Ranking Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy

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Christopher Nolan one of the great directors of this generation proved to be a perfect choice to bring back the Batman to the big screen

Without question the Dark Knight trilogy will go down as one of the best film trilogies ever. It’s Certainly one of the most successful we have seen grossing up to $2.5 billion worldwide across the three movies. This trilogy had wiped out the pain and nightmares of the Batman & Robin and Batman Forever films. So this trilogy not only revolutionised the character of Batman but the comic book film genre as a whole. However just like with everything in the world nothing is perfect and having recently re-watched the whole trilogy over the summer I’d like to give my personal view on how I would rank the individual movies.

3. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

After the heights of the Dark Knight this film had a really tough act to follow. With that being said I can’t hide the fact that this film is still probably one of Nolan’s worst films to me. Now don’t get me wrong if this film was made by another director it would most likely be their best film ever, it’s just that I have such high standards for Nolan. With this film I felt that Christopher Nolan was lazy here especially when it came to the minor details of the story writing.

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Bane one of the main downfalls of this movie, great to look at but when it comes to his plans and motivations he falls painfully short.

He left a lot of plot holes throughout the film when in previous project he would fill in with great detail. In Dark Knight Rises you start to have plot holes exist such as how did Bruce Wayne make it back to Gotham from the prison when Gotham was cut off from the rest of the country? How did Batman survive the bomb explosion with seconds to go on the timer? These issues transferred to main characters such a Bane who was a huge problem for me throughout this movie. This is nothing to do with Tom Hardy but I didn’t like the way Bane was used in this film. From being like a minion to his sister Talia al Ghul to the way he talked. I’m sorry but I found it hard trying not to laugh every time Bane opened his mouth. Not to mention the fact he created a bomb that would blow up in six months. Which I understand he wanted to see Gotham in ruins by turning it upside down, it just lacked the right execution.

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The ending scene to The Dark Knight Rises that has caused a lot of controversy amongst fans.

As I was watching this films climax I thought it was great that Batman would make the ultimate sacrifice saving Gotham. My feelings suddenly changed when it felt like Nolan had tricked me with Batman surviving. I hated this ending because it didn’t make sense with the universe Nolan had built. This was a universe where batman was just an idea, anyone could be the Batman such as John Blake’s character which was heavily teased. So with Bruce Wayne’s Batman dying it would have been the perfect ending for the trilogy. I do feel like this decision may have been influenced by the studio executives that didn’t want their audience to see Batman die.

2. Batman Begins (2005)

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The dawn of the new Batman with Christian Bale taking on the famous cowl.

Batman Begins is a film that I have come to appreciate a lot more as I’ve gotten older. Mind you I was around the age of 10 when I first saw this film. Now having a better understanding of Batman from various comics and previous films this is the best portrayal of the origins of Batman. This was the first serious take on Batman in a while, given the last time we saw Batman on the big screen it was in Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin (1997). With this film and it’s focus on the origins of the character it was almost like a re-introduction of a new Batman to a different generation that didn’t grow up on the likes of Michael Keaton and Adam West.

We see the journey Bruce Wayne takes as a person who at first sets out for revenge for the death of his parents to someone who develops a moral compass whose main aim is to help clean up corruption in Gotham. The scene where Bruce Wayne is training with Ra’s al Ghul showed how in a split moment why he became the Batman as he refused to punish the criminal. This showed that Batman was not a punisher type of character and instead of killing people that did wrong he brought them to justice.

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Bruce Wayne’s training where the Batman was born choosing the side of justice instead of punishment

What I love about what Nolan does with Batman’s origin is showing us the link between bats and Bruce Wayne. From an early age Bruce had a fear of bats from watching that play in the theatres to having nightmares about them. The choice of Scarecrow as the main villain was great too as he linked with the main theme of the movie which is fear. Instead of embracing fear what made the Scarecrow such a threat to Batman was that he would use people’s fear against them. So Batman overcoming Scarecrow shows the full development of his character in how he embraced his main fear to the point where Scarecrow’s main ability was useless against him. So in 20 years’ time when someone asks me what to recommend to them if they want to get into batman I would tell them to start with this film. (mind you by the way hollywood works we might have 5 more Batman origin films by then)

