Movie of the Year

the ghettoManga Movie of the Year is The Dark Knight, and one thing is for sure: even though it was not MY favorite movie (or even my favorite superhero movie) of the year, it was a great film, and voters overwhealmingly selected it here, and at the box office in 2008.
i doubt if any movie, let alone one about a guy dressing up like a bat and bitch-slapping the wicked, could live up to the hype The Dark Knight brought in with it, but i'd say director Chris Nolan comes damn close to a perfect superhero movie, with this follow-up to his fan-favorite big-budget debut, Batman Begins. even though it was a dark and dreary film, Dark Knight made me happy [as did its big brother Batman Begins] by breaking superhero movie molds. where most sequels in the genre choose to focus on the villain's sad story leading up to transforming them into the evil bastard that has to be stopped, Dark Knight respects the audience enough not to bother. rather than engage in poorly constructed psycho-babble, The Dark Knight sticks to the psycho. the Joker is an evil bastard that has to be stopped, and that's all you need to know.
this movie, like Begins, doesn't retread any existing Batman story, it creates a new one... part of the genius is that Nolan's films do what other superhero flicks don't: both Begins and Dark Knight actually add to the mythos of the character's universe. he ties the Joker to Batman flawlessly, showing how the strengths and weaknesses of both men tie them together as the ultimate arch-enemies. by the end of the film, Batman turns everything that has happened to his advantage, even the loss of everything he had hoped for the whole film. he is possibly the most pure interpretation of Batman's personality ever seen on screen.
The film is not without weaknesses. i still think these films rely too heavily on action movie logic, where a more horror-suspense bent would work better. talking while fighting, car chases, and technology effects are all a ton of fun, but i don't think they are Nolan's strong suit. speaking of which, the Batman suit still needs work... the cape doesn't do the Batman thing of adding to his general scariness that you get in the comic. the beauty of it is that like Batman Begins, the strength of Dark Knight lies with the story and the actors, not the action-superhero window dressing.
and the acting was fabulous. while there were no weak performances, the late Heath Ledger owned this film. i can't say enough about his low down, gritty, grimy performance. his disturbing performance earned him many awards and accolades, including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. from his first scene, he erased every prior interpretation of the sneering mass-murdering anarchist Joker, grounding the larger-than-life "clown prince of crime" in the real world...
so anyways, in case you can't tell, i thought The Dark Knight was even better than Batman Begins. even with all the flaws i mentioned, i considered it an overall fabulous picture that will outlast its critics. the Batman is brutal and ruthless, and the Joker is even more so. just like we like 'em
holla!
-gM

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