The Dark Knight is a film that I feel really conflicted about and that is because to me, it feels like two films in one. The first film is the first hour of the film that is mostly dialogue between the characters that is obviously setting up the events the will come in the last hour and a half. This part I found very boring and most of the time, uninteresting. The second film is the opening scene and the last hour and half of the film. I found these parts to be incredibly exciting and at sometimes, among the best action sequences I've ever seen. The biggest problem for the film is the massive difference between the two halves. However, the film contains some good performances, notably Heath Ledger as the Joker in what is a good performance, but is not the amazing performance that everyone makes it out to be. Overall, this is a good action film that isn't able to achieve the greatness due to a boring first half.
Their is a rather large difference in quality of the two parts of the film. While yes, one could argue that I can't compare the two as one is action heavy, while the other is largely based on dialogue between characters. I think I can. There is a way to make conversation in a film feel just as exciting as some huge explosion and this film isn't able to do that. I have not problem with the content of the first half. I actually found it to be quite interesting and good material to build up the characters. However, the execution of it left much to be desired. Much is made about the love story between Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes and how they will never be together. A lot of time is spent on this and there is something there that could be interesting, but it ultimately just falls to the normal movie cliche of two beautiful movie stars being unable to be together. The main issue is that while content is interesting and could prove to be interesting, I ultimately felt bored because I didn't feel like it was essential. Things are serious when you put on a serious face and talk a serious voice. There needs to be a something there that makes it feel important and manner in which the material is handled doesn't make it feel important. Now, on the to the second half and the opening scene. Wow is the only thing I can say. These are some of the best action scenes I've seen in a film. It's as if the director wanted to make up for the uninteresting and unentertaininig first half with balls to the wall action and he succeeded. Let me begin with the first scene, the bank heist. This is a great opening, showing real creativity and is a different take on a robbery scene. It got me really excited for the rest of the film, since I assume it would carry that same momentum. Sadly, it wasn't able to. What felt like the next natural part in terms of energy was the scene where the mayor is shot and after that, this film becomes great. Scenes that really stuck out in my mind where the battle between the Joker and the Batman on the street between their vehicles and another was the final sequence on the building with the hostages. These scenes felt epic and were able to almost make up for the first half. The cinematography and the battle choreographing were amazing. These scenes have the energy and excitement that first have lacked and they also had the drama that the first half tried to have, but didn't. Ultimately, the greatness of the second half of the film is only able to lift film to the level of being good due to the mediocrity of the first half.
The Dark Knight has two standout performances. One is Heath Ledger as the Joker and the other is Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. Both performances are very good. Heath Ledger gives a performance that has become iconic in the movie industry and while I think that it is a little overrated, I can see why it has become that. Ledger does a good job of playing a crazy character and it is doing that that has allowed it to become the legend that it is. It is similar to how Tom Hanks performance as Forrest Gump has become iconic as well. I prefer Eckharts performance however. Eckhart gives a certain humanity to Two Face that I found interesting and does a great job playing the classic role of the fallen hero. I wish more time had been given to Eckhart as Two Face, as he is a character that I really enjoyed when reading The Long Halloween comic book. The other performances as good as well, with Maggie Gyllenhal being a big step up over Katie Holmes in the role of Rachel Dawes and Christian Bale is good as Batman and Bruce Wayne, even though it kind of annoys me that he sounds like a chain smoker.
This is a film of untold possibilities. There was a chance that this film could have been a masterpiece of the action film genre. Sadly, the first half really drags the film down, mishandling what is great material and having to rely on the amazing second half to make up for it and bring it up to being only good. Also, the underutilization of Two Face was a missed opportunity and we'll never know what could have been because of his death in the film. I would recommend Batman Begins over this. It's a far better film all around and is one of the best action films of recent years. This is a good film and sadly, that is a disappointment.