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"THE DARK KNIGHT"
(2008) (Christian Bale, Heath Ledger) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Extreme Extreme *Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy Mild Extreme None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Drama: While trying to bring down various criminal figures, Batman must contend with a murderous psychopath who enjoys toying with him.
PLOT:
There's a new sheriff in town, and for Gotham City, that's District Attorney Harvey Dent (AARON ECKHART). He's desirous of bringing down crime figures such as Salvatore Maroni (ERIC ROBERTS) who's working a deal with Chinese crime lord Lau (CHIN HAN), but he's not the only one. Beyond his girlfriend and Assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL), local cop Lt. James Gordon (GARY OLDMAN) is doing his best to arrest them.

Of course, he has a little off the record help from the city's resident vigilante, Batman (CHRISTIAN BALE), whose alter-ego is ultra-wealthy businessman Bruce Wayne. With the aide of his servant Alfred Pennyworth (MICHAEL CAINE) and board member-cum-inventor Lucius Fox (MORGAN FREEMAN), Batman is bringing down the bad guys where it matters the most to them, in their bank accounts.

Accordingly, the likes of Maroni and others have taken up the offer by The Joker (HEATH LEDGER) to kill Batman. He's a deranged psychopath -- with heavy makeup accentuating large "smile" cut scars on his face -- whose criminal ways stem from his apparent glee in creating chaos rather than some sort of monetary gain.

With The Joker employing unorthodox and sadistic ways of proving the two men really aren't that different, the Caped Crusader does what he can to catch and stop his new nemesis.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Little ones probably won't, but many others will, particularly if they're fans of "Batman Begins," other "Batman" or superhero films, and/or anyone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense sequences of violence and some menace.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHRISTIAN BALE plays the billionaire businessman as well as his alter-ego, a superhero who continues to channel his guilt, fear and anger over events in his childhood into a need to clean up crime in his home city. He wants to put away Maroni and his cronies (secretly working with Gordon to do so), but must then contend with the appearance and actions of The Joker. The latter ends up causing him grief due to the unsavory but necessary decisions and actions Bruce/Batman must make. He fights many villains and drinks some.
  • HEATH LEDGER plays that deranged villain who kills many people and commits crimes just for the pleasure of doing so, which also holds true for his toying with Batman.
  • AARON ECKHART plays the new District Attorney who's determined to bring down Maroni, The Joker and every other criminal in the city, all while dating Rachel. He must contend with the results of his actions, and drinks some.
  • MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL plays Bruce's former flame and current girlfriend to Dent and his assistant D.A. She worries about both due to what occurs and drinks a bit.
  • GARY OLDMAN plays a cop who covertly works with Batman in trying to bring down the city's various criminals, but must deal with the repercussions.
  • MORGAN FREEMAN plays a board member of Bruce's corporation who's really his technology provider.
  • MICHAEL CAINE plays Bruce's faithful family butler who assists him.
  • ERIC ROBERTS plays a crime figure who's upset that Batman has disrupted a major criminal deal with a rich Chinese crime lord played by CHIN HAN.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this action-filled drama that's rated PG-13. Profanity consists of various minor expletives and a handful of religious phrases, while various colorful phrases are also present. An off-screen sexual encounter is implied (a couple is seen finishing getting dressed after sneaking off at a party) while some cleavage and bikini clad women are briefly seen.

    Violence consists of many people being killed by various means, while a man's face is badly damaged (resulting in a ghastly sight) and all sorts of hard-hitting fighting also occurs. That and various moments of potential peril might be suspenseful and/or unsettling for some viewers, while the action and stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    All sorts of bad attitudes are present, as is tense family material. Various characters drink in various scenes, while a man smokes a cigar in one.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's briefly some of that from press/paparazzi photo-taking. We also see full strobe effects in a club.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, varying amounts of camera movement (sometimes a lot when home video footage is shown) are seen at various points in the film. There's also a spin-around camera shot.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • There's talk of drug busts in the city and we see what's presumably a drug deal (although no drugs are seen).
  • Bruce and Dent have drinks in a restaurant where Rachel and Bruce's date have wine, and others in the restaurant have drinks as well.
  • Bruce holds a drink on his yacht.
  • Some thugs have beer while Maroni and others have wine.
