Movie Review: The Dark Knight (2008)

Title: The Dark Knight 
Release Date: July 14, 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures | Legendary Pictures | DC Comics | Syncopy

After hearing accolades for this film for so many years, I found myself severely disappointed after watching it for the first time.  Is 13 years enough time for this movie to feel so dated? Both Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are supposed to be good guys but they appear to be stereotypical evil yuppies from a late 80s/early 90s movie. And when Dent takes his heel turn it’s because his fiance Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) gets fridged.  I know that was  already a tired and dated trope by 2008 and seems a waste of Gyllenhaal’s talents.  Heath Ledger is praised for his performance as The Joker, and rightly so, but he’s also the only person in this movie who actually gets to be a character not just an archetype.  For me, the real hero of this movie is the prisoner who throws a detonator off of a ferry.

And to borrow a phrase from this movie’s villain, “Why so serious?”  In the effort to make this movie feel “dark, gritty, and realistic” it forgets to have any sense of humanity and humor.  Even The Joker doesn’t tell any jokes. The only thing that made me laugh was Bale’s ridiculously gravelly Batman voice. Granted, the movie doesn’t need to be campy like the 1960s tv series Batman.  But the best superhero movies like Wonder Woman and Thor: Ragnarok show that a superhero movie can have a lot of humor and heart while still dealing with serious and traumatic issues.  The Dark Knight is obviously a well-made action film (with a lot of admirable practical effects in the age of CGI), but if it ever was “the best superhero movie of all time” it has since been usurped multiple times.

Rating: **