The choice of villains was interesting. Scarecrow has always been a secondary Bat-villain, a sort of reverse-Joker, but his "fear gas" makse a believable city-destroying weapon, even if the delivery system is not. (A microwave emitter sufficiently powerful to areosolize all the water in a buried pipe system would kill every human in its range all by itself--.) In the comics, Ras Al Gul is the legendary "Old Man of the Mountain," leader of the Brotherhood of Assassins. The movie version heads a different sort of secret society dedicated to promoting social evolution by destroying decadent cultures--and no place is more decadent than Gotham, at least in Al Gul's measurement.
Christain Bale made a very good Wayne/Batman, even if the shape of his face does eerily resemble tht of Adam west, the notorious TV Batman of the 1960's. The supporting cast was well chosen, except, in my opinion, the too-pretty actor who played Jonathan Crane, who was always a notabley homely character in the comics, and no longer young when he turned to crime.
I'm not sure if this is the best Batman film, but it's a close call between this and the first modern Batman, with its Gothic Gotham and over-the-top-Jack Nicholson as The Joker (The Joker is one of my favorite comic villains) but Bale may be the best Batman yet.