  • People have champagne and other drinks at a reception, including Dent who takes a glass of champagne after Alfred offers him "a little liquid courage." Bruce holds a glass of the same, but tosses the liquid aside once outside. Later, after crashing that reception, The Joker drinks some champagne.
  • The police commissioner pulls out a bottle of alcohol and pours himself some, but when he takes a drink, the poison or acid in it kills the man.
  • Some cops have beer.
  • Miscellaneous people drink on the street.
  • Miscellaneous people hold drinks in a bar.
  • Dent drinks a shot of liquor.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Bruce stitching up a large open dog bite on his arm.
  • As Bruce changes shirts, we see various bruises as well as old scars.
  • Video footage shows a captured man with some blood down from the corner of his mouth.
  • Batman saves Dent, but a nearby explosion partially hits Dent, catching half of his face on fire. When we later see him (in the hospital and elsewhere), half of his face appears normal, while the other half is badly burned and missing chunks of flesh, muscle and more, thus exposing bone, a lot of his eye, and his teeth and jawbone (it's a ghastly sight). We also see a few drops of blood on his pillow, as well as some on the bandages on his face before we see the full view of the damage.
  • A man in a jail cell repeatedly complains about not feeling well and then finally collapses. When guards go to him, they find fresh and bad surgery scars on his abdomen and chest.
  • A bartender states "I gotta take a leak." When a patron thinks he's returned, that man says, "What, you need someone to shake it for you?"
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of the criminals, ranging from The Joker to Maroni and others obviously have bad attitudes for their behavior.
  • The Joker offers to kill Batman for half of Maroni and the other criminals' money.
  • The Joker threatens to kill various people if Batman doesn't reveal his identity.
  • A man who works for Bruce's board tries to blackmail Lucius (and Bruce) saying he'll expose Batman's identity if he (the man) isn't paid millions. Lucius convinces him not to, but the man tries again later.
  • Bruce implements a city-wide surveillance system using cell phone signals (to try to catch The Joker), thus drawing Lucius' protest over the invasion of privacy issue.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Two scenes feature large dogs attacking Batman, leaving a bite wound in his arm in one (those fearful of dogs might find that unsettling).
  • For those with any issue with heights, there's an overhead shot looking down at Batman up on a building's ledge. Batman then jumps off and uses his wings to fly.
  • The Joker grabs and holds a gun on Rachel. He then shoots the window behind them and throws Rachel out that. She slides down part of the angled high-rise roof, with Batman sliding after her. He catches her, but not before both plummet off the edge toward the street many floors below. They crash-land hard on a car below, but are okay.
  • We see that Dent and Rachel are bound in separate rooms, surrounded by oil drums with countdown clocks ticking away. Dent manages to upend himself, with oil then spilling around his mouth and face.
  • Batman saves Dent, but a nearby explosion partially hits Dent, catching half of his face on fire. When we later see him (in the hospital and elsewhere), half of his face appears normal, while the other half is badly burned and missing chunks of flesh, muscle and more, thus exposing bone, a lot of his eye, and his teeth and jawbone (it's a ghastly sight).
  • The Joker puts his handgun in Dent's hands and then pulls that gun to his own forehead, with a coin flip determining The Joker's fate.
  • Residents and officials panic from belief that The Joker has rigged the city's bridges and tunnels with explosives. Accordingly, many board ferries to get out of the city, but two of them lose power. Those on them (cops and inmates on one, regular folks on the other) learn that both are rigged with explosives, and both ships will blow if neither uses a detonator to blow up the other ship and save themselves before the deadline. After discussion and tense moments on both ferries, it seems that a person on both is going to blow up the other, but that doesn't occur.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Shotguns/Machine guns/Missiles/Explosives/Knives: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • S.W.A.T. members carry automatic weapons.
  • Cops standing guard carry shotguns.
  • Bruce uses a huge gun to test fire rounds into concrete (accompanied by big, explosive sounds).
  • Dent fires a warning shot and then aims his gun on one of The Joker's goons.
