He Said It Better Than I Could (Probably Because I Wouldn't Be Able to Say It Without Giggling and Clapping and Screaming in Delight)
Here is a review from a viewer of "The Dark Knight," posted on IMDB's web page for the film. It's a well-thought out review and articulates many of the things I thought and think after seeing the best movie out there since The Lord of the Rings trilogy. So, from the mind of IMDB user Topher-Liam Froehlich, here is the review:
"The Dark KnightChristopher Nolan has a vision. And whether you agree with it or not, he undeniably completes it in "The Dark Knight"--a vicious, chaotic, engrossing, overwhelming, intelligent event film that re-defines 'comic book flicks'. In Nolan's grim, dark depiction of Gotham city (the crime-ridden hell protected by legendary superhero Batman), the director strives to make everything real (something he began in the well-received "Batman Begins"). He makes it plausible, possible. And yet there's more to it than that: just as 'Begins' was a dissection of myth, the nature of symbols and heroes, 'Knight' is the escalation of that notion. It's a biblical confrontation of good and evil, yet as good and evil really exist: a conflict of ideals, a battle of order and chaos, something that can't be purely defined but that is relative to a view point. In Nolan's world, the line of villainy and heroism isn't crossed... it's non-existent. The bad guys don't see themselves as bad guys, and as such something so unnervingly real comes across it might fly past some people's minds (no insult to anybody, it's just common that people don't look deep into 'popcorn' flicks): the battle is a complete ambiguity.
Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) and his unwaveringly loyal butler Alfred (Michael Caine) now operate from an underground safehouse, while Wayne Manor is still under reconstruction. Yet Batman's war against the criminal underworld of Gotham is not going as planned. As his ally in the police force, Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman), warned him in the end of film #1, the villain's are responding with sinister methods. Crime floods the streets worse than ever, even with Gotham's charismatic and idealistic 'white knight' DA, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Enter the Joker (the late Heath Ledger), the flamboyant villain to Batman's eccentric hero, whose motives and actions are as unclear as they are terrifying, and so begins the most intellectual and yet still eye-popping (for the action fans) summer event movie in a LONG time.
The film runs at nearly two and a half hours, yet never ceases to lose interest or momentum. Action sequences are frantic, old-school style eye-grabbing stunts (so vastly superior to 'Begins'). Our attention is never lost because we are immersed in a breathtaking, almost completely unpredictable story, that makes us think and more importantly gains our emotional investment. We come to care for the characters; the tragedies that befall some of them are painstaking to watch.
Yet a great story told with intellect and energy, still would not be a success without successful acting. Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine continue to impress as their respective characters from the first. Maggie Gyllenhal is a more mature Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes. Cillian Murphy even makes a brief appearance as the Scarecrow (film #1's villain). Aaron Eckhart is charismatic as Harvey Dent, and he commits so whole-heartedly to the performance, he is so likable, that the tragedy which comes upon him (I will not ruin, for the non comic readers) is fully impactful. Of course Bale is the ultimate Batman/Wayne: simultaneously a frivolous playboy, steely-eyed and reserved hero, menacing and growling masked man, and even part detective.
Finally, who could forget Heath Ledger. Now, when he was first announced for the part, I was (along with many other people) asking myself: "Why?". Mr. Ledger had proved with 'Brokeback Mountain' he could deliver a potent performance. But he hadn't done so before. It is only, after seeing this film, that I know the answer to 'why?'; that I see the significance of his loss.
When Heath appears in this movie, he is completely unrecognizable. His voice is distinctly altered; a near whiny, pedophile-like tone that sends shivers down the spine. His face is completely splattered with makeup that renders him both freakishly nightmarish and strangely funny. And when you see him, you don't think it's him. In this, his final performance, Ledger proved he was a chameleon. His two iconic performances in this, and Brokeback, could not be more different. I am convinced he could have been anything in his career. So, for a brave, completely committed and engaging, both twistedly funny and genuinely terrifying, portrayal that is only enhanced by small ticks and gestures, I ask you for a favor in Heath's name. In his honor I would ask that you click 'yes' on my comment to honor him, and 'no' if…well you define your own click. 10/10"
"So, you're saying that you think your billionaire boss is a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare fists. And you want to blackmail this man?"-The Dark Knight