In what has been touted as the movie event of the summer, if not the year, “The Dark Knight” opens this weekend and there is no doubt that long-time Bat-fans will enjoy it as much as non fans. The Dark Knight

Batman returns to the big screen this summer in “The Dark Knight” A direct sequel to 2005’s “Batman Begins.”  Much of the cast has returned featuring Christian Bale as millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne who moonlights as Gotham City’s masked vigilante.  Gary Oldman returns as James Gordon and of course Michael Caine is the ever-loyal Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

The returning cast is nothing less than excellent and even the new faces on the silver screen are impressive.  Maggie Gyllenhaal (Stranger than Fiction) replaces Katie Holmes as assistant DA Rachel Dawes rather seamlessly.  Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking) delivers a great performance as Harvey Dent and transitions well into his alter ego.  

Heath Ledger as The JokerOf course it is Heath Ledger’s Joker that everyone is talking about.  This is the role that allegedly caused the late Mr. Ledger to use antidepressants.  While it is hard to separate the real-life tragedy from the role Ledger brings a dark sophisticated psychosis to the film that leave you wishing he was a bigger part of the film.

As it turns out Eckhart’s character gets more screen time and does steal quite a bit of spotlight from Ledger when you look at the big picture.   When Ledger is on screen there seems to be nobody else but the Joker.

Also returning from the previous film is acclaimed director Christopher Nolan.  Nolan who also directed “The Prestige” diverts from the style of telling parallel stories through different time periods.  This time around we get a more traditional linear narrative.  With many of the main characters already established there is no real need for flashbacks.   Nolan succeeds with this new formula.  The pacing of the film is great and nearly every member of the cast gets a one-liner for comic relief.

Set almost immediately after the previous movie Gotham City is facing another crime wave.  This time financed by a Chinese business man. Of course when the Joker wants in on the action he manipulates, murders and cheats his way to the top of the Gotham Crime scene.

Meanwhile Harvey Dent works through Lt. Gordon with the Batman to nab the gang leaders. 

As you may draw from this there is quite a bit of DA/Courtroom drama here, making this movie something like the ultimate episode of “Law & Order.”

“The Dark Knight” delivers.  It delivers action, comedy, thought-provoking scenarios, some potential seizure-educing special effects, many very impressive performances and come 2009 it will deliver at least an Oscar nomination for Heath Ledger.

 Additional reading: my “Batman Begins” review

Be Sociable, Share!