The Dark Knight IMAX Review

Published 7 years ago by

Short version: The Dark Knight has raised the bar for the comic book superhero genre – it’s a Batman movie for grown-ups.

heath ledger joker dark knight review The Dark Knight IMAX Review
Screen Rant reviews The Dark Knight

It’s a funny thing about watching a movie you’ve been anticipating so much and for so long – you walk in with preconceived notions of what it should be like. This happened for me with Iron Man, and as it turned out that film nailed my expectations of what an Iron Man movie should be like.

However that very same sense of anticipation hurt my first viewing of The Dark Knight.

Going in, while I was expecting an excellent film, I was also expecting something along the lines of Batman Begins – a superhero movie with more of a real world feel than your typical film based on a comic book character. That was actually one of the thithengs I really liked about Nolan’s previous movie – it was close enough to reality that I could really imagine a guy dressing up in a bat-suit to fight crime as shown in the film.

But The Dark Knight takes that concept and multiplies it. You’re not watching a superhero movie based in the real world here – you’re watching the real world and it just happens to contain a psychopathic criminal and a modern day samurai.

The film opens with a bank heist perpetrated by a bunch of guys wearing clown masks, and what seems to be the Joker’s initial arrival in Gotham City. The opening scene is brilliant and seems like it could have come right out of one of the “Bourne” movies. We also get insight into just how ruthless the Joker is as his henchmen have been instructed to kill each other after their particular tasks are complete (of course, they don’t know that they’ve ALL been given this instruction).

In a further demonstration of how much the Joker doesn’t care about or fear anything, the bank in question is where every mobster in Gotham City keeps their illegal cash – and that’s what the Joker is stealing.

Batman and Lieutenant Gordon are more concerned with shutting down the gangsters by choking off their funds than dealing with “just one man.” But oh, how wrong they are…

harvey dent gordon batman The Dark Knight IMAX Review

The Joker makes on offer to the heads of the crime families to kill Batman in exchange for HALF of their combined funds of $68 million. They scoff of course at first but soon enough they learn that they’ve gotten far more than they bargained for with our pasty-faced villain, who unleashes a reign of terror upon the city never before seen.

The Dark Knight is the closest of all the Batman films to one of the more mature reading level Batman graphic novels. This world is dead serious, and the Joker is no clown – he’s a deadly, dangerous, semi-suicidal psychopath who also happens to be brilliant. Now there’s a scary combination. Speaking of the Joker… Heath Ledger’s death was tragic, but if there was a role to leave as a legacy – damn, this one is it.


Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5

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  1. Brace youselves heheh. :D

  2. Oh, BTW, good review, Vic. :)

  3. Kel, if you write a long comment and it doesn’t appear, don’t get frustrated – it may get caught in the spam filter by mistake. But rest assured that once you hit “Submit” it IS saved and I’ll see it and publish it.


  4. Just seen it. Still shell-shocked. Makes Batman Begins look like a Merchant Ivory garden party. With little marshmallow squares. Well shave my back and slap my sister, it IS worth all the hype. At 2 1/2 hours quite a gruelling experience. You are patently NOT going to bounce out of this one full of the joys of spring, humming the theme tune. Which is entirely as it should be. As the lights came up I felt battered. Pummelled. Drained. Exhausted. Like I’d been dragged off somewhere I didn’t particularly want to go to, then booted unceremoniously onto the highway and left to make my own way back. In the middle of the night. In the rain. And you know what? I immediately wanted to sit through it all again. Straight away.

    Heath Ledger was astounding. I’m ashamed to say I’ve not seen anything else he’s been in – not even Brokeback Mountain. I’m going to keep an eye out now. His Joker communicated a desperate glee, a grim determination to live up to everything the Batman could throw at him. To be a worthy opponent. The tragedy being that the Joker really is Batman’s masterwork. The brilliance of Batman’s war on crime having unwittingly spawned a monster – given an equally brilliant but totally amoral man a newfound purpose in life. Ledger put across the nature of this symbiotic relationship perfectly, with a kind of inpired sado-masochism.

