Friday, July 4, 2008

The best comic book movie ever?

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone (3 1/2 stars out of 4):
Heads up: a thunderbolt is about to rip into the blanket of bland we call summer movies. The Dark Knight , director Christopher Nolan's absolute stunner of a follow-up to 2005's Batman Begins , is a potent provocation decked out as a comic-book movie. Feverish action? Check. Dazzling spectacle? Check. Devilish fun? Check. But Nolan is just warming up. There's something raw and elemental at work in this artfully imagined universe. Striking out from his Batman origin story, Nolan cuts through to a deeper dimension. Huh? Wha? How can a conflicted guy in a bat suit and a villain with a cracked, painted-on clown smile speak to the essentials of the human condition? Just hang on for a shock to the system. . . .I can only speak superlatives of Ledger, who is mad-crazy-blazing brilliant as the Joker. Miles from Jack Nicholson's broadly funny take on the role in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, Ledger takes the role to the shadows, where even what's comic is hardly a relief. . . .No fair giving away the mysteries of The Dark Knight. It's enough to marvel at the way Nolan — a world-class filmmaker, be it Memento, Insomnia or The Prestige — brings pop escapism whisper-close to enduring art. It's enough to watch Bale chillingly render Batman as a lost warrior, evoking Al Pacino in The Godfather II in his delusion and desolation. It's enough to see Ledger conjure up the anarchy of the Sex Pistols and A Clockwork Orange as he creates a Joker for the ages.

Todd Gilchrist, IGN (5 out of 5 stars):
Superior to all three Spider-Man installments and even its amazing predecessor in terms of conceptualization, writing, acting, and direction, Nolan's follow-up to Batman Begins is a dark, complex and disturbing film , not the least of which because it grafts its heroics onto the blueprint of actual reality rather than that of spandex-clad supermen. And while such a distinction may make little difference to those already eagerly anticipating the return of the caped crusader, suffice it to say that The Dark Knight qualifies as the first official comic book adaptation that truly succeeds in being a great artistic achievement in its own right. . . .Meanwhile, the violence is quite possibly the most intense I have ever seen in a PG-13 film, leaving myself and others wondering how The Dark Knight avoided an R. . . .Finally, there's Ledger, whose performance I suspect will be the subject of many analyses of all sorts in the weeks and months to come. What he does with The Joker is, quite frankly, nothing short of transcendent. Early in the film he explains the origins of his trademark facial scars, and you worry for a moment that the filmmakers are giving this psychopath some kind of convenient explanation, which, talented though he was, Ledger won't be able to overcome. But by the third time he's explained where they come from – each time telling a different tale – you realize that Ledger was a master of his craft, only in his final years finding roles that truly offered him the chance to explore that mastery. His is the definitive movie Joker, and he owns the role and achieves a level of abject insanity that is terrifying as it is irresistible.

Emmanuel Levy (A):
Dark, grim, haunting and visionary, "The Dark Knight" is nothing short of brilliant, the best and scariest comic hero adaptation you are likely to see this summer season, and perhaps during the whole year . At least two notches above "Batman Begins," this follow-up represents Christopher Nolan's most accomplished and mature work, and mind you, he is one of the few Hollywood directors who have never made a bad picture.

The Movie Blog (8.5 out of 10):
The action in The Dark Knight was vastly superior to Batman Begins in every way, shape and form. And we’re not just talking about fight scenes either. There are a couple of scenes that are more like heist movies than comic book ones and they totally work. The camera work is also much better for the fight and action in this movie than they were in the original which was quite a relief since that was one of my few complains about Begins.

FilmFocus (from Holland) (5 out of 5 stars):
Nolan kicks in the narrative overdrive from the first minute and doesn't relent after that. A spectacular bank job with a gruesome aftermath introduces Heath Ledger's Joker, aka "The Scariest Supervillain Of All Time™". Ledger's performance is so incredibly strong that by all means come July 24th, it should become the pure definition of the term 'sociopath' in your friendly neighbourhood dictionary. Ledger, who sadly passed away in the beginning of this year, leaves a legacy unlike anything that has ever been seen in a comic book film adaptation as Batman's nemesis....The Dark Knight rises above the tropes of the super hero movie and establishes itself as a sprawling crime epic filled with intrigues and plot twists that can easily hold its own against classics from the Warner archives like L.A. Confidential and Heat.

