I'm not very fond of my original review of the movie from 2008, and was sharing with Juan how I was so rattled by the movie's very existence that it took a viewing or two more to begin to appreciate everything Nolan was trying to accomplish, and that, in many ways, the best way to watch these movies is to turn off everything I know about Batman (which is a lot, and runs near constantly as a background subroutine) and instead come at the film as if I weren't playing comics-fan-connect-the-dots. At some point it may be more useful to start looking at the movie as employing archetypes to relate a fable of duality on an operatic scale. Chaos vs. Order. Liberty vs. Security. Lies vs. Truth. Personal Duty vs. Public Duty.
You can feel a great leap in the quality of the film from Batman Begins during the first scene of Dark Knight, and the decision to dump the studio backlot feel of the previous Gotham for the very real streets of Chicago shot in punchy, deep focus, free of the filters and mood enhancers that dominated the look of the first movie. And it's that realism and stepping away from the comic page that seems to give the movie some it's immediacy and edge. Gotham is Chicago in this film - lived in and real, not a set made to look dank.