    When the Joker first told the story of how he got his “Chelsea grin” I thought Oh no, they’re not going to give him some pedestrian “origin” are they? Alan Moore tried this in The Killing Joke. He almost pulled it off too, if it weren’t for the sheer implausibility and general dodginess of Batman “laffing it up” with the Joker at the end after the latter’s grotesque treatment of Barbara Gordon. Then when he spun a completely different version to Rachel at the fundraiser I realised that this was yet another layer to the character. Either story might be true…or they could both be lies. In fact why tell the story at all unless it’s to sow the seeds of even more confusion in the mind of the recipient? Plus giving us the audience further reinforcement that this guy is entirely credible but utterly unknowable. That’s great writing. As was the “magic trick”. That established everything you needed to know about the Joker in the blink of an eye. To quote Colonel Kurtz: “The GENIUS of that. The will to do that. Perfect. Complete. Genuine. Crystalline. Pure.”

    Despite all this I still wouldn’t give him an Oscar! If Casey Affleck didn’t get one for his understated, mesmerising, spooky, conflicted Robert Ford in The Assassination Of Jesse James (ironically losing to Javier Bardem as Anton Nutter in No Country For Old Men), then you’ve gotta be harsh on Heath, brown bread or not.

    I agree Dark Knight could use some cuts, though none of it was superfluous or unnecessary, and in fact had if anything a frantic pace to it throughout. I loved the constant sense of impending doom and the sick inevitability of the escalating events – all the players locked into an awful, inescapable cycle of mental and physical devastation. I can’t for the life of me think what could be edited down. I was impressed by how well every character was given their own screen time and how wisely they used it.

    When the Scarecrow appeared – and promptly disappeared – I thought it a bit of a waste of Cillian Murphy. But then it started to make perfect sense. Because as scary as he was, and as pivotal a character as he was in Batman Begins, leaving him and the Sons-Of-The-Batman types tied up Spidey-style in seconds flat just emphasized how much Gotham was mutating into something new and terrible; and second-raters like Scarecrow now belonged to a different, more manageable phase of “psychotic criminality”.

    On a purely anorak level, does anyone know anything about the Bat-pod or whatever it’s called? I gather it’s a real machine (though presumably CGI for some of the crazier stuff it did) that was so dangerous Christian Bale was banned from riding it for insurance reasons. My question is how on earth did they get something with such a long wheelbase and those massive tyres to actually turn at all? That’s exactly the problem they had on the Judge Dredd movie. They originally built something closer to the Lawmaster from the comic using aircraft tyres, and found the thing wouldn’t corner. Anyone?

  5. Makes Batman Begins look like a Merchant Ivory garden party. With little marshmallow squares. Well shave my back and slap my sister, it IS worth all the hype.” That’s freakin’ funny Dentist.

  6. Ta Bruce! And that should be “inSpired” in the second paragraph. I also wanted to make the point that the way the Joker/Batman mirror image thing was handled was light-years ahead of the “I made you, you made me” nursery rhyme of the Tim Burton movie, or even The Killing Joke. That’s quite an achievement, to make even Alan Moore look like a rank amateur…

  7. Something else just occurred to me: why didn’t William Fichtner simply spit that grenade out? The Joker should have taped it into his mouth, surely?

  8. Yeah Big Dentist, there were alot of mistakes in TDK, but somehow the fans overlooked them.

    Anyone that knows how a Grenade works has to laugh at the stupidty of that scene.

    I can’t believe Dent woudnt shoot Joker in the hospitial, but my opinion means nothing to the masses.

    Lot of hype, and I think alot of people can’t admit there were problems.

  9. If you had been in that guys shoes would you have wondered about it going off if it went horizontal? Maybe he figured the only way he’s getting out of this one is if someone saved him. People don’t always think or act rational in a crisis. Does something bond to enamel really really fast? The thing was spring loaded to constantly push outward keeping the jaw locked and part of the device hinged behind the teeth.

