Film Break: “The Dark Knight”
Elevating the comic book movie into epic tragedy and high poetry, Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight doesn’t just better its predecessor and steal its title as the greatest superhero movie ever made– though it certainly does that, it does so much more. Make no mistake, it’s a comic-book movie through and through– action-packed and funny in all the right ways– but it’s truer to the art form and more flush with possibility than any other comic book movie ever made. Nolan’s film effortlessly outdoes every other blockbuster in recent memory, all the while flirting with art-house ambitions, and the result is a movie that is singular in its achievement: Thanks not only to Nolan but to the entire cast and crew– particularly Heath Ledger, whose Joker might be the most harrowing picture of evil yet seen on the big screen– The Dark Knight stands as a stunning, sometimes disturbing movie about corruption and decay, or, as one character puts it, the task of being decent in indecent times. It’s pregnant with political interpretations– about how America has responded to terrorism and evil in other parts of the world– but it never pushes the point too hard. And if that all sounds like too much, consider this: The Dark Knight wrestles with many of the same questions as No Country for Old Men with just as much profundity and depth, and Ledger’s Joker, despite having less screen time, makes an impression every bit as memorable as Daniel Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview.
It is a masterpiece in every possible sense– more Godfather or Apocalypse Now than Iron Man or Spider-man, and yet far more entertaining and compelling than either of those movies ever dared to be. It’ s a landmark film that no other comic book movie will ever be able to top.