Saturday night we joined the crowds flooding into movie theaters across the country to see the Sony and Legendary Pictures' release, "The Dark Knight": the second installment of a well-resurrected comic book franchise.
In one word the film was excellent. And box office numbers are backing me up. The long-awaited sequel sold roughly 153 million in tickets this past weekend making it the highest grossing opening weekend ever. However, one news article was keen to point out that when considering ticket price inflation the 2007 release of Spider-Man 3 still beats The Dark Knight by a thin margin of 170,000. "Go spidey, go!" So of course the film took #1 for the weekend in the box office not closely followed by Mamma Mia at 27 million and Hancock at 14 million.
Much of the hype for the movie was due to anticipation of a new Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger who died in January 2008 due to a drug overdose. Simple previews told audiences that the new Joker was going to be done well, but Ledger's performance was outstanding. I have typically seen him playing the pretty boy with an easy smile in chick flicks, but Ledger seemed to lose himself in this role. I found myself no longer watching a talented actor but the Joker himself. The previous Joker, played by Jack Nicholson was as much about the character as the actor. Though Nicholson did great, I'm afraid he must tip his hat and bow out to a better Joker, played by Ledger.
The film did not follow typical super hero format--a clear problem arises that can only be resolved by the hero who struggles yet ultimately succeeds. The Dark Knight went beyond this familiar approach and called the audience to question what is right and wrong in a number of situations. Morality was a major theme, and how far can a super hero go before it becomes too far? Batman himself becomes a bit darker as a character, and he is made to question why he is Batman and when he will no longer need to be.
As expected the action in the movie is exciting and well thought out. The hand-to-hand combat is much more followable (one criticism of Batman Begins). Of course Batman shows out with new toys and gadgets which caused me to feel like Sergent Gordon from the first film when he exclaimed, "I gotta get me one of those."