4. The Dark Knight (2008)
If you haven’t heard, or if you’re not completely obsessed with the film award season like I am (as well as a couple of my movie-freak friends), then you may not know that the Oscar category for Best Picture has been expanded to 10 films (formerly 5) for the 2010 awards. First off, let me just say that I’m not even sure there were 5 movies in 2009 that are quality BP nominees, let alone 10. Let me also say, that if James Cameron wins Best Director again for Avatar, then I might seriously quit watching movies. But I will save my whining about this for a Mega-Oscar Preview before the awards in March. Where was I? Oh yeah, so in 2008 there were 4 movies that were favorites to be BP nominees: Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The final spot was up for grabs, and there were two critical darlings that had an outside chance at claiming it, since no other prototypical Oscar movies seemed good enough (although I would argue The Wrestler should have been considered); and those two were Wall-E, and The Dark Knight. So when the Oscar nominations were released, and we all found out that The Reader had claimed the fifth spot, the nerd-community just about exploded.
The outrage over The Dark Knight (and Wall-E) not being given a nomination was so immense that it pushed the Academy to make the decision to expand the BP category (nominating the films that were actually good enough would have been fine, but of course they had to take the difficult route). So, I’m forever dubbing The Dark Knight “The Oscar Conundrum.” The reason I write all of this before going into my discussion of why I personally have it #4 for the decade is to point out what an impact it had on the movie business in general. For the Academy to throw out 70-something years of tradition, they must have gotten completely trashed by people displeased with their choices last year.
Aren’t you glad you got that little history lesson? Now, I will lay out why it’s #4, and leave it at that. (Warning!! Extreme use of hyperbole follows!!)
1. Directed by “Neo” (see #5, Memento). When it’s all said and done, Neo has a good chance of being as successful (both artistically and financially) as any American director ever, and I don’t care if you think I’m up my butt with that statement. Every one of his movies is as deep as it is entertaining.
2. Unequivocally the best superhero movie ever.
3. Will stand the test of time—and even be more well thought-of in the future, a la Citizen Kane (no, I’m not comparing Knight to Citizen Kane). When people look back on the 00’s, this is one of the first movies people will think of. Mark my words.
4. Perhaps better so than any other film of the 2000’s, captures the feel of post 9/11 fear in America in a poignant way.
5. Some of the most powerful, moving dialogue of any film in the 2000’s.
6. Heath *bleep*ing Ledger. Enough said.
-Oh, and while we’re at it, my top-5 personal favorite superhero movies of the decade:
1. The Dark Knight
2. The Incredibles
3. Spiderman 2
4. Batman Begins
5. Tie: Iron Man/X-Men
857. Spiderman 3