Dark Knight” eats “Begins” for breakfast.

As Batman (Christian Bale) lords over Gotham City, he watches his efforts to curb crime, with the help of Lieutenant Gordon (a quite reserved and quite marvelous Gary Oldman), finally bearing fruit. Into his path walks Joker (Heath Ledger), a madman who wants to rule the local crime syndicates and watch the city burn to the ground. Overwhelmed by such a merciless foe, Bruce Wayne (Bale) seeks out new strategies and armaments to fight off Joker, while watching district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) gain ground fighting crime legally, not to mention making moves on lost love Rachael Dawes (a mature Maggie Gyllenhaal, needlessly replacing Katie Holmes). Left to contemplate his original mission of justice, Batman/Wayne finds himself in over his head as Joker’s ruinous wrath is turned to loved ones and the greater integrity of Gotham City.

“The Dark Knight” is a raw nerve of a comic book film, bravely daring to go beyond the heroic norm and keep its fingers wet with the extremities of evil. There’s just no stopping its intensity and antagonism, reaching far beyond what many would expect from a Batman sequel to become something willfully hazardous. This isn’t a pow! bam! action fiesta, but more a crime story containing marvelous sprawl; a cinematic safe haven for iconic cartoon characters to be newly imagined as embittered pawns in the mighty chess game of Gotham City. The prize? Control of the streets.

Everyone wants the reins of the landscape and “Knight” observes this struggle with impeccable detail and lavish screentime. Credit director Christopher Nolan, who returns from “Begins” as a man on a mission to plunge even further into the heart of darkness, daring to portray Batman’s famous rogues gallery as the madmen they truly are. This is Nolan’s “Untouchables,” setting up Batman and Gordon as relentless hunters for justice, trying to squash their ultimate Capone: Joker. The story strangles the entire city, a new Gotham that eschews CG augmentation for historic brick and steel: a glorious use of Chicago city streets that are swiftly turned inside out by this absurd warfare.

There’s something delightful to be said about the hands-on-hips hero pose most superhero films subscribe to, but “Knight” heads the opposite direction, sliding into provinces of disturbing behavior and ruthless actions. How this sadistic picture slipped out of the MPAA’s fingers with only a PG-13 is a miracle, for Nolan amps up the nightmarish qualities that made “Begins” such a kick (including killing a few dogs, blowing up hospitals, and threatening children). Of course, it’s nearly all centered on the Joker, who steamrolls over his enemies with a homicidal taste on his lips that can never be licked clean. Taking out enemies with knives, bazookas, and even a pencil, the Joker has come to reign, and it’s a wondrous viewing experience to watch as Nolan takes the character to the extremes of execution without batting an eye. This Joker (as opposed to his more comical forefathers) is one terrifying bastard, a villain unable to be sated by monetary reward or underworld glory, just seeking out the gratification of unyielding chaos.

To watch the late Heath Ledger in this role is to watch an actor at the top of his professional game daring himself to go even further. Ledger’s Joker is a slimy beast with a carelessly stitched mouth, speaks with a creaky Midwestern housefrau accent, and uses his clown exterior to creep out the room. It’s a resourceful performance, not only because it articulates manically, but because Nolan finds an ideal home for Ledger’s affectations in this crushing carnival, fitting comfortably between Bale and his impressive growl and Eckhart, who’s uncharacteristically well cast as Gotham’s new beacon of tranquility. It’s a stupendous triangle of conflict, with delightful cast additions in Michael Caine as butler/taskmaster Alfred, Morgan Freeman as weapon specialist Lucius Fox, and, of all people, Eric Roberts, who oozes agreeable olive oil as Mafioso kingpin Salvatore Maroni.

“Knight” isn’t comprised entirely of alarm. Nolan is an astute enough filmmaker to allow in a few moments of geekgasm, including the emergence of the Batpod motorcycle, Batman’s new sonar abilities, and majestic shots of the crusader soaring through the night skies. “Knight” doesn’t equal the delirious novelty of “Begins,” but it has its share of goosebumpy moments to equal out the horror, even permitting the smarmy playboy character of Bruce Wayne a few unexpected, entirely welcome gun-dismantling, crime-thwarting moments.

