Movie Review

Maniac Grade: A+

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July 19, 2008

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A few years ago, something amazing happened. Batman came back. After the debacle that was 'Batman and Robin', who could possibley entertain the idea of making Batman again? Well, the answer is Christopher Nolan, a visionary director who has made his living off of creativity to the max. From his prior films, 'Following' and 'Memento', I was ready for his version of Batman because I've always imagined that Batman's true potential eas NEVER attained. Batman Begins was a film that dugmuch deeper into the soul of what Batman really means. If you're a comic book fan or just a movie fan, Batman Begins had to make your mouth water.

Fast forward, July 18, 2008. THE DARK KNIGHT, a most fitting title for the film, opens with Batman tracking down the 'Scarecrow', who escaped in the first film. Batman has a loyal following of people who dress like him and try to fight crime. They aren't too effective, but help in Scarecrow's successful capture. Batman is now a symbol in Gotham. People aren't too sure if he's a hero or just a vigilante, but one thing is sure, he is trying to rid the streets of the bad things that make people uncertain and crazy.

ENTER JOKER, a stark raving mad-man (played by Heath Ledger), who has rampaged random targets for one single purpose. MADNESS. Relentless in his quest, The Joker attempts to win over the minds of the crime lords that do business in Gotham. Those who oppose die wicked, terrorizing deaths, or worse... They may live after he's done with them.

Bruce Wayne(Christian Bale), who is still brazen and none the more perfect than he was before, searches for his one true love's heart, RACHEL(Maggie Gyllenthal). He soon finds that she has already given it to Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), an even more brazen man whom Wayne later sees as a true hero. A man who doesn't need to mask his face. A man whom the people of Gotham have come to see as a symbol of hope against the mob bosses and crime that has over ridden the city. Wayne and Dent become unsettled friends as Wayne gives his full support.

The elements come together. Batman seeks out The Joker, who is on the move, winning over the minds of the crime bosses, one by one. His rampage and ability to manipulate minds is fierce. Even when he seems to be outgunned, outnumbered, and out-smarted he has another trick up his sleeve. Batman/Wayne discovers that the only way to stop a man like this is to become something he swore to banish. Matters become worse when a devisatating act of violence by the Joker leaves Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne at a cross roads. Can Batman find a way to stop the Joker without crossing the line? Stay tuned... Same bat-channel.

What's so rivetting about this movie is Christopher Nolan's ability to play out the chilling nature of the human heart. Bruce Wayne seems cold on the outside. A playboy. But he's obviously much much more than that. He pours his heart out to only two deserving people, Alfred(Michael Caine) and Rachel. Our villain, the Joker is played with such perfection, one would wonder how Heath Ledger, if he were still alive, could ever return to acting in other roles, knowing he may never top this one. The joker's part in this had me shaking. He is menacing, a tyrant, violent, crazy, and above all else extremely clever. I was shaken by this character, who almost seemed to over shadow Batman.

The other main characters, Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon(Gary Oldman) are a truly delightful veteran force, who serve their purposes well. Gordon is the police Lieutenant who seeks justice the old fashioned way. He's good at his job, but finds himself smothered by the events of this movie. Harvey Dent is the justice thirsty lawyer who is pushed to the limit, but who handles his situation with incredible grace under extreme pressure. He could literally be Batman if he truly believed in such things. What happens instead, is he is badly mutilated and becomes the extremely dangerous, coin flipping 'TWO FACE', who seeks a new brand of justice, not against the main villain, but all those who aided him.

And finally, the heart of the story. DARK, moody, chilling, relentless, and attention drawing. You can't take your eyes off of it. There's an amazing flow. Even the slow parts were amazing. Every character had his or her own need that played into the movie. And the double-finale, pits the human heart against raging madness. And then, at the flip of a coin, shows that just one man's heart turned awry is sometimes all that's needed for a man like The Joker to win.

Click here to read the staff review by Mania.


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