After restoring order to Gotham's streets in Batman Begins, the criminals of old are looking for somewhere to hide their ill-gotten gains. After choosing Lau Security Investments, a new criminal bursts onto the scene. The Joker (Heath Ledger) tells the mobs that the only way to keep their money is to remove the Batman (Christian Bale) which he offers to do for half their money.
As Batman joins forces with district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), The Joker pushes each to their limit as he tries claim the city for his own malevolent reasons.
Sure, Christian Bale returns with his croaky Batman voice and Gary Oldman does what he does best by sliding perfectly into another completely different role that seems like it was made for him. But neither they nor the other impressive stars of Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aaron Eckhart could take away from Ledger's truly awesome performance.
The Dark Knight lives up to its name in how its storyline differs from Batman Begins. It is a film full of bitterness that gradually transforms into rabid anger and, quite simply, never lets up. From beginning to end the film displays a full out war between good and evil with the audience rightly never being allowed to empathise with the Joker for a second.
Meanwhile the negatives of all of the other characters are extracted adding to the sense of displeasure which is certainly about the correct tone for the film that is in the middle of a trilogy.
Frankly, the final film can't come soon enough.