The Dark Knight

In theaters.

Consider the title fair warning. Dark doesn’t even begin to describe the latest Batman movie. I don’t think much of the ratings system, but if you’re going to have one, it’s outrageous that The Dark Knight is rated PG-13. True, I don’t recall any swearing or exposed breasts, but the violence is wincingly graphic and deeply unsettling and not remotely cartoonish. Comic book source material notwithstanding (and frankly, turning up one’s nose at the medium is a breed of snobbery for which I have no respect), this is a movie for grown-ups.

And that, of course, is part of the reason it’s so good. Director Christopher Nolan and his brother and co-writer Jonathan aren’t content just to sell action figures and blow stuff up, and their ambition shines through in every scene of The Dark Knight. It isn’t as perfectly conceived and crafted as their previous collaboration, the underrated The Prestige, but unlike most summer blockbusters, Knight gets under your skin and leaves you talking. It stays with you.