I don’t like the Dark Knight movies. There. I said it. Now, let me see if I can reasonably and rationally explain WHY I am not really crazy about them, in the hopes that I won’t get too many hate mails or death threats from all you die hard Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale fans.
First off, I should probably state for the record that I’m more of a Superman girl. I spent my formative years growing up in the eighties, which means there was a lot of Christopher Reeve in shiny spandex on my television set, so it’s not surprising. But even though I’m a Superman girl at heart, I’m a superhero lover first and foremost. And let’s face it, in the superhero world, Batman is one of the best because he is a self-made superhero. He doesn’t have super-speed, or super-strength, or invincibility. He’s just an ordinary man, who becomes extraordinary because of his circumstances.
When they started the rebirth of Batman on film, I think everyone was skeptical. I mean, Michael Keaton as Batman? No hardcore comic fan, including me, thought he could pull that off. But I was wrong…we all were. He was brilliant as Batman, and to this day he is still my favorite reincarnation of the caped crusader. But let me get back to my point…
I know I’m mostly alone in my thoughts about the Dark Knight Trilogy, but let me see if I can explain. Out of the three films, the first was definitely the best in my opinion. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that you see behind the curtain, so to speak. You meet the man who helps to give Batman his power, and you see the origins story in a different way. So for that reason alone (i.e. Morgan Freeman) it goes to the top of my list. Christian Bale as Batman is believable and compelling, though my main aggravation with his role is the Batman voice. For me, it’s grating and annoying, not scary and menacing like Batman’s disguised voice should be.
The second film wasn’t about Batman really. It was about the Joker. And Heath Ledger was amazing. But without Ledger, this movie wouldn’t have been nearly as riveting. His performance was gritty and disturbing, and watching it knowing that he was no longer with us made it even more poignant.
The third film…well….I fell asleep. In the theater. Seriously, people. I DO NOT FALL ASLEEP DURING SUPERHERO MOVIES. It was slow and tedious and ever so dreadfully dark and dismal. I couldn’t understand a word that Bane said. While there were some great performances in the film, like Cilian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christian Bale, and especially Anne Hathaway, in the end the film just didn’t move me.
But I think the bottom line here is that Christopher Nolan doesn’t move me. I am not fond of his directing style. His films are so dark and colorless and dreary, and it makes me sad and uninterested. So far, the only exception to my Nolan rule is Inception and I’m not sure how much of that is to do with him, and how much it is to do with the DiCaprio/JGL/Hardy trifecta.
But considering that Superman IS my all-time favorite superhero, you can understand why I’m as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs over the fact that he has his hand in Man of Steel. I’m going to cry when I watch Man of Steel either way it goes, but I’m hoping they’ll be tears of joy for a job well done.
I’mma let you finish, girl but Batman is the greatest superhero ever. Just saying.
As for the Dark Knight movies, while they may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, I will tell you why they did the Batman story justice and why Christopher Nolan is the man taking them on.
For the record, I am very much a Batman girl. He’s the ultimate superhero in my eyes because he does not have powers but uses his brain to come up with ways of fighting crimes and defeating evil. He’s the epitome of a self-made superhero; Achieving greatness while being a mere mortal.
When I first heard that Christopher Nolan was in charge of the reboot, I will admit I did a total facepalm. All I could think was “Not the guy who directed that crazy ass movie Memento!” I still, for the life of me, cannot figure that movie out. My second thought about him helming the reboot was that there was the possibility that we were actually going to be getting the serious Batman story told at last.
No offense to the wonderful Tim Burton (the man’s a genius) and the brilliant Michael Keaton (still love you as Beetlegeuse), the campy, over the top themes of those movies directed by him were not exactly what I was looking for in Batman’s leap to the big screen. Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer did not the Batman saga much justice either, and I am not even going to bother with the George Clooney fiasco that was the last film in that series.
When Batman Begins finally hit the big screen, I was on pins and needles, worrying whether Christian Bale could pull off being the Caped Crusader and what direction Nolan was going to take with these films. I will admit I wasn’t overly fond of that first film in the trilogy at first. It took me watching it second time to really connect with it and see it for the gem it is. Batman Begins gave us a backstory, set up favorite characters and was not campy at all. We got why Batman was so tormented with Bale doing beautifully and how he really made himself the hero we all know and love.
The Dark Knight took the trilogy to another level and gave the saga long overdue praise. Most think that best thing about that film was Heath Ledger’s Joker but for me, it was the dynamic of Batman, Aaron Eckholdt’s Harvey Dent, and Gary Oldman’s Lt. Jim Gordon as the three men tried to do right by Gotham City, and each showed chinks in the white armors as they fought to keep evil at bay. Gary Oldman’s performance should have been nominated along with Ledger’s in my opinion. Batman Begins took fans all over the world as they got to know him, and The Dark Knight brought us back to the heart of the Batman saga: his internal struggle to do good without hurting the ones he loves.
The Dark Knight Rises ended the trilogy nicely as it took everything that the previous two films had built and completely destroyed it. Batman was broken, Gordon was jaded, and Gotham turned into the black hole of the universe. With its twists in the plot and beautiful merging of both the backstory and eventual future of Batman, the trilogy ended on a high as we got a conclusion and a possible new start for another Batman trilogy.
Bottom line here: Christopher Nolan knows how to keep his audience on their toes and make sure that they are kept guessing till the end of his movies and sometimes long after the credits roll.
To each his own with their opinion about Nolan’s Batman Trilogy but we shall see who gets the last laugh when the Superman reboot hits theaters!