  • The Joker puts his handgun in Dent's hands and then pulls that gun to his own forehead, with a coin flip determining The Joker's fate.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I'm making a withdrawal," "School's out," "What doesn't kill you only makes you stranger," "I hear you've got a hell of a right cross," "Two-bit whack job," "Freak," "Damn right," "You're crazy," "Let's not blow this out of proportion," "Scum," "Why so serious? Let's put a smile on your face," "Quickest kick in the ass," "A little liquid courage," "You have no idea," "Some men just want to watch the world burn," "What the hell is/was that?" "We got you, you son of a bitch," "Saving my ass," "McBastards," "You complete me," "You're out of your mind," "Jeez," "Blow him half to hell," "I'm an agent of chaos," "I gotta take a leak," "Shut up," "Scumbags" "I think you and I are destined to do this forever" and "Madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little push."
  • All of the fighting, stunts and other action might be enticing for some kids to imitate. The same holds true for The Joker's various mannerisms and other behavior.
  • Several men travel down a zip line from one building to another.
  • Dent often flips a coin to help him make any given choice.
  • The Joker tells Maroni and other criminals he's going to perform a magic trick. After placing a pencil upright on a table, he says he's going to make it disappear. One of the criminal's thugs then goes to remove him, but The Joker grabs the man and slams his head down onto the table and pencil. When he pulls him away, the pencil is gone (as it's stuck in the man's face).
  • We see miscellaneous tattoos.
  • The Joker burns a massive pile of money.
  • Bruce/Batman occasionally drives fast and swerves through traffic, both in the batmobile and later on the bat-bike.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A full-sized Batman figure suddenly slams into a window, hanging by a rope.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous, suspenseful and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 5 hells, 2 asses, 2 damns, 1 S.O.B., 2 uses of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "God," "God-awful," "Oh Jesus," "Oh my God," "Sweet Jesus" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see Bruce shirtless as he changes shirts.
  • Rachel shows varying amounts of cleavage (never a great deal) in various outfits.
  • Bruce's date shows cleavage.
  • We see Bruce with his shirt open and then off on his yacht, while various women are seen in bikinis (some showing cleavage).
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage at a reception.
  • Bruce comes across a couple finishing getting dressed (no nudity) after some apparent sexual encounter at his reception.
  • Bruce gives one passionate kiss to Rachel.
  • Dent gives one passionate kiss to Rachel (in a later scene than above).
  • A bartender states "I gotta take a leak." When a patron thinks he's returned, that man says, "What, you need someone to shake it for you?"
  • SMOKING
  • A criminal smokes a cigar and The Joker takes and uses that to light a huge pile of money on fire.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • The Joker tells the origin story of the scars on his face, saying his father was an abusive drunk, his mother tried to protect him, and his father then took a knife to the younger man's face, asking why he was so serious and adding, "Let's put a smile on that face." However, he later states that he (The Joker) put razor blades in his mouth to match his wife's facial disfigurement, but she didn't accept him that way (so we don't know which, if either, is true).
  • A cop's wife is told he's been killed on duty and she reacts accordingly, while her young son is present for this. Later, the cop shows up alive, saying he had to pull off the act to protect them. The wife slaps and then hugs him.
  • A wounded man becomes deranged in response to The Joker killing his fiancée.
  • Dent (as Two-Face) has Gordon's family (wife and two kids) as his hostages and threatens to kill one of them in front of Gordon, who he hits to the ground. He then takes his son and seems intent on killing him, but shoots Batman, seemingly wounding him. Batman then tackles Two-Face and the boy over an edge, grabbing the boy but letting Two-Face fall (we don't see the impact, but do see his body below).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The fine line between good and evil, and how trying to do the former sometimes leads to crossing over into the latter.
  • Alfred's comment that some people just want to watch the world burn.
  • Bruce implements a city-wide surveillance system using cell phone signals (to try to catch The Joker), thus drawing Lucius' protest over the invasion of privacy issue.
  • The Joker's comment that "Madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little push."
  • The comment that you either die a hero or live long enough to turn into a villain.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A window is blown out as the beginning part of The Joker's plan to rob a bank. Once inside, a warning shot is fired into the air, guns (handguns, machine guns) are aimed at those inside, and several people are pulled over a counter. One robber shoots another in the back, killing him (to lessen the number who will get to share the take), while a hostage is forced to hold a grenade. One robber hits someone on the head, but the bank manager then shoots one robber with a shotgun and repeatedly fires at the others who take covers (and aren't hit). When the manager runs out of shells, one robber shoots him with a machine gun, wounding him. One robber shoots another, and one holds a gun on another, but a school bus backs through the wall and hits that gunman. The last one, The Joker, shoots the other remaining one with a machine gun. Upon leaving, The Joker places an explosive in the wounded bank manager's mouth, with a line attached to the bus that then exits the building and pulls out the explosive's pin. Rather than explode, however, gas escapes from that.
