Make no mistake, this new entry in the continuing winged saga of Batman, who like The Spirit (and that’s coming soon), is one of the more interesting comic book heroes ever created, especially because his (like The Spirit’s) super-human abilities are based on human attributes and not on powers endowed by Greek or Norse gods, or unfortunate accidents of science. It also should be noted that it’s always more entertaining to be a good villain than a great hero, as Ledger’s interpretation of The Joker proves in this newest entry in the series.
And yes, I must admit that the movie is dark, not only because of the subject matter or the continuing reminder of Ledger’s death in real life but also because I’ve never seen such dark nights in a big city called up like this movie can call up with its incredible production values and unlimited budget.
Ledger was on his way to becoming a true actor, able to breathe life into most any role, and like Jack Nicholson’s interpretation of The Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 "Batman," he certainly pulls out all of the organ stops. He gives us a great interpretation of an amoral and psychopathic killer with a high IQ, and, apparently, led to the set, then given the high sign by director Nolan and came forth with a Joker like nothing else in the deck.
But, I’ve been witness to a number of movies that lasted three hours (or more), but was taxed to sit still with two hours and thirty-two minutes of "The Dark Knight," because while I expect they hated to throw out any scenes or take time for rewrites, they really should have bitten the bullet and edited a bit. After all, 150-some minutes of very sweet fudge without just a bit of tartness, is over the top--at least for somebody like me who began his movie watching with the taut "film noir" thrillers of the 1940s and early 1950s.
For a summer blockbuster from the ranks of comic book heroes it’s great entertainment but as a commentary on a country gone amuck, it leaves a good deal to be desired before making it a four-star entry in the halls of movie fame.