The 2008 action drama The Dark Knight is distributed by Warner Bros. Some of its stars include Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Heath Ledger as The Joker, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes. The writers are Jonathan Nolan (The Prestige), Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins), David S. Goyer (The Unborn), and Bob Kane (Batman). The director is Christopher Nolan.
The film opens roughly a year after the events of Batman Begins. The Joker and his men rob a bank in the first scene. New District Attorney Harvey Dent joins Lieutenant Gordon and Batman to help destroy the mob. During a mob boss meeting, a Chinese mafia accountant named Lau informs them that the stolen money has been hidden and he has fled to Hong Kong. The Joker interrupts the meeting and tells the mob bosses that Batman will go after Lau and he will offer to kill him if he receives half the shares. They refuse and place a bounty on the Joker's head. Batman does go after Lau in Hong Kong and brings him back to Gotham City.
He agrees to testify against the mob bosses, freeing up Dent to arrest and charge them. Because of these recent events, the Joker threatens to kill people until Batman reveals his true identity. The first deaths are Commissioner Loeb and the judge presiding over the mob boss trial. A later attempt to assassinate the mayor is foiled and Lieutenant Gordon appears to be killed. In order to prevent further loss of life, Bruce Wayne plans to reveal himself until Harvey Dent says he's Batman to keep the truth secure. While being transported across the city, the DA is captured by the Joker's men. In the process, the Joker himself is arrested.
He reveals to Batman that Dent and Rachel Dawes, Bruce Wayne's love interest, have been placed in separate buildings at opposite ends of town, each surrounded with explosives. The Caped Crusader goes after who he thinks will be Rachel while Gordon, who had faked his own death to lure the Joker, goes after Dent. Batman arrives and discovers that Harvey Dent is the one held captive there while Gordon fails in his attempt to save Rachel. In the explosion, Dent is badly burned on half his face and is distraught over her death.
When I first heard about this film, I was thrilled because the Joker is my favorite Batman villain. But, as I found out later, there is very little of the Joker's main attributes displayed in the film. Things like the Joker's venom don't make any appearance. With the exception of a couple of tricks, which includes the Joker card, none of this psychotic's well-known characteristics are ever shown. In effect, any sort of criminal could have been the main antagonist in The Dark Knight; it didn't have to be the Joker. The Joker appears to be more of a terrorist in this film than one of Batman's freakish enemies.
When I discovered what they were going to call the film, The Dark Knight, I initially believed that it was just referring to Batman and his black suit, but I was wrong. The title of the film was referring to a Dark Knight opposing a White Night. A Dark Knight is someone who will stop the bad guy at any cost, legal or not. A White Knight, on the other hand, will attempt to stop him by legal means. A line early in the story gives it away, "Either you die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself as the villain."
Ironically, both Batman and Harvey Dent prove this to be true. At the start of the film, the people of Gotham are still unsure of what Batman really is, hero or villain. He did save the city from Ra's al Gaul in the previous movie but, in this one, he appears willing to capture the bad guy at any costs, even if it means invading other people's privacy or viciously beating up a man during interrogation in order to have the information he needs. The new district attorney follows a similar path. He starts out as this bold prosecutor going after every bad guy in Gotham, no matter how bad they are. Later on after his fiance Rachel is killed by the Joker, he becomes more of a vigilante. Dent goes around killing everybody that he believes was responsible for her demise.
To wrap, The Dark Knight is actually a pretty good film, but lacks most of the joking aspect of a Batman movie featuring the Joker.
Written by Kevin Dillehay
Kevin T. Dillehay has written nearly a hundred movie reviews from all genres. He provides a unique perspective on the movies you see all the time but may not stop and think about in depth. You are invited to check out his work at http://www.moviefilmreview.com/author/kmonk10.