By JEFF RAUCH
With the release of The Dark Knight into theaters this past summer, a milestone in the history of modern cinema has been set.
Every summer movie season, Hollywood rolls out its big guns. The American public is bombarded with massive and overwhelming marketing campaigns designed to promote the latest big budget, action packed extravaganza.
The Dark Knight (TDK) was no exception to this and as soon as casting and shooting commenced last summer, the online fan boy forums were alive with glee.
This year’s release of The Dark Knight has been a rare event. Rarely is a film released that is well received by both critics and the American public. TDK, however, managed to accomplish this feat and has the box office totals to prove it. With a current domestic intake of over $500 million and counting, TDK is now the number two highest grossing film of all time, right behind James Cameron’s epic Titanic which sailed out of theaters in 1998 with more than one billion dollars in its mast.
Watching TDK, it’s easy to see why it has been such a mega hit. This is a film which manages to completely transcend its genre, becoming much more than a simple comic book film about super heroes vs. super villains.
No, this movie is more along the lines of The Godfather or Heat than Superman or the Fantasic Four. Picking up where its predecessor left off, TDK is a story of great characters caught up in a great conflict.
As the film opens, Batman (Christian Bale) has just about rid Gotham City of all major crimes. With the help of Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman), he begins to target the mob. Things are looking up for the caped crusader until a new villain, the Joker (performed by the late Heath Ledger), enters the scene. The Joker is the kind of villain that Batman isn’t really prepared to deal with. Unlike most criminals who are motivated by money or power, the Joker simply enjoys creating chaotic causes and then watching the effects. He is an incarnation of pure evil.
By the end of the film, Batman discovers how far he’s willing to go to be the savior that Gotham really needs. This is where the movie gets its core conflict. The viewer is presented with the familiar and well liked hero, who then faces greater challenges than ever before.
The Dark Knght hits dvd and blu-ray disc on December 9th.