Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Craig's "Dark Knight" Review

The Pitch: Batman done right.

The Overview: Batman has been fighting crime for a year. He's formed an uneasy alliance with police Lieutenant James Gordon and together they have made the streets of Gotham a bit safer. Harvey Dent, the charismatic and popular district attorney, with the aide of attorney Rachael Dawes [Bruce Wayne's ex] are putting away criminals through the courts. Together the four [Batman, Gordon, Dent and Dawes] have created a one-two punch taking on organized crime in Gotham.

Without warning and with no explanation, a criminal psychopath who calls himself the Joker appears on the scene and begins to terrorize the city. Batman, Gordon and Dent will have to pay a terrible toll if they are to have even a chance at stopping the Joker.


The Good:
  • Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is amazing from every little tic and nod to the perfect inflection with his dialogue. Ledger understood that the Joker isn't a clown, but instead a psycho with face paint.
  • The screenplay by Jonathon and Christopher Nolan provides great action sequences, spot on characterization and grounds everything in reality.
  • Christopher Nolan's direction.
  • The city of Gotham. This is the first time in any Batman movie that the city seemed real.
  • The dinner scene with Bruce, his date, Rachael and Harvey. Bruce went in not wanting to like Harvey, but comes to realize he is a decent man and leaves respecting him.
  • The use of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.
  • Every scene with Heath Ledger as the Joker.
  • Bringing back Cillian Murphy for one scene as the Scarecrow.
  • The use of the right actors for small but important roles: Eric Roberts as Salvatore Maroni, William Fichtner as the bank manager, "Tiny" Tim Lester as a convict. Anthony Michael Hall, Jai White and Nestor Carbonell also appear.
  • Gary Oldman is perfect in his role as Gordon.
  • The effects for Harvey Dent as Two-Face. The way the coin toss; Two-Face name, and new look of his outfit is all worked out for the movie.
  • The Joker telling Batman the opposite locations for the rescure of Rachael and Harvey. The Joker's scene with the criminal bosses, the Joker being "questioned" by the Batman, the Joker visiting Harvey in the hospital and then the scene right after when he walks out of the hospital. So much of the movie is just plain good. Oh, and did I mention that Heath Ledger ruled in his role as the Joker?

The Bad: I'm not sure Maggie Gyllenhaal was the best person to play Rachael and I still don't like the look of Batman's cowl, but with so much to like about the movie, let's just move on, ok?

The Ugly: What happens to Harvey Dent.

The Summary: I'm a Batman fan. No prior Batman movie had given me a Batman that totally worked... not even Nolan and Bale's "Batman Begins." "The Dark Knight" works. It works because the movie is grounded and the characters are treated with respect. Excellent choices were made all the way around. Heath Ledger's performance is amazing and gives the movie an additional boost. I look forward to having "The Dark Knight" in my dvd collection.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking 4ward 2 it even more NOW !!! -=c

Craig Zablo said...

Let me know your thoughts once you see it, Chris!

Thanks for dropping by the blog with a comment!

Rafael Kayanan said...

Excellent film - agree about the cowl, and I wish the fight sequences were better but totally enjoyed the film!

Craig Zablo said...

Hey Raf! Glad to hear I wasn't alone in regards to the cowl. I didn't want to be seen as just nitpicking.

Anonymous said...

Craig,

Great review. I wasn't all that interested in seeing this, because I have never been that excited about Batman to begin with. But interest got the best of me (mostly due to Heath Ledger's passing and good word-of-mouth). Also I just wanted to see what everyone was so excited about.

So, I went today. And I loved it. It was way better than I expected. My only complaint was the choice of Maggie G as Rachel, she did not fit the role in my opinion. Bale is terrific as both Bruce and Batman. Heath is incredible, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. The rest of the cast was spot on...especially Gary Oldman. I didn't even put it together that it was him during the film (that to me is a testament to how good an actor is...to be able to forget who the actor is and only see the character).

Jeff said...

I thought it was a pretty good movie. 8/10.

Nice review. Love the site.

Anonymous said...

Before i read it...LET ME JUST TELL YOU I MISS YOUR REVIEW'S...I'VE AGREED WITH 8 OUT OF 10 RECCOMENDATIONS YOU HAVE GIVEN...and when you didn't do stuff like this on other films..especially "sly works""...when you did for "Driven"...ah...it's a let down not to read detail what you thought of a film.

I liked BATMAN BEGINS but just cannot stand Bale's voice tone or at times..how he's lit up in a scene..his first scene with Oldman in "begins" looks like he's probably part of the clothes hanger drying out with all those kitchen lights.

almost looks like some porno. (no, i don't watch them...i stole that line from Adnuk/wink!) and...to the shock of some..who may care..IT'S TAKEN ME RESERVING TICKETS FOR IMAX LAST WEDNESDAY FOR THIS THURSDAY'S SHOWING...

so that that means...i've still not seen this flick yet.

-=c

Anonymous said...

Enjoyable review Craig. 8-)

Jason93

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with JASON :) thanks for the review CZ

Oscar

Craig Zablo said...

Thanks for the kind words folks! [And Chris, thanks for posting a comment on the blog as well!]

Anonymous said...

Nice review Craig.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Always loved craig's reviews, ever since his King Kong(2005) review.

manwithnoname84

Anonymous said...

Great read, Craig. I enjoyed reading every detial.