    I learned major mechanical parts not seen on the bike were hidden in the wheels. I know how it could be done but I’ve always wanted to use the design myself, which is why I won’t talk about it. If I told you; You would smack your head and say duh! :)

  10. I don’t think there were as many flaws or problems as you would like to pretend. There were a few minor mistakes nothing major and they were few and far between. There was nothing wrong with Dent not shooting joker the point is that he had lost his mind and crazy people do crazy things. The point was that he wouldn’t react like a normal rational human because he wasn’t one.

  11. Again Old Man, I kinda have an idea what your talking about but not really. ;-)

    Like to pretend ??

    There was the scene in the bank with the manager and the grenade in his mouth…? (When you have a grenade in your mouth, unless your hands are tied up, your first reaction is too throw it out of your mouth. Not sit and suck on it…..)

    Did you notice the scene where Eric Roberts character broke his legs (bigtime) when Bats dropped him, and the next scene he’s walking into his limo , no crutches, no traction…. (Did I pretend that?)

    Batman and Racheal fall 50 stories but luckly there fall is broken by a cab. Ok yeah…his suits tough. Ok….?

    The cops are on Full SWAT prisoner transport and they run into a totally obvious diversion and they just kinda say “yeah whatever” drive right into a trap ?? (Come on that’s weak script writing.)

    The scene in the Hospital is the biggest prob I have with the film…
    Here’s the guy(Joker) that ruined Dent’s career, killed his true love, and was directly responsable for kidnapping him (at rocket launcher point), and in result blowing half of his face off during his setup execution, and your telling me (Daniel Fenwick) he’s “lost his mind”. That’s the reason he DIDN’T shoot him ?
    That’s my entire point Daniel, he(Dent) had lost everything, for him to skip out of the room with a renewed purpose to kill Batman made as much sense as him letting Joker live. Next thing we see he’s allready got the Two-Face jacket going on…? Did you notice that??

    Now I’m NOT saying I hated the film, but let’s get real folks. Even for a comic book film that prides itself in its reality based drama, this film had some huge pot holes.

    I found the ending that had Batman running from the law, after saving the police comissioners family halarious as well ,but whatever the film was visually stunning and overall fun.

  12. @790 Great points, bud. There was nothing huge that knocked down my score but as you say, it wasn’t perfect as some people are claiming. Enough for me to knock a 1/2 star from a perfect rating.

    Although I don’t feel as strongly about the Two-Face hospital scene as you do, when the flaming vehicle diverted them into the underground area that seemed pretty dumb to me as well. They could have sent a cop car ahead to clear the next intersection so they could stay on the surface.


  13. Good points all! I still want to see it again as soon as I get some sleep!

  14. 10-4, Vic,
    ask any Cop and he’ll tell ya, “unless there’s a crime in progress, they have all the time in the world”. That’s actually taught in al Police Academies.

    The jail isn’t going anywhere.

  15. The probs I have with a few scenes could have easily been fixed with just a few extra lines.
    Read on if you dare….
    The scene where the police convoy drives right past the burning Fire Dept, truck and the Cops look at each other like “sheesh man, don’t slow down just go down the tunnel into the dark underground hwy!”
    The lead Cop in the main car could have at least grabbed the radio and called the Fire Dept !!!! Since their on the same frequency channels.
    Hell the Fire Dept would have called in advance if they had one of their trucks in the way of a prison transport route ?
    (This film really made the Police and Fire Deptments look like fools).

    Ok the scene at the Hospital would have been better if Joker gave Dent the gun, but it was unloaded (change it into a automatic handgun) Dent could have pulled the trigger on Joker when he put it in his mouth!
    Joker would laugh and laugh and as he left the room he tosses the clip to Dent.
    We see Joker getting away, and Dent headed out the back door…..

    That would have stayed true to the comics and made more sense…..

