Wherever you might stand as a DC fan on the current DC Universe, most fans would agree that the 'Dark Knight' trilogy was Batman in his prime. These films were well-cast, well-acted, and provided us with countless hours comedy on YouTube. Christian Bale's Batman was cool but, let's just accept at this point, pretty goofy at the same time. His voice speaks for itself (pun intended). But nevertheless, it never stopped these movies from being one of the most solid trilogies out there.
'The Dark Knight', itself, stands as not only one of the best 'Batman' movies, not only one of the best comic book movies, but one of the best movies out there in general. Winner of two Oscars and a Golden Globe, Rotten Tomato critic and audience ratings of an equal 94%, a Metacritic rating of a must-see 82, and it currently stands at #4 between 'The Gadfather: Part II' and '12 Angry Men' on IMDb's Top 250. So its done pretty damn well for itself over the past 10+ years.
'Batman Begins' is essentially a long, drawn out and really well-made origin story, but 'Dark Knight' is where things take off. Lawyer Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) has recently been elected as Gotham's new District Attorney with a plan to take down the city's organized crime syndicate. However, Batman (Christian Bale) kinda interferes with his plans, taking things into his own hands as the vigilante he is.
Along comes the real star of the show, The Joker (Heath Ledger); a criminal mastermind with very little empathy, plotting to take the rug out from under Dent with a series of crimes, using money he has stolen from the mob, who he has under his thumb in no time. These crimes are primarily aimed at both Harvey Dent and Batman to see what kind of people they are, as two head figures of the city - a DA with a plant to clean up the mob for the "good of Gotham", and the masked vigilante who has so recently been dubbed a mysterious "hero".
The film works great whether or not your a fan of Batman, as it's a story that leans heavily on human attributes and having to make difficult choices. I feel that the feel of the movie is something relatable to anyone. It gives us both sides of the coin that we crave between Batman and the Joker as well, seeing Batman as a "knight" for good and justice and Joker as the essence of chaos and, pretty much just evil.
As mentioned before, the real star of this movie really is Heath Ledger's Joker. At the time, Jack Nicholson simply couldn't be touched for that role, at least as far as movie Jokers went. Along comes the guy we've pretty much only seen in teen movies, the late Heath Ledger, fully delivering on his performance and departing us on the highest of notes. This Joker has that perfectly profound dark sense of humor we wanna see, perhaps the prime example being his "pencil trick", which you may very well know even if you're one of the few people who may not have seen this one. At the same time, however, when he wants to get creepy, he really does manage to get creepy, reminding us full well that he's still a psychopath. He's just a really smart, really charismatic one.
I think that in the grand scheme of things, this is perhaps the most recent "part 2" that truly outdoes its predecessor, which is already awesome in its own right. This really is a solid trilogy altogether, and if you're somehow a Batman fan who hasn't gone through it yet, you should fix that. I dunno what else to say about it, it's one of the best comic, crime, action, drama, suspense movies in existence. Even if you can't get past some of the more extreme moments, the story is fantastic, and it remains a personal favorite.