This film gripped me for 2.5 hours and did not let go. With so little gore, it did so much, and it did it in the classic way. Heath Ledger delivered an extraordinary role as Batman's arch-nemesis. The Joker is a misnomer. Mr. Terror is a better name.
The 2nd act, I feel, is simply to get the Joker. With that simple goal comes a world of trouble. Heath's Joker embodied chaos. When they say "armed and dangerous" to describe suspects on the loose, those words don't do the Joker justice.
~*~*~UPDATE Late July 19th: I went to see this again tonight . . . my friend's right. 2nd act isn't about the Joker. It's about the money. Meaning, they're trying to go after evidence to nab all of the rest of Gotham's major crooks.~*~*~
Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman was another outstanding role in a series of great roles. In this case, he's a solid continuation from Batman Begins . . . brooding, droll, tough, committed, just dark enough to fascinate.
Maggie Gyllenhaal did a great job picking up the Rachel Dawes character from Katie Holmes. Rachel still loves Batman, but she has a relationship with Gotham's star-studded district attorney, Richard Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Dent is Gotham's knight in shining armor.
Dent is something Batman can never be . . . a hero to the city. Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Batman know this, so they position Dent as the crime-fighting identity that the good citizens of Gotham can latch their hopes. He goes after the bad guys in the courts, and he's superb at putting the finishing touches on their captured foes.
However, as much good that Batman, Dent, or Gordon do, they only manage to tame the fire of criminal activity. That fire remains stoked. The ill-doers left are rather potent, desperate, and unforgiving. They're tough hombres, that is, until The Joker emerges, and that's where the story begins.
If you can't get an IMAX ticket, I don't think that's a major problem. They did a lot of IMAX stuff, but it's basically just panoramas of a building here or a cityscape there. Just don't go see this in an old dilapidated theatre with tinny sound. This is one of those action/adventure films that needs surround-sound for full effect.
I have an inconsequential question to those who see the film. Why does Gotham's Mayor (Nestor Carbonell) wear eyeliner? Am I the only one who thinks he looks like he's wearing eyeliner?
~*~*~2nd UPDATE Late July 19th: Carbonell's eyes are getting random strangers to comment on the same thing. Some person in earshot said, "Eyeliner? Why's he wearing it? Emo?"~*~*~
If I write anything more for this film, I will probably resort to spoilers. Consider comments to this post as spoilers. There are so many scenes I loved. This film ruled.
~*~*~UPDATE Early July 20th: Almost all who have watched this film are amazed enough to push Dark Knight into a weekend frenzy. There hasn't been a desire and overwhelming demand for a film, not like this, not for quite some time. Could a comic book film transcend the daft and zany into the realm of cherished art?~*~*~