The Dark Knight

Heath Leger: The Joker

Marathon Girl and I were able to attend Nerdtacular 2008 on Saturday and, as part of the festivities, watch the best movie of the year: The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight has to be one the best crime dramas in recent memory and might just set a new standard for comic book based movies.

Christian Bale reprises the role of Batman and finds Gotham slipping into chaos as the Joker goes on a psychotic robbery and killings sprees in order to turn the orderly city into one of chaos and mayhem.

The Dark Knight real quality to it that many comic book movies lack. Instead of special-effect laden stunts, we’re treated to the real thing. Several stunts, such as the semi being flipped over -- left the audience in the sold-out theatre gasping. It proved that, if done right, you don’t need computer animation to achieve spectacular results.

But, thankfully, The Dark Knight is more than just an action film. Writer/Director Christopher Nolan lets us see the many layers of the main characters in the film including characters that often aren’t given much depth including the Joker and Commissioner Gordon. Throughout the film there are no easy answers or choices for the characters to make in this movie. Often the characters are presented with no-win situations and simply have to make the best choice based on the knowledge they have at the time.

All the acting is superb, but it’s Heath Leger’s Joker that steals the show. It’s too bad that such a talented actor is dead because he takes Batman’s arch nemesis to a whole new level. I feel bad for the actor that has to play the Joker in the next film – if they decide to bring the Joker back – because he’s going to have some impossibly large shoes to fill.

The Dark Knight is over two-and-a-half-hours long but doesn’t feel like it. Nolan’s pacing keeps the film moving from the opening scene and doesn’t let up until the credits roll.

More than your standard summer popcorn movie, The Dark Knight is a serious drama complete with complex characters, and intricate plot, and great acting.

One note to parents: Parts of the movie are very dark, violent, and disturbing. It’s a not your typical comic book movie like Iron Man or the Spider Man franchise. I wouldn’t recommend letting kids under the age of 10 or thereabouts watch it.

The Dark Knight: 4 out of 4 stars. (And , yes, I plan on paying to watch this movie again.)