For those of you who need your '24' fix after the writer's strike put a stop to the coming season, I can recommend "The Dark Knight" to you.
Granted, Batman isn't Jack Bauer. In fact, I think if Batman were to ever meet Jack Bauer, he would start whimpering. Well, maybe not, that's probably an exaggeration.
Rather, think of "The Dark Knight" as Bauer lite.
The movie has many of the elements that make '24' so very much worth watching. Crises and dilemmas, explosions, races against time, moral and ethical questions, impossible choices, looks into the high cost of doing what is right, betrayals and people changing, good people who are killed or twisted.
It's shorter, so there's not the many layers of conspiracy that a '24' season has, but it does have the twist in the middle, where it looks like it may be over but is only just starting to fire up.
There are times when Batman shows how far he will go to try to find his enemy, in this movie the Joker, and stop his havoc. Although he doesn't seem to have planned it, he lets Dent pretend to be him in order to lure out the Joker. An interrogation gets rather rough. In the leadup to the finale he uses a form of city-wide spying technology to find where the Joker is hiding.
And the parallel's continue even into the life of Wayne. His 'job' comes between him and Rachel from the first movie, he is given the choice of whether to save Rachel or Dent at one point (and unlike in 'Batman Forever', he is not able to be both), and his use of the spying tech may have driven a friend from him.
And finally, in the last scenes, we see him taking the fall for crimes he didn't commit, in order to preserve the reputation of a man who had been heroic until becoming deformed. Perhaps that is the most Bauer-ish thing he did.
This is a very good movie, with lots of stuff going on in it, and lots of things one could point out. I'll mention in passing the idea of how choices take a role--Rachel must choose between Bruce or Dent, Batman must choose to save Rachel or Dent, two ferry boats full of people must choose which will die. And in a twist to that, Dent in the end, as Two-Face, gives up making choices and relies on the flip of his coin.
I don't know if I can say it's better then, say, 'Iron Man'. I do think it's much more intricate and not an simplistic. It's very different, and is well worth watching.