(WARNING: THIS ENTRY WILL PROBABLY CONTAIN SPOILERS.)
I loved Batman Begins with every fibre of my being, and I didn't think it was possible that I could love a Batman movie more than that...BUT I THINK I LOVE THE DARK KNIGHT EVEN MORE THAN BATMAN BEGINS.
How is that even conceivable, liking a sequel more than the first one?
But the thing is, I loved Batman Begins for its very human and real portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman. It isn't just a superhero movie; it's a movie about the man that lies at the heart of that superhero. It's intelligent and real, which is why Christopher Nolan is one of my favourite directors, like, ever, and The Dark Knight combines all of that with a very relevant and provocative examination of human nature, what makes us good, what makes us evil.
When the film ended I was blown away, shell-shocked, and deeply moved. One of the best scenes in the entire bloody masterpiece was the part where the people in the two ships, held hostage by the explosives that the Joker planted, threw away the detonators that would blow up the other ship. When the convict stood up and took the detonator from the prison guard or whomever he was, I honestly thought that he was going to blow up the other ship - but he didn't. I was also afraid that the tough-talking guy on the other ship was going to blow up the ship with all the prisoners - but he didn't.
And the whole Harvey Dent story, oh my god. Some critics have said (because I've been reading reviews left right and centre) that the Harvey Dent storyline added unnecessarily to the movie's length and so it shouldn't have been included alongside the Joker's story which was the more compelling of the two. Well, I respectfully disagree, because I thought the Harvey Dent storyline was pretty integral to the film's exploration of its theme of good/evil/morality/humanity. Harvey's eventual downfall, his transformation into Harvey Two-Face, it was heartbreaking. I believed in Harvey Dent as much as Batman and Gordon believed in him - he embodied all that was good and just and proper and right, and his demise shows the heartbreaking fallibility of men and of humanity.
Fuck, this film is so good that I can't even say. It moved me to such a ridiculous level that...I can't even say. It renders me incoherent and at a loss for words because it is so damn good. Batman Begins plodded along at parts, but The Dark Knight is quite literally a thrill ride from start to finish. Just when I thought it was ending, Nolan and Co pull something as fucked up as a CELLPHONE IN A GUY'S STOMACH to kick things back into action. IT'S INSANE.
I don't even know what to say about Heath Ledger and his Joker because...I don't even know. You just have to see it to believe it, really.
And Christian Bale. CHRISTIAN BALE. He's my #3 favourite actor, did you know? I LOVE WATCHING HIM! It's the same feeling as watching Joaquin Phoenix (still #1, forever #1) and Leonardo DiCaprio (#2).
I really want to watch the third movie RIGHT NOW, but since it's not even announced yet (hopefully it will be soon), I want to watch The Dark Knight AGAIN. I am really, really blown away, and the film is still haunting me 25 hours after the fact. It's crazy, and I'm going to buy the Batman Begins DVD the next time I go to HMV.
Have I mentioned this? I LOVE THE DARK KNIGHT. LOVE.
(PS. In case anyone's interested, I'm not a comics fan, I've never read a single Batman comic, only watched bits of the cartoon when I was a kid, and so my current fixation with Batman is really quite entirely due to Christopher Nolan's amazing work and also Christian Bale's portrayal of the character. I did like the two Tim Burton films, but they lack the emotional resonance that the Nolan films have. Just my opinion.)