Not the Best Superhero Movie of All-Time

[rating:8.5/10]

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The Dark Knight is breaking records, kicking ass, and taking names. It is just about everything you can expect for a sequel to an incredible superhero movie… new and interesting villains, plot twists, character development, and action that tops the original. TDK is a superb piece of cinema and one of the best movies made during the current comic book movie era, but the unfortunate truth is that, despite many claims that this is the best superhero movie of all-time, it is simply not that cut and dry.

The movie does boast the best performance of an insane villain since Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. Ledger’s depiction of the Joker, owed in part to books like The Killing Joke and even moreso to Ledger’s commitment to the psychopathic Joker role, is as good as the critics have been saying. Calling Ledger’s performance Oscar worthy is completely legitimate. His mysterious death intensifies the creepiness of the performance, but the sheer ability to transform himself into the most menacing supervillain ever portrayed on the big screen demonstrates how much of a loss to Hollywood Ledger’s death truly was.

The action is superb, the cinematography is bar none, and the plot is one of the best superhero stories ever put to film… but there are some critiques. No one wants to be the buzzkill and so far as the early reviews go, no one has been. Despite the overall feeling of critics that TDK is just about perfect, there are some legitimate critiques of the second installment of Nolan’s take on The Caped Crusader.

First and foremost, Batman Begins ends with the Narrows lost to Crane’s panic drug and The Dark Knight doesn’t address how Gotham dealt with cleaning that mess up. A simple one or two lines thrown in a discussion somewhere in the sequel could have tied up what should be considered a significant loose end.

Addititonally, while Maggie Gyllenhaal is a far superior actress than Katie Holmes is, Maggie didn’t portray Rachel Dawes in the same style as Katie did. This, unfortunately, was replacing one distraction (Holmes’s poor acting) with another (Gyllenhaal’s Dawes character seeming to be a completely different character than in Begins). Gyllenhaal was less bitchy and hard-edged. One could possibly argue that Dawes was simply less bitchy at this point in her life, as she was now in love; but, it’s hard to buy that a strong, cocky young Assistant District Attorney would suddenly lose her edge just because she was in love. This issue is an unfortunate reality of two different actors playing the same role.

Overall, the movie is, indeed, incredible. However, the critics continue to herald it as flawless, which it is not. There are few arguments that could keep this movie out of the top 5 superhero movies of all-time, but at least a few to keep it from being #1. It is the movie of the summer, likely the movie of the year, and many people (myself included) will see this movie multiple times in the theaters… but beating out Begins or X2 in the fight for the title of Best Superhero Movie may prove to be a difficult task for this film.

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~ by thepaintedman on July 20, 2008.

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