Top 5 Movie Review: #3 The Dark Knight

Top 5 Movie Review: #3 The Dark Knight

Nick Fletcher, Jay Journal Staff


Christopher Nolan


Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne), Heath Ledger (Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent), Michael Caine (Alfred), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel), Gary Oldman (Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox).

Famous Quote

Harvey Dent: “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”


The following review is the third installment of what will be an ongoing series in which I review the top five movies of all time, according to

The Dark Knight, (2008), is the second installment of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and, based upon on this list, is by far the most critically acclaimed of the three films. Nolan gained inspiration for the film from the Joker’s comic debut in 1940, the 1988 graphic novel “The Killing Joke”, as well as the 1996 series “The Long Halloween”. While it is clear that the film primarily focuses on the Batman and the Joker, there are many minor characters that play important roles as well. Among these are Harvey Dent (Eckhart), Alfred (Caine), Rachel (Gyllenhaal), Gordon (Oldman), and Lucius Fox (Freeman). To varying degrees, these characters play a part in shaping the events of the film, from Harvey Dent, whose role is instrumental, to Lucius Fox, who shows up only sparingly. Heath Ledger’s Academy Award winning performance as the Joker is the true capstone of the film seeing as Ledger passed away six months before the film’s release.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see this movie a plethora of times, so I think that my perspective on the film should at the very least be well informed. To start I’ll just come out and say that I enjoy the Nolan Batman films a lot. I think one of the main reasons why I’m such a fan of the series is because of how gritty they feel: the way they’re shot, the color palette that is used, the amount of violence that is depicted, all of these things contribute to a grimy world that seems like it could genuinely be real. Of the three films in the series, I think the Dark Knight does all of that the best. I can distinctly remember a scene from the film where the Joker breaks a pool cue in half and makes two men fight each other, each with half of the cue, to death. There are countless other scenes just as violent and grotesque as this throughout the film, and what they add up to is an atmosphere unique to most superhero movies, one in which you are actually creeped out by, and scared of the villian.

This brings me to my next point; Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. Without this performance, I’m not sure I would be writing about this film at all right now, that is how powerful Ledger’s acting is in this film. Perhaps the most well depicted villain in the history of Superhero film or television, the Joker in the Dark Knight makes  Batman feel human, as though he has finally met his match. While the Batman has all the money and technology in the world, the Joker has cruel and psychopathic logic and the lack of a moral code. This theme of a moral code, or lack thereof, is sprinkled throughout the film (and is probably the reason why we watch it in Moral Values class). On numerous occasions the Joker is able to trap the Batman into situations that force him to make a choice between two bad options. It is these moral dilemmas that make the Batman feel merely human, and make the Joker seem even more powerful.

Without giving away too much, all I’ll say for how the film wraps up is that it isn’t what you were expecting, but it’s everything you could’ve wanted. The film seems to wrap up in an incredibly neat way, tying back in things said in the first act of the film, and making them come full circle. I think because of the climactic way in which the film ends, it has left a great impression on me from the first time I watched it.

At this point I hope that my feelings about the film have become clear, but if you’re still not aware, I absolutely love this film. My hope is that by writing this review more people will come to love it just as much as I do, so stop what you’re doing and go watch this film! You won’t be disappointed.