Movie Review: “The Dark Knight” (2008) on IMAX

It’s been more than a year since the last time I watched a movie in the theatres, and it’s been longer since my family went out for a movie together. So last weekend we went to the local theatre and picked the biggest blockbuster of the summer, The Dark Knight, and watched it on the huge IMAX screen. Since this is the first time I have watched any film on IMAX, this article is a review for both the movie and the IMAX experience. Overall The Dark Knight on IMAX was an impressive experience, so keep on reading to find out more.

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The Dark Knight is the second installment of Christopher Nolan’s series of Batman films. In 2005, Nolan’s Batman Begins revived the caped crusader on the big screen, and The Dark Knight looks to build on the success of its predecessor. Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman, while the late Heath Ledger stars as the Joker. Most of the notables from Batman Begins reprise their characters; the only major cast change is Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. As the most anticipated movie of the summer, The Dark Knight delivers on both the action and dramatic fronts.

The Dark Knight continues where Batman Begins left off. After many nights of fighting crime, Bruce begins to feel conflicted about his role as Batman. He eventually comes to the conclusion that he should give up his secret identity and pass the role of Gotham’s crime fighter to the new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Meanwhile, the combined efforts of Batman, Dent, and the Gotham police have forced the mob to take desperate measures, and the organized crime syndicate decide to turn to the psychotic Joker for guidance. Now Batman must stop the Joker from sinking Gotham City into total chaos while at the same time trying to determine his place within the city.

Much of the buzz surrounding The Dark Knight is about Ledger’s performance as the Joker. The Joker in the film is a disturbed madman with a penchant for “carving a smile” into people’s faces with a knife, but at the same time he is extremely intelligent and has what can only be described as a creepy sense of humour. This is a very difficult role to perform correctly, but Ledger pulls it off. Through his delivery of the lines and body motion, Ledger brings an atmosphere of uneasiness, unpredictability, and madness whenever he appears on the screen. His performance keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering what the psychotic criminal will do next. Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker is probably one of the most memorable movie villains in the last couple years, and the attention that his performance has received is well deserved.

Although most of the attention is focused on Heath Ledger’s Joker, Christian Bale manages to hold his own as the conflicted Bruce Wayne and the rest of cast also bring respectable performances to the film. The film is also paced very well and seamlessly switches between drama and action sequences. The action sequences in The Dark Knight are not ground-breaking, but they are pretty good and serve to compliment the plot. The main drives of The Dark Knight are the conflict between the Joker’s brand of anarchy against Batman’s brand of justice, and Batman’s internal struggle about how far he is willing to go and how much he is willing to sacrifice to protect his city. These two themes are presented very well in movie thanks to the action sequences and the acting performance of the cast, and this is the main reason why the Dark Knight is such an entertaining movie.

The only complaint I have for The Dark Knight is that it is sometimes hard to see what is going on. The film is darker and grittier than its predecessor and many of the action scenes take place in dimly lit areas. Unfortunately, the film is sometimes a little too dark and makes it hard to see what is happening on the screen, particularly during the hand-to-hand combat sequences. This is only a minor downside to what otherwise is a very good or even great film.

As I mentioned in the excerpt, The Dark Knight is also the first movie I have watched on IMAX. I went to see the movie four weeks after its release, and the IMAX showing was still had a high attendance. Because I went to the theatre a bit late, I had to settle for a seat in the front rows. This wasn’t the best arrangement because my field of vision can’t cover the entire screen from that distance. The IMAX theatre is known for its huge screen and its super-high resolution and vibrant colour. The Dark Knight probably wasn’t the best movie for demonstrating the image quality of IMAX, because much of the film takes place in dark areas. However, the film does take advantage of the big IMAX screen, particularly in the scenes where Batman is standing on top of tall skyscraper. As Batman leaps down towards the streets, the big screen makes me feel like that I’m falling into the streets with him. I might be the only one who feels this way though. Overall, watching The Dark Knight on IMAX was a pretty good experience, although there are probably other films (nature documentaries) that will take even better advantage of the IMAX’s capabilities.

The Dark Knight has already smashed various box office records and is poised to become one of the highest grossing films of all time. Yes, there was a lot of hype surrounding the film before its release, but the fact that the film is still going strong four weeks after it arrived in theatres is a testament to its excellence. If you don’t have any particular dislike for superhero movies, then The Dark Knight is the movie to watch this summer. If you still haven’t seen The Dark Knight and want to see it, I recommend going for the IMAX showings because it will give you the better cinematic experience. Thanks for reading this article.

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