I saw this one three times in the theater. I can't recall a movie I saw that many times other than the LOTR films. The day after it was released I caught while I was in LA. Then there were two IMAX trips in the following week.
I do love superhero movies. I used to always say I was more of a Marvel girl (with the exception of Superman) but lately DC has been moving up for me. The Batman films all have such different feels to them. Personally, I prefer the "bad" 90's ones over the Burton/Keaton ones, just because they're more fun. However, the Christopher Nolan ones totally blow those away. While the old ones are campy fun, these are so \m/ dark. I like dark. We've long since established this.
I remember one of the times I IMAX-ed it, when the film finished my movie-buddy who is even more hardcore into comics said that she just wanted to go up to Christopher Nolan and give him a hug. Her connotation was one that implied extreme gratitude. While my feelings may not have been as strong as hers, I still very much agree.
The story is so compelling, far more than you'd expect for this genre. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that it transcends being a superhero movie. Even though you got a man running around in a mask and a cape, you dont think of him the same way as you would with other masked men. And I know it's almost cliche to say this, but the whole Heath Ledger thing made the film so much more powerful.
Okay, Heath gets his own paragraph. Even though it was his penultimate film, I do like to think of this one as his final masterpiece. He had such a unique and brilliant take on the joker, which is what really gave the film it's push into genius territory. And with his death, you can't help but feel much more heightened emotion every time he's on screen. I still get a pain in my chest watching him.
The rest of the cast is fantastic as well, though they can't quite hold a candle to Heath. I've adored Christian Bale for years, and love him as Bruce Wayne. Gary Oldman is perfect as Commissioner Gordon. Maggie Gyllenhaal was an inspired recast for Rachel Dawes. Aaron Eckhart having a spot in this film also makes me happy. Nothing but respect for Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
There's also so many iconic scenes. Watching right now, I'm at the first reveal of Harvey's Two-Face face. The suspense as he holds out to turn his head still kills me. And we're only minutes away from my fave scene, the Joker/Two Face conversation with the nurse costume. The Dent sticker on his smock is such a perfect touch. Oh and let's not forget the magic trick or the scar stories.
I could go on and on, but I think this is one of the few films that make perfect sense to be on my list. I really dont think I need to explain myself any further