The Joker (Heath Ledger) robs a bank that launders money to organized crime, earning the enmity of Boss Maroni (Eric Roberts). Organized crime has had a tough time on the streets due to the effectiveness of the Batman, who keeps performing citizen's arrests upon the bad guys. It is up to Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to keep the criminals in prison. Ironically Harvey is dating Bruce Wayne's old girlfriend, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, a woman who could not take the stress of having the Batman as a boyfriend.
Regardless of one's favorite movie genre, whether it is a western or a courtroom thriller, "The Dark Knight" unfolds as a good epic and the film will appeal to people who enjoy good old fashioned drama. The film is humorous and the action, especially a chase inside the tunnels of Gotham City, is thrilling. "The Dark Knight" is a character motivated movie that weaves multiple stories within a satisfying two and one half hours.
Warner Brothers needs to be commended for marketing "The Dark Knight" without exploiting the tragedy of Health Ledger's death in January. The Joker will always be a showy and hammy role. Ledger has created the most dangerous Joker in motion picture history. Heath Ledger's Joker is no longer a dainty clown who steals the tarts, he is a greasy sociopath-psychopath who is a disciple of the devil. In contrast, Aaron Eckhardt's subtle performance makes Harvey Dent a realistic and tragic hero.
Christian Bale has the burden of revealing the complexity of Bruce Wayne/the Batman. Bale's physical performance is a stoic rock of Gibraltar, yet there are little details of an askew glance that reveals the pain of a man who has pushed himself beyond his limits.
"The Dark Knight" is an ethical study as to what it means to be a hero. At the beginning of the movie, the Batman inspires copycat vigilantes to combat crime in the streets. As the violence becomes more personal and painful, the infatuation of public heroism fades, like the contrast between President Bush's opinion pools from 2001 to 2006. "The Dark Knight" reveals the inner heroism that one must make a responsible choice, even when the choice might not be the most popular one.
"The Dark Knight" is not for the kiddies. The action scenes are enhanced on the big screen, see "The Dark Knight" at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX theatre. Some of the aerial shots of Gotham City (actually Chicago) are breath taking. The IMAX six story screen and sound system adds an extra dimension to this very special "Dark Knight."