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

Is anyone surprised that the Dark Knight is number one? This is a film that should be in everyone’s top ten films ever list regardless of what genres. Honestly I could write about this movie for hours (I’ll leave that to a future date). The Dark Knight in my opinion is Nolan’s best work ever even after watching his other critically acclaimed projects such as Memento and Inception. The story telling here is second to none from the character and their motivations, to the building of Gotham as a universe that felt so real. It really enforced how Batman was an idea and anyone could be a hero as shown with performances by John Blake to the convicts on the boat in the final act who choose not to detonate the bomb. There are so many great scenes that come to mind when I think of this film such as The Joker and Batman highway chase scene. I still remember my Jaw dropping and being on the edge of my seat when Rachel Dawes died, I couldn’t believe they took that kind of step in a comic book film.

Now people say that with Batman his villains can be more interesting than the caped crusader himself. That’s hard to disagree with when you have the likes of The Joker and Two-Face in this film. Two-Face who gets overshadowed by The Joker (for obvious reasons) is a great villain by himself in this movie. To see him transition from this hero like persona of Harvey Dent to this conflicted, angry and broken character is incredible. Not to mention the look of the character himself is amazing, much credit is deserved to the make-up artists and costumers in this film.

 

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Heath Ledger in one of his last roles provides and Iconic take on the Joker character that would earn him an Oscar for ‘Best supporting actor’

Although I have heaped a lot of praise on Nolan for this amazing film I think it’s time we talk about the real star of Dark Knight which is The Joker. Heath Ledger in my eyes will go down as being the best Joker ever in my opinion. His performance alone makes this the best film of the trilogy hands down. Everything about him fully embracing the character by coming up with The Joker’s appearance and mannerisms is something to stand in awe of. Every time he was on screen from that opening bank scene you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Given the character’s motivations of trying to create chaos and seeing Gotham burn he was so unpredictable you didn’t know what he would do next. The only sad note about the Joker in this film is that Heath never lived to see his creation play out on the big screen.

 

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Most importantly tell me how you would rank these films?

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Do we need a Joker origin film?

With all of the rumoured DC projects that are set to be put in motion one announced this week has caused quite a stir with comic book fans on the internet. The latest project added to the already crowded DC slate of films is a Joker origin movie. The film is set to be directed by The Hangovers Todd Phillips and to be produced by the legendary Martin Scorsese. What is also confirmed is that Jared Leto will not being returning to the role as the studio are opting for a younger Joker to fit in the 80’s setting. It’s safe to say Leto is not happy with this decision who responded “I’m a little confused too, but yeah, there are a couple of things happening in the DC world”. One has to feel sorry for Jared Leto given his issues with how little there was of him in Suicide Squad. Also what would make him somewhat angry with the studio is that with this ‘younger Joker’, Leonardo DiCaprio is said to be on the shortlist to play the role. Wouldn’t Leto be preferred as a young Joker compared to DiCaprio? Well I’m no expert I guess with CGI and make up Hollywood could make anything work today.

Now what has been discussed the most about this potential film is the Joker’s origins. If anyone is familiar with the Joker it’s that he has no origin really. That’s part of the mystery with the Joker and why we love him so much. Heath Ledger brought this across the best in the Dark Knight by every time changing the story of how he got his scars. No one knows anything about his past and upbringing which what makes him such an unpredictable villain. Now there have been hints at the Joker’s origins with Alan Moore’s iconic The Killing Joke. This novel was a great take on the character on the Joker by actually making him somewhat of a sympathetic figure and all it took was for him to have one bad day to make him who is he. In comparison this showed the similarities of the Joker and Batman in how the night Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered he was always destined to become the Batman. This is the worry with Comic book fans, if we get the origins of the Joker does he as a character lose his lure? Can’t this be a character in which we never fully understand and is left to a mystery?

With that being said a Joker film described as a crime Drama set in the 80s under the direction of Martin Scorsese does sound like a great movie either way. It’s just whether it can be executed correctly and keep intact what we have always love about the Joker Character.

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