"the Caped Crusader reigns supreme"

Normally when I say I'm going to a film screening, it's met with indifference from my friends - for them the novelty of me reviewing films wore off a long time ago. The Dark Knight was different - friends were literally begging to come and see this one - the omens were good.

I personally hadn't built up the film too much. I'd enjoyed Batman Begins, but it didn't rock my world. Obviously everyone has been talking about Heath Ledger as the Joker after his tragic death, and the trailers looked good, but I've been duped by trailers before.

The Dark Knight silenced my fears within 30 seconds. Filmed in glorious IMAX format, the opening six minutes of the film are simply incredible to behold - I urge you not only to go and watch this, but if you possibly can get down to an IMAX - I promise it'll be worth it.

Simply put, the film does everything right. The cinematography is outstanding, the action sequences spectacular, the acting superb. Michael Caine said that Ledger should receive an Oscar for his performance as the Joker, and I am wholeheartedly in agreement. In fact the brilliance of his performance is the only downside of the film - it is a travesty that he cannot appear in future movies, Batman or otherwise. A mention too must go to Christian Bale, whose dark, troubled hero fits perfectly with the mood of the film.

Congratulations then, to director Christopher Nolan, and also to the distributing company Warner Bros. They have allowed Nolan to produce a comic book film apart from all others. Here is a film that is true to the original story, yet distinct from the comics - it has developed an identity all of its own, keeping fans and moviegoers happy alike.

The best film of the year so far, by an absolute mile.