The Dark Knight

July 20, 2008 - Gotham is a big city, and The Dark Knight is a big movie. It clocks in at roughly 2.5 hours. I'm not convinced that it needed to be that long, but when a movie is a sequel to a prequel, I guess it deserves some extra time to tell its story. It also gives Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart some well-deserved extra time on screen.

Ledger as the Joker and Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face both do well in their roles as villains to Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman hero. Gary Oldman is back as Lt. Gordon. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine reprise their roles as Bruce's loyal aides. Maggie Gyllenhaal, as Rachel Dawes, provides a welcome upgrade over Katie Holmes. And, look for Eric Roberts and Anthony Michael Hall in smaller but important roles.

The plot is a little hard to follow at times. Basically, it involves the Joker going after mob money as a way to get Batman's attention. After that, well, the Joker doesn't really seem to have a plan except to keep escalating as a way to keep Batman's attention. Bodies, many of them, pile up as collateral damage and the morals of just about everyone are compromised along the way. That's the real joke here, I think, as the good guys try to stay true but it's the villains who know the real truth. As the Joker says to Batman (in the only line that got a laugh from the audience), "You complete me."

Overall review: *** And, add an extra half star, if you would. Because of the film's length and the messy plot, I can't see my way to giving it four stars. But, the action is good, the performances are good, and there are plenty of avenues left open to pursue in the next film. It really is sad that Ledger isn't here to be part of it.