The Batman Strikes is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman as main character, the film is the second part of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2004's Batman Begins, starring an ensemble cast including Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Erik King, Aaron Eckhart, Blake Lively and Morgan Freeman. In the film, Bruce Wayne / Batman (Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart) form an alliance to dismantle organized crime in Gotham City, but are menaced by an anarchist mastermind known as the Joker (Ledger), who seeks to undermine Batman's influence and create chaos. In the meantime, Bruce has to deal with a cop (King), who despises vigilantes.
A gang of criminals rob a Gotham City mob bank, murdering each other until only the mastermind remains: the Joker, who escapes with the money. Batman, District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant Jim Gordon form an alliance to rid Gotham of organized crime. Bruce Wayne believes that, with Dent as Gotham's protector, he can retire from being Batman and lead a normal life with Catherine Klass – even though she and Dent are dating. Gordon meets with Sergeant Crispus Allen, who enlisted in the US Army. Allen went on to become an Army Ranger, serving with the elite Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment. After spending many years in black operations, Allen gave up his military career, electing instead to use his skills to help civilians as a police officer. Allen starts to look at the Batman at disgust and considers resigning from the GCPD to pursue private security, a decision that does not sit well with Gordon. Allen is even disgusted that Catherine's father, Mayor Wilson Klass, has disbanded the task-force against Batman due to wanting the police to focus on the real criminals.
Mob bosses Tobias Whale, Mario Falcone, and the Chechen hold a videoconference with Triads leader Lau, who was taken their funds for safekeeping and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker interrupts and warns the mob bosses that the Batman has no jurisdiction and is unhindered by law, offering to kill him in exchange for half of their money. After Falcone puts a bounty on his head, the Joker kills Falcone and takes over his gang. The mob ultimately decides to take the Joker up on his offer when Bruce and Lucius go to Hong Kong where they work together to kidnap Lau from his office.
Lau strikes a deal with Dent and Klass in exchange for immunity and a charter flight back to Hong Kong. Because of this, Dent is able to have the entire mob arrested while some of the middlemen, and Whale, are able to make bail. The Joker threatens to keep killing people unless Batman reveals his identity, and starts by murdering Police Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and Judge Maria Vargas presiding over the mob trial. The Joker also tries to kill Mayor Wilson Klass, but Gordon sacrifices himself to stop the assassination. Catherine is grateful that his father is alive but saddened by Gordon's death. Dent discovers that an Honor Guard at Commissioner Loeb's funeral has a name tag that reads Catherine Klass. Enraged by this, Dent kidnaps the Guard and threatens to shoot him unless Schiff gives up what was going to happen to Catherine. Batman intervenes, believing that Dent may kill the Guard if he flipped his coin in favor of it. Dent explains that the coin is a misprint with two head sides and only used it as a means of scaring a confession out of the Guard. Batman, relieved at this, tells Harvey that the Guard if Thomas Schiff, a paranoid schizophrenic who escaped from Arkham Asylum, and probably couldn't reveal anything. Batman then left with plans to reveal his identity in order for the Joker's attacks against Gotham to cease. This enrages Dent prompting him to scream at Batman that he can't.
Bruce decides to reveal his secret identity. Before he can, however, Dent falsely announces that he is Batman. Dent is taken into protective custody, but the Joker appears and attacks the convoy that Allen is driving. Batman comes to Dent's rescue and Gordon, who faked his death, apprehends the Joker, securing a promotion to Commissioner. Allen then decides to start trusting the Batman. Rachel and Dent are escorted away by detectives on Whale's payroll; Gordon later learns that they never arrived home. Batman interrogates the Joker, who reveals that they have been trapped in separate locations rigged with explosives. Batman races to save Catherine, while Gordon attempts to rescue Dent. Batman arrives at the building and rescues Catherine. Gordon tries to safe Dent only for the building to explode, disfiguring half of Dent's face. Because of this, Catherine becomes upset at Bruce for not saving Dent from destruction. The Joker escapes with Lau, who leads him to the Mob's funds. The Joker burns the money before killing Lau and the Chechen.
Coleman Reese, an account at Wayne Enterprises, discovers that Bruce Wayne is Batman when he digs up some plans for the Batmobile. He offers to keep silent for ten million dollars each year for the rest of his life, but then decides to not speak when Lucius reminds him of Bruce Wayne's considerable wealth and influence, as well as his fighting prowess as Batman. After the incident involving the Joker, Reese decides to go on Gotham Tonight, a talk show, to release the information. The Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if Reese isn't dead within the hour, since the Joker doesn't want Reese to spoil the fun of the battle between himself and Batman. As a result, Reese is being targeted by several people (presumably out of fear of several of their relatives being in the local hospitals), but Bruce Wayne intervenes and saves Reese's life from a madman trying to run him down with his truck. In gratitude, Reese agrees to keep Batman's identity a secret and vows never to speak of it again for good. While this anarchy is ensued, the Joker gives Dent a gun a gun and convinces him to seek revenge for his disfigurement, then destroys the hospital and escapes with a busload of hostages. Dent goes on a killing spree, deciding the fates of people he holds responsible for his disfigurement. death by flipping his lucky coin.
