The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, is a sequel to his first batman film, Batman Begins. It continues Bruce Wayne’s life as Batman in Gotham City, fighting the organized crime alongside James Gordon and the new district attorney, Harvey Dent. The new antagonist, Joker, is then introduced as a psychotic mastermind of chaos that has to be hunted down before more innocent civilians are murdered. Batman comes to face a villain that is always a step ahead of him and no matter how much he seems successful in undermining the incoming chaos, it always comes out to be a part of Joker’s plan for a bigger destruction.
The Dark Knight’s cinematography along with its sound design will keep you on the edge of your seat as events unfold with increasing tension. Shots are framed purposefully to present an idea and lit with unique styles giving a specific mood to each scene — hope, confusion, fear, suspense, mayhem. The brilliant score, composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, enhances the viewing by orchestrating our emotions closely to the plot. The tone of the music not only creates rhythm for scenes to work seamlessly, it also brings our focus to important moments and adds to the atmosphere while fusing perfectly with the film visuals. Incorporating the soundtrack, the sound editing excels through the intended use of non-diegetic and especially diegetic sound, along with one of the most powerful tools, silence. These aspects, along with many other unmentioned technicalities, prove The Dark Knight to be one of the most well crafted ’superhero themed’ movies out there.
“As you know, madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.”
Well, technical aspects aside, as an avid Christopher Nolan fan, there is definitely an underlying message behind every film of his, including this. In this film, the Joker gets various people of Gotham city to turn against one another, constantly reminding us how cruel the society can turn just because of selfishness. Unlike other villains’ purposes, Joker’s only goal is to create chaos. Twisted as this character’s mind can be, I would like to give credit to the late Heath Ledger for his performance as the Joker. He has turned Joker into such an impressive antagonist, even outshining the others and being recognized by many as the most iconic character in this film. You’ll shiver at the words he says, things he do, but yet only to realize — that’s how humanity is. He pushes circumstances a little and we see everybody’s true colours. We watch people betraying morals to achieve what they want. We watch the most upright people do unacceptable things. The Dark Knight brings us to question morality. What is truly “right” or “wrong”?
“You thought we could be decent men in an indecent time,”
An underrated character I would say, there couldn’t be any better way to exemplify the concept of morality in this film other than the pure and upright district attorney turned into a man with blood in his hands, Harvey Dent. His character change certainly shows how much circumstances can drive a person to forgo all the morals that they used to uphold. The coin that he has is also a strong symbolism of the state he’s in, and ironically suggesting to us — eventually, we can never make our own luck. Who we become is neither by choice nor by morals, but by what the society drives us to become. And to make decisions most advantageous to ourselves — that’s human nature ultimately, and who is to say if it’s a wrongdoing or not?
The Dark Knight is not just any other superhero film. Christopher Nolan overthrows the convention of a standard comic superhero movie and turns this into an action-packed, thought provoking crime film that reflects our society and human nature. It allows us to take a clear look at the world surrounding us and ponder about our behaviour, yet also gets us immersed in the film world and enjoy the story as it develops. Striking a perfect balance between depth and entertainment, this is one that surely made a mark in the history of superhero-based films.