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*** Official THE DARK KNIGHT Review Thread


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#1 of 41 Shawn.F

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Posted July 14 2008 - 01:08 PM

Saw it this afternoon. Believe the hype, it's excellent.

And all that talk about Heath Ledger getting a nomination isn't just because of his untimely passing. His performance is fantastic.

#2 of 41 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 16 2008 - 10:38 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Dark Knight". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#3 of 41 Greg_M

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Posted July 17 2008 - 04:34 AM

This film was great!!!! Best in a long time. Heath Ledger is so good in this film - the Joker is really creepy and still you love him. Ledger should win the Oscar for this role (For Best Supporting Actor it's his) everyone was great Aaron Eckhart was good to - loved his harvey Dent. This film will do close to $100 Million this weekend alone! Buy your tickets early

#4 of 41 Shad R

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Posted July 17 2008 - 08:12 AM

This movie is the best movie I have seen this year, hands down! The Joker really is one of the greatest screen villians of all time. I don't say this lightly.Aside from Ledger, I thought Eckhart did a fantastic job as Harvey Dent,
especially in the scenes where he becomes Two-Face.
Also of note are Caine and Freeman. They provide supporting roles that add a real sense of humanity, and ground all the crazy stuff going on. Especially the scene where Fox tells Wayne that
one man shouldn't have this much power, and threatens to stop helping him.
Maggie Gyllenhaal did what she could with such limited screentime, but she made you care about her.
The pacing is RELENTLESS! The editing, the camera movements and the sound were all Aces. The opening scene alone is woth $9.00, it was awesome! I don't give this grade out very often, but this one gets a solid A!

#5 of 41 Todd H

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:01 PM

Best movie of the year so far! I'm still in shock at how good it was. I went with two friends and we sat in the parking lot afterward for at least another 30 minutes just talking about this film. 5/5

#6 of 41 MichaelD

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:12 PM

Great movie, great crowd. Epic. Both Ledger and Eckhart give stand out performances. My only quibble is that Bruce Wayne didn't get enough time, but I love detective Batman. 4/4

#7 of 41 Paul_Scott

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:31 PM

8-8.5/10
That may go up or down a little upon subsequent viewings.
In some ways my inital impression is that Begins might have been stronger, or at least more satisfying due more to it's circumstances. The hype for this has been off the charts (a lot of it self induced via incessant youtubeing). It is defintely a strong movie, though not a perect one and only time (and a lot of really bad comic adaptations to come) can make it the masterpiece so many are reflexively claiming.
One last non-spoiler observation and then it's off to the discussion thread- This is not a comic book movie, and I don't think it's a 'crime' movie either. It's a suspense thriller the likes of which have been missing far too long. I would put this more in the realm of Three Days Of The Condor and Day Of The Jackal than the films of Scorsese (though of course the Heat vibe is there too).
One other note- this will never displace Burtons film(s) in the hearts of the fans who truly love them. The approaches the two filmmakers have take are so wildly disparate that Nolans film actually enhances Burtons...something I never would have thought possible.

#8 of 41 Chuck Mayer

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:37 PM

Tino asked me if the film could live up to my expectations, before I left to check it out. I've made no bones about my feelings for a) Batman, and b) Batman Begins. Check out the Begins thread for everything you never wanted to know about my feelings on the subject Posted Image How does a film live up to three years of breathless expectation? And the answer is pretty simple. Much like Batman Begins did for me on opening day...it surprises you. It outthinks you, outpaces you, and outdoes what you think is possible as you sit down.

I made the very, very wise decision to see the film in IMAX. I showed up (way too) early, and got myself a primo seat...dead center. I was facing the absolute center of the screen, horizontally and vertically. The sequences filmed in IMAX, including numerous flyovers of Chicago and Shanghai, were beautiful. It was almost like watching a big screen movie for the first time. The experience is almost overwhelming, in a positive way.

Make no bones about it, Nolan is painting on a very large canvas with his second Batman film. The risk of storytelling ambition is to not say when. There is a finite amount of material any story (or storyteller) can juggle. Balancing such loads is hazardous. Cinemas have been littered with overwhelmed films, their directors tipping the good stuff one way or another. What Nolan does better than most (and certainly most blockbuster directors, though the group as a whole is improving) is he creates an extraordinarily strong spine to support his film. He crafts the story, and clearly looks at it again and again and again, ad nauseum, until every part of it accomplishes what he wants, in harmony with the rest. The script (much more than just dialogue) is the most important element in his films (and has been since Memento), and he treats it as such. That makes everything else free to excel.

