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. Everyone keeps talking about Ledgers performance of the Joker but I’d like to talk about Batman in the film… I… I hate to say it but I was a little disapointed by Batman. I didnt like the fact that his genius wasnt explored.. He was depicted as more of a mercenary/james Bond type who didnt come up with his own gadgets but had them made for him.. I like the mugyver Batman who could figure his way out metal sealed box on his own.

    I also thought Christian Bales Batman just wasnt that good this time around.. Did his bat “voice” annoy anyone else? He sounded like an old man who had smoked and drank whiskey his whole life. I know Batman ahs to sort of disguise his voice but… jeez.
    I just felt like Batman took the backseat in this one. They should have called it “The JOker”

    Heath made this movie for me, and he’s why I loved it… I just wish I loved it for Batman too.. :(

    I wish I could combine Christian Bales Bruce Wayne with Keatons Batman… I think that would be the perfect Batman.

  2. Hmm,
    For me, Christian Bale really has created the Batman I had always imagined,He’s an actor with real weight,and I think gives him enough depth to make him much more than just a man in a mask,however I think in this film it is difficult not to focus on Ledger because his performance is so out there it takes your breath away.I thought Bale was fantastic in ‘Begins’ and look forward to seeing what he will do with the next one, sadly for him this one really is Ledger’s film, as they say, ‘the devil has all the best lines’!

  3. I would have to disagree with you that this movie showed Batman’s detective side the most. Well, compared to the other live action films definitely, but definitely not more so than the animated series of the Mask of the Phantasm animated movie that I absolutely LOVE. Those definitely really captured his detective side much better than either of the Nolan films. His detective side was completely non-existant in the first one, and in the second one, it seemed like they threw it in just so you can’t criticize it for not having it. That sequence was completely outrageous and unbelievable in the first place.

    The thing that got me about this film is that it took the show away from Batman. It seems that Christian Bale got a supporting role in the film while the Joker got the leading role, and Two-Face (I consider Two-Face and Harvey Dent separate) drew the short straw. Personally I would have liked to see Batman/Bruce Wayne have more of a role with his name as the title.

    Another thing about this movie that got me was just how high brow it was. I felt like if I didn’t like something about the film, that means I was stupid or something. That was the impression that it gave. And while it was definitely one of the best comic movies of all time, I honestly feel that it should have received a little more negative attention than it got. I feel like people are afraid to say bad things about it with the fear that they would just be called stupid and not a good judge of movies.

    And lastly, the pacing of the film toward the end was HORRIBLE. I agree with you Vic about what you said about the ending, and it’s not your fault, I’m sure everyone felt this way while watching it, but most are afraid to say it. So I will, the ending of the film dragged on. There, I said it. The movie gave you the sense of conclusion several times, only to drag on for another half hour.

    And I’m sorry, but the whole speech from Alfred was way overdone, and how they kept trying to press that idea of how we should feel sorry for Batman because he’s being the “hero that he needs to be” blah blah blah. We really could have done without that, and I think the film would have been far more enjoyable to me without that. I always hate this whole self-pity BS and that is a perfect example.

    Oh, and lastly, his batman voice was HORRIBLE! Someone bring in Kevin Conroy to do a voiceover please! lol

    I agree with the rating though, 4.5 out of 5 seems pretty fair. It’s a definite must see. Sorry that it seems like I’m just trashing the film, I definitely liked it and have plenty of good things to say about it, but I feel like all of the good things have already been talked about by everyone and their mothers, nobody has the guts to point out its faults, so I’d thought I point a few out that kept it from being a perfect action/comic film for me.

  4. Wow, some bad grammar in my last post, in the 10th hour of my 12 hour shift, kind of tired…

    In the first paragraph, I want to clarify the last sentence. In “the first one” I meant Batman Begins, and “the second” refers to “The Dark Knight.” I really didn’t like the cop-out “detective” work he pretended to do in this movie. Finding a fingerprint on a bullet that’s been fired? Please… A more believable thing he could have done was measure the depth of penetration, compare to the known caliber of the round and path to determine the distance and angle of the shot’s origin to locate where the shooter was, find evidence there, perhaps the spent casing and lift the prints from that. Since you push down a round by its casing, not the bullet itself, and the heat and friction of the rifling in the barrel would destroy any fingerprint that could have been on that bullet. And what kind of round shatters anyway? It should have deformed, maybe the jacket would separate from the core and come off in pieces, but it wouldn’t shatter like the bullet was made of glass for goodness sakes.

