If you’re gonna see The Dark Knight here’s some advice: Don’t bring the kids. This ain’t no cartoon. I don’t how in the hell it got a PG-13 rating. The shit gave me nightmares and I ain’t no kid. Secondly, see it on the IMAX. The aerial scenes and fight scenes are crazy. While the story line is a little convoluted, the action and characters make you forget about it.

Director Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins is the opposite of Joel Schumaker’s Batman and Robin, which was a like a Broadway musical without the music. The movie is also nothing like its predecessor which spent way too much time developing Batman and not enough time showcasing him. The Dark Knight is a grimly realistic modern portrait of Gotham’s great hero. The movie deals with issues like police corruption, money laundering, terrorism and vigilante morality. Nolan, who wrote and directed Memento, offers a way more complex take on good and evil than any previous superhero movie.

Much has been made about Heath Ledger’s final performance as The Joker. I’ve heard things like he’s better than Hannibal Lecter or Jack Nicholson version of the same character. Neither of these are true, Ledger does not possess the dark intellectual intensity of Anthony Hopkins’ Lector or the psychotic sarcasm and cutting catchphrases of Nicholson’s Joker. But what Ledger lacks in personality, he makes up in visual appearance. The tattered make up, yellow teeth and matted green hair make him a much more realistic psycho than Nicholson. Unlike Burton’s Batman, there is no back story on The Joker and he is defined by his manic desire for chaos and utter lack of morality.

The Batsuit, Batmobile and all the other Batgadgets all are very realistic and could conceivably be used in the real world, unlike previous imaginary cartoonish gadgets used by previous Batmen. The action scenes are also intense and realistic.

Christian Bale plays Batman as the same stoic, arrogant and disturbed asshole that he used for American Psycho. Neither Bruce Wayne nor Batman are particularly likeable — Wayne has no love interest or humane factors other than the desire to rid the city of crime. Batman and Wayne are both defined by their vigilante morality and dedication to law and order.

Aaron Eckhart does an excellent job as DA Harvey Dent. His descent into evil makes for an excellent case study on the philosophy of good vs. evil. He plays the goody to shoes role convincingly which makes it all the better when he turns into (SPOILER ALERT) …Two Face. The CGI affect on his face makes him a much more convincing villain than Tommy Lee Jones previous Two Face.

Overall, the movie does an excellent job of putting a comic book character in the real world. There’s enough action to satisfy the summer movie buffs and the debates over morality, terrorism, surveillance and vigilantism are enough to satisfy anyone with any intellectual curiosity.

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