The violence is too realistic (though not terribly graphic) to qualify as cartoony escapism, yet the movie lacks the sophistication, vision or satirical edge to lay claim to any higher purpose. It's merely dark for dark's sake.
What the live action Batman films should be and could be if the Warner Brother execs could pull their heads out long enough to realize it. Frankly, the live action Bat-films are embarassing compared to this and the other animated films.
It has style to spare. And for any kid at heart whose breath catches at the sight of a caped figure swooping across the sky, it has moments when your lungs will be stopped by a Dark Knight to dream on.