  • Two groups of criminals (one with large attack dogs) meet, but a fake Batman shows up and throws one man aside, followed by shooting a shotgun at them. That results in a gun battle, followed by the armored Batmobile crashing through a wall, while various explosions go off. The real Batman the hits a fake one and bends the barrel of his gun, while also striking others with hard blows. The guard dogs then attack Batman, with him knocking some of them off. As a van tries to escape, Batman jumps onto the side of it, but the van sideswipes a parking lot pillar, smashing Batman into that (he falls off). Seeing it then pass below him, Batman jumps down and lands on that van, crushing the top.
  • A criminal defendant on a court stand pulls a gun on Dent. In response, the latter grabs the gun and punches the man in the face.
  • The Joker tells Maroni and other criminals he's going to perform a magic trick. After placing a pencil upright on a table, he says he's going to make it disappear. One of the criminal's thugs then goes to remove him, but The Joker grabs the man and slams his head down onto the table and pencil. When he pulls him away, the pencil is gone (as it's stuck in the man's face).
  • Some thugs claim to have killed The Joker and bring him in inside a bag, but it's a trick and the men are working for The Joker who sits up and then holds a knife to one man while his thugs aim guns at the criminals. He then apparently cuts that man's face or neck (we don't see the impact), while guns are held on others.
  • Batman flies down and blasts through a window, hitting a thug who he repeatedly strikes and blasts back through a glass wall. Other thugs shoot machine guns at Batman who then hits some/all of them and drags Lau across the floor. As armed guards quickly approach, Batman uses an explosive to blow out a window, lets a balloon of sorts out on a line, and then a huge plane flies overhead, snags that balloon/line and thus pulls him and Lau out of the building and through the city.
  • Video footage shows a captured man with some blood down from the corner of his mouth. We then hear sounds of violence off-camera (caused by The Joker on that man).
  • The police commissioner pulls out a bottle of alcohol and pours himself some, but when he takes a drink, the poison or acid in it kills the man.
  • A judge's car suddenly explodes, killing her.
  • Bruce grabs Dent and stuffs him in a room to protect him from a pending attack.
  • The Joker and his goons crash Bruce's reception, looking for Dent. A warning shot from a shotgun is fired and The Joker acts menacingly toward various guests, including holding his knife to one man's mouth, and then on Rachel. She hits him in the gut, while Bruce hits one of the gunmen. He then shows up as Batman and delivers various hard blows to other goons, but one hits him, followed by The Joker repeatedly kicking him, and trying to get him with a blade that pops out of the front of his shoe. Batman gets up from that, but The Joker grabs and holds a gun on Rachel. He then shoots the window behind them and throws Rachel out that. She slides down part of the angled high-rise roof, with Batman sliding after her. He catches her, but not before both plummet off the edge toward the street many floors below. They crash-land hard on a car below, but are okay.
  • With his gun drawn, Gordon kicks open a door and enters a room where he finds two dead bodies slumped over a table.
  • Bruce finds various people bound, gagged and blindfolded.
  • At a funeral, a 21-gun salute starts, with some cops shooting at Bruce when a window shade suddenly opens in front of him. Some of those doing the salute then open fire on Dent, but Gordon dives and tackles him aside to protect him. We're initially led to believe that Gordon has been hit, but later learn that's not true. Other gunfire continues and at least one person is hit.
  • Batman hits and kicks various goons in a nightclub.
  • When Maroni won't talk, Batman purposefully drops him far enough to injure the criminal's legs (we hear the snapping sound upon impact).
  • The Joker shoots someone dead with a shotgun, but we don't see the impact.
