Review Rating: 9 out of 10
Everyone’s favorite vigilante with a fetish for bats is back, to battle Gotham’s mobsters, the new anarchist psychopath calling himself the Joker, and to try and save the city’s shining light, Harvey Dent the District Attorney.
Just about everyone knows about the unfortunate death of Heath Ledger, who starred as the Joker in this movie. And while it is entirely unfortunate that he died, frankly if one was to choose a movie to go out on, this would be it. Ledger stole the show. Or rather, Heath Ledger as the Joker stole the show, because frankly you really can’t tell it’s him, which I think is entirely the point. The Joker is a complete whackjob, damn good at it, and never apologies for a single thing he does, much less explains it. When you do get to the end of the movie and figure out what the Joker’s real plan was, it is truly devastating. And note, the Joker didn’t actually die. It’s a real tragedy that Ledger won’t be able to return to play him, let us hope the movie folks leave him the character laurels and call it good.
Christian Bale as Batman is, as always, a roaring performance of barely-held-in emotions, dark counterpoints, and cheeky one-liners. His faith in Harvey Dent’s ability to save the city from the mobsters rallying around the Joker in just the nick of time is, while uplifting, a tad misplaced. But the dark knight has to have a white knight to believe in. Unfortunately for everyone, the Joker knows this.
And here we come to Harvey Dent, outstandingly played by Aaron Eckhart, Gotham city’s District Attorney and later the avenging pained killer Two-Face. Somewhere towards the beginning of the movie, Harvey Dent, after sending a whole slew of mobsters to jail and getting a gun pulled on him and even mis-fired right in the courtroom, without missing a beat, slugs the guy who pulled the gun. It seems to set the tone for Dent’s character, the fearless bravado in the face of the persecution and hatred of the mobsters he’s trying so hard to put away, and then the Joker and his insanity. Just remember, the better you are, the farther you have to fall. Poor thing.
And of course, we have Maggie Gyllenhal as returning love interest Rachel Dawes, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Gary Oldman as –Commissioner- Gordon, and several other fairly large names. Most everyone is overshadowed by Ledger, and that’s truly impressive.
The movie is a bit long in the tooth (or is that fang?), it’s true. It takes awhile to tell the entire backstory of Two-Face, especially with the Joker’s encouragement. So use the bathroom first, bring lots of munchies, and prepare for a ride of epic Batman proportions!