In preparation of the July 20th release of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated trilogy closer, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bro Journey is reviewing each of the previous six Batman films (in order) that have preceded it. We continue with 2008′s The Dark Knight.
We’ve all experienced the ups and downs of growing up (or getting old if you’re a cynic) and it doesn’t take a genius to say that it pretty much sucks. Not only do we loose our aesthetic appeal, but we have to deal with all the shitty things that happen to us and our loved ones along the way. Now in the comic book world, those feelings of darkness or fear and those horrible things that happen are exacerbated to the nth degree and no one comes out unscathed. In Gotham, you might as well buy some black eye liner and one of those shirts that have thumb holes because this place sucks. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is safe regardless of what Bruce, Alfie and God (Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox)) do to protect us. So after five movies we have reached the pinnacle (so far) of life in Gotham and everything that you think could go wrong in fact does go wrong and gets worse.
I’m about to take y’all for a ride on The Dark Knight express where the only thing served is ice cold vengeance, scars and Xanax. I present to you, the conclusion in our 6 part series… The Dark Knight.
Throughout this whole series I’ve basically dicked around and talked about how shitty Michael Keaton looked in a massive turtleneck and how intolerable/amazing/CHILLING The Arnold was in Batman and Robin, but now that we’ve made it to the last leg of our journey I’m more sweaty and pissed off at society than Max was when he hit the third leg of his triathlon (post to come.) I’m here to bring the pain and show you kind internet folks why The Dark Knight is the best superhero movie of all time (so far.) So without further ado, let’s begin…
Gotham City, and in particular Chris Nolan’s Gotham City, is a dark place that foils the everyday American metropolitan hub. It’s not a super megalopolis meets Dubai with tons of naked dude statues like in Batman and Robin and its not in the 70’s buried somewhere in a Tim Burton acid trip – this time, Gotham City is real. You and I could be extras in this movie and not even know it. The Dark Knight feels so true to the time that this alone sets it apart from the other five movies we’ve already watched.
Although we don’t get to see Wayne Manor, we do get to see Wayne Enterprise’s swanky new digs and we also see Bruce Wayne wreck the shit out of his Ferarri, along with how Bruce spends his evenings in the city (hint: “dining” Russian models.) Gotham is a real place (it’s actually Chicago in TDK, but who’s keeping track?) in this flick and isn’t just a comic book background making the intensity of the movie that much more real and gritty.
This is all (somewhat) real (sorta)
In the post-modern world we all have a heightened sense of fear and anxiety (it might just be me because I’m hungover right now and my boss keeps looking over my shoulder), but the Nolan movies play into what really frightens each of us. In the first movie, Nolan accomplishes this by showing us what it would be like to be in a bio-warfare situation. The Dark Knight goes at it a bit differently and plays to our fears by showing us what it would be like if those in control “introduced a little anarchy” and let Gotham implode upon itself. What if everyone in your town all of a sudden lost all of their money or power or socioeconomic status? What if no one could be trusted, including cops and lawyers? What if Bruce Wayne was banging two Russian models AT THE SAME TIME? Well all of that happens in The Dark Knight and we see the ugly side of the people of Gotham and what it would be like if we all lost control. To add to your fears even more, we find that all of this chaos has been initiated by a psychopath with SCARSSSS on his face. By undermining the mob, calling for Batman to be unmasked (or else!), and letting all of his actions lead to bigger and nastier conclusions, Nolan shows us what it would’ve essentially been like had Rick Santorum been elected.
I talk about one liners constantly and Max knows that I use them improperly most times, but this movie is chock full of greatness. From Heath Ledger’s sociopathic madness (LOOK AT ME / Shh sh sh) to Christian Bale’s constipated rasps (You wanted me, here I am!) and Aaron Sorkin’s yawps (NO NO NOOOO), The Dark Knight has THE BEST collection of dialogue in any of the Batman movies. The most notable being what might be my favorite line in all of cinema…
After we are introduced to the Joker in the beginning of the film, we see Batman keep Scarecrow from getting away by knocking off the Batman imposters and jumping from 13 stories on top of Scarecrow’s getaway car. Batman then laces up the scum of Gotham’s underbelly and tosses those punks on the curb (yeah!) at which point Batman hops onto the Tumbler to escape before Gordon and his gang of pigs come to collect the imposters. While firing up the Tumbler, Batman is asked why he is different than any other vigilante on the streets and Batman’s genius response comes in a five-word moment of cinematic glory…
“I’m not wearing hockey pants*”
Batman’s response to the wannabe, who is wearing a catcher’s chest protector, is pure gold. I wanted to make a point that you know it’s not a hockey PAD because it’s a chest protector for a catcher and Batman says, “I’m not wearing hockey PANTS.” There has been many a heated debate in the BroJo about whether he says PADS or PANTS and I’m sticking with PANTS. Please lambast me in the comments if you think otherwise. And yes, in the script it says hockey PADS, but I refuse to change my mind because I think Patrick Bateman came out during this shoot and Christian Bale improved the line from PADS to PANTS. I rest my case.
(* Editor’s Note: No matter what Matt or anyone else says, I (your faithful Scripps School of Journos-trained editor) still think it’s hockey pads.)
Is white again.
Maggie Gyllenhaal isn’t Katie Holmes, but she is a pretty damn good actress and the utter fear on her face when she encounters The Joker for the first time, while something of an acting gem when seen in the previous Batman movies, is common place in The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight reminds us that tumblers aren’t just for hipsters. It turns into a badass motorcycle that can flip an entire semi and climb walls. I’m too lazy to become a mechanical engineer and talk about what it actually does so here’s a really neat picture…
My willing suspension of disbelief and attention span is equal to that of a 4th grader and in most movies I forget everything about the world around me. Heath Ledger was SO good as The Joker that he scared me into believing that he was real and I was going to have to fight him or blow up an entire ship of criminals to get home safely. Before long, I had to remind myself that he was just a character in a movie. This motherfucker is intense and he deserves every award given to him. It’s easy to forget The Joker was played by the same guy who played Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You, but Ledger’s performance could go down as the greatest performance by a villain, ever. Just watch a few of the clips below and imagine he is your girlfriend’s brother… now tell me that doesn’t scare the shit out of you.
I didn’t want to get into his death, but I want people to know that it was Ledger’s acting chops, raw ability to move an audience and totally fuck people’s worlds up that made The Dark Knight my choice for best superhero movie of all time, and NOT his death, which a lot of people still tend to hang on to.
Commissioner Gordon… and his mustache
There is absolutely no other way to end this series than on this… Look at the thing!! It’s so perfectly fitting and badass I can hardly stand it! Gordon gives everyone in the Mo community something to look forward to and everyone in Gotham’s underbelly something to fear. Commissioner Gordon is all that is man and without him The Dark Knight would not be the same. Mo On, Sirius Black, Mo On.
Well that’s it folks. Time to cut to credits and get ready for the shit storm known as The Dark Knight Rises that comes out in mere hours from the time I’m writing this. I hope for those of you who have read the journey with us this entire time, you have laughed and been reminded of all the glory of Batman. Max and I will be seeing The Dark Knight Rises early next week after we get our hands on whatever The Scarescrow was huffing. Thanks for reading and as always… CHILL!
Read all of our other reviews of the entire Batman series to get pumped up for The Dark Knight Rises here: