The Dark Knight

Rated 3.0

Batman (Christian Bale) joins forces with Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman) and a fearless district attorney (Aaron Eckhart) to take on the Gotham underworld and a wild-card villain, the Joker (the late Heath Ledger, with a voice that makes him sound like Richard Dreyfuss). Director Christopher Nolan’s new movie (co-written with brother Jonathan) won’t disappoint fans; there are many excellent moments and action set-pieces, and Nolan’s gleaming images are immaculate. But at well over two hours, the story grows ponderous and muddled, and (perhaps in an effort to avoid becoming campy) the movie is rather portentously solemn. Ledger tackles even his most pretentious monologues with wild-eyed aplomb, while Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine lend a welcome touch of wryness to a movie that is otherwise almost entirely humorless.