It seems that the Joker isn’t alone in “Knight” when it comes time to terrorize Batman. The villain Two-Face also leaps into the fray, an addition the 150-minute-long “Knight” handles better than any other superhero film around. What’s fascinating here is Two-Face’s purpose not as a thorn in Batman’s side, but as the Joker’s ultimate perversion of nobility. The burned brute is not just unleashed to ‘roid up the third act, but to feed into the vast thematic underpinning of the picture; Two-Face brings essential focus to the battle between Joker and Batman, keeping the stakes sky high as the movie attempts to locate an appropriate exit both in action and psychological reflection.

I don’t know where Nolan keeps his stash of stupendous Batman conclusions, but, much like “Begins,” “Knight” ends on a salivating note of promise for the assured third installment, sending our hero off conflicted yet perfectly repurposed for a new dawn. The picture is a delicious antidote to plastic popcorn thrills, hurling the audience into the ferocious line of fire, watching the mighty Gotham City fall to its knees. “The Dark Knight” is epic, frightening, unforgettable, unstoppable, and every inch a classic Batman trial, brought to life with disquieting, mouth-slashing sincerity.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17085&reviewer=404
originally posted: 07/19/08 00:17:29
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell AWESOME GRITTY EXCITING 5 stars
2/21/17 Dave One of the better superhero films out there, but I am not a huge fan of Nolan's direction 4 stars
4/27/16 Ken Amazing film. Heath Ledger was a great Joker, even though Jack Nicholson was great, too. 5 stars
3/14/16 Charles Tatum One of those films where everything absolutely works 5 stars
9/11/15 misterfilms my top 3 films of 00s: LOTR, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE NEW WORLD 3 stars
5/03/15 Cooler One of the greatest movies ever made 5 stars
3/02/15 mira storm all nolan's film is shit 1 stars
2/17/15 roxelena it waste my time and my money when i watched this film in theatre 2 stars
2/15/15 enicmatic al is this gay movie? YES 1 stars
2/14/15 jason gracio this movie are GAY! 2 stars
2/08/15 russel fuck you fanboy this is the most SHITTIEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!! 1 stars
1/08/15 vendoza overrated piece of shit in cinematic history 1 stars
1/06/15 brando i hate this crap! 1 stars
1/05/15 crovie i didn't like this movie 1 stars
6/18/14 Haley S. This was such a great movie. It's one of my favorites! 5 stars
3/24/14 Justin R. Mesmerizing! 5 stars
1/14/13 austin one of the best movies of the century 5 stars
10/11/12 austin wonderful 5 stars
9/19/12 Gabrielle Barnard The Best Superhero Movie. Dark, dramatic, intriguing, riveting...I could go on all day. 5 stars
9/07/12 austin fantastic 5 stars
8/29/12 Alex Figueroa Epic! 5 stars
8/09/12 Kcaj fuck yeah 5 stars
7/27/12 Amanda Smith Captured my attention. 5 stars
7/25/12 the truth yes 5 stars
6/20/12 Jordan Kentris Holy cow, this movie blew me away. Heath Ledgers performance was amazing. 5 stars
12/22/11 Isaac Simply the best comic book film ever made; it works on every level. 5 stars
12/15/11 cr Even if christian bale is not my fav batman, this movie and heath ledger perf. were soild. 3 stars
10/19/11 Magic An apocalyptic movie, Wagnerian in scope. The escalation in nihilism is exhilarating. 5 stars
5/26/11 Glenn Laurence Hardy Junior this movie is great. no question or doubt in my mind. friend me on facebook!mypic. is sonic 5 stars
4/27/11 the rock one of the best action crime films around 5 stars
3/10/11 bored mom The DC Comics equivalent of Chinatown? In the end, there is only madness and death. 5 stars
12/01/10 Barbara Leaf I cried every time I saw Heath Ledger, r.i.p.,but he was the best thing in the fillm 3 stars
2/06/10 Jessica Pretty long, Ledger was absolutely amazing though! 4 stars
1/24/10 MP Bartley Ledger is quite terrific. I'm not convinced the rest of the film is as good as he. 4 stars
