Short answer: Yes, the movie lived up to its hype. Now that Falcone is no longer running the mob, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are trying to bring down the mob and all crime in general from Gotham. Meanwhile, the now head of Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), is working with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) to help bring down a corrupt CEO, Lau (Chin Han), who is working to keep mob money safe in the banks. Similarly, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is out to let the people of Gotham know that Batman is still out there somewhere, keeping the peace. However, a new guy in town who calls himself The Joker (Heath Ledger) begins to steal all this mob money and wreck havoc in Gotham. But that’s only the beginning of his plans. What The Joker really wants is to cause massive chaos by bringing together all criminals and luring Batman into the public eye. And it’s all very much taking its mental tolls on Bruce, who must continually seek advice from his butler, Alfred (Michael Caine).

Let’s just get it out of the way, first: Heath Ledger. Wow… just… wow. The trailers don’t even begin to scratch the surface of this performance. All of the best scenes in the movie were the ones that The Joker was in. Every time The Joker wasn’t on screen, I (im)patiently awaited for the next time he would be. It’s unlike anything Heath had ever done before (and, unfortunately, will ever do again), but it was one hell of a role to end with. Before I saw the movie, I kept wondering if or how they were going to explain The Joker’s origins this time around… and I’m actually really glad they did what they did (not to give anything away). And that interrogation scene was just… wow. Really.

As for other acting performance, Aaron Eckhart did an amazing job. I really felt for Harvey Dent (and believed in him), and by the time you-know-what rolls around, I just felt horrible for the man. It’s rare these days for a character whose fate ends up as such garners so much sympathy from the audience. And while I can definitely see Ledger getting an Oscar nom, I’d also like to see Mr. Eckhart get one, as well. Oh, and not to mention that his ‘look’ was totally disturbing.

All other acting was about where it should have been. There was a lot more Batman than Bruce Wayne this time around, which made the 2.5 hour movie go quickly, unlike the previous installment (which has a tendency to drag at times, in my opinion). But this is also one of my negative (yes, I said it) comments about the movie. The beginning of the movie made me feel as if I had missed something. For the first 30 or so minutes, it just felt as if things were going by too quickly, scene after scene, some of which was confusing at first (like the ‘copycats’. Oh, and how they brought back in the Scarecrow was kinda lame). But all of this is quickly overshadowed as soon as The Joker starts to shine (he had me with the disappearing pencil).

The cinematography was great, too. The first movie was more dark and gritty, and this one had a lot more daylight. However, while there was more sunshine, it made up for it with darker characters/villains, as well as some great camera shots that weren’t exactly there in Begins. There were just some beautiful shots that caught my eye in the movie, such as the rotating camera around the characters in a couple scenes, or the movement/focus of the camera on an upside-down character. Some good stuff.

While the first movie had its theme of fear, this movie had its theme of chaos and order, and there was plenty of both. And not only was it evident in the story, but with the camera movement and the music. Everything played its rightful role in the movie, and the movie deserves every praise it gets. Heath Ledger deserves all the praise he gets. And I honestly didn’t watch the movie and try to make parallels between Ledger and The Joker to find how disturbing the role became. Instead, I sat and enjoyed the movie. I didn’t have time to think about those kinds of comparisons. From the awesome opening bank heist to the ending monologue, the movie had me hooked, every minute of it (even when the stupid projector cut off for about 5 minutes during the last five freakin minutes of the movie). It brought out so many different emotions: it was sad, dramatic, action-packed, hilarious, slightly romantic, and disturbing. And I plan on seeing it again. This is one of the best superhero movies ever made, and it’s one of the best movies, if not the best movie, of the year.

Royale With Cheese

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