I’ll be the first to admit, I really was hoping ‘Two-Face’ would wait till the next film. But having Sal Meroni and The Joker in the film, Dent was on borrowed time. However, I was happily surprised by what turned out not to be a stale Aaron Eckhart performance.
Now… Comic Book movies have never been known for actual filmmaking drama… but HOLY $H!T. To date, ‘The Dark Knight’ stands as the ‘Godfather Part II’ of comic films. Christopher Nolan developed these characters to a fine edge in the original so he could develop a new batch in the sequel with everyone being equally fantastic. Unlike the original franchise, there was no need to keep rehashing the Origin… Kilmer droned on with it and so did Clooney… well, Batman’s over sixty-five years old and we know the story! And kudos for not giving us the origin of the Joker… now you just need to have another actor to do it on-screen in the eventual sequel… God help him following Ledger’s overly hyped but darkly awesome performance.
‘Knight’ will stand as a classic because it can stand on its own. Even if you didn’t see the first, you can follow the sequel.. and that is what makes a good sequel really good. Again, we all know the characters, even if you never really read a comic… it’s pop culture. Yes it is violent for a comic book film (as are most comic films), but this was REALISTIC. This was ‘Untouchables’ violent, ‘Godfather’ or as any other reality based film may have been, and that is the irony. The Comic Book is suddenly as real as it gets. The Joker isn’t some guy all HeeHee and Whoopie cushions… this takes Nicholson’s more twisted turn and cranks it up to full! The Joker is a believable study in an urban chaos sociopath. And Dent, is extremely believable as the man pushed just too damn far. The supporting cast is obviously a collection of Award winning actors who jell together seamlessly in this world of the not so super Superhero… depressed yet defending the light.
Does it follow exactly? No, there are a few slight liberties taken, but just a few. Is it Meroni or the Joker responsible for Harvey? Or, is it like the comics, where the work of the crime boss laid the disfigured work for a twisted Joker to mold and manipulate as he has done in many a ‘Two-Face’ tale over the years? That’s close enough to the comic for me… And Thank You for killing Miss Dawes… oh sweet irony from the standard boy saves girl fare. The story was great.. well paced and combined evenly with the action. I was a little disappointed in the lack of Gotham landscape the original possessed… I’d have enjoyed seeing more of the mighty Wayne tower, center of a beefed up Chicago ‘Gotham’ and the monorail than just seeing plain old Chicago.
Obviously, the thirst for knowledge about the eventual sequel will be insatiable. Each of the major villains portrayed in the franchise so far are still available to return as Scarecrow already has for a cameo… Dent is hardly dead and obviously The Joker is captured… oh yeah, Qui-Gon Jinn * I mean R’as is just waiting for his dip in the Lazarus Pit. Another true to comic idea that the original franchise (Sorry Tim Burton, Burn in Hell Shumacher) failed with… The villains don’t always die. Wayne Manor should be rebuilt by then… and so will the Cave.
See it twice as there is a lot of info to digest the first time. That, and its an awesome film and film score that should be absorbed on the screen twice anyway. Epic. Not just comic epic or epic in length, but damn fine film epic.