1/20/10 Stanley Thai One of the best movies of 2008 and easily the best in the entire mythology. 5 stars
1/11/10 David Overlong and overblown. Not impressed with Bale, Ekhart or Gyllenhaal. 2 stars
7/03/09 Jonathan Birch Very Overrated. Boring, pales in comparison to other crime films it tries to imitate 3 stars
6/29/09 budo Poor performance by Ledger? He won by the greatest margin in Academy Award history. He was 5 stars
6/15/09 R Lan Simply the best of the Batman movies. A perfect marriage of a great script and great action 5 stars
6/09/09 freak awesome 5 stars
4/29/09 Dr.Lao One of the few things in this world that actually lives up to the hype 5 stars
4/10/09 Raul Valdez Jr POSSIBLY THE BEST MOVIE OF 2009 5 stars
4/09/09 Chris F such a poor performance by heath ledger not a patch on jack nicholson 1 stars
3/28/09 Dani O. Epic win. 5 stars
3/17/09 austin wertman best superhero movie ever 5 stars
2/24/09 man best superhero movie ever 5 stars
2/11/09 Stewart Sadistically violent with no moral purpose. Boring convoluted story and bad action scenes. 1 stars
2/03/09 Piz great adaptation of the comic book, but felt a little too rushed in the end. 4 stars
2/01/09 lo& Kinda overrated.I must be the only person alive that thinks 'Begins' was better than this. 4 stars
1/15/09 dude best movie of the year 5 stars
1/04/09 Lucy whoever gives this film a bad rating is crazy. 5 stars
1/03/09 FrankNFurter Gritty, chilling thriller--probably the first superhero Academy Award contender! 5 stars
12/30/08 Flounder This is a dark, morally complex crime drama - and one of the best I have ever seen at that 5 stars
12/29/08 the dork knight my only complaint is my mom didn't like it. :P 5 stars
12/19/08 Craig D. It's not The Godfather. It's not even the best movie of 2008. Get a hold of yourselves. 4 stars
12/11/08 Richard Remington Adam West is and always will be the best Batman,the rest are all clowns! 1 stars
12/11/08 K. Sear Surprisingly complex. 4 stars
12/11/08 Hope people are going far in saying "the best movie ever"but it is great and i saw it 2x =] 5 stars
12/06/08 Jared Robb Very epic film, casting was perfect. Excellent acting all around. 5 stars
12/01/08 killer feels epic this film 5 stars
11/27/08 little Red best movie ever. Heath Ledger was perfect as the joker. to bad hes dead 5 stars
11/26/08 Leo T very dark, but never lost the Batman 'feel'.... awesome 5 stars
11/20/08 Joker Fan one of the best films ever created 5 stars
11/16/08 killer one of the best crime films ever 5 stars
11/16/08 Meep Has it's moments certainly, and better than Begins, but still just ok 3 stars
11/12/08 Michael M Not perfect, but indeed a great film. And like all Nolan films, has an incredible ending. 4 stars
11/01/08 ldavies Could have used some editing. Ledger and Bale were fantastic. 4 stars
10/20/08 heath electrifyimg 5 stars
10/18/08 AshleyRockO The Best Superhero movie ever made. Period. The acting from everyone is impeccable. 5 stars
10/14/08 The Dork Knight A bit too much speechifying by the villains but otherwise good 4 stars
10/10/08 man best superhero movie ever 5 stars
10/10/08 dude best superhero movie ever 5 stars
10/06/08 jokera mindblowing 5 stars
10/01/08 Danny BEST...MOVIE...EVER!!! 5 stars
9/27/08 Ken It's not a great movie if at least one person in the world didn't like it 3 stars
9/17/08 joker face mindblowing cinema 5 stars
9/16/08 Brad The Joker is the best villian in the DC universe and Heath Ledger nailed the role 5 stars
9/16/08 Carla A. Amazing film, brilliant performances, intelligent script. What more could you ask for? 5 stars
9/15/08 g. AWESOME 5 stars
9/12/08 Joker's Younger Brother incredible movie....The Joker is the best villian EVER....!!! 5 stars
9/10/08 dark knight ledger is the new hannibal lecter 5 stars
9/06/08 Halad65 Amazing film. 5 stars
8/31/08 another one fucking kicks ass 5 stars
8/31/08 AnnieG Better than ‘Begins’, although it could have ended much sooner. 4 stars
8/27/08 Quigley Amazing, brilliant, well-acted/directed, this film is unforgettable. Ledger was incredible 5 stars
8/23/08 pantera best film ever 5 stars
