We See Chick Flicks, Er, Action Movies Starring Dearly Departed Aussies: The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight
Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, & Gary Oldman
Directed by Christopher Nolan

Before walking in the theater (and for the record, I bought my ticket four days in advance because it was obvious every showing the opening weekend was going to sell-out) I already knew The Dark Knight was going to be my favorite movie that I’ve seen in awhile. And I told everyone I knew. Which is why it’s a good thing it did turn out to be as amazing as I expected, because I HATE having to lie in order to save face. Unlike a lot of movies that are way overhyped and don’t live up to our expections, cough, Sex and the City, cough, The Dark Knight, and especially Heath Ledger, was everything I hoped and more. I left really psyched and also really pissed off that Heath was dead and wouldn’t be back for the third in the new series of darker Batman movies, while idiot trolls like Brooke Hogan still walk around flapping their gums. Sigh. Not fair. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want a second spoiled, don’t read on.

The Lowdown: So, when we last left the Caped Crusader, Bale’s Batman was brooding. On the surface, as Bruce Wayne, Bale plays him as a Patrick Bateman-esque playboy, a stark contract to his deeply moral superhero. Maggie Gyllenhaal is in and Katie Holmes is out as Wayne’s main squeeze Rachel Dawes, a pretty useless character, to say the least, made much more tolerable by Gyllenhaal. A friend was telling me that dudes are totally bugging because they’re used to the women in superhero movies being stacked model-types, but I know women are psyched to see Gyllenhaal in the role even though (SPOILER ALERT) she won’t be returning in the next film. Rachel can’t be with Batman because…I mean, I don’t know why, actually. But she’s with Harvey Dent (Eckhart) instead, the new District Attorney determined to turn Gotham around. With the cops no longer playing nice with the mob, Gotham is a more orderly place to live, but The Joker wants to change all that. Playing the mobs against each other and against the police, determined to show that every member of society would kill if given a reason, including Batman, The Joker is the most sadistic villain since Hannibal Lecter. The movie is a lengthy 2.5 hours, but I swear, I never felt myself itching for the end.
The Verdict: An “agent of chaos”, Ledger’s Joker is completely lacking in cartooney campyness, but is still totally funny — albeit it in a s%$t your pants sort of way. To be perfectly honest, Ledger is so scary good as The Joker you almost can’t believe it’s him. His grimy hair looks like it’s been washed with lime Kool-Aid, his lips are a smear of red lipstick and scars (the reasons for which he keeps changing, proving that not all villains need to have a sob story), and his mannerisms are lizard-like and vaguely spastic. This may be the one time in my life where I was not sexually attracted to the dude, for serious. The Dark Knight is reallllly dark and explores many more psychological issues than the previous films combined. And it certainly ends on an exciting note, leaving you anticipating the next one. Even though lots of other superhero movies totally fail when they bite off more villains than they can show, Harvey Dent’s evolution into Two-Face works seamlessly with the rest of the plot and isn’t overdone. Oh and Bale. Yeah, he’s just as sexy as ever. Do you think he ever gets the giggles when he has to drop his voice four octaves when he steps into the batsuit? I kind of did.