Monday, March 23, 2009

Anti-Oscars Part 6 (The end... I promise)

This the end, I promise. Sorry it’s taken so long and is… so long but I was pretty passionate about the movies released in 2008 and I couldn’t keep mum.
THE DARK KNIGHT: THE DARK KNIGHT was not only the best movie of 2008, but also probably the best movie I’ve seen since THE INCREDIBLES and perhaps simply one of THE best movies I’ve ever seen.

THE DARK KNIGHT is one of “those” movies. The kind that tap the vein of society and become more then just movies, they become bigger than the movies, bigger than life. They become legends and irreplaceable classics. Films that will be dissected, reminisced over, heralded and canonized along with such films as STAR WARS, THE GODFATHER, BEN-HUR, JAWS and so on. The kinds of movies that EVERYONE knows whether they’ve actually seen them or not. The DARK KNIGHT not only set the bar for any comic book movie made from this point in history on, but also created the benchmark by which all huge, summer blockbusters will be judged. It will either be considered that which set the trend, leading to a new golden age of smart, gigantic Hollywood productions or that which broke the mold and attained the near impossible, that type of holy grail of a film that cannot be matched or equaled.

Yes, THE DARK KNIGHT really is THAT good and here’s why:

“This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

That brilliant snippet of dialogue, one of many in one of the densest, most complex yet unequivocally thrilling and entertaining screenplays produced in quite some time, delivered by Heath Ledger as The Joker, creating one of the top 5 greatest cinematic villains in the history of cinema, PERFECTLY encapsulates and explains why THE DARK KNIGHT is so much more than a comic book movie. It helps to reveal that beneath the costumes and the gadgets and the eye popping action set-pieces beats the heart of one of the most brilliant crime sagas ever filmed.

First and foremost THE DARK KNIGHT is a film about ideals and the isms that go them. It is a film about chaos, reckless abandon and evil and its eternal struggle with law, order and justice. Under the guise of caped crusaders, make-upped madmen and high octane action beats the heart of a film far more concerned with the brutal, sobering truths of life than how many Happy Meal toys it will sell or how many kids will be running around wearing Batman Underoos.

Over the course of two and a half plus hours Christopher Nolan delves into the internal struggle that has consumed mankind from the dawn of time and will continue to do so until we all reach our end. We live in a fallen, scary world in which forces both premeditated and not conspire to rip away all that makes us human. As bleak as that idea is though Nolan lauds the idea that what makes us human, what is truly noble, what is truly heroic is not giving up, not giving an inch to the insanity and madness that threatens to consume us on a daily basis. Will we lose this fight sometimes? Yes. Will this fight effect us and scar us in ways we’ve never imagined? Yes, but fight on we must, martyrs for the true potential of humanity and all that it has to offer. Plus a semi-truck gets flipped by the most badass motorcycle ever, a dude gets killed with a pencil and Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart turn in the best performances of their career.

If any of the above reminds you more of the standard comic book movie fare, of films like SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL and X-MEN, not HEAT, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE FRENCH CONNECTION and a host of others then we must have been watching different movies. The one I saw told one of the best Batman stories of all time, one that ranks up there with “The Dark Knight Returns”, “The Long Halloween” and “The Killing Joke” all while transcending its genre and source material by telling one of the most blistering accounts of crime and justice I’ve ever witnessed. That is why it is the best film of 2008 and a film that I and millions of others will revisit countless times through the decades.


Megan said...

Dear God how many of these can someone write???? Next time it's called a novella.


Anonymous said...

I really hope the sequel doesn't ruin it seeing as how its hard to think of a logical way of what to do with The Joker.

a) Re-casting him won't work since this IS Heath's role now.

b) They could say he died in between films but no would buy it and it would be too lame.

c) He could be locked away in Arkham but he escaped so many times in The Dark Knight that it would be hard to believe they could keep him.