The Dark Knight previews tonight

Trevor Heaton Previewing on Thursday, July 24, is the eagerly-awaited The Dark Knight (12A), the next instalment in the sequence based on DC Comics' caped crusader Batman.

Trevor Heaton

Previewing on Thursday, July 24, is the eagerly-awaited The Dark Knight (12A), the next instalment in the sequence based on DC Comics' caped crusader Batman.

With Batman Begins, director Christopher Nolan effectively wiped the slate clean of memories of the often-patchy 1990s takes on the crime-fighter. He successfully re-invented the franchise as gritty, dark and complex.

The publicity build-up for the film has inevitably been overshadowed by the death of Heath Ledger, who by all accounts is in brilliant form as The Joker. Banish memories of Cesar Romero in the spoof 1960s television series - Ledger's Joker is altogether dark, altogether madder and, yep, scarier as the publicity posters of him with scary hair and dodgy make-up will have amply shown.

Batman should be Caped Crusader, and not Camped-up Crusader (sorry, Adam West) and the often-excellent Christian Bale is back as Bruce Wayne.

He's made a speciality of playing complex and dark (that word again) roles in films such as The Prestige and The Machinist and he's in good form again.

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In The Dark Knight, Batman joins forces with Giotham's new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to tackle the increasingly-nasty antics of bank-robber The Joker.

Add in a cast which includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy and more gadgets than you can shake a bat-cape at and you should have a film which should comfortably be one of the summer big-hitters.