Read any review of the new Harry Potter film and you'll pick up on the notion that "darkness" has the power to confer dignity on adolescent fantasy, thereby making it more worthy of adult attention.
Christofer Nolan (Memento, Insomia) took on the task of re-setting and re-darkening the Batman franchise and the result is very successful. There's quite a mish-mash of often unnerving American politics bubbling away under the surface, but it's best just to ignore them and enjoy the ride.
Nolan has successfully re-overcast the Batman myth here in more ways than one - there are enough famous thesps (and material ) to populate two or three films. The director has narrowly avoided biting off more than he can chew.
Bale has bulked up considerably since The Machinist, and delivers a good performance with echoes of his rendition of the self-loathing yuppy Patrick Bateman in American Pyscho. The influence of Zhang Yimou and his new wave Chinese martial arts movies is also apparent.