Thereís a good reason the new Batman movie is called The Dark Knight, and no, I donít just mean because in the comic book world, heís been referred to as such for a long time. No, I mean because this movie is DARK!

Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman all reprise their roles from BATMAN BEGINS, joining director Christopher Nolan, who this time co-wrote the film with his brother, Jonathan. This is a dark, unpleasant film, a million miles away from the camp that Begins had already distanced itself away from nicely. This movie doesnít even feel like a comic book movie. Itís crime noir disguised nicely as a big summer blockbuster.

Christian Bale is once again excellent, especially out of the cowl. (I still donít like the ďdeath-metalĒ voice he affects when in costume.) I have to say though, while Bruce Wayne is obviously pivotal to the movie, he runs the risk of being lost in the film.
Aaron Eckhart shines as Harvey Dent, the gung-ho district attorney who so earnestly wants to rid Gotham City of itís dangerous criminals. Eckhart does a great job throughout the film, as his character grows and develops. He also has a great chemistry with Maggie Gyllenhaal, who takes over the role of Rachel Dawes first played by Katie Holmes. Iím not sure why the cast change occurred, but Mz Gyllenhaal is an excellent actress and did a great job.
Gary Oldman is very solid as Jim Gordon, and this movie gave him a little more to work with. Iíve complained before that Oldman can be over the top or cartoony, but here heís very reserved and rather authoritative, and fits the classic character of Gordon perfectly.

Of course everybody knows what happened to the late Heath Ledger, and there is all kinds of buzz about how he handled the role of the psychotic Joker. Well, I have to say, the tragedy that became of Ledgerís life really left a bad taste in my mouth, and right up until the movie started, I was almost dreading it. Seriously. Coupling the fact that Nolanís Batman is set in a much more real life setting, meaning this Joker was a scarred man in make-up and not a man who was impossibly bleached, dyed and dramatically transformed, with the knowledge of Ledgerís untimely demise, I believed the Joker would almost be a distraction to me. Let me emphatically assure you that after a minute on screen, those negative vibes went far, far away. Ledgerís take is so very dark, so very disturbingÖit really is incredibly compelling. Itís a role that will not soon be forgotten, and a role that will forever change how actors approach ďthe super-villainĒ in future movies.

I have to give praise to Christopher and Jonathan Nolan for once again taking the often laughed at comic book universe and hammering it right into the real world. No, most of the stuff seen in this movie is not realistic per se, but the most impressive and memorable scenes and dialogue are.
Yes, I have some complaints, but I wonít even mention them because this movie really is as good as it can get, or at least just about.