I saw this over opening weekend but have been putting off the review until now. It's tough, because this is the sort of movie I imagine readers might actually look forward to reading my opinion on, as much as anyone cares what my opinion on movies are (I have no delusions that you all have desperately checking your RSS feeds awaiting this or anything). And I have plenty to say about the film, but still I hesitate.
And the reason is simple: I have nothing at all critical to say about this movie. My response to it is so visceral, so emotional, that I fear that putting it into words will leave me sounding like little more than a simpering fanboy. So I'll just have to go forward with that and trust that I've established enough film critique cred that you'll understand that the unbridled enthusiasm that is to follow is the result of superior filmmaking, and not my inability to be critical.
And you know what? I think I'm okay with this. Because more than any other type of movie, the big budget summer blockbuster should appeal on a visceral, emotional level. When we walk out of these $200 million dollar extravaganzas, we should be awestruck to the point of speechlessness. This is the experience we're looking for, and I'm thrilled to say that The Dark Knight achieved this with me, especially since few summer blockbusters ever do.
My expectations for this film were about as high as they've ever been, and I'm pleased to say that they were surpassed. This is not only the best Batman movie ever (surpassing director Christopher Nolan's earlier film Batman Begins), it is also the best movie based on a comic ever, and a stunning example of the best blockbuster entertainment has to offer.
Art and commerce have always been at odds in Hollywood, but of late, the two sides had seemed further apart than usual. The movies that made the most money had no ambitions toward art or intelligence, while the most critically acclaimed films have no traction at the box office. I've long argued that it needn't be this way, that we should be able to expect intelligence and excitement from our films, and with its record box office and near-universal praise, The Dark Knight has proved me right. To be sure, the film is more blockbuster than arthouse, but its epic drama and level of excellence make it as easy to compare to films like The Godfather and The Departed as to superhero fare like Spider-Man or Iron Man.