I admit it: I am a super hero movie geek. As a kid, I read thousands of comics books and loved the stuff. As an adult, I am right there on line waiting to see each new flick. I also am rather territorial about the movies staying true to the original comic books - Kudos to Spider-man, Iron Man, the second Hulk and the first couple of Christopher Reeve Superman movies, and finger wags/held nose for later Superman efforts, the Batman run of the 90's, the first Hulk, and Daredevil.
The latest Batman efforts are part of the group of quality movies that followed the ideas of the original comic books, but the recent effort, "Batman: The Dark Knight," goes to an entirely different level. The script, written by Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, is brilliant because it transcends comic books and looks at our society.
Are we as individuals and a society capable of making the right choices and sacrificing of ourselves in the process? Do the ends justify the means, and how far is too far? What is a hero? The movie attempts to answer some of these questions, but others are left to us for debate. There is nuance in the answers provided and in those left open. I left the theater feeling inspired by the thoughts I was brought to.
"The Dark Knight" is a great comic book superhero movie, but it is also a superb drama. Though it is seriously violent and dark, that is partly the point. We live in similar times after all.
There has been much hype about the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker due to Ledger's subsequent death. Let me say that the accounts of Ledger in the role are understated; he is even better than that! This is clearly an Oscar-worthy portrayal. He is twisted, demonic, brilliant, pointless, frightening, and all too real. Ledger is gone, but his turn as the Joker will be enduring.
As mentioned above, there is a lot of violence and some scary scenes in the movie. I do not recommend taking any child under the mid-teen range. Also, I think it is important to discuss with teens why vigilanteism (sp?) is a slippery slope, and to engage in serious dialogue over the issue of ends and means. Had President Bush taken such time perhaps we would not have had Iraq, illegal spying and torture to deal with.
I highly recommend "Batman: The Dark Knight." It is without a doubt a thought provoking, entertaining and intelligent movie worth the price of admission.
Addendum: I forgot to mention something, but I just saw a "Batman" commercial, and it reminded me of a small, throwaway scene in the movie. When Batman is working on his new suit, Morgan Freeman's character says it will even protect him from cats (Batman had a run-in with some dogs). Foreshadowing of Catwoman in the next "Batman" movie?