Living up to its hype, Nolan delivers a dark knight that's the closest so far to Frank Miller's 1980s re-imagining of the caped crusader. It also incorporates elements of more recent noir style Batman graphic novels such as the Long Halloween and Dark Victory, with their mixing together of super-villains and mafia gangsters. Nolan's Batman is darker than Burton's 1989 version and lives in a very real looking Gotham City, a far cry from the fantastic art deco monstrosities of the earlier film. Adding to its realism is Nolan's restraint with the use of special effects, with those included merging very nicely with live action shots. The opening shots of a group of masked men robbing a bank was closer to a Scorsese film or Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon than a superhero blockbuster. Heath Ledger's Joker is a true psychopath and agent of chaos, his performance creating a very believable and scary master criminal. Aaron Eckhardt plays against type as the crusading Harvey Dent aka Two Face. Gary Oldham as Jim Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred, and Maggie Gyllenhall as Rachel Dawes all put in solid performances. The Joker's musings about the hypocrisy of the general populace about hero worship is only partly refuted by events in the film - there is a difference between masked vigilantes and vicious criminals, but it's not as clear as the typical teenage comic-book fan might think. My only complaint was that the fight sequences in the last half hour or so of the film were so darkly lit, frantic, and jumbled together that it wasn't always possible to figure out what was going on. Just when I thought Iron Man was the best superhero film!