The Dark Knight
Here’s how Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy changed how superhero movies are perceived in the movie industry forever
Before you proceed, this article is longer than expected and might contain some spoilers.
Admit it or not, everyone wanted to be a superhero in our lives. It is embarrassing to walk down memory lane but that kept our childhood lives happy. Being able to do good and pull off supernatural abilities against evil forces. It seemed cool but not many superhero films or concepts are based on reality. But we wanted to be one — in reality.
Ever since the inception of superhero movies, they operate on the fundamental concept of supernatural powers and that is what separated them from regular people. Visionary director Christopher Nolan wanted to change that. He chose ‘Batman’ from DC as a medium to deliver the superhero trilogy we never thought we wanted.
‘Reality can also be cool’
I don’t know much about the comic book dynamic of superheroes so, let’s not fight against the supremacy of comic books here — this article is dedicated only to the movies and not for the comics.
Many might argue that the Iron Man (2008) is the closest to reality, cool superhero movie but that movie involved a boat-load of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI). I love that movie but I would call that as a financial success to Marvel because that paved the road to the Marvel Comic Universe (MCU) that we love/hate today.
But the Dark Knight Trilogy was something different.
Because the movie ‘Dark Knight’ sits #3 in top-rated IMDb movies of all time. It sits with the all-time greatest movies like Godfather and the Shawshank Redemption. Mind you, it’s a superhero movie of all things that hangs out with the greatest. It is also the only movie in the top five to be released after the year 2000 (the 21st century).
Nolan didn’t just make a great superhero movie but also one of the greatest movies ever made in the 21st century. It is the gold standard of every superhero movie made to this day.
How did that happen?
It is all about the protagonist/antagonist dynamic.
To put this in simple terms,
‘THE HERO IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE VILLAN’
This movie is the living proof of this quote. The Joker and the Batman are two pieces of the puzzle that fit right in to make the perfect plot that made The Dark Knight. This is what the Joker meant when the said — ‘you and I are destined to do this forever’. In the usual business of superhero films, the antagonist wants to annihilate the world/hero but this movie makes them look like a joke by making several levels of psychology play.
Sure, the Batman could have just killed the Joker and ended the movie but his morale of not killing people/using guns fit perfectly with the Joker not killing the Batman. Thus, the Joker’s line — ‘you and I are destined to do this forever’.
Instead, the Joker wanted to play the Batman with his mind and not terms of physical strength (where the Batman is really good at). Nowhere is it more apparent when the Joker laughs the harder Batman hits him in the interrogation sequence. This is where PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE takes the front seat — and it is impossible to beat because you’ll never know when it ends.
Although I did talk a lot about the Dark Knight (2008), I do believe it is a commercial film when compared to Batman Begins (2005). Batman Begins is the movie that got people excited for the Dark Knight. In my opinion, Batman Begins is the best superhero origin story in the history of superhero movie origin stories. Most people hated it because of its tacky action sequences and not-so-realistic comic book dramatics but it flawlessly executed reality and comic book theatricality. I would comfortably say that it is as good as the Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is the least good of the three but perfectly ties the knot to the god-tier trilogy that it is today. An article is on its way specifically for the Dark Knight Rises — it will be linked here.
The irony is that I watched the entire trilogy when I was in high school — so, not exactly a kid. But still, it was the only superhero trilogy/movie that made me want to be a superhero. Sure, I have watched Iron Man, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four before I have even heard of the word ‘Batman’ but I don’t think there’s any real chance that those movies even come close to the ballpark of the class that the Dark Knight trilogy set.
This has been a very long article — at least in contrast with my usual. If you haven’t watched this trilogy before, do yourself a favour and watch it (even if you don’t prefer superhero films) — that’s more than a ‘clap’ to this article. Share this with your social circle who might appreciate quality movies.
And as always, In the days of disappearing physical buttons in modern cars, you came to read my article — you are the MVP. Thank you for your time!