It is, I retroactively declare, a good weekend I think for seeing a new movie premiere. After spending a couple of hours around a pizza and an airing of Batman Begins, we rushed off to the theater for a Friday night showing. I’ve spent some time thinking about what I could possibly say about The Dark Knight in the subsequent 48 hours, and I honestly don’t have much better of an idea right now than I did walking out of the theater.
First of all, there’s the story route, but I refuse to do more than thumbnail it, because there are massive spoilers both for fantastic individual scenes and for the highly detailed and brilliantly executed plot. Anyway, a little time has passed and Batman hovers in a precarious middle ground between hated vigilante and police-sponsored hero. Gotham is gradually coming out of its dark age, and district attorney Harvey Dent’s hardline stance against the crumbling mob families is the best evidence of this fact. But there’s a bank-robbing clown who calls himself the Joker who has other ideas on that topic; and he has a plan.
All of which is stage-setting that’s clear within the first 15 minutes or so. If anyone wants to tell you more than that, don’t let them. Although Batman Begins was a lot more of a traditionally mythological hero’s journey, it had nowhere near the psychological depth of The Dark Knight. Christian Bale understands Bruce Wayne in a way that nobody but Michael Keaton has ever come close to, and Heath Ledger’s death was nothing short of a fucking tragedy for movie-goers everywhere, even if his portrayal of the Joker would have been the pinnacle of his talent. I would not have ever guessed I’d say someone surpassed Nicholson, but the writing was probably as much to blame as the acting. They really were two different characters, and the current one the darker and more insane by far.
My point being, with two such powerful leads, an equally strong supporting cast, and additional psychological elements from legal crusader Dent and returning ADA Rachel, Bruce’s love interest and Dent’s current girlfriend… with all of that going for it, there is a lot of room to play in and with a lot of interesting characters’ psyches. And this occurs in spades, to the point where it might be fair to describe the ride as an emotional wringer. But it is also the best movie I’ve seen all year, easily. Juno and Iron Man come close, each in their own ways, but this hit all my buttons just right.
In summary: wow. Now go see it. (Yes, again. I know I would have tonight, if I hadn’t been at work instead.)
 Well. Zombie Strippers. But otherwise.