    And in the last sentence of the last paragraph: “so I’d thought I point a few out” should read: “so I thought I’d point a few out” There are others, but I will probably just make more mistakes in correcting them, lol.

  5. OK though I may disagree with pretty much everything in your post I’ll avoid going over it all because we will just run in circles over and over in a repetitive argument instead I would like to only single out one specific thing.

    I can certainly understand someone disliking the movie , but what baffles me is having so many criticisms to dislike so much about the movie and have so many complaints how can you give it 4.5 out of 5 ? Personally I would give it around there and I thought it was amazing however reading the things you say give the impression that you thought it sucked yet you go on to say it was a great film and 4.5 stars out of 5 ? Dosn’t seem to make sense.

  6. Well it would make sense if you bothered to read where I said I was only mentioning the negative and not the positive since it’s all already been said. The problems I pointed out are very specific to certain parts of the film or very specific aspects of the film. There are so many things that define a film that if I were to mention absolutely everything that was good and bad about it, it would be several pages long. Most reviews are summaries of all of the individual thoughts in their heads about individual scenes. I didn’t summarize, rather I wrote out each individual specific thing that I thought wasn’t done the best since I knew I was skipping all of the praises, so it would still be relatively short.

    Trust me, there were plenty of good things about the film. I liked the whole quasi-realistic world that the characters inhabit instead of the typical comic book world, I thought Heath’s performance stole the show, which is a positive and negative. Negative because it took away from Batman, but positive for the performance itself. I really liked the camera work throughout the movie, the effects and stunts were all great, the Bat-Pod first “popping” out was pretty damn bad ass on its own, lol. I love how they addressed the practical issues with things such as how stiff his face mask thing is, them explaining the new lighter more flexible armor actually made sense and is consistant with real world technology. I thought Two-Face’s effect was pretty well done, looked like what you would expect from the comic/animated series without looking fake or corny, Gary Oldman was great, as expected, and while on that note, him becoming Commissioner Gordon was pretty cool, I liked how they killed off Rachel… lol, sorry, but I’ve always hated that character! Anyway, I can keep going if you want me to be specific. ;-)

  7. Lol I know what a review and a summary are. I bothered to read that part as well the thing was that you had so many negatives and they covered so many different parts of the film that I don’t see how you could possible give it a near perfect score of 4.5. With everything you said a 3 or even a 3.5 would of made sense but 4.5 is just short of perfect yet you gave a laundry list of mistakes or things you hated.

  8. Every movie has a laundry list of mistakes and/or problems, even the best movies out there. My point is that nobody would dare mention any of them about this movie even though I know people are thinking them because my friends admitted they felt the same way about quite a few of the points I mentioned, but then they are quick to explain it away with whatever excuse they can quickly think of. If you want to see what I would write about a movie I actually don’t like, go read what I wrote about Terminator 3. And after reading that, keep in mind that’s only about 1/4 of the stuff I think about that movie…

  9. Wow, just to point something out Dan, I only mentioned 6 things about The Dark Knight, I simply explained each one in detail.
    1. The “detective” side of Batman was not properly addressed.
    2. Batman was way overshadowed by The Joker (which is a good and bad for the film)
    3. It seemed like the snob of comic book movies
    4. The pacing toward the end was pretty bad. (A point Vic also pointed out)
    5. Self-pity speech was pretty pointless and annoying
    6. Batman voice was bad to the point that it was funny.

    WOW, that’s what you called a laundry list?? Number 2 wasn’t even a “bad” thing, just something I didn’t completely like since I wanted to see more from Batman, and number 6 is just something I thought was funny in the movie, doesn’t affect the rating at all… The rest is what would cost that .5 out of 5 in my opinion. Mainly the detective thing and the pacing in the end would affect the rating, the rest don’t.

  10. Actually I spoke with my sister over the weekend who is far more versed in the technical aspects of filmmaking than I am and one of her beefs with the movie was the fact that Batman was a secondary character in the film as compared to the Joker.

    She said she LOVED Heath as the Joker, but a film should be about the hero, not the villain.


