A superb epic crime film that not only elevates the comic book genre into Oscar worthy territory, but surpasses all of the hype surrounding it by miles. 'Nuff said.
Just kidding. I have more to say. Like how this one immediately shows that Nolan learned from the previous film and fixed the action scene editing, making it a lot easier to tell what's going on. Good job. Also, the stakes are definitely raised here, and the theme of escalation is definitely on display. Yes, like the previous one, there's flaws, such as a bit too much of the heavy handed dialogue sequences (though I don't totally hate the philosophizing), and there's some plot holes and it really asks you to take some big leaps of faith with suspension of disbelief, which is hard to do when you're superhero comic film is trying to take a more realistic approach. You can't have it both ways, but they manage to straddle the line better than most.
Now, onto the great stuff. The acting. I really don't need to comment muchc here. Ledger won the Oscar, and yeah, it was a lamndmark performance. I think the media overblew it, and maybe he wasn't *quite* as deserving, but I don't think that giving him the Oscar was a mistake either. He took what Nicholson did, built on the darker aspects of it, and delivered one of the best incarnations of one of the greatest fictional characters either. That ain't an easy thing to do. Bale is still strong as Bruce/Batman, but that voice he uses is still a little off-putting. It doesn't bother me as much as it bothers others though. Gyllenhaal is better than Holmes, but I still think they underused her. Eckhart is great as Harvey Dent, but looking back, I'm slightly underwhelmed and disappointed with how they treated him. They did good (better than Schumacher) but I really feel they rushed it with the ending. In fact, the entire climax feels that way, but especially so given how things played out in reality. I realized Ledger finished things before his death, and they didn't reshoot anything, but still, knowing that he wouldn't be coming back retroactively dampens the impact of the ending.
All this griping aside, this is a wonderful film. Even with the flaws it's basically perfect, and by that I mean it really delivers on all sides to all types of viewers. It'll please the fanboys and girls, the intellectuals, casual viewers, those who love gritty crime dramas, and those who appreciate art films that also work as summer blockbusters. Plus, that music is just...WOW!