Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dark Knight A Near-Masterpiece

This past decade has seen great changes in the way that comic books are translated into films. The Spiderman and X-Men trilogies attempted to inject their characters with more humanity, and the movies tackled more serious issues. But those movies had a distinct disadvantage, in that their characters - the heroes and villains - possessed supernatural or mutant powers. It's difficult for an audience member to relate to the problems of someone who can fly.

In Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the heroes and villains possess a verisimilitude that goes far beyond any characters in previous comic book films. The film deals with issues such as fear and terror, but instead of using such themes to preach, Nolan explores these ideas with a subtle touch. Good and evil do not battle each other in this movie, rather they dance together. And it is a dance that is incredibly entertaining to watch.

Every main actor delivers quality work in the film, but no one can come close to the powerful energy of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Few would be able to. Throughout the film, Ledger's performance reminded me of the work done by Daniel Day Lewis in last year's There Will Be Blood. Both characters possess a larger-than-life feeling of invincibility, and both are relentless in their pursuits.

I refer to the film as a near-masterpiece in this post's title, because there are a few minor critiques that I did have. One small problem that I have with all superhero movies, are the quick scenes that a director will cut to, where an innocent bystander will have some small line that is meant to be witty. These lines usually fall flat and add little, and usually leads to me rolling my eyes.

Thankfully, the movie's positive attributes greatly outweigh any small criticisms that any moviegoer could have. It's been almost two days now since I saw it, and I am eagerly anticipating my next chance to view The Dark Knight. It is easily the best movie so far of 2008, and by the time that 2009 begins, I expect it to remain among the year's best.

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