Rocking the Knight Away


R and I got a special treat this evening. Courtesy of Xoopit, a Bay Area tech startup, we attended a showing of The Dark Knight in San Francisco. A number of acquaintances of mine are going to midnight showings or to the regular opening day tomorrow but it was nice to get a chance to see it pre-opening day and without fighting the crowds to see it.

I was simply blown away by Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. This isn’t to speak ill of anyone else in the cast. I thought everyone did an excellent job in it, especially Aaron Eckhart. That being said, Ledger’s performance was so creepy and horrific in its own way, that he pretty much stole the movie. I was a big fan of Jack Nicholson’s version of the Joker from the earlier Batman movies but I can’t say that it is that impressive in comparison to this. Ledger outcreeps Nicholson, which one can definitely see as an accomplishment. In comparison to his Joker, Nicholson’s reminds me more of the campy version from the Batman television show. Ledger’s voice, smarminess, and the thing with his tongue is just creepy.

The first movie set everything up for this movie. Some of the weaknesses (and strengths) of Batman Begins are in the development of Bruce Wayne into Batman. In The Dark Knight, we see Batman as fully in force, fighting crime in Gotham. With that character well in hand, the real force of the movie are the Joker’s antics and general insanity.

I’m not going to give away any plot spoilers but this is easily the best movie that I’ve seen this year or maybe in the last year. If you can get past heroes in costumes (and I can), then it has all of the drama, tension, and story that one could want. I’m sure it will not seem perfect later but I came out of the movie going “Wow!!!” I can’t think of a single complaint that I have about it. I recommend it without reservation to my friends.

I notice that on Rotten Tomatoes, that the movie has a 94% positive rating, which is pretty rare. I did find one review so laughingly bad that I have to link to it. I like the repeated references to “hipster” in its condemnation of the film as being without any value. Kids these days, they don’t like the cool things anymore, like values! As he says, “The Dark Knight is the sentinel of our cultural abyss.”