The Dark Knight does not disappoint. Sure, there are gadgets galore in this one-you've seen a few of them in the trailer, like the Batpod and the new Batsuit-but you're going to be focusing your eyes on two things: The Joker and Harvey Dent. This film is dark, it's gritty, it's arguably more realistic than even the first movie. In short, it's everything you'd expect the sequel to be. And more.
(I'm going to try and get through this review without spoilers.)
First off, the gadgets. The Batmobile is back, and so is Batman's upgraded fighting suit. He's not residing in Wayne Manor anymore after the events of the Batman Begins, so he has to make do with hiding his Bat-gear inside Wayne Towers and various locales around the city. Batman makes do. He's a hero in exile, a thread that continues through to the end of the movie and on to the next.
There's a very good minor plot device that centers around cellphones that would be pretty damn awesome if it we could get our hands on it in real life. Who knows...maybe the government's already using it now. Plus there's are great scenes in the air, both with a plane and "without". He's really earning that "Bat" part of his name.
As good as Christian Bale is as Bats, the real stars of THIS movie are the Joker and Harvey Dent. If there is ever a character that is the complete opposite of the Dark Detective-cold, calculating, and completely logical-it's the Joker. He's simultaneously insane and extremely insane, taking apart bit by bit the fragile peace that Batman has strived to build since the first movie. There is so little logic to the joker that he's probably the one person whose moves Batman can't predict.
What's great about this movie isn't just the writing and the special effects (though they both are still stellar), it's that everything FEELS exactly like you'd imagine Batman and his villains to be in real life. There's even traces of realistic crime flicks like Heat going on throughout, which lends more to making guys as ludicrous on paper as Batman and the Joker believable. How would you portray a man whose sole intent, as Alfred says, is to watch the world burn? This is how. Gone is affable clownish uncle figure that Jack Nicholson played in the 1989 Batman, and in his place is a character that if you saw on the street, you should run away from as fast as you fucking can. Us gadget fans relate more towards with Batman's logic than Joker's lunacy, which is why he's going to be the best villain you'll ever seen in a superhero flick.
See this movie. Go buy this ticket right now and print it out at your office. We didn't get to see it in IMAX, but a good 20 minutes of the film was shot in the format, so we're definitely going to go back and catch it again. In fact, we've been trying to wrap our heads around all the different themes and nuances that Chris Nolan crammed in; ideas that are even more subtle than they were in the first. A second viewing would do us good.
(You'll notice we didn't mention much about Harvey Dent/Two Face in this review. We'll leave that bit of plot for you to discover yourselves.)