Having watched the show at the cinema & on DVD, I can safely say that Oscar talk is justified, for several reasons:
When you have a stellar cast (we're talking Morgan Freeman, Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger & Michael Caine here), you can expect the film to be good. TDK did not disappoint. The cast members were very good portraying their roles, carrying their characters' personas & emotions superbly. The most notable performance is that of the late Heath Ledger as the manic yet brilliant Joker. The nuances & script were excellent & bone-chilling. Definitely no complaints here.
We're talking about a bad situation for Gotham's crooks. Batman has exposed them as petty criminals & law enforcers are moving in. Enter the Joker, who offers to eliminate the Batman for a price. Mayhem takes over; death threats, explosions & that manic laughter rings loud as a bell in Gotham city. Fear & panic overtakes the people of Gotham, despite the efforts of Lieutenant Gordon & the new passionate, justice-driven DA Harvey Dent to keep things under control.
To overcome this madman, the Batman must play the Joker's game; he has to look deep into himself to find the strength needed to defeat the Joker. The plot is brilliant because it makes us delve deep into basic human nature, I quote the Joker "when the chips are down, these civilized people...they'll eat each other". You're not getting a superhero with miraculous superpowers. What you see is a man who goes to extraordinary lengths & endures heart-wrenching sacrifices to keep the people safe.
*I won't reveal more spoilers but the film has a tragic twist so you've been warned*
The chilling siren sound that signals something bad is eminent in this film, as is the soft notes & haunting music. Hans Zimmer did a fabulous job to enhance the emotions & the aura of the film, it is certainly a fitting accompaniment to an awesome movie.
Don't expect happy endings, this film has a certain degree of violence & the deaths of certain characters add to the overall darkness of the film. Expect a revelation as Batman is no longer just a masked vigilante but a hero that Gotham doesn't want. Watch this show, it certainly ups the standards of comic-movies. Previous Batman movies seem one-dimensional, even cartoonish, compared to TDK.