  • A burning fire truck blocks the path of a police caravan. After they divert, a garbage truck smashes into one of the police cars, while a semi smashes into a police van, blasting it into a river or similar body of water. The Joker then fires a machine gun and shotgun against an armored police van carrying Dent (the metal dents from the impact of the bullets). The Joker then fires a rocket launcher that hits a car and explodes, followed by another shot that hits that same car or another and similarly explodes. Batman then drives the armored batmobile under the trash truck, driving it backwards, followed by a missile shot and explosion, and a bad accident that leaves the batmobile badly damaged. Part of it then transforms into the wide-tired bat-bike, with the rest of the batmobile then self-detonating. As the semi continues chasing the van carrying Dent, hooks are fired up into several buildings, snagging a helicopter and causing it to crash, with the wreckage hitting the van. Batman then uses the bat-bike to shoot missiles into vehicles and other things in his path, resulting in various explosions. It then drives through a glass window/door and in and out of an office building, where it then races toward the semi. Rather than shoot or hit it, however, Batman sends various cables beneath it and around street light posts. That results in the semi flipping tail over nose in a bad crash, with The Joker stumbling out and then shooting a miscellaneous car with his machine gun. Batman then races at The Joker, but wipes out, with one of The Joker's goons touching Batman, but it's just his suit that delivers a shock. Gordon then holds a shotgun to The Joker's head while arresting him.
  • Gordon's wife slaps him when she realizes he faked his death (in order to catch The Joker).
  • In a police interrogation room, Batman slams The Joker's head down to the table from behind him. He then punches him, grabs and pulls him over the table, and then slams him back against a wall. He then flips The Joker to the table, and then smashes his head into the two-way mirror, cracking it. He then punches him twice.
  • The Joker holds a knife on a cop, while other cops aim their guns at him.
  • A man in a jail cell repeatedly complains about not feeling well and then finally collapses. When guards go to him, they find fresh and bad surgery scars on his abdomen and chest, followed by the illumination of a ringing cell phone beneath his skin. We then see a massive explosion that presumably kills him and many others.
  • A main character is killed by an explosion.
  • Batman saves Dent, but a nearby explosion partially hits Dent, catching half of his face on fire. When we later see him (in the hospital and elsewhere), half of his face appears normal, while the other half is badly burned and missing chunks of flesh, muscle and more, thus exposing bone, a lot of his eye, and his teeth and jawbone (it's a ghastly sight).
  • A miscellaneous person shoots at another and is tackled.
  • The Joker shoots a cop.
  • Gordon struggles with a bad cop in a police car, with the latter's shotgun going off.
  • Bruce drives his expensive sports car into a truck to prevent it from killing Gordon (resulting in a bad crash).
  • As The Joker walks down a hospital hallway, various explosions go off in rooms behind him. Outside, more explosions occur, followed by massive ones that destroy an entire hospital, causing it to collapse in a heap.
  • Dent (as Two-Face) shoots a bad cop (we don't see the impact).
  • Dent (as Two-Face) holds a gun on Maroni in a car, but shoots the driver instead, thus causing a bad car crash.
  • Dent (as Two-Face) holds a gun on a corrupt female cop, but punches her in the face rather than shoot her dead.
  • Batman knocks down one villain and then hits many more.
  • S.W.A.T. members blast through windows to enter a building under construction where armed gunmen are holding people hostage. Batman learns, however, that the gunmen are actually the hostages and vice-versa, meaning he must then prevent the S.W.A.T. members from shooting the wrong people. He ends up hitting and striking many of them, tying cables around their feet/legs, while some explosions go off. When they finally corner and hold their guns on him, he throws one off the edge, resulting in all of them being pulled off (they dangle and are okay). Attack dogs are then unleashed on Batman, and he knocks one aside, but must contend with two biting at his suit, all as The Joker repeatedly hits him there and then standing, eventually resulting in Batman being pinned under some metal. Batman then fires spikes from his armor that impale The Joker, allowing Batman to throw him over the edge, but then catch and hold him.
  • Dent (as Two-Face) has Gordon's family (wife and two kids) as his hostages and threatens to kill one of them in front of Gordon, who he hits to the ground. He then takes his son and seems intent on killing him, but shoots Batman, seemingly wounding him. Batman then tackles Two-Face and the boy over an edge, grabbing the boy but letting Two-Face fall (we don't see the impact, but do see his body below). Batman then falls and lands hard, but then gets up.
  • Gordon breaks the search light used to signal for Batman.



  • Reviewed July 14, 2008 / Posted July 18, 2008

    Other new reviews available this week include:

    [Before I Go To Sleep] [Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)] [John Wick] [Nightcrawler] [Ouija] [23 Blast]

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