It's not the best movie ever. It's not even the best summer movie ever. But it's in contention. It's not Godfather II (nor was Batman Begins The Godfather) , but GFII is a closer cousin than X-Men 2. A great script enables creative and aggressive direction, it allows actors to work within a secure safety net, and it allows everyone to be inspired. The acting is uniformly good, with no actor tipping the balance. Ledger is exceptional...but so is Eckhart. Gyllenhall owns the role in literally one holding cell scene. Bale and Caine have a very good partnership, as do Bale and Freeman. Oldman is given a bit more to do, and as one of the best actors of his generation, he does it with aplomb and grace, disappearing into a stereotype and reappearing as something special. Ledger is getting the press, and deserves most of it. I don't believe his work merits an Oscar win, but it's very good, and shines without outshining his peers. I was VERY impressed with Eckhart, who (like Ledger) proves that fantasy casting is pointless when the director is good.

BB was up for a cinematography nod (in a strong year), and TDK will get that, among numerous other technical noms. The direction is very sure-handed, and the film is well paced. It does feel long, especially within the last 30-40 minutes, but it does not bore. There is simply an excess of quality scenes. The score builds on BB, and the Joker and Dent themes are fantastic. I do believe the action scenes are better (and better shot than BB), but I admit that isn't Nolan's strength. I did enjoy them quite a bit. They are at least creative, and I can see Batman delivering some very sweet beatdowns.

It has flaws, no doubt. Nolan loves wordy dialogue, which usually works but draws attention to itself when it doesn't. There were more, but I can't think too straight now.

As a Batman fan, Nolan continues to seriously impress. He uses material from the comic, but from a different angle, or to highlight something different than the source material. Nods to numerous Batman stories are on display. None call attention to themselves. But The Killing Joke, The Long Halloween, and Year One have echoes in this film. The best parts of those series can be found in The Dark Knight. As he did with Scarecrow, Nolan improves the Rogue's Gallery, especially Two-Face. I'll comment on that more in the Discusison thread later.

In the end, no single element draws attention from the rest. This is a very finely crafted film, dense without being cluttered. If you can see it in IMAX, I exhort you to do so, even if the drive is an hour or two. Beyond making an exceptional film, it sets up a cracking third film. Much like BB set up a cracking The Dark Knight.

So The Dark Knight lived up to my expectations by surprising me Posted Image Sorry for the (too) long review.

10/10
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#9 of 41 Nicholas Martin

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:55 PM

I don't have a review, as that's not something I do well at all. I'll say this:

I thought it was better than Titanic.

Coming from me, a total supporter of that film and by no means one of those detractors who likes to bash it, that's the highest complement I have right now...it's almost 4 AM, I have a massive headache, and I don't have the words right now to describe how much I loved this film, which wasn't a film as much as it was one of those grand experiences that don't happen too often.

This was the best cinematic experience I've had.

#10 of 41 Jim Ogilvie

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:57 PM

Enjoyed the movie, but I do feel I made a mistake by seeing a midnight screening. Lately I haven't been a very happy camper when pushed into the late hours. I plan to see it again next week, probably in IMAX.

One thing I am certain of - I don't like Gyllenhaal's character, or rather her portrayal. I think she was completely wrong for the role. I don't find her attractive, and I think if we are to believe she is the flame of two onscreen characters, she should at least have that going for her. Of course 'attractive' is a very subjective thing.

All the other actors - top notch.

The writing was very clever. I wish I hadn't read Roger Eberts review where he spoils a scene that would have been a terrific surprise. But oh well - my fault for reading it, I guess.

They showed the next Terminator movie teaser in front of Dark Knight. They made sure you knew that Bale was the lead.

#11 of 41 Tim Glover

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Posted July 17 2008 - 08:19 PM

Thoroughly enjoyed it. It's late for all of us suckers who just got back from the midnight showings so I'll be brief and edit it later today. Posted Image

As Chuck said, Nolan does continue to impress with his direction.

The acting was even better than I hoped for. My only complaint was feeling that it was a tad too long. Seriously, right after....

______death,
could have been a tad more effective. Things just kept happening and for a minute or too, some of it had a ''tacked on" feel & it was too much. I understand some things had to play itself out though. The group I was with (6 total) all felt the same way as we discussed the film on our way home.

Still, it's a great one and one I will no doubt see again.

Heath Ledger was terrific and his performance was so much better than I thought it could be.

One more nitpicky thing that I'll discuss more in detail in the discussion thread: Whats the deal with Batman's voice? At times it was hard to understand & I found myself wondering why they decided to make it sound so artificial. I know he's trying to be discreet etc....but it was just hard to understand at times.

Overall, a 9/10....but I really need more time (coherent time) to soak it all in.

