The conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy hits theaters this weekend, so it’s only fitting that we take a look back at the journey Nolan’s Batman has taken since 2005 Batman Begins.
What Nolan has done is transform a comic book character and grounded him in reality, inhabiting this world we live in, and making him believable. Not only that, but his films have also had a profound effect on both the industry and cinema as a whole.
Batman Begins (2005)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe
Following the debacle that was Batman & Robin in 1997, the character took a long hiatus until his triumphant return with Batman Begins in 2005 with then little known director Christopher Nolan and up-and-coming star Christian Bale. To their credit, they created an entirely new Batman than the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films, as they set out to create a more gritty, darker Batman grounded in reality.
This was stark departure from the more campy feel the Schumcher films were, while being more darker than the Burton films. The cast assembled for it was stellar, with great veteran actors in supporting roles for Christian Bale. Actors such as Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Tom Wilkinson added a sense of credibility to the film, with relative unknowns leading this bold new project. All in all, the film was a huge success in rebooting the franchise and set itself up for one of the best sequels of all-time.
GO Rating: 4/5
The Dark Knight (2008)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Jai White, Eric Roberts, Cillian Murphy
And then there came The Dark Knight. What a film, what a film. No one could ever picture just how great a film this was going to be. The negative fan reaction to Heath Ledger’s casting as the Joker, the radical change in his character’s design and his death leading up to the film’s release only helped serve the film rather than detract from it. Heath Ledger turned in an Oscar-winning performance for his portrayal of the Joker and Nolan told one masterpiece of an intricately woven story.
The additions of Maggie Gyllenhaal—replacing Katie Homles—and Aaron Eckhart were sound choices for the film as they added great performances to the already stellar cast. The musical score composed by Hans Zimmer was astounding and enhanced the tone of the film.
The film wasn’t without its fare share of complaints and though understandable, did not take away anything from the film for me.
It still stands as one of the top comic book films of all-time and one of the best films in recent years. Enough so that its omission from the Best Picture category at the Oscars may have been the leading factor to the awards show increasing the nominees to 10 the following year, showing just how profound a cultural impact it had. Its $500 million grossings at the domestic box office propelled it to 3rd all-time—without adjusting for inflation—until recently, but that number still holds as a testament to how great a film it is.
GO Rating: 4.5/5