I was 15 and I was sitting in my chair waiting for it to start. Watching the logos go past with so much trepidation and excitement I want sure I’d be able to last the whole film without leaving to pee. Once the film started, I barely remembered to breath for the next 2 hours and 32 minutes, let alone leave the cinema.
Ten years and countless viewings later, I can replay every key scene in my head as if its playing in front of me. The bank heist, the magic trick, the parade, the interrogation, the chase, the boats, the final confrontation.
I had never experienced anything like this in a cinema. A film that redefined an entire genre and made it cool to be a geek. I already was of course, throughout my childhood I was fascinated by the two characters I was watching on-screen.
Heath Ledger, initially shunned and mocked for being too much of a pretty boy and not fit for the role. He was playing a character that many thought had been done to perfection in the late 80’s. Somehow he defied the doubters and gave a performance that is the gold standard for an antagonist in modern films.
Leaving the cinema I couldn’t really get my head round enjoying a movie so much I wanted to see it again straight away. I’ve been going nearly every week for four years now and very few films have quite captured my imagination like this film did. It’s why I started following movie news and one of the films that made me want to write about the industry.
The Dark Knight was released 10 years ago. Right as the MCU was beginning, and before the Avengers had ever been considered a real possibility. Created by one of the best directors around, given the licence to do what he wanted with a DC character. There was no need for world building or setting up another film in the same cinematic universe. I don’t even think the term cinematic universe was coined at the time.
I know some people don’t have any interest in superhero films. I am a geek so I naturally love all this type of stuff. The Dark Knight is not just another superhero movie. It’s a story about two people with wildly different beliefs, presented as an action film with costumes and make up. It is, in my opinion, the best superhero film ever made. It is also my favourite movie of all time. So 10 years on, I thought now would be a good time to write something about The Dark Knight.
Today, as DC continue to stumble about in the dark chasing the Marvel Cinematic Universe, maybe they should look at their past for the template to succeed with their characters. To be clear, I don’t mean dark and realistic, I mean getting a super talented story-teller like Nolan and giving them the creative freedom to do what they think is best. Aquamans trailer should drop this weekend and perhaps that will hint at a good film, here’s hoping DC can find the winning formula again.