Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay) David S. Goyer &
Christopher Nolan (Story)
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman & Maggie Gyllenhaal
More high intensity action thriller than superhero flick, Christopher Nolan turns what could've been a schmaltzy morality play of good and evil into a deep study of action and consequence and their interplay between order and chaos.
What can be said about Heath Ledger that already hasn't? He wasn't a guy playing the Joker. He WAS the Joker. He was terrifying, brilliant, hilarious and completely revolting at the same time. He stole the show.
Aaron Eckhart, as District Attorney Harvey Dent was equally marvelous. His transformation from the stalwart, "White Knight of Gotham" into... well you probably already know who, was tragic and at times had me mesmerized.
The rest of the supporting cast, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and newcomer Maggie Gyllenhaal handle their moments in the spotlight quite nicely. Oldman's Jim Gordan almost had me leaping out of my seat when he pulled his "just as planned" magnificent bastard maneuver midway through the film. Freeman's Lucious Fox is as smooth as silk as Batman's version of James Bond's "Q". Gyllenhaal, replacing Katie Holmes as the perennial damsel in distress Rachel Dawes, makes her interpretation of the character believable as the woman that Bruce Wayne wishes he could spend the rest of his life with.
Last but not least, Christian Bale remained incredible as his portrayal of the caped crusader. His portrayal of Batman is intimidating and fearful, while his public Bruce Wayne was a lovably aloof jerkass. The true Bruce Wayne though, the one at home with Alfred is haunted and somewhat unsure of himself. Compared to Batman Begins, His struggle is no longer one of searching for personal justice and revenge, but whether he can continue that fight as a vigilante while men like Harvey Dent and Jim Gordan fight within the borders of the law and succeed. Bale nails all of the roles admirably.
Also check out cameos from Prison Break's William Thatcher and a reprisal of Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow, from the previous movie.
The revelation in the finale that Batman can continue the fight for justice in a city where his greatest ally is binded from helping him just to protect the reputation of the DA who was driven to ruin by a amoral terrorist gives him bigger brass ones than most in the genre.
So yeah, easily the best action movie of the year and one of the best sequels ever made.
5 out of 5 Stars