I am Batman. At least, that's the name my friend has for me in her cell phone. But I could never dream of achieving the awesomeness that is the Batman in The Dark Knight.
I've always felt that Batman was the best superhero because he doesn't actually have super powers - he wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider, he wasn't born a mutant, and he wasn't an alien. He's just a rich guy with lots of toys and wicked martial arts skills who's set on saving the world. I love that about Batman.
The Dark Knight shows Batman (Christian Bale, fast becoming my favorite Batman) coming to terms with being a hero and what that means in a city on its way to being ruled by criminals. And when the Joker shows up and says that Batman has to take off the mask and identify himself or people will die, it messes with him. This is a Bat with feelings. This is a Bat with a heart. This is a Bat who walks a fine line between the moral high and low ground. It's no wonder they call him "The Dark Knight." He's tormented between doing good for Gotham and good for Bruce Wayne - for they're not always one and the same.
Oh, and the Joker? Holy crap. Side story: it was a couple years ago when I heard they had cast Heath Ledger in the role of the Joker. I had been in love with Ledger since 10 Things I Hate About You, and I was well aware of his potential - I knew he'd win an Oscar someday. But the Joker? Really? Nobody could be the Joker but Jack Nicholson. Nobody was the right kind of crazy to pull that off. I should have been excited - my love for Batman and my love for Heath Ledger, finally coming together in a huge big-budget blockbuster. How could it be bad? He's not Jack Nicholson. I made my decision. I would see the movie with low expectations for the villain.
Then came that fateful January day, where I listen to a voicemail message from my brother (rare, since he never left messages). "I just wanted to be sure you knew this... Heath Ledger is dead." It was a sad day for me. I got more condolence phone calls than an adult woman should have received when a celebrity died. But it hit me hard. He was my age (close, at least). He was so full of potential. He was supposed to win an Oscar!
Mourning aside, after Ledger's death, the stories started coming out about his work as the Joker. They talked about how committed he was to the role, how completely surrendered to it, how eerily he pulled off the part. Maybe he would win his Oscar after all? In any case, I was no longer expecting a lackluster villain.
All right, back to the review. Heath Ledger was phenomenal. His performance was creepy and funny and scary and bizarre - and completely fitting. The makeup was perfect in its imperfection. Even if Ledger were still alive, they would still be raving about the performance. I have no more words on the matter. It's just a shame he won't be there to accept the Academy Award.
So, if you couldn't tell, I loved the movie. Yes, it's long. But it's worth it. At one point, it felt a little bit like two movies linked together, but it still worked. I was still caught up in the magic of it. Gary Oldman makes the best Lieutenant Gordon, and Aaron Eckhart was a perfect Harvey Dent. Also, I was relieved to know that they left Katie Holmes out of this one and instead cast a capable actress - Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is much more fit for the role of Rachel Dawes. And the movie's eye candy doesn't just come in human form. There are fast cars, faster motorcycles, and that whole Batmobile-turned-Batcycle thing, and plenty of awesome explosions for the testosterone set. Fantastic.
My only complaint: way too much eyeball from Two-Face. Eyeballs are gross.