The Dark Knight Spoilers: Christian Bale Dishes on Plot

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Remember the end of Batman Begins? The fantastic movie ended with a warning from Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) to Batman (Christian Bale) about "escalation" in crime and villainy now that there's a man in a batsuit prowling Gotham City.

Well, in a recent interview with The New York Times, Bale confirmed that "this escalation has now meant that he feels more of a duty to continue," and that the idea of Batman flying around the city has actually attracted more criminals to Gotham.

There's where The Dark Knight picks up.

Bale added: "And now you have not just a young man in pain attempting to find some kind of an answer, you have somebody who actually has power, who is burdened by that power, and is having to recognize the difference between attaining that power and holding on to it."

Meanwhile, the newspaper confirms that Ledger had completed work on the film before he died in January, and that Nolan feels a "massive sense of responsibility" to do justice to Ledger's final lead performance.

The director calls Ledger's portrayal of the Joker "stunning" and "iconic," as well as "terrifying" and "amazing."

The Dark Knight opens on July 18.

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The Dark Knight Quotes

Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a dark knight.

Lt. James Gordon

Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was....a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. Turns to me and he says "Why so serious?" Comes at me with the knife,"Why so serious?" He sticks the blade in my mouth. "Lets put a smile on that face!" And..... Why so serious?

The Joker