So, The Dark Knight...
...is pretty fucking awesome then. As an avowed devotee of Christopher Nolan's films, I'm kind of ashamed not to have seen it in the cinema, but I picked it up as soon as it came out on DVD this week.
I'll confess, to start with I was a little underwhelmed with Heath Ledger's Joker. It was nicely done and all, but I wasn't really feeling it. But as it all snowballed together in true Nolan style, I ended up agreeing with Michael Caine when he said (with a dash more hyperbole) that this is probably one of the best portrayals of a movie 'villian' that you'll find.
I liked how Nolan/Ledger's Joker was very much superhero comicbook in his motivations and actions, but at the same time pretty grounded and believable. More than that, though, what impressed me was how thoroughly deranged and inspired his deeds were - the kind of things you laugh at gleefully when you see the trick he's pulled, only to stop yourself when you realise how psychotic it actually is.
And, I guess, since I laid into Nolan for his (these days I have to say predictably) over-directed action scenes in Batman Begins, I should also congratulate him here on a considerable recovery - although as with Batman Begins, the chief excitement in The Dark Knight comes from the fast-paced plotting rather than the physical set pieces.