The Dark Knight (2008) Movie Review

details
Title: The Dark Knight.
Rated: PG-13.
Director: Christopher Nolan.
Screenplay: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan.
Story: Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer.
Release Date: 2008.
Runtime:  152 min.
Genre(s): Action, Crime, Drama.
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and many more!
Budget: $185,000,000.
Opening Weekend USA: $158,411,483.
Gross USA: $555,234,033.
My Overall Rating:★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10).

Previously in the Dark Knight trilogy:
Batman Begins (2005).

thoughts

There are sacrifices in life that demand far more from a person than one can imagine. They come from a drought in acts of heroism that put countless lives on the line, when a whole city or the whole world are on the verge of chaos and destruction. With no more room for selfish desires, these heroes go beyond their mind and body to do what’s right, risking their own lives in the process to allow others to indulge an iota of happiness. This is a lesson that Bruce Wayne learns the hard way as he enters a terrifying year of crime and turmoil led by a deranged, manipulative, anarchic mastermind who will scar Gotham City forever. Legendary director Christopher Nolan proceeds to release the classic sequel to Batman Begins (2005) that will go on to become the greatest superhero movie of all time.

What is The Dark Knight about? As Batman becomes a symbol of hope and justice in Gotham City, a new menace clowns around, establishing his anarchic dominance towards the remaining organized crime: The Joker (Heath Ledger). Although his vow to rid crime has yet to be met, it is time for Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) to look towards a structural partnership that may help him stop criminals in their steps and there is no better place to look for this help but in District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman). However, the Dark Knight isn’t without a plan himself as he hopes to turn the D.A. into Gotham’s White Knight and go after the heart of his childhood friend Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), putting behind his cape and cowl for a peaceful life. Can he get what he hopes for?

10 Years Later: 'The Dark Knight' — World of Reel

Don’t ask me how many times I’ve seen this movie, I’ve lost track and I’ll probably never get tired of it. This crime thriller is a phenomenal example of masterful storytelling and characterization. Based on multiple iconic stories including The Long Halloween, this movie served as a test of willpower, determination, and loyalty for the Dark Knight and it is accomplished through meticulous and devastating planning by the Joker. The psychological distress that comes from facing his anarchic scheming is one that requires Gotham’s saviour to make morally- and ethically-challenging decisions if he is to defeat his evil alter-ego. Speaking of which, the movie shines from this representation of good and evil through Batman and the Joker. One simply does not exist without the other. And it’s even more impressive when you realize the similarities in the two: in the timing of their attack, in the planning of their offense, and in the understanding of their environment. They’re cut from the same cloth but on different days.

The dynamic between these characters is a gem in cinematic and comic book history. It showcases a stark and unparalleled understanding of these two characters. One abides by rules, the other laughs at them. And when one another discovers this maxim by which they exist, there are only weaknesses to be exploited. The real question simply lies in who will break first. This is where I go on a eulogy for Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. It is simply mesmerizing. An artistic display of talent and passion. The tics, the improvisation, the make-up, the mood, the voice, the dialogue. It is nothing but a flawless adaptation of the greatest villain in comic book history. And once you understand what he plans to accomplish through Gotham’s ray of hope (Harvey Dent), you have no other choice but to praise his evil ways and pray that Batman will do what he has to do to save his loved ones, his city, and himself.

The Dark Knight GIF by Maudit - Find & Share on GIPHY

It would be difficult to ignore Wally Pfister’s cinematography, beautifully capturing the grim, dark, and depressing tone within Gotham City. This is a city on the verge of burning itself to the ground. It is one that doesn’t know who to trust, what to believe, and where to look for any sign of hope. To further capture the beautiful scenes is the score composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. This is a perfected and polished utilization of music to fully capture a sense of awe and thrill within each and every scene. This is how you make sure that the movie leaves a lasting impression on the viewer, one that will remind them that the movie is more than just actors putting on a show. It’s about a story with ideas and people who believe in who they are, ideas that aren’t just happy endings and pretty pictures, or people who aren’t just happy fools and pretty faces. This is a masterpiece.

