As we await The Dark Knight Rises, here’s a review I wrote in 2008:
The Dark Knight (2 hours, 30 minutes; rated PG-13): I judge my Batman by the Jokers. The Batman TV series rolled out Cesar Romero as the Joker in 1966. Great laugh. Over-the-top campy. Didn’t scare me. In 1989, Jack Nicholson played the Joker in the first Batman movie. Better but very campy. Good laugh. A lot scarier than Cesar Romero. Then this summer, Heath Ledger nailed the part in The Dark Knight. Awesome laugh. Very scary. Ledger’s version has such an awesome presence that you crave his moments on-screen.
The movie needed him and subsequent sequels will miss the late actor. You could get a little tired head from Batman’s brooding. Ledger’s version of the Joker did a better job of trying to get Batman and others to forget any moral codes. And that’s what made the movie so great. It was a bit long, and that’s from trying to develop too many characters at once.
Special effects: Awesome, of course. Hospital explosion. Hook escape from a low-flying airplane. Rad new Batmobile. Kinda overdid it with the 360-degree camera closeups, however.
Best time for a bathroom break: When Batman and Rachel Dawes were making kissy-face on the balcony. But make it fast.
Date movie? While you’re secretly pulling for more mayhem from the Joker, there’s enough Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal making googoo eyes to keep your date occupied with affairs of the heart.