The Dark Knight – An Epic Struggle
In Batman Begins, we came across a young Bruce Wayne (in the form of alter ego Batman) struggling to save Gotham City from annihilation at the hands of the mysterious Ra’s Al Ghul and the toxicity spread throughout the city by the mad Scarecrow. In The Dark Knight (incidentally the only Batman movie ever without the word ‘Batman’ in the title), we witness Batman JOKER123 trying to reclaim his hometown from the clutches of a seemingly insane psychopath who calls himself The Joker.
The Dark Knight begins on a grand note as we witness Batman upping the ante on destroying crime and corruption in Gotham City. He allies Lieutenant Gordon and the newly appointed District Attorney Harvey Dent (christened The White Knight of Gotham by media personnel) with himself to further strengthen his vise-like grip on the crime syndicates in Gotham. Things are proceeding smoothly until a new face appears on the crime scene in Gotham, the ‘not-so-serious’ face of a new psychotic bank robber, who has christened himself ‘The Joker’. It appears that Joker is attempting to bring the criminal gangs in Gotham (that are in disarray following the death of the leaders in police encounters or their imprisonment) under his control. If things were that smooth, it might not have been a big problem for Batman and his group of law enforcer allies. But things start to take a different turn when gruesome corpses start turning up at the crime scenes left by Joker. Corpses that have gruesome smiles carved into their faces. It soon becomes clear that Joker prefers to see people die agonizing deaths without any specific motive.
Batman launches a full scale investigation to find out the whereabouts of this new threat. Meanwhile, Joker turns up at the Wayne Manor at the dead of the night to warn Alfred, Bruce’s faithful butler, that Batman should stop meddling in his agenda to make the world smile all the way to the grave. Alfred is terrified, but Joker does not harm him, merely leaving him the message to pass on to Batman. Alfred is deeply concerned about the fact that Joker has found out Batman’s true identity and informs Bruce as soon as he returns home. Bruce listens intently as Alfred comments that Joker cannot be reasoned with; he is simply one of those men who enjoy seeing the world burn, for no apparent reason whatsoever. Bruce decides to bring Joker to justice no matter what the consequences. What follows is a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between Batman and his most worthy adversary yet.
The Nolan brothers have brought the epic DC comic character to life like never before. The Dark Knight features a tight, no frills script brought to life by Christopher Nolan, great dialogue and well choreographed action sequences. Christian Bale has received great fame through his outstanding performance in the first movie as Batman and in this second one, he lives up to his reputation (as the best Batman ever) with great panache. But it is Late Heath Ledger who steals the show this time, even overshadowing Batman in many frames. Jack Nicholson had previously portrayed Joker as a man having a genuine sense of humor, who in spite of his criminal instincts, seldom killed anyone without a good reason. He was, as Sir Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) commented, like “a killer old uncle”. Heath’s Joker is cold and emotionless with a twisted sense of humor that makes sense to none but himself. Caine added that when he first met Heath on the sets with his Joker makeup on, he gave Caine such a fright that he forgot his lines. Heath is being hailed the best Joker ever, with even speculations about a posthumous Oscar among moviegoers.The Dark Knight is a bloody, brutal movie. Those who can stomach blood and gore on screen with ease will be able to witness one of the greatest masterpieces ever created. However, the movie does end with one question on everyone’s lips. What’s next, Nolan?