Batman and Gotham City's police commissioner, Jim Gordon, are still attempting to take out Gotham's seedy mob-ruled underworld. Gordon wants to bring the new district attorney, Harvey Dent, into the mix. Batman is not sure if he can trust Dent, especially since he's dating Rachel, Batman's long-time friend and lost love, but he agrees. Meanwhile, someone else is disrupting the mob: the Joker robs a mob-run bank, intimidates the present gang leaders, and slowly begins absorbing the existing mob members as henchmen in his own gang. The Joker tells the entire city that unless Batman reveals to the world who he truly is, he will kill people every single day. As part of a master plan, Dent reveals himself to be Batman and Commissioner Gordon fakes his own death; then, when the Joker tries to take Dent from the authorities, Batman and the secretly-alive Gordon take him into custody. However, the Joker tells Batman that he has Dent and Rachel in two separate buildings located across town, both filled with explosives. He only has time to save one. Batman tries to save Rachel, but he realizes that the Joker pulled one over on him too late; he ends up finding Dent and saving him, not before Rachel is killed and Dent himself is hideously scarred. The Joker finds Dent and convinces him to take revenge on every individual responsible for Rachel's death, so now Batman not only has to save the city from the Joker, he must save his friend Dent from hurting others as well.
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Best part of story, including ending:
The execution is epic in every sense of the word. The themes, the action, the score, the dialogue: all of it has a sweeping scope, the way a big superhero film should.
Best scene in story:
The first appearance of the Joker in front of the Mob balances the perfect line between hilarious and terrifying. He's dropping one-liners while murdering people, and it's about as perfect as a comic book villain has gotten.
Opinion about the main character:
Batman tries to do the right thing, but when there is only one hero, one who by necessity must wear a mask and lurk in the darkness, he finds the task he has given himself impossible to do, which is sad and sympathetic.