Box art for The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

action & adventure, drama, thrillers

The Dark Knight reunites Christian Bale with director Christopher Nolan and takes Batman across the world in his quest to fight a growing criminal threat known as The Joker.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
4 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Excellent sequel much darker, more violent than the first.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this sequel to Batman Begins is an excellent movie, it's also much darker and more violent than the first one. Remember: Not all Batmen are created equal. Even though this movie is about a comic-book character, neither it nor its flawed hero and villain are aimed at younger kids or appropriate for them. The film is loaded with intense action, from bombs and bullets to martial-arts fighting and hand-to-hand combat. In addition to the hard-hitting action, expect some drinking and a bit of sexuality. And The Joker's nightmarish appearance has the potential to frighten viewers of all ages. Much of the movie's buzz surrounds actor Heath Ledger's excellent work in that villainous role -- his final completed part before his January 2008 death from an accidental drug overdose.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does the film differentiate between "good" and "bad" uses of violence?
  • What distinguishes Batman from The Joker? Both are angry and dark; why is one a hero and one a villain? Is the rule of law more important than the rule of force?
  • What does it take to maintain order in the face of those who try to create chaos? Does keeping the public safe from harm justifying curtailing their right to privacy?
  • Talk about the media coverage around Ledger's role in the film. How does a tragedy like his death affect a film's marketing and publicity?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 10
    see all The Dark Knight reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Flawed and overrated.

- Adam Nayman, Reverse Shot, Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fresh: Completely lacking in vanity, Ledger creates his finest performance.

- Brett Michel, Boston Phoenix, Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fresh: Heath Ledger is Diana Ross and these other kids are The Supremes. Believe the hype, Mr. Ledger as The Joker is categorically brilliant. The late-great actor turned another Batman movie into a riveting film that will be Oscar worthy only because of him.

- Clay Cane,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

5 stars

One of the best superhero movies ever. Christian Bale continues to shine in this role. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are superb.

- jmanard52, Monday, December 29, 2008

5 stars

A very good film with an awful lot of hype, and just about lives up to it. This is how we want to see Batman, a much darker version than most of the comical offerings from years ago. This is intense crime/action/drama at it's best with some neat twists, great action scenes and wonderful acting talent on show. It's a little long but you barely notice as it progresses at a great pace with lots of great plot lines. See it as soon as you can!

- Deano78, Saturday, August 21, 2010

2 stars

This was a huge let down with a disappointing outcome. I can't say that this movie was entirely bad, but it was shameful to see how it turned out. I had very high expectations for this to even except it for what it is. I anticipated - much like many others - The Dark Knight for quite some time; feeling that it'd be the most astonishing film I'd see in years. Boy, do I feel sorry for myself. The story was slightly unstable and care free. The first half was a serious problem for me to enjoy. I didn't like it all too much. It was too random and had little excitement. Lau was useless to begin with, Coleman Reese was a meaningless threat, Bruce Wayne and the Russian ballet, especially his date, Natasha, added up to being just too much glass I had to shallow if you know what I mean]. The Dark Knight didn't have much of a plot, story, or purpose. To quote Heath Ledger, "I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. I just do things". This centers on the film's "plot" as well, but just one part of it. This half is The Joker being completely destructive unexpectedly. This other half is Harvey Dent, later known as Two-Face. Harvey Dent's story revolves around yet another quote from the film, "You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain". That's what The Dark Knight is all about. It's the adjective for Dent, Wayne, and Joker. They all have that going for them. Heath Ledger: a brilliant actor with no limits in this thrill ride. He displayed one of the greatest and most honorable performances in any film I've seen. I'd say that he was better than the hype declared. I enjoyed every scene he had and I wish he could've been in more. When you watch this, you don't see Heath Ledger at all. You see what Heath was able to bring us. He brought something much more than I could have ever hoped for. He ended his career with no such flaw. I will never forget what I saw. I will never forget him. Believe me when I say this, if it weren't for Heath Ledger, this movie would have no impact on me. No one should compare Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger in any way by their performances as The Joker. Honestly, they're both great and unique in their own way. Jack was outgoing, fresh, comedic, crazy. Heath was strong, demented, clever, witty. They're both fantastic. Personally, Ledger was more enjoyable to me. He put a smile on my face and he didn't even have use a knife. He gave the performance of the decade, in the movie event of the decade. That doesn't mean he's better than Nicholson. I respect them both as The Joker. I know many find Jack to be the true definition of The Joker. Others would disagree and say Heath was much better in his figure and presentation. It really doesn't matter what the contrast between the two are. Heath and Jack are two different Jokers. Deal with it. Oh no! This is the point where I pile on the negativity. It seems pointless to evolve this into a huge rant, so I'll just squeeze it all into one paragraph. Christian Bale was far away from his usual acting. He had a lazier way of being Wayne. He added no emotion or drama to it; just another stiff. I'm sure his action figure is more active than he was. But his worst feature was without doubt his deep, scuffed voice in the bat-suit. Everyone can agree that it was annoying and didn't get any better. I wouldn't be surprised he got laryngitis from it. Anyway, Maggie Gyllenhaal was nothing special. She was quite a change from Katie Holmes. More screen time for her and a whole lot of unnecessary smiling. She was just as annoying as Katie was. Aaron Eckhart brought it down a whole notch. He exaggerated every aspect of Harvey Dent from the comics. He brought shame to the character and overacted the entire time he was on screen. He had some decency, but he went just beyond what he should've. All in all, Ledger gave the only acting that went on. What did Nolan do? I was so pumped to see this since he did such a great job on Batman Begins, and especially his other films as well. Memento, The Prestige: unique, dark thrillers unlike any other. He had the experience to pull off another Batman movie. The direction he went in was off balance. No flow or rhythm was seen anywhere in here. It had too many distractions from the plot. It seemed more like a series of segments, rather than a whole movie, which is some what of a drag to endure. It had it moments and still had a dark theme with loads of action, I'll give it that much. The degenerate of it all is that it was different from the previous film in the franchise. If it was more careful on the plot, acting, and dialog, it would be a true masterpiece. It's just mediocre with entertaining activity, but no real clause. The visuals however, were very respectable to me. Hardly any CGI was used. Two-Face took up the biggest portion of it. The film didn't need any special effects to change any bit of it's appearance. It was more of a bonus. But if anyone is really big on the visuals in films, then see it in IMAX. It enhances the realism. Make sure to get a good seat or it'll ruin everything. At times, I actually felt like I was apart of it. It almost seemed like I was flying over Gotham when the camera had those eagle-eyed shots of Chicago, Hong Kong, and many other areas. So, the visuals were wonderful and get a round of applause from me. Overall, I was disappointed with this movie. Heath Ledger was the glue they kept this film from falling apart. So, if anyone plans on seeing this, just savor every second of screen time Ledger has. His final completed role was his masterpiece and was more worth while than the movie itself. Oscar for Heath, anyone?

- aSpaceCowboy, Wednesday, August 4, 2010