I can't really express the excitement the movie induced into me, mainly due to Heath Ledger's The Joker, a great contender for the best ever villainous character in movie history. This character is the centerpiece of the whole movie, and actually makes everybody else pretty uninteresting, including the Dark Knight himself. What makes the character so interesting is beyond just the acting, but also its unusual philosophical leanings, personality (no fear for death whatsoever), genius-level smarts (extremely elaborate and effective plans), all of which makes the material feel real fresh and making this character thoroughly developed. The character is also fearsome, funny, and seriously cunning.
I can't say there's anything outstanding about the visual effects (the Batman series never impressed in this front) and the chase sequences don't rock so hard (EG the Knight's super-sized motorbike could have done with greater speed to enhance the feeling of adrenaline, but instead felt like it was slouching around at 60km/h). The single greatest visual effect however is Two-Face's ugly side. Though nothing groundbreaking, it's somewhat a first, combining a live face with some very realistic effects. An early bank robbery scene is pure fun and much of the action is so sophisticated and complex that it's hard to keep track of what happens. It's the movie's best.
It's great length (over 150 minutes) allows room for some shit to creep in (Two-Face shouldn't have been afforded a sub-plot) but it's so amazing elsewhere that it's easily the best ever comic book adaptation (replacing Batman Begins and Iron Man).
By the way, I'm pretty glad that the Knight's romantic interest has been recast cuz' the previous actress was the weakest point in the magnificent Batman Begins.
A second look at The Dark Knight wasn't favorable, all but:
- Heath Ledger's The Joker, the year's performance
- the bank robbery in an early scene
Not even the action saves the movie, which was mostly wasted cash since it ain't really good. And the last scene really is unbearable. And who gives a shit about the cheap philosophical blah I so previously cherished.
So, no, this isn't the best ever comic book adaptation.