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In "Batman Begins," Christopher Nolan managed to do what few directors could do -- create a dark, gritty atmosphere around an all-too-human Batman, who fights for the oppressed with quiet intensity.

That moody murk is only intensified in the breathtaking, harrowing "Dark Knight," which fills itself with blasts of action, psychological twists and a shocking tragedy. Nolan pulls no punches for our dark knight or his ever-endangered Gotham City, but brilliant acting of the hero and villains is what truly elevates the second of Nolan's Batman movies to a work of cinematic art.

Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) is continuing to fight the good fight for Gotham, even when he gets hurt in a fight against Scarecrow and some Batman impersonators.

So unsurprisingly, he's is feeling fairly in his crimefighting abilities, especially since the new DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is a morally-upright good-guy. But Batman isn't prepared for the Joker (Heath Ledger) a mad clownish psychopath who has hired himself out to the mob to destroy their worst enemy, the Dark Knight. He starts blackmailing Batman by killing Gotham citizens, and saying he won't stop until Batman turns himself in.

But even when captured, the Joker has an ace up his sleep -- Dent and Rachel Dawes' (Maggie Gyllenhaal) lives. And after a devastating loss, Batman finds himself dealing with the Joker taking all of Gotham hostage, and the maddened and disfigured Dent bringing vigilante justice to all those whom he thinks have wronged him. Only Batman has a chance of stopping even one of them -- let alone both -- but doing so may tarnish the Dark Knight forever.

Most directors would have given this movie a distinctly comic-book, slick pop-culture feel. But no matter how hard you search, there's not a single hint in "The Dark Knight" that anything kitschy or campy came before it, or that it was originally a comic book. Instead Christopher Nolan creates a movie as dark, tightly-wound and intense as Batman himself.

And Nolan's skills are even more polished this time around -- lots of kinetic action, vicious dogs and car chases, including the rather silly-looking Batpod and the tanklike Batmobile. The dialogue is drizzled with dry humor ("That isn't exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to inspire people"," Batman says, looking at a bunch of impersonators), mostly to temper the overhanging sense of horror and apprehension.

This is especially true whenever the Joker's corrosive presence is onscreen, since he's all too happy to stick pointy objects in people -- he's creepier than a thousand boogeymen. And Nolan is not afraid to further darken the storyline by inflicting yet another personal tragedy on Batman. His direction is painfully delicate as he explores Wayne's sorrow and guilt.

But the most striking aspect of "The Dark Knight" is Nolan's delvings into morality -- The Joker has none and Dent's becomes horribly perverted, but we're reminded that there are some who will not be corrupted even if they lose what is most precious. It's almost a doom'n'gloom movie, but the faint hints of optimism and hope keep it from being TOO overwhelmingly dark.

Christian Bale is simply perfection as Bruce Wayne/Batman, using his handsomely chiseled face and piercing eyes to best advantage -- even in the most tragic scenes, where you can practically see Wayne's soul bleeding. And he has a difficult character to wrangle with -- not only does he have to expose Batman's pain and struggles, but also his inner incorruptibility.

On the flipside, the late Heath Ledger is blindingly brilliant as the sadistic, creepy, gleefully malign Joker, and he chews the scenery as few actors could. He's pretty spine-chilling, actually -- the Joker is a true "agent of chaos," whose intent is to seize Gotham, and corrupt Batman's soul along the way. There's also a solid (and underrated) supporting cast -- Eckhart is outstanding as an upstanding DA whose morality becomes horribly perverted (along with his handsome face), Gyllenhaal has a solid role that she plays well, and Michael Caine is a quiet, steady flame as the ever-faithful, dryly sardonic Alfred.

The two-disc special edition isn't quite as special as I had hoped (deleted scenes?), but it has a serviceable bunch of extras anyway, including a digital copy of the selfsame movie, galleries for pictures, IMAX renderings of certain scenes, a bunch of mocked-up news programs from "Gotham Tonight" and a documentary about the making of the film. I smell double-dipping in this movie's future, especially since the blu-ray is reportedly far better endowed with extras.