  11. Of course it’s not perfect, and it’s perfectly valid to list stuff that bugged you, it makes people think.I also found the Bat voice a bit much and can’t remember thinking that in the first film. And the pacing did flag at the end, but to me that was minor.It was very much The Joker’s film, and maybe that is just because it was such an outstanding performance there was no way you could actually want to see less of it, but I hope the next film redresses the balance and Batman takes and holds centre stage again , In that way I can look at it like the middle of one of those trilogies where the Hero kind of fails and the Dark side appears to have it all their way. And I also hope that despite criticisms, Christian Bale will agree to do it again, because he has given him a real edge and a weight,That I haven’t seen before.
    And call me a snob if you like, but I was pleased that it was more ‘high brow’, I have had enough of movies so dumbed down that they have less subtext than the average burger ad, I think it’s accessible on many levels, Analogies of ‘the war on terror’, mythic struggles of aspects of the human soul, whatever floats your boat, It may be based on a comic book but that doesn’t mean it has to be limited to child level scripting and structure.Give me more to chew over I say!

  12. To be honest I think you think more people agree with you than actually do. If you didn’t like those things fine, but you just assume everyone has the same opinion as you but they refuse to admit it. They don’t. We all have different opinions hell some people hated and some people thought it was brilliant while some thought it was ok.

    While I think they could of done more detecting stuff I didn’t see any problem with the amount they did and didn’t really have an effect on the film for me. I don’t think Batman was overshadowed I think the film was shared very equally and rightfully so. When the many movies are about one character it becomes time to push another one closer to the spotlight. I wish more comic movies would do it. I didn’t see it as snobby at all just because it was a smarter film doesn’t make it a snob film. I agree with you on the pacing toward the end it was odd, but not terrible just not great. Honestly I loved the speeches and the self pity aspect I thought it was excellent and fit perfectly in to the movie and characters. The Voice has been a constant complaint for many but personally I like it. Sure it will never be as good as Kevin Conroy’s voice but Like it I mean he has to change his voice as Batman from Bruce Wayne.

  13. @ Daniel

    I don’t know where I said that I think everyone agrees with me… In fact, I’m positive that’s not true. I am usually the non-typical person in a crowd. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t like easy (slutty) women, I don’t like vulgar language, I hate anime, I hate Sushi, shall I continue with things that make you gasp with horror? :-D

    So thanks for being honest in thinking that you think that I think something that I don’t. (That makes sense, I swear!) But it’s a pretty irrelevant point since I don’t think that. I simply said that there are other people who feel the same way about SOME of the things I mentioned but they are AFRAID to admit to it. There, where did I say that everyone agrees with everything I said? If you find it, I’ll email you a cookie (maybe a recipe).

  14. @Vic

    Yah, the whole deal with Batman being a secondary character is definitely one of its flaws, but it’s pretty minor since I’ve always like The Joker as a villain and Ledger did a good job with that. But I do think they should have balanced it out a bit more. The friend I went shooting with today actually just told me that he thought TDK was just “OK” and the only real criticism he kept mentioning was this fact. So apparently it was far more important to him than it was to me, because this one aspect alone would not have been such a big deal.

    @ Last Laugh

    Yah, I forgot to mention that one of my favorite things about TDK was its message of never backing down to terrorism! I’m not sure if it was intentional, but it was definitely there, same with 300.

  15. To be honest Ken to me it sound an awful like you were saying the majority of the world agrees with you. By saying they are simply to afraid to admit it. I think the vast majority are honest with your opinion and you just wish more people agreed with you. I think the people who give an opinion on this movie mean what they say and aren’t afraid to tell the truth.

  16. The war on terror thing may not have been in the script but it’s part of the conciousness that forms it, I saw several parallels, the most basic in the Joker’s anarchistic nature , how do you deal with someone who does not care about anything , even their own survival,in how the Joker tries to force Batman into reacting in anger, even to the point of killng him,[ the big-rig aftermath] partly because he doesn’t care about himself in the normal way , but also because ultimately if Batman kills him , he will have won by undoing his moral core which would destroy all he is trying to be. And also in the Joker’s underestimation of the positive possibilities of human nature during his ‘social experiment’as,after all what can he base it on but his own experience of life and his own consequently warped humanity, It’s thought provoking but I don’t think entirely deliberate, just part of the collective unconscious.
    There was some discussion of this in an article in Total Film [July Issue] Gary Oldman mentioned it in interview, from the perspective of his character and the problem of how you police anarchy.
    And just for the record, I’m not afraid to speak out about negatives, they just don’t really incite me to write about them, I’d rather write about stuff I find exciting or thought provoking, but thats just me,:}