The Dark Knight (2008) is a tightly-knit masterpiece highlighted by the unforgettable performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker.


EXHIBITA
While Jack Nicholson’s Joker might have been an INSURMOUNTABLE performance, actor heath ledger stole the show and gave us a psychopathic killer to remember forever.

Have you read any Batman/Joker comics?
Have you seen The Dark Knight (2008)? Will you? What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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52 comments

  • I could not agree with you more on this. Like you I have also probably lost count how many times I have seen this film. I was lucky enough to see it in the theatres back in the day, and I was completely blown away by it. Pretty much everything in this film is perfect: storytelling, music, performance, acting (Heath Ledger is amazing!) action…it’s the perfect blend of moviemaking at it’s best. Another thing that was certainly that: is your review. You have captured the film perfectly, and your love for it shines through in every single word of this review! Well done😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember seeing it in theaters too and I was so happy when the movie was done. The complexity of it all was so staggering. It just made my love for Batman multiple exponentially! 😀

      Hahaha I didn’t see that twist coming and I appreciate the kind words, Michel! Thank you so much for reading and for being awesome as always! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve seen this once. Back when it was released on dvd. I remember being overwhelmed by just how dark it was. And the choice that Batman has to make, only to have the Joker be one step ahead of him? It was devastating to watch.

    I really don’t know if I’ll watch this and the next one ever again. Maybe some day….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Absolutely. It was ingenious to see how the Joker knew what to do with Bruce Wayne and push him to his limits, daring him to break his code. I loved it a lot! I do wonder if your tolerance for the grittiness has improved over the years though! 😮 Maybe you’ll appreciate it even more this time around? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder that same exact thing and I also wonder if it is a good or bad thing 😀

        I’m kind of hoping that work slows down this winter so I might have some extra time to watch some movies I normally wouldn’t and this trilogy is going to the top of the list. I watched them as they came out and I need to see them as one cohesive whole.

        Liked by 1 person

  • It’s always great to see someone enjoying a movie as much as you did this one. I don’t know whether I’ve seen this one, I suspect not. I tend to get them all confused, not being the biggest Batman fan. But given how much you’ve enjoyed this it leaves me wondering if perhaps I should put it on my queue and try it for the first time, or give it another go if I happen to have already seen it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can only HIGHLY recommend this one to anyone. I made it a mandatory viewing to my girlfriend who never saw Christopher Nolan’s trilogy before, which served as an excellent reviewing for these reviews (the third movie’s review is scheduled for next month). If you ever do try it out, I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it afterward too! 😀

      Like

    • I agree. A well-coordinated and pre-planned trilogy is always satisfying. An overall sense of progression and development beyond just character and world-building! Let’s see how Matt Reeves’ Batman will fair compared to Nolan’s Dark Knight now. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • You’re not going to believe this but 2 months ago they started a movie-thon on tv with all the Batman movies (one each week). I watched the first one then because there wasn’t anything else on (it never really attracted me before) and I was hooked, so since then I watched all the Batman movies and I really enjoyed them. The Joker is too new to air on tv so I have to wait for that but I look forward to watching that one too. So great to see you love them too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ahh, I’m so happy to hear how enthralled you were by the Batman movies that were aired on TV! They are something. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy remains some of the best cinema out there too. And Joker is another stellar masterpiece for me and I hope you get the chance to view it too, Inge! Thanks for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • YESSSSSS! Finally something I have seen too (The Jocker aside) and I wholeheartedly agree on your 10/10 ! Both Heath Ledger and Christian Bale were amazing. And both are very extreme actors in their methods (or were for Heath) .

