I just went to see The Dark Knight (the sequel to Batman Begins) at the IMAX Dome Theatre here in Des Moines. It was my first experience in a dome-version of the IMAX theatres and it was my first time watching The Dark Knight. It won’t be my last.

The Dark Knight definitely was one of the few movies this Summer I just HAD to see in the theatre. I can usually wait for DVD…especially with ticket prices as outrageous as they’ve become! If you are going to see this movie in Des Moines, then see it downtown at the Science Center IMAX. It is amazing. The scenes shot with IMAX cameras are nothing less than amazing. Floor to ceiling – six story imagery that wraps around the room 180 degrees coupled with 12,000 watts of sound. It takes about 10 minutes to get used to viewing a movie this way, but with two and a half hours in the movie, it’s worth the adjustment to the eyes. Everytime Batman hit someone, you could feel it in your chest.

Batman is more human this time, struggling with what he has to do to save Gotham and those he loves with what is right and within “the rules.” If Heath Ledger doesn’t get an Oscar for his role posthumously, it will be shameful. Unlike Jack Nicholson’s version of the Joker in the 1989 Batman movie, Ledger’s Joker is so dark, so “real,” and so masochistic and pathological, you spend most of the movie engaged in figuring out his complexity.

There are plenty of post-modern moments in the movie that question conventional wisdom and attempt (relatively accurately at times) to shine a light on the human condition. For an action flick, it waxes philosophical better than most. For those of you with a Biblical world-view, you’ll see there’s more to the Dark Knight’s characters than a lack of daylight and dark suits.

The action is almost non-stop and the three of us who went to see it together all agreed that the special effects are some of the best and most believable we’ve ever seen. There are plenty of twists and turns in the movie, a second villain, mob bosses, two heroes, a damsel in distress, faithful sidekicks, ethical quandaries, tons of action, etc. Something for everyone.

If you enjoyed the darker feel of the first Batman (1989) with Michael Keaton, and enjoyed “Batman Begins,” you’ll LOVE this one. I highly recommend it for those not faint of heart when it comes to violence and dark, intense, action sequences. There are plenty of them.

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