Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 100
    "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.
  2. 100
    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."
  3. 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.
  4. 88
    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.
  5. 100
    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.
  6. An action blockbuster extravaganza that's sadder than sad and never pretends otherwise.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    You come away impressed, oppressed, provoked, and beaten down, holding on to Ledger's squirrelly incandescence as a beacon in the darkness.
  8. 100
    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.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: 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?
  11. 50
    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.
  12. 88
    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.
  13. 80
    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.
  14. This comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year.
  15. succeeds as an action film, character study and metaphor for our own terrorism-obsessed time.
  16. Sensational, grandly sinister and not for the kids, The Dark Knight elevates pulp to a very high level.
  17. 83
    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.
  18. Shakespearean but overlong, The Dark Knight is two hours of heady, involving action that devolves into a mind-numbing 32-minute epilogue.
  19. 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.
  20. 88
    The highest praise I can give a superhero movie is that it makes me forget about its 10-cent-comic-book soul.
  21. Twisted, tortured, terrifying - and terrific.
  22. 50
    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.
  23. 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.
  24. 50
    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.
  25. 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.
  26. 100
    The film's capes and cowls suggest one genre, but it's a metropolis-sized tragedy at heart.
  27. 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
  28. Reviewed by: 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.
  29. 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.
  30. The novelty wears off and the lack of imagination, visual and otherwise, turns into a drag. The Dark Knight is noisy, jumbled, and sadistic.
  31. Reviewed by: 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.
  32. 50
    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.
  33. Reviewed by: 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.
  34. 90
    The Dark Knight may not be a masterpiece, but it easily vaults to the top of any list of "best superhero movies."
  35. Reviewed by: 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.
  36. Reviewed by: 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.
  37. Reviewed by: 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.
  38. Reviewed by: 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.
  39. Reviewed by: 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.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 3495 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jan 21, 2011
    I don't understand why this movie gets bashed so much because it's "overrated." So what? Pretend as though you never heard anyone say how good this film is, then watch it, and then talk to me. And don't even get me started on people saying, "People like it just because Heath Ledger died!" Again, pretend as though he didn't die, watch his performance again, and then come talk to me. An outstanding performance by anyone who was ever involved in this film. Full Review »
  2. Sep 20, 2011
    This super hero movie is a rare film that drills deep inside the character and the script more than the action. It may be boring to a few people who despise waiting for 2 hrs; However I promise you, Heath Ledger will keep you amazed the whole time. Ultimately, Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is a masterpiece, a film that doesn't just show off the visuals and action, but understands what deep pains and afflictions a superhero suffers. Full Review »
  3. Oct 4, 2010
    I love this movie! Definitely the best Batman movie ever! Heath Ledger really deserved his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. This is a movie I will remember for decades! Full Review »