Wow. Seriously, wow. This film is deserving of all the hype it's been getting. It really is one of the best superhero films in years. Brilliantly written and performed, this will be remembered as one of the best comic book films ever made, by far the best Batman movie ever. This film proves that comic book movies can be taken seriously and be recognized not just as giant blockbusters, but as art.
There were so many things that I loved about this film. Like nearly ever Batman film since Tim Burton's first Batman, they decided to put two villains into the story. Typically this makes things a bit too over the top and you fall into the typical corny, rehashed story where the villains turn on each other or something like that. However it works in this film on so many levels. I knew Harvey Dent was going to turn into Two Face, but I wasn't sure when in the story it was going to happen to him, if at all. I was expecting it to happen at the end and lead into the third film. This was so much better than that.
I really enjoyed the Spider-man and the X-Men films, and Iron Man is a welcome member to the family. However those all feel very grounded in a different, more fantastic word. The only thing that removes The Dark Knight from the real world to me is Batman's technology, which could all one day be real. In the first one the Scarecrow's fear toxin is a bit of a stretch, but with this one you don't feel that way.
I was worried that I was going to keep getting taken out of the film by the presence of Heath Ledger. I didn't want to get too distracted when remembering that the guy is dead now. However, I still have trouble looking at the Joker in the movie and understanding it's Ledger behind the greasepaint. His performance is so demented it's not nothing else that he had ever done. This would have opened up so many doors for him. This film serves for him as his swan song.
As far as how they wrote the Joker, they did an excellent job. He's a brilliant character who is so much more psychotic then Jack Nicholson portrayed him in the first Batman film. He is every serial killer and mad man rolled into one. He's more scary than funny, and when he is funny, it's even more scary. The disappearing pencil bit is a perfect example (and one of my favorite parts of the movie I might add!).
Just a couple minor details I didn't like about the film. I'm a big Batman fan and the Joker has always been one of my favorite villains. I think Heath Ledger truly understood the character. However, as sick and twisted as they managed to make him, he wasn't particularly funny. I kept waiting for that one token Joker joke. Nothing too poignant or silly, just a little anecdote to remind viewers, "This guy's f_cking nuts!".
Another thing that bugs me is Christian Bales Batman voice. For those of you that didn't know, Bale is English and suppresses his accent for most American films. When he puts on the cape and cowl, he changes his voice to a whispery thing, probably so people that know Bruce Wayne don't recognize him. However when Bale does this voice it sounds like his trying not to sneeze, and it was very distracting to me.
But those are two minor details in a nearly flawless film.
Do yourself a favor and go see this movie. The Dark Knight is one of the riskiest film I've seen in a while, it is the best movie of the summer if not the year.