More later. Posted Image

#12 of 41 Patrick Sun

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Posted July 17 2008 - 08:25 PM

With a running time of 150 minutes and all the hype, the mind does wonder what's in store for viewers of the heavily anticipated followup to Batman Begins, and I will wholeheartedly say that the screenplay for The Dark Knight is both lengthy and robust, and yet I have no idea what I'd cut out of it because it introduces us to the new characters like the Joker and Harvey Dent and other mobster characters (and re-connects us with the familiar cast from Begins), sets up their situations as the escalation from Batman's actions on the criminal element in Gotham over the past year has produced unforseen responses and reactions, and quietly builds up steam with plenty of twists and turns based on character actions, motivations, and resolve.

The film does have this authentic "real world" grounded feel where it feels like it is possible for such fantastical characters such as Batman and Joker to actually exist and produce such an unrelenting storyline in this film. No doubt director Nolan was riffing on a Michael Mann vibe for setting up the action and plot points that ratchets up the tension and drama as stakes are raised more and more for the major players in the film.

The cast is uniformily up to the challenge as called for by the story, no weak spots for me (unlike performances like Katie Holmes that stick out in the first installment where she didn't have enough game for the script, Maggie Gyllenhaal delivered a more believable character in Rachel Dawes given what she was called upon to do), and it's truly an ensemble piece of acting for such a sprawling storyline that demanded solid performances and also allowed the principal actors their moments to shine and deliver within the framework of the film.

I think going from Batman Begins, where we get a whole lot of Bruce Wayne characterizations to The Dark Knight where it moves beyond that limited scope and treats Bruce/Batman was one of the major players, but not solely the focus of the story, which gives it more layered intersecting storylines amongst all the main characters. I will admit that I might have a small quibble with how the film finally concludes, but again, I will own up to some personal viewing fatigue which was coming from seeing a midnight showing, and I still don't know how I'd re-work the ending to trim it up, so I'm not going to be too hard on it, and I'll be curious to see how the ending plays for me on subsequent viewings at saner times of the day .

Overall, an entertaining and involving film, I give it 3.75 stars, or a grade of A- (which might be bumped up on a subsequent viewing on Imax on Saturday).

** I'm bumping up my rating to 4 stars, a grade of A after seeing it for a second time, and on IMAX. **
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#13 of 41 TerryRL

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Posted July 17 2008 - 10:44 PM

I'll keep this short and sweet. Absolutely amazing movie.

9.5/10
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#14 of 41 Reddman

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Posted July 18 2008 - 01:09 AM

I also caught the midnight showing of this and it was fantastic!! All of the actors did a great job with their roles especially Ledger. His portrayal of the Joker is one for the ages. Rachel's role wasn't quite as strong to me. I will be seeing this again. Bring on the next installment.

#15 of 41 Phil Kim

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Posted July 18 2008 - 05:17 AM

3.5 out of 5 for me.

Although the atmosphere, acting, and writing are all strong, for me, this film was a victim of expectation. With critics hailing the film as the best super hero movie ever/one of the best sequels ever, my expectation was sky high. In the end, although the film had moments of greatness, it failed to live up to my expectation.

My main problems:
    [*]Having two villains crowds the story. The film would've been lot tighter with just the joker.[*]Two-Face's make up. Perhaps it was done to make him look less scary (you know, for the kids), but it looked very CGI hokey to me.[*]Maggie Gyllenhall: Let's face it, her character needed to look hotter.[*]It felt like the film had multiple endings.


#16 of 41 Lou Sytsma

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Posted July 18 2008 - 06:58 AM

Great movie but like Phil stated it is a victim of expectations.

I'd give it a 8.5 out of 10. The two villain approach didn't present the normal problems but the movie plays long. The Hong Kong sequence could be removed without any impact to the story.

Ledger rocked but I was more impressed with Eckhart's work with Harvey Dent.

Very solid flick.
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#17 of 41 dana martin

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Posted July 18 2008 - 09:28 AM

actually 3 villains, and i loved what they did with scarecrow, the statement he makes towards batman is as good as any joker line.
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#18 of 41 paul_v

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Posted July 18 2008 - 09:30 AM

The movie was fantastic but I do agree they should have cut the Hong Kong sequence and left it for the DVD release. Other then that it would have been near perfect.

I give it a 9/10.
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#19 of 41 Les Samuel

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Posted July 18 2008 - 11:00 AM

First I thought it was a good movie however I am not sure why everyone is gushing all over it. IMO I prefer Burton's Batman and joker. Although Ledger performance is/was good I can think of plenty of other performances that was better. Go see it though, you'll have a good time....
All performances by the major cast members was good...

Dislikes
Gotham looked and is in Chicago
Dent's conversion to being a killer was kinda weak

I have a few others but they are nit picky.....
Also for me Iron Man was a better movie, not by much though

#20 of 41 Phil Florian

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Posted July 18 2008 - 02:19 PM

I will chime in with a quick review: Nearly a perfect mesh of summer size and indie film sensibilities. This was a character and crime drama first and superhero story second...which makes this almost the first of its kind. 10/10 for me.