The Dark Knight
“Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more.”
Ah Batman, everyone’s… well a lot of people’s favourite superhero, even before a certain Christopher Nolan came along in 2005 to breath new amazingly wonderful life into the franchise with his first entry into the Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman Begins. People love Batman, I love Batman, we loved Batman while suffering through atrocious films such as Batman and Robin, and to a marginally lesser extent, Batman Forever. We endured; we took the punches because we knew one day someone would come along and give us the Batman film we deserved. We did deserve something more, and Christopher Nolan gave it to us in the form of Begins, then topping that in 2008 by creating the consensus greatest superhero movie of all time, The Dark Knight.
When I first saw this film, I remember saying to a friend, “It’s the greatest movie I’ve ever seen.” I have since come down from that opinion, the hype at the time, the movie still entrenched so firmly within me, I wasn’t thinking clearly. But I can forgive myself for that because there is no doubt that The Dark Knight isn’t just the greatest superhero movie ever but one of the great crime thrillers ever brought to cinemas, rivalling movies such as Heat and other classics of the genre. We all knew we had seen something special that summer, something that would change the genre forever, something that would inspire filmmakers for many years to come. The world was gripped by frenzy. This wasn’t just a movie about a man dressed as a bat, this was something more.
The Dark Knight was adored by fans and critics alike, a rare feat for this genre of movie, for any summer blockbuster. A lot of the praise went, rightfully so, to Heath Ledger’s Joker, an actor who had passed away shortly after filming his now iconic role, redefining who the Joker was for millions of new fans around the world, spawning thousands upon thousands of imitation videos that were going viral all across the internet. The world was obsessed. Nolan had done something remarkable; he made a Batman film that was genuinely being considered a GREAT movie, an Oscar worthy film. The Dark Knight is the reason why the Academy expanded their Best Film category to ten so that a film this majestic would never be snubbed again.
The middle entry in this masterful trilogy is littered with iconic scenes and moments, moments that send shivers down one’s spine. A personal stand out being the final scene between Batman, Two Face, and Gordon, with Two Face laying down some hard truths for everyone involved, holding a gun to Gordon’s family and raging desperately, “Why was I the only one who lost everything?” It is a truly special moment in the film, acted to perfection, directed with a master’s precision, along with another astonishing score from Nolan’s long time collaborator Hans Zimmer.
One of the most profound and relevant moments in the film to real life events, was when Joker, hanging upside down from a Gotham skyscraper, looks Batman in the eyes and declares, “I think you and I are destined to do this forever.” This is a line so true to the characters, referencing their long history in comics, cartoons, and film, but also foreshadowing how these two iconic men will forever be battling it out for our amusement. This particular moment also hit home when lamenting the loss of Heath Ledger. The success of this movie would have no doubt booked his Joker a recurring role in many films to come, fighting for Gotham’s soul with Bale’s definitive Batman for many a future year. Alas, fate had other plans, depriving us of witnessing such a thing.
The Dark Knight will always be remembered for Ledger, for his Joker, and for the iconic moments he provided, his death trapping him in time along with Batman and Two Face, inside a movie that was more than anything anyone could have possibly dared to dream. No one knew that such a thing was possible before that summer in 2008, before Christopher Nolan provided the world with the Batman we deserved, at the time when we needed it most.