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The Dark Knight 2008

Critics score:
94 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Nolan paints an inky portrait of a city falling apart, and in a movie rife with two-faced masquerading freaks, the Joker is merely the least conflicted of the bunch. Ledger's work is improbably droll, impossibly creepy, meticulously detailed. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: To see it is to understand that Nolan and his co-writer brother Jonathan saw a chance to go deeper into familiar characters and mythology, a chance to meditate on darker-than-usual themes that have implications for the way we live now. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: I'm betraying my childhood to concede this, but Nolan has finally topped Tim Burton's two twisted spectaculars. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Pitched at the divide between art and industry, poetry and entertainment, The Dark Knight goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The Dark Knight is noisy, jumbled, and sadistic. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: The Dark Knight is insurmountable fun. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: I previously have had my own auteurist doubts about Mr. Nolan's work, but after The Dark Knight, I may have to rethink my past reservations about Mr. Nolan's place in the 21st-century cinema. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Christopher Nolan's latest exploration of the Batman mythology steeps its muddled plot in so much murk that the Joker's maniacal nihilism comes to seem like a recurrent grace note. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: See this one on the biggest screen you can (IMAX, ideally), and experience both the magic of top-notch technical filmmaking and the bittersweet pleasure of watching a young actor, gone too soon, giving a performance that won't be forgotten. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: Despite the tensions between its form and its function, The Dark Knight succeeds far more than it fails, and lingers provocatively in the mind. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: Where Batman Begins was largely about the considerable personal toll exacted by its hero's decision to fight back against the forces of evil while adhering to a code of honor, The Dark Knight expands those weighty themes to city scale. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Whatever trepidations Ledger may have had about taking on such an iconic role, he blows past them brilliantly, carrying The Dark Knight along with him. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: You come away impressed, oppressed, provoked, and beaten down, holding on to Ledger's squirrelly incandescence as a beacon in the darkness. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Christopher Nolan's second Batman adventure is the rare blockbuster that left me engaged and thoughtful instead of bored and bummed out. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: This is not merely a Batman movie. It is not merely a comic-book movie. It is not merely gripping summer entertainment. It is, with Wall-E, one of the two best mainstream films to be released all year and far and away the most hypnotic chiller. Read more

Tom Charity, CNN.com: An exceptionally smart, brooding picture with some terrific performances. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The film is so relentlessly bleak that, paradoxically, its blackness is not given its full due. But this comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Watching The Dark Knight is like gazing into a mirror on a waning moon night: chilling and mesmerizing. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Let's face it: If you're any sort of pop-culture or movie freak, you're going to see this flick. And you should, just for Ledger. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: In this, the last performance he completed before his death, Ledger had a maniacal gusto inspired enough to suggest that he might have lived to be as audacious an actor as Marlon Brando, and maybe as great. Read more

Laremy Legel, Film.com: Christopher Nolan is much, much smarter than your average filmmaker. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: An epic that will leave you staggering from the theater, stunned by its scope and complexity. It's also, thankfully, a vast improvement over his self-serious origin story, 2005's Batman Begins. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: The Dark Knight is easily the most entertaining bummer of the summer. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: It's a comic-book movie, but it's also a dark and highly complex drama. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Nolan wants to prove that a superhero movie needn't be disposable, effects-ridden junk food, and you have to admire his ambition. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: This movie is grim and jammed together. The narrative isn't shaped coherently to bring out contrasts and build toward a satisfying climax. The Dark Knight is constant climax; it's always in a frenzy, and it goes on forever. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It's a hugely entertaining bit of eye-candy. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR.org: An explosively provocative [film]. ... Exhilaratingly straightforward action sequences matched by moral complexity of a sort not usually associated with comic-book movie franchises. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Twisted, tortured, terrifying -- and terrific. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: Batman takes a fierce stance in favor of untruth, surveillance and (but?) the American way. Bruce Wayne says, 'Batman has no limits,' and there are two sides to that coin. Read more

Timothy Mangan, Orange County Register: The Dark Knight is probably the smartest and most stylish action movie since the "The Matrix." It thinks and philosophizes. The subject it thinks and philosophizes about, perhaps not surprisingly, considering the times, is the Iraq war. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: It's still too long, especially for a comic-book movie. But with Ledger's last performance director Nolan was blessed with the gift of light. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Shakespearean but overlong, The Dark Knight is two hours of heady, involving action that devolves into a mind-numbing 32-minute epilogue. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Nolan has provided movie-goers with the best superhero movie to-date, outclassing previous titles both mediocre and excellent, and giving this franchise its Empire Strikes Back. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Iron Man and even more so The Dark Knight move the genre into deeper waters. They realize, as some comic-book readers instinctively do, that these stories touch on deep fears, traumas, fantasies and hopes. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The haunting and visionary Dark Knight soars on the wings of untamed imagination. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: [Ledger gives] a fine performance regardless, and I wish the movie around it were more deserving. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Christopher Nolan wanted to make an action movie that was different from other action movies -- darker, more twisted, more despairing, more bleak -- and he has mostly succeeded in this latest Batman installment. He can thank Ledger for a lot of that. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: For all The Dark Knight's occasionally bombastic excess, it sort of does top them all, and not only in star power and sheer number of things blown up. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Nolan hasn't simply made a popcorn movie for brainiacs. He's an increasingly self-assured director of action sequences. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The symbiosis of good and evil is the film's philosophical core, and images of duality and cloaked identity are strewn through it like shards from a fun house mirror. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Mixing bravura filmmaking with flat cliches in about equal amounts, The Dark Knight is all about dualism. Appropriately, the movie's half-inspired, half-frustrating. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: This film is not only one of the year's best; it may well end up as the finest of 2008. At the very least, it deserves consideration for Best Picture and Best Director, along with the expected Oscar kudos for Ledger. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The Dark Knight is bound to haunt you long after you've told yourself, Aah, it's only a comic-book movie. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: The Dark Knight is a film that's fantastic on the action front, seeds its acrobatics in its own reality, and always feels relevant even when its ideas are drowned out by clatter. Read more

Ruth Hessey, Time Out Sydney: There is an exquisite order in the chaos, a fascist formality and video game surrealism that resists the forces of disintegration with a sort of superhuman determination. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: As much as this is Ledger's movie, that should not diminish the notable accomplishments of other key cast members. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some. Read more

Scott Foundas, Village Voice: The Dark Knight [sounds] like heavy stuff -- and it is. But I should add that Nolan also delivers the kick-ass goods, from an opening bank heist a la Michael Mann to a climactic episode of vehicular mayhem a la William Friedkin. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: [Ledger's] performance is also the most interesting thing in the film, and when the Joker is absent, The Dark Knight loses most of its energy and dynamism. Read more