"Some men just want to watch the world burn."
Chaos was the theme of this Christopher Nolan masterpiece that came out in 2008. Even 10 years and an avalanche of superhero movies later, no filmmaker has come close to portraying a villain's purpose as beautifully as Nolan did with The Joker.
The Dark Knight wasn't limited to a fist fight between the caped crusader and a freak dressed as a clown. It was a battle of ideas.
The Joker wanted to show Batman how similar they were and yet how wrong the latter was in his attempts to save a decaying city. He didn't have to procure magic rings or a nuke or an alien army to wipe out all life on Earth.
He simply put convicted felons in one ferry and filled another with civilians with detonators and an option to blow up the other to save their own lives.
And in order to find The Joker, Batman has to resort to the trampling of civil liberties when he made Lucius Fox spy on every person in Gotham.
The Joker believed that when people realise that the system had failed them and recognise the chaos around them, their morality will be derailed into a 'survival of the fittest' society.
Even Dent, arguably the most morally correct of the group, couldn't move past the death of his fiance and breaks after suffering physically from an act of terrorism.
The Joker didn't just want to destroy Gotham, he wanted Bruce to see the city's true reflection in a foggy mirror of his own making.
But it's not just The Joker. Bale's Batman is troubled by his own convictions and how much he could bend them. And that is the running theme of the movie.
Batman is reluctant to kill The Joker even in the face of an unending conflict. But he throws a misguided man with guilt and grief off a building to save a 10-year-old.
Saving a million people from themselves doesn't come without consequences. Christian Bale makes sure we feel Bruce Wayne's conflict.
And we do.
Even after everything, Batman and Commissioner Gordon have to weave a political conspiracy that condemns the former to a disgraced shadow of his former self for 8 long years.
The film makes us realise the true cost of heroism. Because in Nolan's world of heightened realism, there is no true happy ending, not even for the ones who won the day.
And that's what makes it the best superhero film to have ever been made.