Dent kills corrupt Detective Michael Wuertz at a bar and ambushes Tobias Whale when Whale is going inside his limousine after meeting with Gordon in the hospital. Whale has realized that the Joker was beyond control and told Gordon where to find the Clown Prince of Crime. When being ambushed by Dent, Whale is forced to confess that Anna Ramirez was the corrupt cop in the MCU that betrayed Catherine. Dent flips his coin to decide Whale's fit. The coin lands in favor allowing Whale to live, but Dent then moves onto the fate of Whale's driver Icepick Joe. When the coin lands in favor of Icepick Joe's death, Dent shoots the thug. The car swerves into a small obstruction, violently flips it sideways, and comes to a stop upside down.
After announcing Gotham will be subject to his rule come nightfall, the Joker rigs two evacuating ferries with explosives; one containing civilians and the other containing prisoners. He says that he will blow them both up by midnight, but will let one live if its passengers (who have been supplied the trigger to the other boat's explosives) blow up the other. Batman finds the Joker by using a sonar device that spies on the entire city, with the reluctant help of Lucius Fox. Both the civilians and the prisoners refuse to kill each other, while Batman apprehends the Joker after a brief fight. Before the police arrive to take the Joker into custody, he gloats that Gotham's citizens will lose hope once Dent's rampage becomes public knowledge. Batman is unsure of this and contacts Allen asking for information on Dent.
Allen does research on Dent and reports it to Batman. Dent was born to Harry Dent, a police officer, and Lucy Gold-Dent, a disrespected housewife, Harvey Dent was frequently abused by his father. Each night, the senior Dent used a coin to decide whether his son would get a beating. Unbeknownst to Harvey at the time, the coin was double-headed, meaning that no matter which side it landed, it would always result in him getting being beaten by his father's nightstick. His father's status as a retired cop also prevented the proper authorities from intervening, and Harvey even learned of the Gotham City Police Department's disrespect for his mother when he was hiding under the stairwell of his parents' apartment and overheard a group of cops saying that she was once "one of them". Although he didn't know what that meant, the boy was sure that it was not a compliment. Harvey was very close to his mother, and he always loved the way she would comb his hair and dress him, telling him how handsome he looked. His teachers at school agreed to that and gave him good grades. Although Harvey himself didn't believe that his father was nothing more than an abusive lout, he realized that as long as others believed it, he might one day find an opportunity for a better life with his mother. Unfortunately, Harvey's parents were killed when Harvey returned home from his after-school job at a local pharmacy. Following his high school graduation, Dent spent his entire time at Gotham University and law school at State University studying with no intention of attending any proms, dances, football or basketball games. It was in his studies that he simply found his vocation within the law, which made sense to him since it transformed the chaos of human existence into logic, fairness, and reasonable rules that could be obeyed, offering stability and structure.
Dent forces Anna at gunpoint to trick Gordon's wife Barbara Kean into taking her son James Gordon Jr. to 250 52nd street, where he was disfigured. Two-Face expresses his fury and disgust at how she was corrupted by Maroni, mentioning that Rachel had trusted Ramirez. Ana claims that she was forced to work for Whale because of the threats that Whale made against her family. Ramirez desperately apologizes and Dent decides her as a result of the coin flip. Dent then knocks Ramirez unconscious.
Gordon and Batman arrive at the building where Dent was disfigured. Dent shoots Batman, spares himself, and threatens to kill Gordon's son, claiming that Gordon's negligence is responsible for his disfigurement. Before he can flip for James Jr, Allen arrives with Catherine. Allen has explained to Catherine that her boyfriend was a serial killer. Catherine refused to believe it and Allen decided to show Catherine himself by taking her to Dent. The only reason Allen did this was in hopes that Catherine would get Dent to surrender peacefully and get the help he needs. Catherine wishes for Dent to give himself up. After flipping the coin, Dent attempts to shoot James Jr. only for Catherine to plead with Dent by telling him that he has always known the difference between right and wrong. Dent is then shocked to realize that Catherine is right and lets James Jr. go. Dent then decides to kill himself. Before he can, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles Dent off the building to his death. Catherine then becomes enraged at Batman for killing Dent since she wanted him to get help. Batman tells Catherine, Gordon, and Allen that he killed Dent for Gotham and urges them to pin all of Dent's crimes on him in order to preserve Dent's heroic image. As the police launch a manhunt for Batman, Gordon destroys the Bat-signal, Fox watches as the sonar device self-destructs, and Catherine decides to leave Gotham forever.
- Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Heath Ledger as the Joker
- Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
- Blake Lively as Assistant District Attorney Catherine Klass
- Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon
- Nathan Gamble as James Gordon Jr.
- Aaron Eckhart as District Attorney Harvey Dent/Two-Face
- Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
- Monique Gabriela Curnen as Det. Anna Ramirez
- Erik King as Sgt. Crispus Allen
- Ron Dean as Det. Michael Wuertz
- Ng Chin Han portrays Lau
- Ritchie Coster as the Chechen
- Anthony Michael Hall as Mike Engel
- Joshua Harto as Coleman Reese
- Melinda McGraw as Barbara Gordon
- Marvin Krondon Jones III as Tobias Whale
- Senator Patrick Leahy as himself
- David Dastmalchian appears as Thomas Schiff
- Tom Wilkinson as Mario Falcone