The city of Gotham is still in pain following the terror of Ra’s Al Ghul. The mob families continue to plague the streets and the rise of a new villain (the Joker) is starting to create more chaos. The only safeguards are the vigilante Batman, police commissioner Gordon and the new DA Harvey Dent. The Joker continues putting together the pieces to take apart Gotham, while Batman continues to pursue this new maniac. Unknowingly, the Joker seems to have his own plan for the DA and everything appears to be playing right into his hands.
Starring: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne), Heath Ledger (The Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes), Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Lt. Jim Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow), Eric Roberts (Maroni), Chin Han (Lau)
The most amazing element of this movie is the acting. For Christian Bale, he does exactly what he needs to without going any further. Although the deep, raspy voice seems a little over the top, he provides some strong action sequences and humorous clues as to the future of the series. Maggie Gyllenhaal is not the perfect replacement for Rachel, but Katie Holmes was not the perfect for the role either. She is a little overly dramatic in the rooftop bomb scene but is otherwise a good catalyst for the events of the film. The best performances come from the two major villains. Heath Ledger may have actually sacrificed his life to take on the insanity of the Joker, but he truly plays the role amazingly. There are moments of honest brilliance when he takes Batman to the limit. The more surprising success was from the talented Aaron Eckhart. While he is a strong actor, his transformation from Harvey to Two-Face is seemless and the level of carelessness in his decision-making plays to the character perfectly. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine continue to serve well as Batman’s only allies that know of his identity and provide him the support needed to keep going.
While the movie may have been discussed as being too long, it is really two movies in one. The first half of the film is about the rise of the Joker and the process of putting his plan together. The second half comes after the death of Rachel and transformation of Harvey. The screenplay was written to change Harvey into the Joker’s main target, in order to show people that even the man motivated by good could be turned, which then would spiral the city into despair. The Joker plays one final game with the people of Gotham as a psychology experiment of life and death, but it is actually a distraction to allow Two-Face to play directly into the Joker’s hand. The traps are ingenious and the cinematography is beautiful. In all, this is a near perfect film that combines drama, thriller elements and action to produce an epic hero story.
There are virtually no real holes or issues with this film and it quickly became one of my favorite movies of all time.
Dan’s Rating: 5.0/5