Yes it lives up to the hype and more. Easily the best comic book movie ever made, easily the best Batman movie ever made, and easily the best movie I have probably seen in the past several years. It is so refreshing to have a GOOD action movie that utilizes as little amount of CGI as possible. It looked real, it wasn't like I was watching a cartoon. Heath Ledger should easily win an academy for his role as the joker. He should win it because of his amazing performance, not simply because he died. I truly believed that he was a homicidal psychopath.