    But hey, that’s just my opinion. ;-)

  16. *possible spoiler*
    Please understand that comments made in this post in no way disprove other peoples ideas, but rather, offer possible alternate rationalizations about human behavior.
    About the assertion that Dent lost everything.. Two things he hadn’t lost, his life and his Integrity. They were put on the line when the Joker encouraged him to take revenge. Perhaps that would give him pause. To allow the Joker to break him, to violate his moral code smacks of the trial of Job in the bible. Could he go on living knowing that once his integrity was gone, he really would have nothing! Nothing would separate him from the Joker. Not morality, not justice. If he was going to throw those out the window why kill the Joker right then. Their were other fish to fry, other people responsible that were suppose to be on the right side of the law. He needed the Joker to remain the center of attention, to give himself the time to carry out his revenge on those others. He might even thought he could get away with it. Blame it all on the Joker, then kill the Joker when the time was right. The Joker would think he had achieved another milestone, because he proved everybody, given the right circumstances, were just like him. He had another plan when he eventually faced off against Dent again. As in the previous attempts on his life, he would take preemptive action. For further insights into the psychology of Dent check out the works of Kant or Aristotle on morality. The book of Job too, if you have the patience for it.

    Inaction in crisis. Google that and you get 1,290,000 results. The proverbial deer in the headlights doesn’t just apply to deer. Most of those crisis that come up are ones that people have time to think about too. If you had a choice which way to die which is going to be less painful? A hand grenade in the head or shrapnel from the same hand grenade from four feet away? Did you notice that the safety handle was being depressed by the mans teeth? Depending on how the grenade is set it could go off a few seconds after its release or instantly. They do that to allow them to be rigged for an ambush right??

  17. I dont gett it, how can they do two difrent Batman movies with the Joker.
    The 1 movie was with the joker, and now the 5 one, i think its strange, dont they know about the first one???

    I think its messed upp, they destroy the first movies, they dont conect with the resent films… hmmmm …bad bad bad…

  18. The only scenes that I can come even close to agreeing with you on (790) are the Grenade and the big fall with Batman and Racheal. I think your blowing the Dent transformation way out of proportion and I don’t think you have even the simplest understanding of human psychology which isn’t a big deal most people haven’t taken an ton of classes in it. The human mind is so very fragile and a minor event can force people to react in strange ways now imagine a huge event.

    They never state that he broke his leg from the fall first of all and second I clearly see him walking on a Cane with an obvious limp.

  19. So you didn’t have a prob with the flaming fire truck diversion ? Besides 2face in the hosptial that scene was BS !!!!

    Well, if you don’t see why Dent would have blown Joker (or at least pulled the trigger) away that’s fine. I don’t see your reasoning but that’s cool.

    The scene with Eric Roberts, yeah I prob forgot the limp, but I do remember hearing bones snap and he wouldn’t be using a cane, he would be in intesive care. (Maybe in the same hospital that Joker blew up??

    Couple of other things, when 2Face kills Eric Robert’s driver, the car flips over doing about 50mph. Before that happens it looked like 2Face takes off his seatbelt and prepairs to bail out of the car. ????

    And lastly, at the end when Joker and Bats are face to face battling it out Jokers within inches of Batman, and Bats launches those flying darts at point blank range, the next scene Joker’s not even scratched. ????

    Let’s face it, there were some problems. Personally I think if they would have kept the majority of Twoface’s story intact, it would have made more sense to save him for part 3, and not rush his begining and end so fast. ;-)

  20. Well I’ll be da!?ed, I discussed this with a friend and that was a smoke grenade the Joker used, similar to this.

    He works for the fire dept. and said the bank officer was most likely paralyzed from the neck down, given his leg and arm positions, from the gunshot wound and his non-movement in the scene. He said since the thing started emitting smoke immediately after the pin was pulled, it was attached to the Joker’s hand by a small rip cord, that the handle Wasn’t against his teeth. He also observed that it’s possible that he spit it out, since the scene ended with the bus driving away. Those things generate a lot of heat, they would burn you good mouth and lungs if you were chewing on one. Just goes to show, you should always check before you speculate! Sorry Every one! :(

    One final thought the Joker was armed so maybe the guy thought twice about spitting it out with him standing there.

  21. @790

    I agree with the others about Harvey Dent’s integrity remaining intact, if somewhat warped. That’s why he didn’t kill the Joker.

    And you’re rememberin the car scene wrong: Dent BUCKLED his seat belt right before the car flipped.


