Ian Crow’s Film Masterclass – The Dark Knight (2008) #4

People talk about the re-invention of the superhero genre; Marvel have been behind around 90% of the comic-book films that have made their way on screen. But there is a special trilogy that has been delivered. And that is the Dark Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan. By far and away, the best film in the trilogy is the middle film ‘The Dark Knight’. Not only is it the best film in the trilogy, in my eyes, it is the greatest comic-book film ever made. Christian Bale’s Batman is in full swing in the second movie, the caped crusader is torn between two things in his life. Serving justice on a silver platter for the people of Gotham or being with his one true love, Rachel Dawes. Deciding between the two is a difficult matter, let alone when you throw in a psychotic killer in the mix.

Yes, of course I am talking about the legendary foe of Batman, The Joker. Portrayed by Jack Nicholson in 1989’s Tim Burton’s incarnation of Batman, no one ever thought that the performance by the American actor would ever be beaten. Not only did Heath Ledger beat it, he smacked it out of the park. And the best thing about it is that absolutely no one expected it. Disarray hit the internet forums with the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker, but then promotional teasers started to arrive and the first pictures of The Joker’s new look were delivered. Then eventually, ‘The Dark Knight’ hit cinemas and people were stunned. Obviously, the interest in the film accelerated due to the unfortunate passing away of Heath Ledger before the film was released. His performance is easily, my favourite on screen I have ever seen. Power, Ferocity, Psychotic, Charming, Disillusioned, Remarkable, Genius and Awe-Inspiring are the many words I can describe his portrayal as The Joker. If it’s not his unforgettable lines throughout the film, it’s his mannerisms. The constant tongue movement, the flick of the hair and the awful posture; these are the key ingredients for Heath Ledger’s Joker.

The genius behind all of this mayhem is director Christopher Nolan. I am a huge fan of his work, but it’s easily said that ‘The Dark Knight’ is his greatest film and is a modern masterpiece. Not only is it the greatest comic-book movie ever made, it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. The sublime use of IMAX in the films helps us dive into the film even more and show Gotham in a new light.  ‘The Dark Knight’ is motivational, power-house that not only stormed people’s imaginations, but became the first comic-book movie to gross a billion dollars at the worldwide box-office.

If it isn’t Hans Zimmer’s and James Newton Howard’s revolutionary soundtrack that is elegant, beautiful and reckless all in one, its Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance as The Joker. Or even Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. And of course, the excellent direction from Christopher Nolan, the genius behind the camera and delivered us the greatest comic-book movie ever made. It’s incredibly difficult, near enough impossible to find someone who will disagree with this article; in so many ways, ‘The Dark Knight’ has touched people and will continue to have that effect for decades to come.

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