"Batman: Dark Knight" isn't a perfect film, but it has everything you could want from a summer blockbuster about a superhero: Nifty action scenes, dramatic tension, explosions and a fantastic villain.
Heath Ledger had me at "Brokeback Mountain," so I didn't need to be convinced of what a major talent he was. However, I wasn't sure whether to believe all the hype about his performance as the Joker, especially under the circumstances. Now, I get it. Ledger obliterated any memory of Jack Nicholson in that role, and he has seriously raised the bar for future contenders. Anybody can put on some makeup and jump around like a loon, but it takes serious chops to reinvent an iconic character so thoroughly. I hope this inspires more people to see "Brokeback" on DVD, because his performance in that movie is just as stunning — maybe moreso because of its subtlety.
My only quibble about "Dark Knight" is that it's about 30 minutes too long (though that's extra time to look at Christian Bale, who is perfect as Bruce Wayne). Plus, the love triangle between Bruce, Harvey and Rachel seemed forced. To see what Maggie Gyllenhaal can really do, rent "Sherrybaby."
But go see "Dark Knight" first, and enjoy.