I went into The Dark Knight with high expectations and it delivered - for the most part. This is a comic/superhero movie which, unlike the many others in this genre, tries very hard to also be a good movie and a compelling story. Director Christopher Nolan has succeeded in making a very good movie here and in a way he has transcended the genre while perfecting it at the same time.
I won't go into a big plot summary, since you've all already seen it according to box office numbers, but essentially you've got Batman saving people from the Joker and assorted other criminals while wrestling with his purpose and the question of whether he is actually helping Gotham in the long run. I like that Nolan has given the Batman story something more than it's other incarnations by focusing on moral dilemma's and Batman's own lack of innocence.
The Dark Knight works on a lot of levels, the effects are amazing but great effects alone never make a good movie. Dark Knight also gives it's audience fairly good writing which is the last thing I expect in a big budget comic book adaptation.
Everything you've heard about the acting in this movie is true, if a little over hyped. Ledger is incredible as the Joker and Bale turns in another great performance as Batman. For me Aaron Ekhart's performance as Two-Face/Harvey Dent stole the show a bit from the bigger names around him. The supporting cast is good as well and I agree with most that Maggie Gyllenhaal playing Rachel Dawes is an improvement on Katie Holmes. Thankfully though she's not different enough as to distract the audience. Normally using a different actor to play the same character is a huge distraction for me (Fresh Prince of Bel Air anyone?) but it worked here.
As I said, I enjoyed this movie. The hype is overblown for sure, especially when you look at it's IMDB rating, but it's still the best blockbuster to hit theatres in a long time. I still think Batman Begins is the superior of the two but I'm a sucker for origin stories. I'm definitely hoping Nolan doesn't stop with Dark Knight and continues to redeem the Batman franchise from the horrific Warner Bros versions.
The Dark Knight is on my 'Watch It' list and I'm giving it a value of $8.