  17. I should also say , I have no special interest in seeing ‘Terrorism’in everything,[before someone mentions that] .It’s just an interesting angle , As is the Mythic, what about Tricksters, In many cultures they are the ones which through anarchic , rule breaking behaviour, warped humour and malicious and often lethal tricks[think 'Coyote' or 'Anansi']teach the ‘Hero’ who and what he really is, Batman’s encounter with the Joker defines him in a way no other really could,because he’s no one dimensional character, and in a way, as he claims, ‘not crazy’ and ‘just ahead of the curve’ He is supremely clever at unravelling people and holding a mirror up to their weaknesses.It’s his only reason to live, like any Trickster worth his salt. :}

  18. @ Daniel

    I’m sure you like to feel like I’m an unrational person just because I have negative things to say about something you’re obviously a fanboy of. But unfortunately for you, I’ve never said or implied any of that. But you’re free to think what you like, this is a free country after all. :-)

    @ Last Laugh

    Yah, don’t think I would like every movie to be about terrorism either, the reason why I loved that aspect is the fact that the current trend in movies tend to always have some political agenda in the opposite direction. Frankly, I’m pretty sick of it. I’ve never believed that anyone should crumble under terrorist pressure. Nobody should allow murderers to dictate their actions, so it’s nice to see a movie where the characters actually stand up to it.

  19. “My point is that nobody would dare mention any of them about this movie even though I know people are thinking them”

    “I feel like people are afraid to say bad things about it with the fear that they would just be called stupid and not a good judge of movies.”

    In my last post that’s exactly what I said that you said. Look there it is right there in quotes copied and pasted from your posts. I’m by no means a fanboy I don’t care if you don’t like certain aspects of the film. I simply don’t like you assuming that there are a bunch of people who agree with you but are afraid to admit it.

  20. Um, I said there are people who think it. Where did I say I think everyone, or heck, even MOST people think it? There ARE people who think this, if you’re expecting me to get defensive, I’m not going to change any of what I said just because you’re interpreting it in a way so you can convince yourself that I am an irrational person. Because apparently in your mind only an irrational person can actually have an objective view on the film, meaning both positive AND negative things and not just get all giddy like a school girl in love.

    You can keep telling yourself twhat you think I meant all you want if it makes you feel better. You won’t hear any complaints here, whatever makes you happy dude, it’s a free country. :-)

  21. Ok, boys, settle down. Don’t make me separate you two.

    We like to keep Screen Rant a friendly place.


  22. What is wrong with you Ken? I don’t honestly care at all how you feel about the film this isn’t even about how you feel about the film. Have what ever view you feel is necessary. I’m just taking offense to you suggesting that there is even one person who is simply afraid to say they didn’t like it. Hate the film or love the film or just think it’s ok it honestly doesn’t matter. Just don’t assume that people are afraid to say they don’t like a movie. It doesn’t even make sense.

    Sorry Vic I’ll drop the subject since he refuses to actually pay attention to what i’m saying an just assumes that I’m some how upset that he didn’t think TDK was perfect.

    Hell I don’t even think TDK is perfect. I admitted the pacing toward the end was a little off. I hated the idea of killing off Two Face. Personally I’m not a huge fan of the new suit or the Bat Pod and as always I hate the Tumbler.

  23. Sorry Vic if it seems like it’s going back and forth, but I’m really not even arguing with him. I am sincerely trying to let him know that he can tell himself whatever he wants to, but he insists on trying to tell me what I meant by what I said, as if I don’t know myself or something, lol. I don’t know, somehow he feels like what he’s saying is so complex that somehow I’m not understanding it. I understand exactly what he’s trying to say, it’s simply not the case, but I’m not about to tell him he can’t misinterpret things if he really wants to. Heck if I care, don’t know why he keeps pressing it, not sure what response he wants from me, I’m not trying to stop him from thinking whatever he wants to think.

    Well, I really have nothing further to say, so if he wants to keep pressing the matter, I’ll just respond with “*knod* whatever you say.” I guess I probably should have done that from the beginning huh Vic. Sorry I didn’t think of that earlier. :-(

  24. I am so sick of Batman at this point,,, ;-)

    That’s all I got.

  25. Lol, don’t start that again…

  26. Yes Yaaawwwwnn, no more of that pur-leeze people ;}

  27. Should have been a five out of five

  28. Oh no, call the Dark Knight police…

  29. 4.75 out of 5 – can’t think of a complaint. I can’t believe I waited until now to see this movie. :)