Why The Dark Knight is still the best comic book movie of all time


Batman brooding over a wreckage in The Dark Knight.
Warner Bros. Photos

Let’s journey again to 2008 and revisit popular culture, we could? The most well-liked TV present within the nation was American Idol. Studio comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall may nonetheless gross over $100 million on the field workplace. Plus, superhero fatigue didn’t exist, which is the right segue into our dialog about the most effective comic book movie of all time, The Darkish Knight.

Fifteen years in the past in the present day, The Darkish Knight, Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated sequel to Batman Begins, hit theaters within the U.S. For a movie billed because the occasion of the summer season, The Darkish Knight managed to exceed expectations and alter the complete trade. A comic book ebook film centered round a caped crusader and a villain sporting clown make-up pressured the Academy to appoint extra movies for Finest Image. This is identical Academy that someway awarded Crash Finest Image. But, it bent the knee to a Batman movie.

The setup for The Darkish Knight is comparatively easy for a Christopher Nolan film. After the occasions of Batman Begins, Batman (Christian Bale) is now the infamous crime-fighting vigilante of Gotham Metropolis. With the assistance of police lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and district lawyer Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman units out to remove organized crime. Standing in his method is the Joker (Heath Ledger), the sadistic felony mastermind and agent of chaos who needs to witness Gotham burn. The Joker pushes Batman to his limits, forcing Bruce to face a number of morally complicated points as he learns the true which means of sacrifice.

A neo-noir disguised as a comic book ebook film

The Darkish Knight (Trailer)

Due to his dedication to originality and prowess in sensible results, Nolan is among the few filmmakers who can promote a film on his identify alone. No filmmaker higher understands spectacle and the method of “eventizing” a movie than Nolan. When adapting the supply materials, Nolan considered the comics as a information, not a map. There are comedian ebook rules he adopted, comparable to Batman’s unwillingness to kill or use weapons. Nonetheless, Nolan used The Darkish Knight as an excuse to make against the law drama. The Darkish Knight is a neo-noir disguised as a comic book ebook film and that’s what makes it so good. It’s not fascinated about fan service; as an alternative, it merely needs to weave an elaborate morality play with the principle gamers being comedian ebook characters.

It’s like Nolan stated “What if I make a remade of Michael Mann’s Heat set in Gotham Metropolis?” as he envisioned his Batman sequel within the mid-2000s. Did Nolan really say that? No, in all probability not, however the filmmaker has acknowledged in quite a few interviews that Warmth impressed The Darkish Knight. Nolan informed GQ how Mann turned Los Angeles into an “epic playground” in Warmth. Nolan did the identical with Gotham, filmed in Chicago, for The Darkish Knight. Nolan filmed The Darkish Knight in an actual metropolis with actual individuals and actual results. This isn’t a movie that was shot on a soundstage. The semi-truck flip happened. These sensible results, together with the sweeping pictures of the town, add to the authenticity and grittiness of Gotham.

Talking of Warmth, Nolan’s homages to Mann’s motion thriller are littered all through the movie. The opening scene heist and the automotive chase from The Darkish Knight had been impressed by the armored truck heist and financial institution shootout in Warmth. Nolan’s use of masks and vans, alongside along with his inclusion of loud gunfire and chaotic power, can all be attributed to Mann’s Warmth. The Joker strolling down the road with a shotgun is a stand-in for Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley throughout a shootout in opposition to the police. The interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker is Nolan’s diner scene between De Niro and Al Pacino. But, these homages don’t really feel like blatant rip-offs due to Nolan’s inventive route and fascinating screenplay.

Heath Ledger’s iconic efficiency

The Joker maniacally stares.
Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s time to speak about Heath Ledger. Amazingly, it took me this lengthy to say the late actor’s identify in The Darkish Knight. Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker is the undisputed king of comedian ebook portrayals. It’s arguably probably the most iconic efficiency of the twenty first century. Ledger was so good that he outshone Christian Bale, a rarity for an actor considered the most effective of his technology.

From the second he stepped on display, The Darkish Knight grew to become Ledger’s film. The sinister chuckle. The smudged make-up. The purple lipstick. The facial scars. The slick inexperienced hair. The fixed licking of his lips. This consideration to element allowed Ledger to distinguish himself from earlier Joker portrayals, most famously by Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero. With so many debates within the trade about methodology performing, it’s refreshing to learn such variety phrases about Ledger’s conduct on set from his colleagues and crew members regardless of remaining in character.

The Darkish Knight’s lasting legacy

The Joker and Batman sit across from one another at a table.
Warner Bros. Photos

Ledger is simply onscreen for 33 minutes, however his presence looms massive over each scene. The Joker is a foul man; I’ve no drawback calling a psychopathic assassin out after I see one. But, the Joker forces the viewers to see a special facet of Batman, one the place he’s not performing like a real hero. The Joker goads Batman into bodily assaulting him in the course of the interrogation scene. Batman fights crime with out the help of the police (moreover Gordon). He selfishly chooses to save lots of Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) over Harvey. These aren’t precisely heroic qualities. It’s not black-and-white or good man vs. dangerous man in The Darkish Knight. There’s loads of grey, and this ambiguity strengthens the battle between Batman and the Joker.

The Darkish Knight grew to become the superhero trade’s first billion-dollar film. It created a blueprint for auteurs to comply with when crafting a comic book ebook adaptation. Nolan not too long ago informed HugoDécrypte that he won’t ever make one other superhero film. I agree with Nolan; he ought to by no means make one other superhero movie. If the best comedian ebook film of all time is in your resume, your job on this style is full.

The Darkish Knight is streaming on Max.

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