Home > Reviews > REVIEW: The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience (2008)

REVIEW: The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience (2008)

As usual, no spoilers.

Summary: The Dark Knight is the direct sequel to Batman Begins, the dark restart of the Batman story without the campiness that usually happens after people are tired of trying to make such dark subjects entertaining to the masses. This time out, Gotham has a new “white knight” in the form of Harvey Dent, a new district attorney not afraid to stand up to the organized crime that is destroying the city. But the organized crime syndicate have a new ace up their sleeve, a villain so unpredictable, so evil that no one can control him. A man without a name or history. A man they call “The Joker.”

Thoughts: The Dark Knight embraces it’s darkness, giving us a story that few would dare before this point. So many themes are handled throughout the two and a half hours that it’s impressive they fit it all into one coherent movie. Basically it all comes down to what it means to be a hero and how sometimes it takes a hero of a different kind to make a real difference.

The movie is impeccably directed and cast, with the acting going above and beyond the call of the script (except for Maggie Gyllenhaal, who reaches the very low bar set by Katie Holmes in the first one, but maybe that was the point). Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, are all incredible actors who make you believe their roles.

Heath Ledger, however, takes believability to a whole new level with his Joker. There’s nothing funny about his performance. When you look into The Joker’s eyes, The Joker is all you can see. Completely unpredictable, without remorse, a true (to bring in some Dungeons and Dragons lingo) Chaotic Evil character. I spent the whole movie on the edge of my seat because you literally have no idea what he’s going to do next. Heath Ledger’s Joker makes every other villain I’ve ever seen pale in comparison. I’m not sure where the “Oscar buzz” will go, but Heath Ledger’s performance is something more, a total immersion that I believe drove him to the depression and sleep anxiety that killed him. He gave everything he had to this role, in every sense.

Everything about this movie is top notch. It had more scares than any horror movie, more action than any action movie, more suspense than any suspense movie, and was probably the first “comic book movie” that truly deserves to have that mentioned second, if at all. It’s hard to imagine clumping it together with X-Men or, heaven forbid, Fantastic Four. I still love Iron Man and think it was tons of fun, but this was such a good movie no matter how you look at it.

Overall: A great movie that happens to be based on a comic book.
4.5/5

The IMAX Experience Review: Since this was my first IMAX experience and The Dark Knight has a special version for IMAX theaters, I figured I’d give it a mini-review.

IMAX is big. Really big. Like I’ve heard about the bigness, but it was ridiculous. And LOUD. Every punch, every explosion, every bass note in the soundtrack shook the whole room. My extremities were literally numb towards the end of the movie.

The Dark Knight had some scenes filmed in IMAX, so there were sections when the frame expanded beyond the widescreen format to fill up the whole IMAX screen. A few of the major action pieces and all of the helicopter shots of Gotham were expanded. The regular theater versions just have the IMAX screen cropped down to fill theirs, so you’re not missing added content really, just added immersion.

There was a mini-trailer before the movie began for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at IMAX. The last few movies have been at IMAX, but just enbiggened not enhanced in any way. HBP is going to have “selected scenes in IMAX 3D.” So, who wants to go with us to Indianapolis November 20th to see the midnight showing?

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