Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Gritty Superhero Classic That's Hot On Netflix Right Now

Netflix has continually proven that it has our back during the pandemic, delivering hit after hit of original content while also bringing old classics back to attention. Recently, this has included originals like To All the Boys: Always and Forever, and older releases like the dark comedy Imposters and the hit horror film series that started with The Conjuring. Now Netflix is streaming one of the most successful and highly-rated superhero films of all time, The Dark Knight.

Released in 2008, the film stars Christian Bale as the masked crusader, Michael Caine as Alfred, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel. Christopher Nolan directed the film — and the two others in the trilogy — and the late, great, Heath Ledger plays the most terrifying Joker yet. The Dark Knight is the highest-rated film out of all the Batman movies to come out so far, with a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Contrasting this, the lowest-rated film on the list is 1997's Batman & Robin starring George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell, which has 11%.

Despite the tragic death of Ledger hanging over the film's head, The Dark Knight is a movie that still holds up over ten years later, and with good reason. So for those looking for a great film to rewatch, or for the few who've never seen it, The Dark Knight is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Batman returns to Netflix in The Dark Knight

In the second film of the Nolan Batman trilogy, Bruce Wayne (Bale) attempts to stop the rise in violent organized crime in Gotham City with the help of Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Batman is fighting back against the maniacal madman the Joker (Ledger), who aims to wreak chaos all about the city. Nolan, a director who is known for mind-bending stories like Inception and Dunkirk, gave up other original projects to produce three blockbuster action flicks, an astounding fact given this was before the superhero genre was respected as it is now. To put it in perspective, 2008 was also the year Iron Man came out, kickstarting the MCU. Nolan's realistic, harsh story of a crime-ridden city is a big part of why superhero movies have evolved so much over the last decade. 

Ledger received extreme praise for his performance as the classic Batman villain, with Mark Dinning of Empire saying, "It is a towering performance. [...] Ledger's Joker is anarchy in a three-piece, a ruthless villain who cares for nothing, not even himself." The actor's performance was getting Oscar buzz even before his death in January of 2008, and it only got stronger once the public finally saw his portrayal of the Joker in July of the same year. Ledger went on to posthumously win the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. While some argued that his death was the main reason he received such praise, thirteen years later his performance continues to have a lasting impact on the film industry and fans everywhere.

The Dark Knight is still the best Batman movie

On top of Ledger's performance, The Dark Knight is commended for its deep narrative that uses the Joker's anarchy as "a magnified version of what Western society is currently experiencing as economies contract and the threat of terrorism remains ever- present" (via The Independent). Bale presents the caped crusader as a self-doubting, intense hero who sacrifices his own dreams and desires to protect his city. The film's storyline is even more timely and powerful now than when it was first released. 

While there are bound to be many more incarnations of Batman and Gotham City in the future — starting with next year's The Batman — The Dark Knight is hard to beat. The film holds the title of the best superhero movie ever made in many fans' hearts. Of course, this is debatable, as Marvel quickly catches up with notable films like Black Panther and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the superhero genre just keeps getting better and better.

Fans are hoping the new The Batman film will have the same sort of dark, intense style as The Dark Knight, though we will have to wait and see when it is released on March 4, 2022. The film has faced several delays due to the pandemic but now seems on track for this release date. As fans wait for the superhero genre to get back on its feet, the gritty and violent Dark Knight movie is ready to watch now on Netflix.