"The Dark Knight" is suffused with darkness and some truly ghastly villains, but the magnificent acting and dryly witty script are what really make this a masterpiece. Utterly astounding -- and promises better yet to come.
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on December 12, 2008
My word... this film really does deliver. The action is intense, the settings are dark and gloomy, the cinematics are fast and slick... but when push comes to shove, the shove that brings this film over the top is characterization.

Christian Bale delivers another solid performance, as does the seemingly eternal Michael Caine. Aaron Eckhart is perfectly cast as Two-Face, with earnest Mr. Smith Goes To Washington written all over him until things turn sour. Maggie Gyllenhaal strikes the right combination of romantic and remote, Gary Oldman plays a haunted Commissioner Gordon... and then there's Heath Ledger.

Forget all the hype and the inevitable backlash to the hype. Heath Ledger is the best Joker the screen has ever seen. I'm going to go ahead and call him the best Joker, film or page, of all time. He owns the role. His performance takes the entire film a level beyond. Yes, I am most fulsome in my praise. But he is that good.

Well worth the viewing.
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on January 17, 2010
Simply a tour de force. There is nothing I would want in an action movie that is not here in spades. GREAT soundtrack and visuals, amazing performance by Ledger. This movie makes you think afterwards.
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on February 11, 2009
Shipping time was excellent 4 days to Alberta. Batpod is too cool as it sits on top of Entertainment Unit, and Blu-ray Discs rock the room. I would totally recommend it to any Bat Enthusiest.
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on August 19, 2012
Not only does Heath Ledger give the most memorable Joker performance yet, it was one of his last. Christian Bale Reprises his role has batman in this sequel to Batman begins. With Gotham having its streets cleaned up by batman, things are finally starting to look up. Of course with superheros, comes super villians. Batman backs gothams crimelords into a corner and they turn to a man they don't fully understand.

This movie is not only and amazing Comic book hero movie. Its a great movie for all audiences. And a must see on Blu Ray.
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on July 20, 2012
This is The Dark Knight, you HAVE to see it in its digitally enhanced sequence. The colors are more vibrant, the action is more real. It's just phenomenal, truly.
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on September 17, 2013
Simply put, the greatest superhero movie of all time (and I could be very well talking about the distant future here too). If I could have given it 6 out of 5 I would have. Heath Ledger won the Oscar because he's passed away, but he would have deserved it anyway. Whenever the greatest screen villains of all time are discussed, he will always be counted at the top of this list. When it was over, I wanted them to start playing it again immediately. Two and a half hours went by in the blink of an eye.
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on January 10, 2011
The Dark Night is definitely worth getting o Blu-ray, and is highly entertaining on all levels. Chris Nolan's work and ideas are impressive, and thus he gets positive results from those who work with him. The special features are also great on this 2 disc set, and now I guess I'll have to get Batman Begins soon too. I've seen it, but I am sure it's much better on Blu-ray as well!
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on February 8, 2010 took forever to ship, but once it went out the door, it reached me pretty quickly.

The Dark Knight has one of the best picture quality I have seen on the Blu Ray format. This version switches between the IMAX view (full screen) and letterbox view(bars on top and bottom) throughout the show. The best part is - you can't switch it off. Some people are bothered by this feature, but I think it works fine for me. Overall, great purchase but I wish would ship faster next time.
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on December 11, 2008
The greatest movie of the year finally makes it's debut on bluray. And it's definitely living up to the hype.

I've seen this movie in theatres, it was freakin' amazing. The storyline is at the mind games level for you "intellectuals", and at amazing IMAX bluray full 1920x1080 5.l truehd batman battles for you eye candy holics. One of the best looking bluray's I own, if not the best. I won't mention anything about the storyline, everyone knows it was amazing anyways. :)
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