  22. AAk, I thought I saw the shoulder strap relax, like on a release! Give me a smiley cleaning his glasses.

  23. Ok Old Man, I can live with that theory. Its a good one. ;-)

    Vic, yeah I guess I see your point on Dent,(thanks for putting it in a simple way, that I could understand. ;-) )
    I still would have written that scene a little different.

    And the seat belt yeah I remember him working it, ;-)

    Still there remains the other issues but overall it was a great film. !!!!

  24. 1. Performances-Heath L.-sunk into the role and disappeared. Maggie G.-owned her role immediately. Did not get what happened to her in the movie. She was the only connection, really, beside the Michael Caine character, to whom Batman could confide in and therefore, seem remotely breathing/alive. Batman could use some humor. Oldman-excellent humanity.
    2. Plot – all the other email points mentioned. Lots of ? for me while watching – the tunnel scene-ridiculous-the police should have slammed on their breaks and driven backwards. 2Face-did not buy how his transformation was thrown in at the very end. That was too much new information at the end of the film to digest.
    Did not buy how ineffectual Batman was overall, throwing punches? His power seemed to come from external factors, like his car, motorcycle, and his suit. Does the man have any intelligence of his own? He relies on externals to accomplish anything. The two boats – not needed in the story. Too much.
    3. Mood-dismal, depressing, dark, unyieldingly bleak. Difficult to sit through this being so heavy all the time; perhaps that is the point of this movie?
    4. Length- much too long. Could have ended a good 30-40 minutes earlier. Would have been much better, saving 2Face’s story for the next movie.
    5. Muffled sound/dialogue.
    6. Rating – 3 out of 5.

    Oh-way too loud and too much violence. Can’t believe this received a PG-13. Absurd.

  25. Are you kidding me fish? I can understand someone not enjoying the film, but most of your complaints are some of the worst reasons for a low rating I have ever seen. To much violence? Are you serious you went to see a Batman film and expected to see less violence? Any one who questions this movie receiving a pg13 really hasn’t actually thought it out much. The only gore in the entire movie was 2face other then that there were no graphic deaths little to no blood. There was no sexual ineudo, no nudity, no foul language. People were not sawing off their own feet sleeping with each other and saying F*ck every 10 mins. This movie easily received a PG 13.

    You’re complaining that the movie was to long and to depressing? Are you a Adam West fan? It seems that maybe Batman And Robin is more up your ally. Less violent and not depressing at all… Unless your a Batman fan.

  26. Fish: One thing, have you forgotten that Batman is not mean’t to be ‘Superhuman’, more superbly-human so without ‘Super-Powers’ of course he has to rely on ‘Externals’.
    The discussions of Dent-Two Face have been very interesting, but has any one considering his ‘integrity’, considered one tiny but very constantly present symbol of a flaw in that White Knightly armour, the double-headed coin? Why does he always have to win the toss? What does that tell us about his past and what may be hidden? And was this the chink in that armour through which the Joker’s words slipped? The Joker[brilliantly channelled by Ledger] is the personification of the forces of Chaos, whatever humanity he once had long since fled in the face of whatever was visited upon him, the worst scars of which are clearly on the inside.He stalks the movie like a virus ,infecting everything around him, pushing the Bat Man to his limits,and in so doing forcing him to define his stance as the shadow guardian of a world that cannot see beyond Black and White and, unlike our two protagonists, has not had to look into the Abyss and make their choice.
    The movie is a breathtaking wild ride, it was long, but I never stopped being rivetted, It nails it, this is a Batman for Now , all the rest are history.

  27. And I mean’t to say Vic , thanks for a great review, I will def try and see the IMAX version now.And to most of the other posters, how nice to find some braincells functioning out there, I have skimmed over several other sites message boards on this subject and have been sadly dismayed at the lack of intelligent life forms out there, keep it up folks![ though I could do without the long discussions over box office figures-'its not about the money-its about the message'or do we have a high percentile of accountants out there?]

  28. Oh hell… and I misquoted too- the geeks will have my ass, it was of course-”It’s not about money-it’s about sending a message”,guess a few of my brain cells have been wiped out somewhere along the line…

  29. @Last Laugh

    Thanks, we work hard around here to encourage intelligent discussion and keep out the trolls.