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Published: July 22, 2008 at 2:09 PM
"The Dark Knight" is an anomaly; one of the rare instances where the sequel to a successful motion-picture outshines the original.
The second installment of the grittier, more serious take on the Batman franchise is nothing short of stellar. The way each character, relationship and situation is developed is not only immersive, but intertwined with emotion. The sub-plots are just as compelling and you feel empathy for Bruce Wayne's internal strife, realize the maniacal co-dependency that drives the Joker and understand how the fragility of Harvey Dent's persona puts him over the edge...literally. And did I mention the film is full of action?
The action sequences in "The Dark Knight" are plentiful; non-stop even. Yet, they never detract from the film's focus or feel forced. George Lucas, take note. Instead, the scenes help tell the story and compliment the character development. I especially found the explanation of the origin of Batman's glowing eyes—as illustrated in many comic renditions—cleverly done.
Also cleverly done is Heath Ledger's interpretation of the Joker, arguably Batman's greatest antagonist. Ledger sheds the Joker's cartoonish-image and brings out a real-life eccentric insanity. He portrays the Joker as a madman obsessed with wreaking havoc on Gotham and the darker tone of the film compliments his creative direction. Do I think it was Oscar worthy? Possibly, but has there ever been a bad portrayal of the Joker?
My only complaint with "The Dark Knight" is Maggie Gyllenhaal, who gave the weakest performance of the cast. It's not that I'm a huge fan of Katie Holmes, but I dislike the inconsistency of brining back a character in a sequel and not having the same actor reprise the role; especially a major role.
Finally, a movie that lives up to the hype! I give "The Dark Knight" a 9.5 out of 10.