    Liked by 2 people

  • And unsurprisingly, now I feel the burning need to rewatch this one… 😀
    When I first saw it I was slightly biased because the passage from comic books to movies rarely proves satisfying, but what came out was a very engrossing story supported by stunning visuals and – yes – an amazing soundtrack. Zimmer fan all the way… 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahahah then you must! 😀 I’m glad that this one proved you wrong regarding those dreaded adaptations though. 😉 It lives up to all kinds of expectations and exceeds them too in ways that you could only dream of! I’m glad it now exists for us to rewatch as many times as we want! 😀 Thank you so much for reading, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I love the whole trilogy but this one is so good it pretty much transcends the superhero genre. Comparisons to Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’ were entirely justified and Ledger really is incredible

    Liked by 2 people

  • This is absolutely a masterpiece and I will never tire of it either! And really like how this shows batman and the joker could not exist without the other. And Heath Ledger’s performance was amazing!! Fantastic review!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Yes!! Me too! I’ll never tire of watching this movie over and over. It’s one of my favs and I seriously need to get another DVD of it.
    Loved Heath Ledger’s performance, which is my fav thing about the movie. I think this one was the first time the deep, gruff Batman voice was used…or maybe it was the first time I noticed it. Anyway, I thought it was funny and laughed almost every time Christian Bale spoke in the voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Definitely one that deserves to be part of our DVD/BLURAY/4K collection! He uses that voice since the beginning in Batman Begins hahaha I can’t blame you for laughing though hahahah It was his way to conceal his voice from people who’d know him instead of using a gadget to mask it but, for some reason, I never realized how “unnatural” it might be hahaha I still love it no matter what though. 😛

      Like

  • Powerful and loving review my friend, I really did enjoy reading your thoughts on this superlative film. It’s certainly a benchmark in comic book film adaptations, visually awesome, incredible performances (Heath Ledger of course being the standout) and great storytelling. It also captures the relationship between Batman and the Joker perfectly and is far superior in every way to the (sorry) overrated Joaquin Phoenix ‘Joker’ film. I’m also glad you took time to talk about the film’s score, something that isn’t highlighted enough in film reviews and one of the most important and crucial components of any film.

    I stop short of hailing The Dark Knight as the all-time greatest superhero film though. Some of that is down to personal taste…for me that accolade is (and likely always be) reserved for Tim Burton’s Batman which, again, for me, is the perfect Batman comic brought to life. Part if it’s also that I feel in Nolan’s quest for realism it loses some of that “comic book” identity I felt was present in Batman Begins and is restored somewhat in The Dark Knight Rises. It owes quite a lot to Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’ but I get that was probably intended and what Nolan was going for. Only very minor points and this is still an outstanding piece of cinema and a top-tier superhero film.

    I love The Dark Knight trilogy and look forward to your thoughts on Rises as I really feel that it’s vastly underrated…at one point I actually preferred it to The Dark Knight and still think it’s on a similar level.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend! I can’t blame you for not finding Joker a masterpiece like I did (while still appreciating it for what it had to offer through Phoenix’s performance) but at least we both know that The Dark Knight is a phenomenal movie overall!

      I definitely understand the loss of its comic book touch while Burton’s Batman achieves it perfectly. I think a lot of the cinematic reality around Nolan’s movie is to make it feel less comic book’ish so that anyone can enjoy these movies without going into it with that negative stereotype around comic books. The homage to Heat is definitely warranted and I am glad that it knew how to shape the story so that it could work like that movie did!

      Oh snap, I actually found the third movie is the weakest of the trilogy upon rewatching it hahaha I do remember ADORING it when I first saw in theaters but now… Well… I’ll try to put it into words in my next movie review in September! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh, interested to see that – I still rate the Dark Knight Rises highly, the trilogy as a whole is a great set of films regardless of them featuring Batman!

        By the way…slight tangent…I take it you saw everything that came out of DC FanDome? Thoughts?

        I think ‘The Batman’ looks (and sounds) very promising and it’ll give us something faithful to the source but different, as it needs to be, from previous iterations.

        But, the star of the show was undoubtedly the Snyder Cut preview…amazing! Couple that with the news of Ben Affleck returning in the Flash movie and I’m pretty darn excited!

        But…sad face…no Henry Cavill/Superman news…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep, I still highly recommend the trilogy as a whole to anyone who has never seen them and who are looking for great films.

          Absolutely, my friend. My expectations were exceeded on that day!