Brad Brevet, from :
What can I say? There are moments in film history when everything is pushed aside and performance exceeds genre. Batman Begins told audiences and film critics it was possible to root a comic book generated superhero in reality. Earlier this year Iron Man set out to do the same but lost its balance in the final act. The Dark Knight manages to exceed expectation with a villain so maniacal, his desire for destruction begins to make sense to the point you understand his desire for all out anarchy while you are cheering for the opposition in a war that basically boils down to one side against individual terrorism. . . .In terms of comic book film adaptations this is the pinnacle . The argument saying this is the Godfather Part II of comic book movies would insinuate that Batman Begins is on equal terms with the original Godfather , which is far from true. However, if we could call this The Godfather of comic book movies I wait anxiously for what may/will become the film that caps off the trilogy.

All the things you never thought you would see in a Batman film are present in "The Dark Knight." Christopher Nolan's dark, disturbing sequel to 2006's "Batman Begins" pulls off an impossible task: making an epic from a movie with a man in tights. The film also reveals to a mass audience what fans of the characters have known for years - the Joker is nothing to laugh at. . .. Christopher Nolan never meant to be a director of titanic tent-pole films, but he delivers them with grace, confidence, and power. The fights are true to Batman and the chase scenes are electric. If "The Dark Knight" were simply an action film, it would be one of the best. However, what makes the film truly amazing is how it grows beyond its basic remit as a summer action film. The story, guided by the Joker's antics, reveals a dark rumination on the Western World in the twenty-first century. It suggests the line between upstanding citizen and a homicidal clown is not very well defined. The film has a sense of relevance in a way no other superhero movie can claim to suggest. This is a truly amazing feat for any film, never mind one which features an actual building exploding. . . .Make no mistake; "The Dark Knight" is frightening. Tension ramps up. Blood is spilled. Every body that drops has weight. Every shout is as unsettling as an explosion. As soon as the Joker begins his stage show of terror, you will expect every window and every quiet moment to explode into anarchy. This is not the Superfriends. Scooby and Daphne are no where to be found. Even if they were, they would be strung up on the pillars of Gotham City Hall, broken and still bleeding with a note posted to Scoob's intestines saying, "Good one, Shaggy." The vision of humanity the Joker presents will haunt you.

Tom McLean, Newsarama :
The Dark Knight is an intense, thrilling, smart and amazing film that truly vies for the crown of the greatest movie ever made from a comic book. Yes, it’s that good. Weaving a plot of complexity and depth that pits well-drawn characters against each other in a battle of anarchy against order, sanity against insanity and life against death, The Dark Knight excels on nearly every level and delivers that most rare of movie gems — a spectacle that succeeds in challenging its genre and its audience, creating an experience that will completely satisfy and thrill filmgoers of all types. Even scratching the surface of the many ways in which this film pleases, surprises, shocks and thrills would take more time and be inferior to watching the film itself, which even at 2 & 1/2 hours only rarely compels criticism of overstaying its welcome or of venturing into territory that could be cut.

Mr. Disgusting, from Bloody Disgusting :
If 2008 proved anything thus far, it's that there is hope for cinema. With dozens upon dozens of mind-numbing films being dumped into theaters, we have already seen a few glimmers of hope, even though I still haven't seen a film that blew me away... that is until last night. Warner Bros. Pictures' THE DARK KNIGHT is not only the best film I have seen this year, but quite possibly the best superhero movie ever made. . . .If DARK KNIGHT gets anything less than an Oscar nomination it would be a great injustice to the world of cinema. Nolan has delivered an epic masterpiece that will literally take your breath away. If this film doesn't make you feel like a kid again, maybe there's no hope for you...

Staci Lane, :
Martin Scorsese's The Departed . Michael Mann's Heat . Brian de Palma's The Untouchables . And now, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight can join the ranks as one of the best crime dramas in modern movie history. It's only incidental it's set in the fictional gritty city of Gotham, and it just happens to feature a superhero wearing a bat-suit and an arch-villain in clown makeup.



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