Director: Christopher Nolan
Year Released: 2008
Part two of the 'refurbished' Batman franchise, in which Nolan tries to make the dreaded 'a' word (art!) out of comic book philosophy - luckily for this one he has a truly dynamic villain (played with marvelous intensity by the late Heath Ledger) to add to the void provided by the less-interesting Batman himself (Christian Bale), who's left with Bond-like gadgets, a comically hoarse voice and little character development. There's a real problem with pacing, and the herky-jerky editing doesn't help, plus there's that nagging political issue, in which wiretapping is deemed okay to stop the domestic terrorist (just as long as it's in the hands of the right people). Keeping with the superhero comic book genre, the people (at one point literally divided into two boats of good and bad) are at the mercy of morally ambiguous 'super men' who raze the city and damage property and that's considered the price everyone has to pay for 'justice' - the Will Smith movie Hancock started down this path of exploring this 'crypto-fascism' before unfortunately turning into a different kind of movie. There is much to like - a solid performance by Gary Oldman, an unforgettably murky atmosphere - and the fact that Ledger is no longer with us adds to the forbidding allure of watching him creep around on screen (to quote the equally-tragic Jim Morrison, filmgoers truly are quiet vampires).