Spoiler-Free Review: The Dark Knight

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Let’s get this straight up front: Once you’ve seen The Dark Knight, Tim Burton’s Batman will feel like the Adam West TV show by comparison.

What else do you need to know?  How about this: The Dark Knight is the new standard in super-hero movies.  Is it better than Spider-man 2, Iron Man, Superman?  That’s all a matter of personal prefernce.  But The Dark Knight is more significant.

In the same way that Watchmen forever changed the landscape of comic books, The Dark Knight will forever change the way people view super hero movies.  It is more ambitious than the rest of them combined.

I’m not going to discuss plot points.  The less you know going in, the better.  But the plot is tightly wound and deeply layered.  It feels like an epic.  And it’s not like other comic-book adaptations where they take 10 years worth of stories and compress them into 90 minutes.  Instead, this is a story that is as deep and intricate as the best Batman comics.

This story takes a quantum leap beyond Batman Begins.  Freed from the need to retell an origin story, Christopher Nolan unleashes the madness of the Joker on the complex and realistic Gotham the first movie established.

There’s nothing trivial about the Dark Knight.  All of the characters are deeply fleshed out.  All of them.  There are characters who have one scene in the movie who are more fully realized than main characters in other super hero movies. 

And the performances are top notch.  Everyone’s going to be talking about the late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker.  Believe the hype.  He shames Jack Nicholson.  His performance is fearless and frightening.  But this is truly an amazing ensemble.  Everyone is at the top of their game.  This is a remarkably talented cast and they all treat the material as if it were Shakespeare. 

The drama is real.  As real as any best-picture winner.  Take off the masks and make-up and this could be a crime thriller like The Departed.

The details are right.  Yes, there are departures from the comic books.  But you’ll forgive them when you see just how true they were to the spirit of the source material.  This is the first super hero movie I have ever seen that completely delivers the complexity of a good super hero comic book.

My expectations were high going in.  The Dark Knight exceeded them.  That’s really all you need to know.

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2 Responses to “Spoiler-Free Review: The Dark Knight”

  1. seventhsoldier Says:

    I was shocked, but you are right – even with all the hype, TDK lived up to it, and Ledger SURPASSED it. It was…shocking.

  2. patrick Says:

    kudos to the makers Dark Knight for their record breaking opening weekend… it’s no wonder there’s talk of another one coming out ASAP

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