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Dark Knight, The
Warner Bros. Pictures

Dark Knight, The reviews
Critic Score
Metascore: 82 Metascore out of 100
User Score  
9.2 out of 10
based on 39 reviews
Read critic reviews
How did we calculate this?
based on 918 votes
Read user comments
Rate this movie

MPAA RATING: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace

Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman

Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as the Joker. (Warner Bros.)

GENRE(S): Action  |  Crime  |  Drama  |  Mystery  |  Suspense/Thriller  
WRITTEN BY: Bob Kane (characters)
David S. Goyer (story)
Christopher Nolan (& story)
Jonathan Nolan
DIRECTED BY: Christopher Nolan  
RELEASE DATE: Theatrical: July 18, 2008 
RUNNING TIME: 152 minutes, Color 

What The Critics Said

All critic scores are converted to a 100-point scale. If a critic does not indicate a score, we assign a score based on the general impression given by the text of the review. Learn more...

Variety Justin Chang
Enthralling...An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some.
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The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt
Bale again brilliantly personifies all the deep traumas and misgivings of Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne. A bit of Hamlet is in this Batman.
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Time Richard Corliss
Beyond dark. It's as black -- and teeming and toxic -- as the mind of the Joker. "Batman Begins," the 2005 film that launched Nolan's series, was a mere five-finger exercise. This is the full symphony.
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ReelViews James Berardinelli
Christopher Nolan has provided movie-goers with the best superhero movie to-date, outclassing previous titles both mediocre and excellent, and giving this franchise its "The Empire Strikes Back."
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Village Voice Scott Foundas
The Dark Knight will give your adrenal glands their desired workout, but it will occupy your mind, too, and even lead it down some dim alleyways where most Hollywood movies fear to tread.
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New York Daily News Joe Neumaier
Twisted, tortured, terrifying - and terrific.
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Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert
"Batman" isn't a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. It creates characters we come to care about. That's because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production.
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Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips
Sensational, grandly sinister and not for the kids, The Dark Knight elevates pulp to a very high level.
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Empire Mark Dinning
Ledger's performance is monumental, but The Dark Knight lives up to it. Nolan cements his position as Hollywood's premier purveyor of blockbuster smarts – and the Batbike is kinda cool, too.
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sean Axmaker
With The Dark Knight, the cinematic superhero spectacle comes closest to becoming modern myth, a pulp tragedy with costumed players and elevated stakes and terrible sacrifices. It's the new gold standard for superhero noir.
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TV Guide Maitland McDonagh
That Ledger stands out in such a powerhouse ensemble is a tribute to his radically unhinged interpretation of a familiar character: The lank hair tinged seaweed green, the darting tongue and faint lisp that call constant attention to the ghastly rictus of his mouth, the nightmarishly smudged make up… taken together, they make previous Jokers feel like, well, jokes.
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USA Today Claudia Puig
When was the last time you saw a blockbuster that was impeccably executed and simultaneously thought-provoking, audacious and unnerving while consistently being fun and entertaining?
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Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman
succeeds as an action film, character study and metaphor for our own terrorism-obsessed time.
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Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan
May be the most hopeless, despairing comic-book movie in memory. It creates a world where being a superhero is at best a double-edged sword and no triumph is likely to be anything but short-lived.
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Slate Dana Stevens
Nolan turns the Manichean morality of comic books--pure good vs. pure evil--into a bleak post-9/11 allegory about how terror (and, make no mistake, Heath Ledger's Joker is a terrorist) breaks down those reassuring moral categories.
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The Onion (A.V. Club) Keith Phipps
The film's capes and cowls suggest one genre, but it's a metropolis-sized tragedy at heart.
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NPR Bob Mondello
The real relationship here is between a Batman in existential crisis and a Joker who'd love to leap with him into the abyss -- tight-a--ed yin and anarchist yang in a fantasy franchise that Nolan has made as riveting for its psychological heft as for the adrenaline rushes it inspires at regular intervals.
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Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer
This comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year.
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Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman
At two hours and 32 minutes, this is almost too much movie, but it has a malicious, careening zest all its own. It's a ride for the gut AND the brain.
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Film Threat Pete Vonder Haar
The Dark Knight may not be a masterpiece, but it easily vaults to the top of any list of "best superhero movies."
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The New York Times Manohla Dargis
Pitched at the divide between art and industry, poetry and entertainment, it goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind.
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Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez
The Dark Knight is dark, all right: It's a luxurious nightmare disguised in a superhero costume, and it's proof that popcorn entertainments don't have to talk down to their audiences in order to satisfy them. The bar for comic-book film adaptations has been permanently raised.
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Rolling Stone Peter Travers
No fair giving away the mysteries of The Dark Knight. It's enough to marvel at the way Nolan -- a world-class filmmaker, be it "Memento," "Insomnia" or "The Prestige" -- brings pop escapism whisper-close to enduring art.
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New York Post Kyle Smith
The highest praise I can give a superhero movie is that it makes me forget about its 10-cent-comic-book soul.
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Portland Oregonian Shawn Levy
Because make no mistake: The Dark Knight is many things, some of them deliriously fun, some of them deeply impressive, and some of them puzzling and frustrating. But most of all it is dark.
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Chicago Reader J.R. Jones
The moral dilemmas are perfectly fused with the amped-up action and outsize characters, but they're impossible to miss: like all of us, the people of Gotham have to protect themselves from evil without falling prey to it.
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Boston Globe Ty Burr
You come away impressed, oppressed, provoked, and beaten down, holding on to Ledger's squirrelly incandescence as a beacon in the darkness.
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Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey
Shakespearean but overlong, The Dark Knight is two hours of heady, involving action that devolves into a mind-numbing 32-minute epilogue.
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The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Liam Lacey
Mixing bravura filmmaking with flat clichés in about equal amounts, The Dark Knight is all about dualism. Appropriately, the movie's half-inspired, half-frustrating.
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San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle
An action blockbuster extravaganza that's sadder than sad and never pretends otherwise.
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Premiere Eric Kohn
Nolan's strong suits are maniacal schemers and moody character-driven intrigue, both of which make The Dark Knight a sleek (if, at close to three hours, somewhat distended) detective story.
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Washington Post Stephen Hunter
You keep waiting for the movie to clarify, to settle down to its archetypal purity: icon of psychotic evil against icon of neurotic good. Music by Wagner in his "Götterdämmerung" mood, screenplay by Nietzsche, with additional lines by Babaloo Mandel. Oh, what a great big movie wallow, what a transformational blast of cine-pleasure. It never quite arrives
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Newsweek David Ansen
You may emerge more exhausted than elated. Nolan wants to prove that a superhero movie needn't be disposable, effects-ridden junk food, and you have to admire his ambition. But this is Batman, not "Hamlet." Call me shallow, but I wish it were a little more fun.
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Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
Christopher Nolan's latest exploration of the Batman mythology steeps its muddled plot in so much murk that the Joker's maniacal nihilism comes to seem like a recurrent grace note.
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Baltimore Sun Michael Sragow
A handsome, accomplished piece of work, but it drove me from absorption to excruciation within 20 minutes, and then it went on for two hours more.
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New York Magazine David Edelstein
The novelty wears off and the lack of imagination, visual and otherwise, turns into a drag. The Dark Knight is noisy, jumbled, and sadistic.
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The New Yorker David Denby
The Dark Knight is hardly routine--it has a kicky sadism in scene after scene, which keeps you on edge and sends you out onto the street with post-movie stress disorder.
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Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov
The only thing here that feels truly, utterly alive is Ledger's maniacal, muttery Joker. The last laugh is his and his alone. It's enough to make you cry.
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50 Stephanie Zacharek
Nolan may want us to believe in the darkness that lurks within each of us, but instead of leading us to it visually, he chops it up and sets it out in front of us, a grim, predigested banquet.
Read Full Review

