3. The Dark Knight (2008)
The 00s will likely be remembered as the decade the superhero movie came of age. Just consider how many comic-book film franchises have flooded cinemas in the last 10 years. “Spiderman” kicked the decade off and launched a new filmmaking powerhouse that is Marvel Studios (so powerful that Disney snapped them up earlier this year for a tidy $4 billion, yes BILLION). “Spiderman” may have earned a spot here if not for the fact that the 3rd Spidey film really was that much of a turnoff (I really dig Tobey Maguire as Spiderman, but if I ever see him dance his way through another musical number on screen, it better be in a new musical by Rob Marshall and not in another Spiderman movie!). But “The Dark Knight” isn’t just a great comic-book film. It’s a great film period. So great that many people believe that the reason the Academy Award for Best Picture will grow to 10 nominations this year is because The Dark Knight was flat-out robbed last year when it didn’t get a Best Picture nomination. The film is a piece of bravura movie-making by writer/director Christopher Nolan, and a fitting allegory for our current troubled times. What truly makes this film mesmerizing from start to finish is the performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ledger justly won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in this film. Years from now when you think of Heath Ledger, the first thing you will likely think of is the Joker. His performance is both funny and terrifying at the same time, a comic book villain for the ages. You would have never thought that someone could erase the image of Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker (from Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman”) from the collective consciousness, but Ledger did it. If that’s’ not a testament to how great Ledger’s Joker was, I don’t know what is. Nolan is rumored to begin working on his third Batman film in 2010. That film sure will have a lot to live up to. I can’t wait to see it.
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