Review: The Dark Knight

Good and evil. Supposedly diametric beings are deconstructed and turned on their heads in The Dark Knight, which has cemented Batman as the cutting-edge franchise in comic-book adaptations. Christopher Nolan’s latest film effortlessly combines eye-catching action with visceral emotion in an unpredictable blend of excellence.

The plot, at its most basic level, is just the Joker (Heath Ledger) wreaking havoc on Gotham while Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) struggles to strike a balance between his personal interest Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and his creation of Batman. Meanwhile, Wayne contemplates destroying Batman to give way to the new face of hope, hard-hitting crime-fighter, District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who also competes for Rachel’s affections. Also returning from Batman Begins is Wayne’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), Lieutenant/Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Wayne Enterprise CEO Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).

The plot, on a more complex level, blurs the line between good and evil. To be sure, the Joker is evil, and Batman is good, but the line between the two is an ever-changing line in the sand. The Dark Knight, more than other superhero movie shows that there are real consequences to Batman’s actions, no matter how noble the intentions. Even if Batman acts for the greater good, people die under his watch, and sometimes because of it. This type of vigilante justice hasn’t gone unnoticed among the restless Gotham people.

Then there is the Joker, in a legendary performance by Ledger in his final appearance on film. His portrayal is so creepy, sinister and ominous that he captures and captives right away. But what truly makes his portrayal of the Joker is the depth and intensity that is given to his character. His primary goal is chaos, but it’s done in such a way as to penetrate to the depths of the human character. In one particularly ghastly deed, the Joker leaves two bombs on two separate passenger ferries with each boat given the opportunity to blow the other one out of the water. Who will be the first boat to blink first?

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Review: Wanted

Wanted is a movie that fits right in with what we’ve come to expect from summer blockbusters. The action is noteworthy. The plot is somewhat lacking. But overall, it is fun to watch, a sight to behold, and one of the more memorable movie-going experiences you’ll have this summer.

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) lives a meaningless life as an account manager at a nameless firm. But there is more than meets the eye, because he’s a blood-member of a thousand-year old society of assassins called The Fraternity. They can bend the trajectory of bullets. Have perfect aim from miles away. Take punishment, and dish out even more. Wesley’s father, who left him at an early age, was the most brilliant of the bunch, and he’s been murdered by a renegade member of the Fraternity. The only one who can save the Fraternity is Wesley, who is recruited by Sloan (Morgan Freeman) and trained by the aptly named Fox (Angelina Jolie).

It’s always fun to watch a training sequence, if for anything, than to better relate to the character. Wesley invents his craft as he goes along, and is far from the perfect assassin. We’re given narration through his eyes intermittently throughout the movie as a conduit into this secret fraternity.

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