What Our Users Said

Vote Now!The average user rating for this movie is 9.2 (out of 10) based on 918 User Votes
Note: User votes are NOT included in the Metascore calculation.

The Trout gave it a9:
A massive step up from Nolan's well-meaning but ultimately flawed Batman Begins. Ledger is obviously the show stealer, as a deranged, mob-connected, terrorist incarnation of Bruce Wayne's iconic nemesis. Whats surprising is the overall feel of the movie, which evokes feelings of terror and helplessness similar to those of the early days after 9/11. Evocative cinematography and excellent wardrobing seal the deal. Despite the film being a half hour too long, this is one of the few films of 2008 worth your hard earned $10.

Jonathan Q. gave it a10:
superb - forget the negative reviews - if you liked Batman Begins, you must watch this - the joker's performance is brilliant and outstrips Nicholson's portrayal. Granted - it is long and it does feel like it is running into a second movie toward the end but the time flies by. Great casting, story and just a joy to watch. The review which sums it up succinctly - 'Dark and exciting'

Ben M. gave it a10:
Spectacular. The moral issues this film raises is intriguing, the surprises and twists will have you enthralled, and all the actors officially bring their A-game to the table. Heath Ledger provides one of the most impressive performances in filming history, in one of the best films of the modern era. A word of advice for all who haven't seen this movie yet - do not pay attention to any of the so called 'professional' reviewers who rate this poorly. Their reasons for doing so seem to be because the movie isn't 'fun' enough. Well, it isn't meant to be 'fun'; it's supposed to make you think about what good and evil really is, amongst other social issues. Flawless - a truly genre-defining film.

nikunj M. gave it a10:
this is a very good movie.After lord of the rings this is the movie i liked very much.really amazing

MZ gave it a4:
Kept you on the edge of your seat but failed to knock you off it. bad editing and a storyline that flailed all over the room, a dissapointing follow up to Batman Begins

Emely L. gave it a10:
I've seen the movie two times, and i'll definetely see it again. It's one of the best movies i've ever seen. I agree with an Oscar nomination for Heath. You can never notice him on the film; it's the pure Joker. In general, all the perfomances were splendid. The visual effects and the music are amazing too. I'd recommend that film. Greetings from Venezuela.

The Terminator gave it a0:
What happened to the Batman character as he appeared to be 3rd string in this very dark homicidal tribute to Heath Ledger AKA The Joker. No one cared about Batman as Heath Ledger was so perverted that all eyes were rivited on him. This movie is NOT appropriate for young children. Very little humor and way too much violence for my taste.

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