“A little fight in ya. I like that.” – The Joker to Rachel Dawes
I can gladly say that my sleepiness and stiff neck this am is attributed to the long anticipated The Dark Knight.
As I purchased our tickets early yesterday morning, I was mesmerized to hear the ticket clerk ask me exactly which midnight showing I wanted to see. It appears that the movie theater we were at had the film showing on 7 of its 17 screens. Hearing the clerk rattle off show times such as 12:01, 12:05, 12:10, 12:15, and so on, I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me? Are that many people going to show up at these ungodly hours?” The answer: YES. I overheard a couple of young men next me who wanted to buy tickets for Friday’s ‘official’ premiere, but were turned down by the clerk stating that all shows for Friday had already been sold out.
We arrived to theater about 40 minutes before the film began with our prepurchased tickets in hand, but only to find out that the entire theater had already been seated. We were left to find seats in the third row. There were a few people who were channeling the Joker’s spirit by walking around in face paint along with quite a few who were wearing Batman shirts. One guy, riddled with tattoos, was wearing what looked like a 6 year old’s Batman mask and cape. Good for them. It took all I had to throw on sweats and sneakers to make it to the showing that was well past my bedtime.
Now I generally hate going to movies when they premiere because of how packed the house usually is and the immaturity of the audience with their talking, whooping, and personal sound effects (not to mention the constant illumination coming from their cell phones as they’re texting during the movie). This was the first instance EVER where as soon as the first titles came up, in this case the DC Comics logo, the audience went silent. Then when the first scenes of tall buildings in Gotham City appeared, I realized that I could hear my own heart pounding. The audience was so quiet that I swear I could hear the person breathing next to me. Throughout the movie, we seemed to share in laughter, jolts, and gasping all at the same moments. Everyone was truly respectful to one another.
A little over two and half hours later, the film ended in applause and many stood up and gave an extra nod when Heath Ledger’s name came up. Was the film worth all the hype? Did Ledger’s performance truly withstand all the anticipation that has led up to this moment? Does he steal the show? I would say yes to all and even more so than I had imagined. It was a nice change to have more focus on the villains and other characters in the movie other than Batman himself. Don’t get me wrong, I think Christian Bale does an excellent job reprising his role as the Dark Knight; however, the spotlight goes to The Joker and Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent.
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” -Harvey Dent
The Joker’s character is not the same one from the cartoons, the old t.v. series, or Jack Nicholson’s creation. This one is far more sinister and for the most part, shockingly violent. Every time he would hold his knife up to someone’s face or his own, I would quickly put my hand over my mouth and hold my breath. Most frightening, his only motive is to create chaos because he can. He’s not interested in money, fame, or even killing ‘The Batman.’
“Introduce a little anarchy… Upset the established order… Well then everyone loses their minds!” – The Joker
Batman: “Why do you want to kill me?” The Joker: “I don’t want to kill you. What would I do without you?”
How can we like a villain that is so evil? I think the answer needs to be credited to Ledger’s performance. His mannerisms and nonchalant sayings make you squirm and laugh at the same time.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We’re tonight’s entertainment.” – The Joker as he crashes Bruce Wayne’s party for Harvey Dent.
Unlike Batman Begins (during which I managed to fall asleep not once, but twice), The Dark Knight left me on the edge of my seat, hoping that it wouldn’t end. Speaking of the end, much remains open except for the fact that we know that we won’t be seeing Ledger’s Joker again. Do be careful though about taking young children to this one. For a Batman film, The Dark Knight is by far the most violent and scary for those under the age of 8.
Bad guys in clown masks, mob guys, rottweilers, and politicians who are turned into talking, rotting skulls of peeling flesh are just a few of the contemporary changes to this comic book film. Even the Scarecrow makes a brief appearance almost as an ordinary criminal. Gotham City is much brighter (except at the end when ‘the night is darkest just before the dawn’) and resembles present day instead of some ghastly, dark introverted society.
So, plan on getting your tickets well ahead of time, arrive at least 45 minutes early, use the restroom facilities, and settle in for 2 hours and 32 minutes of thrilling, sinister, and explosive entertainment.
And by the way, I only have two words for you: Joker and Nurse
The Cast (from IMDB.com):
|Christian Bale||…||Bruce Wayne / Batman|
|Heath Ledger||…||The Joker|
|Aaron Eckhart||…||Harvey Dent / Two-Face|
|Michael Caine||…||Alfred Pennyworth|
|Maggie Gyllenhaal||…||Rachel Dawes|
|Gary Oldman||…||Lt. James Gordon|
|Morgan Freeman||…||Lucius Fox|
|Eric Roberts||…||Salvatore Maroni|
|Anthony Michael Hall||…||Mike Engel|
|William Fichtner||…||Bank Manager|
Also check out Manhola Dargis’ exceptional review from the NYTimes.