The 101 Action Movies brings the second installment in Nolan’s version of the famous DC character, Batman, for me to rewatch.
This one is epic, sprawling, with a vast cast, and a number of villains from the Caped Crusader’s Rogues Gallery, this time around we have appearances from Dr. Crane aka The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), the Joker (Heath Ledger, winning a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent (Aaron Eckhart).
Following the events in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has established himself as Gotham City’s vigilante defender, occasionally working in co-operation with Jim Gordon’s (Gary Oldman) special task force. When rumors of a crazed lunatic in clown make-up begins to make the round, both Batman and Gordon are worried about that this new threat could signify for Gotham while the crime bosses continue to fight over more territory.
Bats and the Joker are rushing to a head long confrontation that could burn the entire city to the ground, and cost hundreds if not thousands of lives, and takes a huge personal toll on Wayne’s life.
Dent is in a position to be the shining knight Gotham needs, a hero with no need for a mask, fighting crime as the new D.A. with Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes) at his side. Bruce and Alfred (Michael Caine) watch the relationship from the sidelines, and Bruce wonders what might be, should Dent be the one to make Gotham a safe place and Batman is no longer needed.
Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) is still overseeing Wayne Enterprises, with the occasional help from Bruce, who is more interested in the tech he can finance for his own crusade, though someone gets a little too close to finding out who he is, when they take a look at the company’s numbers.
Nolan balances and weaves all these story threads into a massive 2 1/2 hour tale that balances narrative with impressive action sequences.
For my money, this is the best film in the trilogy, the first film, Batman Begins, is all about the set-up, which is all well and good and makes a great jumping off point, and the third film, well, we know how I felt about that one… This one works. It never loses touch with its comic book origins, but still tries to ground the film in a sense of reality, or as much of one as you can have, in a world where a man dressed up like a bat goes out and fights crime.
The IMAX camera work, as seen on the blu-ray transfer for those who don’t remember it in the theater, continues to look absolutely stunning with gorgeous location shots, and tightly paced action sequences.
The film features a score by Nolan collaborator, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, which works more tonally rather than actual any themes you can whistle, but like everything else in the film, it just seems to fit and work.
And of course, we are given that line that has now found its way into the popular lexicon…
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.“
And by film`s end Batman is no longer the hero… but a hunted man…
Yeah, this one is the best of the trilogy, easily and hands down.
What do you think?