Being something of a latecomer when it came to The Dark Knight, for me this film was always going to be about the hype. It’s a tall order to live up to the expectation generated by the most anticipated film of the year directed by one of my favourite directors containing a performance lauded over by all and sundry. Basically, it had a hell of a lot to live up to.
Astonishingly, it did not disappoint. I loved Batman Begins, particularly its examination of the psychology of Bruce Wayne/Batman and this sequel can be seen as the continuation of a single story in a similar way to the first two Godfather films. This time it’s The Joker’s show all the way and Heath Ledger tiptoes the line between playfulness and psychosis perfectly. His character is obviously designed to strike a chord with western audiences as a villain with no agenda, fear of death or capture, no objective other than chaos is clearly the ultimate “terrorist”. I just wish there had been more dialogue between he and Christian Bale, rather than The Joker making observations while Batman wordlessly pounded on him, but absolutely every other aspect of the film is pretty much flawless; the action, the effects, the performances, all spot on. The script is brilliantly written and I was glad to see it didn’t follow the usual pattern of “we’re all super-baddies so let’s all join up to fight the hero”, instead Two Face being a far more believable by-product of The Joker’s manipulations.
I personally prefer the stylistic approach of Sin City, but The Dark Knight is still easily one of the best superhero films ever made.