The Dark Knight is one of the many DC Comics inspired movies, based, more precisely, on the character of Batman, a superhero fighting crime in the mysterious city of Gotham, which is evidently based on New York. The Dark Knight was released in 2008 and it was the second Batman film directed by Christopher Nolan, sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and followed this year by The Dark Knight Rises. Whereas in the past the character of Batman/Bruce Wayne was played by the likes of George Clooney, Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton, Christopher Nolan boldly chose an English-originating actor, the talented Christian Bale.
Other actors that appeared in The Dark Knight were Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as James Gordon. Batman’s main antagonist in this film is the legendary Joker, here interpreted by an Australian actor, Heath Ledger. Perhaps the fact that Nolan himself is British has something to say when he chose his cast.
The Dark Knight’s plot revolves around the collaboration between Batman, the city police, the District Attorney (Aaron Eckhart) and a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in the attempt to overthrow the terrorist regime installed by the Joker in Gotham. Nolan was inspired for the movie’s title and story from the comic book debut of Joker in 1940, the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween series from 1996 which retell Two-Face’s origins.
Unfortunately for the film’s producers but for fans worldwide as well, actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental prescription pill overdose some months after the film’s completion. Yet he received a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The Dark Knight had eight Academy Award nominations, but it only won Best Sound Editing and the one mentioned previously.
Commercially, the film was a great success, grossing over one billion dollars worldwide, ranking now as the thirteenth highest-grossing film of all time. In the Internet Movie Database Top 250, it now steadily ranks as number 7, though at the time of its release it occupied higher positions for several months, due to the public’s excitement and thrill at having recently seen the movie. Also, like with many other Batman movies, it is the villain who actually steals the show, here Heath Ledger’s Joker, with his anarchical monologues, his grubby and trashy look inspired from the likes of Iggy Pop or Johnny Rotten.