Ledger made the movie for me. What a knockout performance !

Jazzman

Anonymous said...

Thanks Craig.

SlyStalloneFan

Anonymous said...

Craig,

Great review. I wasn't all that interested in seeing this, because I have never been that excited about Batman to begin with. But interest got the best of me (mostly due to Heath Ledger's passing and good word-of-mouth). Also I just wanted to see what everyone was so excited about.

So, I went today. And I loved it. It was way better than I expected. My only complaint was the choice of Maggie G as Rachel, she did not fit the role in my opinion. Bale is terrific as both Bruce and Batman. Heath is incredible, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. The rest of the cast was spot on...especially Gary Oldman. I didn't even put it together that it was him during the film (that to me is a testament to how good an actor is...to be able to forget who the actor is and only see the character).

The effects were good and the directing was great. Really enjoyed it! 9/10 * for me!

~Melissa~

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 27, 2008, 7:24pm, SlyStalloneRocky wrote:
Craig,

Great review. I wasn't all that interested in seeing this, because I have never been that excited about Batman to begin with. But interest got the best of me (mostly due to Heath Ledger's passing and good word-of-mouth). Also I just wanted to see what everyone was so excited about.

So, I went today. And I loved it. It was way better than I expected. My only complaint was the choice of Maggie G as Rachel, she did not fit the role in my opinion. Bale is terrific as both Bruce and Batman. Heath is incredible, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. The rest of the cast was spot on...especially Gary Oldman. I didn't even put it together that it was him during the film (that to me is a testament to how good an actor is...to be able to forget who the actor is and only see the character).

The effects were good and the directing was great. Really enjoyed it! 9/10 * for me!


Yeah, I agree with your one complaint. Still, overall WOW!

Anonymous said...

Hey Craig,

You actually liked The Scarecrow cameo? I thought that was one of the flaws in the film. I don't think it was needed and felt out of place. Also, I think it brought down the character a bit .

SheriffFreddyHeflin

Anonymous said...

Jul 27, 2008, 11:03pm, SheriffFreddyHeflin wrote:

Hey Craig,

You actually liked The Scarecrow cameo? I thought that was one of the flaws in the film. I don't think it was needed and felt out of place. Also, I think it brought down the character a bit .


Yeah, but as much as it brought down the character, it built up Batman. Scarecrow gave him fits in Batman Begins, but now Batman has advanced so far that he disposes of him like some anonymous goon. I understand your side of the argument Sheriff, but it worked for me. Who knows, maybe we haven't seen the end of the Scarecrow, anyway.

RockyB76

Anonymous said...

Jul 28, 2008, 2:05am, RockyB76 wrote:

Jul 27, 2008, 11:03pm, SheriffFreddyHeflin wrote:

Hey Craig,

You actually liked The Scarecrow cameo? I thought that was one of the flaws in the film. I don't think it was needed and felt out of place. Also, I think it brought down the character a bit .


Yeah, but as much as it brought down the character, it built up Batman. Scarecrow gave him fits in Batman Begins, but now Batman has advanced so far that he disposes of him like some anonymous goon. I understand your side of the argument Sheriff, but it worked for me. Who knows, maybe we haven't seen the end of the Scarecrow, anyway.


I respect that RockyB. It's just for me personally, I wasn't to crazy about it. If Scarecrow is explored a bit more in the third film, I will enjoy it. As much as he was in "Batman Begins", I still didn't think that was enough. haha I know I'm spoiled I guess.

SheriffFreddyHeflin

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 22, 2008, 11:40am, Jason93 wrote:
Enjoyable review Craig. 8-)


Thanks Jason!

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 22, 2008, 3:36pm, oscar wrote:
I couldn't agree more with JASON :) thanks for the review CZ


Thank you!

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 23, 2008, 12:54am, manwithnoname84 wrote:
Always loved craig's reviews, ever since his King Kong(2005) review.


Thanks for the kind words and for sticking around!

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 23, 2008, 12:59am, mark wrote:
Great write up Mr. Zablo!


Thank you!

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 23, 2008, 1:13am, Jazzman wrote:
Great read, Craig. I enjoyed reading every detial.

Ledger made the movie for me. What a knockout performance !


I couldn't agree more. Thanks Jazz!

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 27, 2008, 7:24pm, SlyStalloneRocky wrote:
Craig,

Great review. I wasn't all that interested in seeing this, because I have never been that excited about Batman to begin with. But interest got the best of me (mostly due to Heath Ledger's passing and good word-of-mouth). Also I just wanted to see what everyone was so excited about.

So, I went today. And I loved it. It was way better than I expected. My only complaint was the choice of Maggie G as Rachel, she did not fit the role in my opinion. Bale is terrific as both Bruce and Batman. Heath is incredible, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. The rest of the cast was spot on...especially Gary Oldman. I didn't even put it together that it was him during the film (that to me is a testament to how good an actor is...to be able to forget who the actor is and only see the character).

The effects were good and the directing was great. Really enjoyed it! 9/10 * for me!


I totally agree!

Craig Zablo said...

Jul 27, 2008, 11:03pm, SheriffFreddyHeflin wrote:

Hey Craig,

You actually liked The Scarecrow cameo? I thought that was one of the flaws in the film. I don't think it was needed and felt out of place. Also, I think it brought down the character a bit .


Really? I thought it gave it the right amount of continuity. It was just a little nod to the first movie and worked for me.