The Bat-Hype has peaked and the Dark Knight is finally with us (if the London Met don’t get him first). The only question left to ask is, does it live up to the insane levels of expectation? The lovers have already voted it the greatest film ever on IMDB and the haters are a gathering cloud. Like their US counterparts the UK critics are fawning over Christopher Nolan’s dark interpretation. The Times (5-star) declares:
You will feel utterly numb after the screening of The Dark Knight. The film is bleak and brilliant. Batman is Hamlet and Heath Ledger is a sensation as the Joker. The late legend doesn’t just steal the film, he murders it in style.
The Guardian (4-star) is also taken along for the ride, being particularly impressed with the giddy clarity of watching the film in Imax , declaring that it’s:
strange, dark, grandiose and mad; it is overlong and overhyped but hugely entertaining. In a simple, physical sense it really is huge, with cityscape sequences filmed on Imax technology, that demand to be seen on the vast Imax screen. I literally forgot to breathe for a second or two, and found myself teetering forward on my seat
Elsewhere the reviews are (almost) universally positive. The Independent is one of the slightly less enamored with a 3-star, thinking that ‘Art and entertainment feel locked in a deadly struggle, which accounts for the movie's peculiar schizoid personality.’. However overall it seems that Nolan has created that rarest of creatures, an intelligent complex blockbuster that isn’t just aimed at attention depraved teenagers. Having now seen it, I have to agree. The picture painted in the Dark Knight is of a twisted, violent and morally ambiguous world that, incredibly, does manage to live up to most expectations. Much of this is down to Heath Ledger’s uncomfortably psychotic turn as the Joker. It’s an intense vision that makes the 1989 Tim Burton version feel like a pantomime and as the Times concludes, ‘the parameters of the comic book blockbuster have shifted forever.’
By James Bryan