Well just saw The Dark Knight (stupid late release in New Zealand!), and it was simply awesome! Definitely in the best superhero movies of all time, and my favourite movie of this year (though Kung Fu Panda put up a fight against both this and Iron Man).
First off I'll say Heath Ledger's Joker is indeed the awesome, and is everything I could want in a non-Mark Hamil Joker (the Bruce Timm cartoons still being my favourite super hero thing ever. better than the comics and any movies... though this movie nearly does it in parts!). Even if not for Ledgers death I'm sure his take on part would be getting a lot of praise... Just maybe not the over the top oscar talk it has been getting.
This emphasises the only problem with the movie. It has been over hyped. ALOT!
Yet unlike the Star Wars prequels it didn't leave a bad taste though, and in fact had me really into it for the most part. It just wasn't a surprise like Batman Begins was.
So if you haven't seen Dark Knight don't go in expecting the greatest movie ever when you do. It has flaws. Batman Begins was a much better product overall, and could be argued as being better than its sequel due to this. However when The Dark Knight was hitting its stride it was way cooler and more fun!
What I enjoyed the most is that unlike most Superhero movies that start strong and than kind of putter out towards the end, The Dark Knight started weak and got better all the way to the end. I LOVE where the third movie is heading... Though I will admit using just Batman mythos characters I'm not sure who the bad guys will be (in a way. I have my suspicions but that'll have to wait).
Rather than give a bunch of spoilers or ramble about stuff I'm sure is being talked about everywhere, I wanted to say my favourite part was not actually the Joker. Which is "funny" (pun intended) as he is my favourite comic book villain, and Ledger's version is great. Given all the hoopla going on everywhere else I wanted to emphasis the other thing that worked in this film, and that was...
The Dark Knight himself!
In Batman Begins we got a very select sampling of the character of Batman. For the Dark Knight they pulled out all the stops and give us tons of the classic essential moments in live action.
There's the night club confrontation, jumping on a moving car, using normal materials around him to turn an impossible situation around, and many more I won't spoil. When you watch it though pay attention to how every time Batman appears in this movie he is covering a lot more of the classic Batman spread than the first film.
I'm sure one of the most underrated scenes by most people is the detective work that he does early in the film. Something I felt was sorely lacking in the first film.
Perhaps the only aspect they didn't do enough of was gadgetry. My buddy I went with didn't like how he didn't adapt to a few things despite hitting them ALOT through the movie. Also the one big gizmo towards the end, though cool, was kinda a let down). I add I hated how *spoiler* he didn't use a SINGLE batrang in the whole film BOO! I love those things!
At the same time in the first movie it was a VERY gadgety Batman, and it was cool to see in this film him not having to rely entirely on high tech stuff to be a hero.
So yeah definitely go see the Dark Knight, and pay attention to all the cool Batman moments in addition to the Ledger stuff you've no doubt being hearing about non stop. Just remember it isn't perfect!