The Dark Knight is considered to be one of Christopher Nolan's finest films. Known for his combination of philosophical and ethical questions with high-impact drama, action, and special effects, his treatment of Bruce Wayne's moral quandaries as a vigilante in The Dark Knight touches on many of the themes that have defined Nolan's career. Acclaimed French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve said of his work, "[He] is a very impressive filmmaker, because he is able to keep his identity and create his own universe in that large scope ... To bring intellectual concepts and to bring them in that scope to the screen right now—it's very rare. Every movie that he comes out with, I have more admiration for his work."
The Dark Knight is a sequel to the film Batman Begins, and it was Christopher Nolan and his brother and co-writer Jonathan's idea to frame the action primarily around the haunting figure of the Joker. Filming took place in Chicago, and production in London. Nolan spoke about being daunted by directing a sequel in an interview with The Collider, saying, "Well, the danger with a sequel that attempts to be sort of bigger and broader than the first film is you do have to bring in more characters; you do have to expand on what was there. The danger is that you lose sight of the heroic presence at the center of it, you lose sight of who the film’s about. I think that what Christian figured out from the script, and what we were able to put into the story was that by the end of the film, I think he makes the film very much his own."
Much of the success of The Dark Knight was attributed to Nolan's directing, his proficiency with high-budget special effects, his ability to tell a philosophically and morally significant story—at once artful and blockbuster—and his direction of his cast. In his review of the film in The Atlantic, critic Christopher Orr wrote of the reflection of Nolan's filmmaking ethos in the film itself: "At one point early in the film, it almost seems Nolan is presenting us with his cinematic manifesto, when Bruce Wayne explains to Alfred, "Batman has no limits." It's not true, of course. But it is fascinating to see just how far those limits can be pushed."