The second instalment in The Dark Knight Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and a sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight sees Batman (Christian Bale) enlist the help of his allies – Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) – to keep a tight lid on crime in Gotham City. But when a vile young criminal calling himself the Joker (Heath Ledger) suddenly throws the town into chaos, the caped Crusader must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.
Whilst I didn’t think that things could get any better than Batman Begins, The Dark Knight soon became my favourite instalment in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy, and one of my favourite films of all time, and that’s largely because of Heath Ledger‘s performance as The Joker. This is not only Ledger’s best performance to date, but he also masters the best superhero villain performance of all time (in my eyes), which is even sadder with this being the last film that he was a part of. His performance takes over every scene that he’s in, helping to make this film the masterpiece that it is.
The casting has always been a strong quality of Nolan’s films, but it somehow manages to make an even bigger improvement with the inclusion of Ledger, but also with Aaron Eckhart who makes another great addition the cast of quality actors. His character development certainly comes as a surprise as the hopelessness of Gotham City becomes more apparent, but the way that this story progresses on a whole is beyond impressive.
The action is outstanding, the technology and visual effects are spectacular, but I think the best thing about this instalment is the way that Nolan develops the characters as you become deeply invested in each of them. Even The Joker becomes likeable at times, almost provoking a sense of sympathy for his character (although not justifying his actions), with so many brilliant lines of dialogue that have almost come to define the comic book genre.
This will not only be the film that we remember the highly accomplished Heath Ledger for, but it is unarguably a pivotal film in the superhero genre that I really don’t think can be bettered in terms of quality.