8/22/08 black_queen_marches Ledger's performance was the best i've ever seen, awesome movie, ending was anticlimatic 5 stars
8/22/08 Jen Minor flaws aside, the most earnest, thought-provoking and satiating movie in years. 5 stars
8/21/08 Christ An ok movie, but certainly not great. 3 stars
8/18/08 jonathantstorm mindblowing cinema 5 stars
8/17/08 Ricky This film honestly blew me away. The ending gave me chills. Top notch in every respect 5 stars
8/15/08 Allan Jackson not the great film that I had expected to see, but satisfactory. Michael Caine was good and 3 stars
8/15/08 Melissa Ledger was wonderful. If you get the opportunity you should see it at IMAX! 4 stars
8/15/08 Alice Heath Ledger was very very good as the psycho Joker.He is the reason I give 4 stars. 4 stars
8/14/08 jessica speechless! cristian bale and heath ledger were great! 5 stars
8/13/08 snakeeyes awesome 5 stars
8/12/08 RB The best of the Batman movies. Ledger, Oldman and Eckhart carry the movie though 4 stars
8/11/08 M Took it self a bit too seriously, but nonethe less great. Heath was perfect! 4 stars
8/09/08 JW Heavyhanded, confused storytelling. Good performances. Good explosions. 3 stars
8/09/08 Bnorm Freaking amazing. with out a doubt the best superhero movie ever made 5 stars
8/08/08 Tiffany Losco LOved it!! Heath was crazy lookin though. But he is a great actor. 5 stars
8/07/08 Ameisha It was long...but worth it! 4 stars
8/06/08 Paul Sweet, sweet brilliance. 5 stars
8/06/08 E K Zimmerman Am I the only one who loathed this garbage flick? 1 stars
8/05/08 Zim my favorite super hero movie 5 stars
8/03/08 Mark Glazer The Joker was the scariest ever. Great movie!!! 5 stars
8/03/08 J Smaltz Boreing, fell asleep somewhere in the final hour, never did see Ledger die or what ever 1 stars
8/02/08 R.W. Welch Chaotic actioner is carried by Ledger's inspired Joker characterization. B+ 4 stars
7/30/08 johnnybgoode Ledger was great. This film overall was well-done but a bit over-rated. 4 stars
7/30/08 zenny top-10 action movie, all-time 5 stars
7/28/08 austin wertman best superhero movie ever 5 stars
7/27/08 Samantha Pruitt too long, dragged a bit, the only good part was the Joker. 3 stars
7/27/08 Roland same old bat...boring..exept for heath ledger who actually carrys anoter ways tired pot 2 stars
7/27/08 christy this movie is thoughtful and incredible. best in '08. 5 stars
7/26/08 Ry Great film with a message! 5 stars
7/25/08 erick definitely, the best superheroes movie ever. heath ledger deserves the oscar. 5 stars
7/23/08 Albert Darmawan L Fantastic&Superior.The best Batman movie i`ve ever seen. 5 stars
7/23/08 Roy Smith This should be 6 Stars ------------> 5 stars
7/23/08 mr.mike First half rocked , 2nd half fell off 4 stars
7/23/08 The Talking Elbow TDK WAS flawed. Tried to fit too much into one film. Choppy editing. This made it boring. 4 stars
7/22/08 COUSINSEXx TDK is not your tweeny superhero flik but an epic crime saga in the realm of The Godfather2 5 stars
7/22/08 mike Ledger was freakin awesome. One of the best villains ever 5 stars
7/22/08 Luisa Heath Ledger is very disturbing, what a great performance. Movie is good but ran too long! 4 stars
7/22/08 Koitus Just - "wow." BUT - I checked the rating as I left; totally a border-line "R", IMHO. 5 stars
7/22/08 Heat1996 Good story, okay script, excellent acting, really good cinematography...Ledger, genius. 4 stars
7/21/08 ES It was good, but something was missing, i just didn't get absorbed into the story 4 stars
7/21/08 orpy Am I the only one who was bored, bored, bored? 3 stars
7/21/08 Simon Wow. What a loaded film, so many thoughts and themes to ponder.. THIS is why we love movies 5 stars
7/21/08 I Luv Heath Heath Ledger was so good in this movie, I couldent ask for a better joker than him 5 stars
7/21/08 Jiz Bale continues his ridiculous scowl, Eckhart hams it up, and Ledger/Nolan own the movie. 4 stars
7/21/08 Adi Wonderful! I loved it, every moment of it. Will probably go watch it agian in IMAX!!! 5 stars
7/21/08 Toni Awesome, best movie of the year by far. 5 stars
