That’s how I felt after seeing a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight” last night. A lot has been said of Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker. There is no way it could possibly live up to the hype right? How could someone top Jack Nicholson’s masterful performance as The Joker from the original “Batman” movie?
I’m here to tell you that what Ledger did to that role, makes Jack’s performance as the Joker look like a Amateur Hour at the Apollo. Seriously. But let me talk about the movie for a bit (I’ll get back to Heath)
Folks, to call this movie a ‘superhero’ movie is not enough. In fact it would almost be insulting to call this the best superhero movie of all time. This movie is in a whole different category. This is a crime drama a la “The Departed” or even “Heat”. This is a tragedy that would bring Shakespeare to tears. This is a very dark, complex, thrilling and one of the most highly entertaining movies we may see all year long. It’s definitely not the average superhero movie where the good guy beats the bad guy, and everyone lives happily ever after. Lines were crossed.
Director Christopher Nolan really hit it out of the park with this one. And the cast is extraordinary. Every single one of them. Christian Bale (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Heath Ledger (Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent/ Two-Face) Michael Caine (Alfred) , Gary Oldman (Lt. Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), and even Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes) could not have played their parts any better. Even more surprising was how good the so called ‘bit’ players in this movie were. Everyone had their part to play no matter how small that part was (Deebo from “Friday” was even in the movie for about 2 minutes and had a HUGE role in those 2 minutes)
The movie is long at about 2 and half hours, but honestly after seeing it I’d have a hard time trying to figure out if anything needed to be cut. Trust me it does not seem long at all. The narrative is on-point and the action sequences are amazing. If you don’t lose your mind when the bat-pod/cycle appears onscreen I’ll refund your expenses!
Parents, please take caution in taking young children to see this movie. The movie is PG-13 but it really pushed the limit of what can appear in a PG-13 rated movie. There is one scene early on, which I don’t really want to ruin, but this scene involves the Joker performing a ‘magic trick’ and kids may not look at magicians or clowns the same way again (trust me)
Back to Ledger: I left the theatre very sad last night having watched his performance. I honestly do not want to see Nolan try to cast the Joker again. Ledger was THAT good. The performance was legendary. He made the Joker one of the best movie villains of ALL TIME – again not just super-villain – he was evil, depraved, an anarchist, he would kill every man, woman, child (and animal) in Gotham City, just because. He had no ‘real’ motivation. But when he told Batman, “You complete me” you will totally understand what he means. When Ledger receives a posthumous Oscar for this performance (and he will) just remember the speech in the hospital.
Right to the very end, you will be on the edge of your seat. Sequel? Well most of the actors all signed up for three movies so it is inevitable. The last few minutes of the movie are not at all what I would have expected with hints for an even ‘darker’ future for Batman.
“I wish I had more hands…so I can give this movie FOUR thumbs up”