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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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The Dark Knight
DIRECTED BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
RELEASED: 2008

Why's it so good? Christopher Nolan's special genius lies in building his comic book films around a theme and making them stronger for that. The theme of Batman Begins was a city's response to fear (good drinking game: count the uses of that word / variations on it during Begins). This time, it's about the fine balance in our lives between control and chaos. Oh, and Heath Ledger's Joker perfect balances Bale's fiercely controlled Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight The Dark Knight
How does it stack up to the original? The action scenes are better, everyone's settled into their roles in an established world, and Ledger blows every comic book performance ever off the screen. There's a reason this enjoyed such phenomenal financial and critical success: it's made by a team of experts at the top of their game.

Glaring error: This is the first Bat-film without a single real or CG bat in it. We hope that you don't feel cheated now that we've told you that.


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 37 MONTHS


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