7/21/08 carlos G I wish 2face was held off til next film, but NO JOKE, give Ledger and Nolan their Oscars! 5 stars
7/21/08 james Aaron Eckhart steals the show 5 stars
7/21/08 Diana Kee Awesome movie. Far exceeded my expectations!!! 5 stars
7/21/08 Jonathan This is a deep great philosophical and action pact movie, you keep your eyes off of it! 5 stars
7/21/08 Ryan W Ledger lived up to the hype 5 stars
7/21/08 Adrian Want to see a magic trick? 5 stars
7/21/08 Pete K I agree; Batman and robin was more my cup of tea over this muddled in your face overly long 2 stars
7/21/08 Dan While Ledger's Joker was great, the rest was mediocre. Batman/ Wayne wasn't written well. 3 stars
7/20/08 Tripp Speechless. Beyond anything I expected..god help us all. 5 stars
7/20/08 Dave Yep...This is going in my top 10...ever! 5 stars
7/20/08 D Somehow exceeds the hype....simply put an incredible film 5 stars
7/20/08 Paul Levinson eons beyond any prior Batman ... infiniteregress.tv 5 stars
7/20/08 Obi Wan Absolutely amazing...Best SuperHero movie EVER! Joker/Ledger best Villian EVER!! 5 stars
7/20/08 jm I think ledgers performance is overrated. Sad but great ending. Batpod intro was brilliant. 5 stars
7/20/08 Phil B Truly Epic 5 stars
7/20/08 paulette This was a beautiful, well-acted, dark, intense film for 110 min, then long & gratuitous. 3 stars
7/20/08 Moose This is possibly one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. Heath was incredible. 5 stars
7/20/08 Darkstar I'm fucking speechless. 5 stars
7/20/08 Dimu Brilliant...just bloody Brilliant!!! 5 stars
7/20/08 Drew Simply Amazing 5 stars
7/20/08 Michael S T Simply amazing.. Actually the movie shies away from CGI in the action-heavy scenes. 5 stars
7/20/08 kimryan an amazing, scary, great story. You glory in Heath's performance and mourn at the same time 5 stars
7/20/08 twilightbringer Brilliant and brutal, The Dark Knight is now the defining event of our cinematic era. 5 stars
7/20/08 Gazza Jack Nicholson STILL personifies The Joker, ledger more hannibal lecter. 3 stars
7/19/08 Eugene True to it's comic book roots, excellent film. 5 stars
7/19/08 TyrantisTerror The polar opposite of Batman and Robin. A defining movie of our generation. 5 stars
7/19/08 Dab Great friggin movie. 5 stars
7/19/08 joker steals the show.very good but too damn long. damalc 4 stars
7/19/08 bullit16 Went in thinking, "it can't possibly be as amazing as the reviews say." I was dead wrong 5 stars
7/19/08 TheClown Ledger is vastly overated. Any hack with that makeup would have made a great joker! RIP 4 stars
7/19/08 Stacy It was just perfect. 5 stars
7/19/08 long johnson liked batman and robin better 1 stars
7/19/08 David V Believe the hype, this is absolutley a fantastic movie. 5 stars
7/19/08 Gerard Espiritu THE WORD "GREAT" IN OUR EXPECTATIONS OF THE MOVIE ARE SORELY INADEQUATE! 5 stars
7/19/08 larkin Good Lord 5 stars
7/19/08 Gary Simply Outstanding! Ledger is The Joker. 5 stars
7/19/08 KieranDraven Considering other countries hate us but want to live here, the movie was great! 5 stars
7/19/08 Matt Craven It can not be said enough - Ledger was one of the best villains in history. 5 stars
7/19/08 PAUL SHORTT NOT JUST A GREAT COMIC BOOK FILM, BUT A BRILLIANTLY CRAFTED, SOLID AND ENGROSSING THRILLER 5 stars
7/19/08 Flounder Saw it in IMAX last night. I was BLOWN away. One of the best films I have seen 5 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner The Joker looks pretty wild in this film. 5 stars
7/19/08 Guy Smiley Considering Americans have the attention span of a peanut, I'm not surprised by the review. 5 stars
7/18/08 ben dover the best comic book film ever and yet so much more 5 stars
7/18/08 BrianWilly I cannot believe how good this movies was. 5 stars
7/18/08 tmcmistress Absolutely fantastic. 5 stars
7/18/08 alex r. not just a great comicbook movie--it is a great movie! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jul-2008 (PG-13)

UK
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Australia
  18-Jul-2008




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