Saturday, July 19, 2008


Very rarely does a movie sequel prove to be better than it's original. Lately, with the trend of popular comic book film adaptations, the sequel, very often, has been much more successful, such as X-Men 2 (2003) and Spider-man 2 (2004). With the release of Batman Begins (2005), the comic book adaptation and DC comics ushered in a new beginning in comic films. Unlike Superman Returns (2006), while trying to cash in on the same concept, met with much more criticism and less success. The much-anticipated sequel to the Batman franchise began with not just the announcement of the return of director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman but with the announcement of a new villain. As in Batman Begins the introduction and first-time movie appearance of second-string villains such as Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul (although fan favorites, and mine!) the next villain had to be a major one to be a success and they found one with actor: Heath Ledger as The Joker! With past bat-villain flops such as Jim Carrey as the Riddler and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, both film-makers and fans knew it would be hard to give new life to Batman's number one arch-nemesis having so impressively been played by Jack Nicholson in 1989's Batman. With the new Ledger-Joker, the most dangerous and psychotic of Batman's villains, gives more of an intensely disturbing depiction with Ledger's overly eccentric and scarred Joker. Not only would young actor's role give even more hype and excitement to the movie but also would Ledgers untimely and tragic demise (Jan. 22, 2008) six months before the initial release of the film.
  Although the focus of the movie is on Joker, as he almost steals the show; the plot of "The Dark Knight" is about Batman dealing with the reputation he's created in Gotham City and how his presence has affected the crime rate. With bands of roaming vigilantes dressed up as Batman are creating havoc alongside the chaos of the Joker and his rise in the crime world it proves what Gordon, now police commissioner said in the last scene of Batman Begins foreshadowed: "escalation". All of the cast of Batman Begins returns but with one exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes instead of Katie Holmes and the addition of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and as the new secondary villain: Two-Face (previously played by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever (1997). The Dark Knight is a long and intense movie with an impressive story and deeply thought provoking themes. If not for Batman, you would almost mistake it for a blockbuster true-crime story which make it all the more real and disturbing and great!

    Since its release, "The Dark Knight" has become the #2 all-time in the USA box office (above Star Wars (1977) and just below Titanic (1997) and remains the most popular comic book movie as previously held by Spider-man (2002), now in the 8 spot.