Well, I'd had this DVD for over a year. I am a 'Batman' fan (on screen anyway, never really been into comics), so don't know why it too me so long to watch this one. Either way, I found it to be a breathtaking experience.
This film has been out on DVD quite a long time now, so all there is to be said about it has pretty much already been said. Even so, I thought I'd add my comments.
I enjoyed 'Batman Begins', but confess that it wasn't a movie that I rushed to give repeat viewings. Maybe that is part of the reason I was so slow to view 'The Dark Knight'. I had hard varying reviews of 'Dark Knight' - some saying it wasn't as good, some saying it was better. Personally... I enjoyed 'The Dark Knight' immensely more than the first one.
Part of the film's strength is in its terrific main cast, and topping that is of course the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. I don't really think that Ledger's performance as the Joker can be compared to Jack Nicholson's 1989 incarnation, as they are very different interpretations. Either way, Ledger puts in a film-stealing performance.
The only thing I did find, as some others have commented, was that with such a colourful cast, Batman himself did seem a bit bland at times.
Part of what makes this film great is how it is startlingly realistic. Moving away from the gothic tones of the 1989 version, this version of the Batman universe is set in a bleak, realistic metropolis. And realism is another key element of the film overall: much of 'The Dark Knight' feels like it could possibly happen. Characters and plot points have more realistic origins than the fantasy of the comic books and previous films, and the gadgetry too is not that far removed from reality. In fact, at points, it feels to move more into the realms of (the more believable) days of James Bond.
There is no real humour in the film, save for the black humour that comes from the Joker's crimes - one of my favourite moments is as the Joker, dressed as a nurse, totters away from a hospital, before blowing it up.
If the film has any faults, it is maybe that it verges on being a little TOO long. I like that they went for something epic (in an age where all too many films are geared up towards "the yoof of today" with short attention span), but even so I did feel that they could have shaved a few minutes off here and there.
As good as the story is overall, part of me wishes that the movie had ended when the Joker is finally captured mid-way through. The second half of the film almost plays like a sequel to the first half, with the second wave of Joker's crimes, and the emergence of Two-Face (a villain that, only growing up on repeats of the classic 1960s series - I was never into the comics - I was never overly familiar with, but found the interpretation presented here better than Tommy Lee Jones's version in the disappointing 'Batman Forever' (1995)).
One thing I must mention is that this film is certainly not for children. It is extremely violent in places, and I am amazed that it only received a 12 certificate (I would have thought it merited a 15 at very least), and even beyond probably being too long and overpowering for younger viewers, I would personally deem it simply too dark, disturbing and violent for younger 'Batman' fans.
Of the features on the two-disk DVD, I thought I was going to enjoy the six episodes of 'Gotham Tonight', but found them wooden and dull; more interesting were the various versions of the trailers, and the art gallery.
All-in-all this is a breathtaking experience, and surely ranks as one of the best sequels of all time. At under 5 quid for the two-disk version, I recommend 'The Dark Knight' to any mature action thriller fan.