          The next Rocksteady game looks phenomenal conceptually! I can only imagine how brilliant the story is going to be, especially for the game to “work” hahaha

          The next Warner Bros Montreal (#represent) game also looks promising! I’m just curious to find out how the co-op is going to work though. Hopefully it won’t cause too many glitches.

          The Flash movie sounds VERY promising too. I feel like that movie could fix a lot of the DCEU problems that they rushed into, especially with a Flashpoint story that could set up the next DCEU.

          Matt Reeves clearly knows what he’s up to with The Batman; I’m firmly convinced of it now. I did think at first that with each rumour and announcement of a new villain, things were getting a bit hectic, but I think he’s going to cleverly introduce and integrate them. I’m not sure if it was confirmed but it does feel like it isn’t a Earth-0 movie and that all the changes to the characters and whatnot will feel natural too! I’m also tossing this idea that maybe this Batman might not even be Bruce Wayne!!! Imagine if it’s actually Dick Grayson and that the Riddler is on the verge of exposing this to the world or something. I’d be 200% down for such a twist!

          The Snyder Cut also sounds incredible. I avoided the trailer but saw a glimpse of what Darkseid looks like, just to avoid being spoiled too much. I hope the reshoots and additional scenes will allow haters to understand that Snyder had a decent vision for this JL movie.

          I also have a feeling that Black Adam is going to turn into the next Thanos??? Something tells me that Dwayne Johnson has convinced DC of turning him into the main attraction for the years to come and that it would easily get them lots of $$$$ too. I wouldn’t mind the idea of turning him into this new super-super-supervillain but I just hope he’ll bring something refreshing performance-wise (I’ve never been a huuuuuge fan of the guy as an actor).

          And yep… Maybe we’ll get more news on Superman in part 2 of DC FanDome in September? I’d really like to know what they’ll do with that character, especially with the Matt Reeves Batman movies/TV series spin-offs in the works. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Alas as cool as that sounds I’m pretty sure it’s confirmed that Robert Pattinson IS Bruce Wayne!

            The Snyder Cut trailer doesn’t spoil anything you know, you just get to see some additional shots and Snyder’s Steppenwolf in his arrival scene in place of the Whedon version…so if you’re tempted it’s well worth a look.

            Excited by the potential of the Flash movie, especially if it means we might see more Batfleck in other movies if it does well/Ben Affleck enjoys being back in the role.

            I keep hoping that since Dwayne Johnson and Henry Cavill share the same agent and that Johnson has said that he wants to work with Cavill then we may get something firm about Superman in the not too distant future.

            Look out MCU!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  • I do think critics have a knack of considering The Dark Knight the best superhero film of all time less because it’s a good example of the genre and more because it’s the one that’s the most critic friendly. That is to say, it’s a good film that happens to have a superhero in it, but it’s not a particularly good superhero film if that makes sense. I also think it pales in comparison to Memento if we’re talking Christopher Nolan, but despite everything, I do think The Dark Knight is a good film that has held up reasonably well.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I make it a point that I don’t hand out 10/10s like penny candy when reviewing games (or films), but Memento is one of the very few films I would award such a grade. It’s equal parts ambitious and rewatchable among other things.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely get the criticism of it not being much of a superhero movie, especially with its heavy similarities to Heat but at least the approach worked and offered us a relatively “realistic” superhero movie for any critic and fan to adore! And yes… I too put Memento very high up there alongside The Dark Knight as one of Nolan’s greatest achievements. Good stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  • It’s hard to believe that anyone could top The Dark Knight. It’s not just a superhero movie. It’s a superhero film. And as amazing as Heath Ledger’s performance was, it’s only a small part of what makes The Dark Knight work so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  • ”a new menace clown…. around……: The Joker” AHHH!!!! I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE!!!! 😉 😉 xD

    OKAY WOW! You are so full of genuine and beautifully worded praises for this movie that I might just end up watching it!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ LOVE LOVEEEEE THIS REVIEW, Lashaan! And that gif, in the beginning, looks SO CLASSY!!!! *heart eyes*

    Liked by 1 person

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