Quick Thoughts – Batman

Some (mostly unoriginal) Thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy

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First of all, I owe a huge h/t to Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant and especially to John Nolte of BigHollywood. In one way or another, their writings about Nolan’s Batman movies have inspired or informed most of the thoughts I will put forth below.

Batman Begins blew me away. It was like no superhero movie I had ever seen…and certainly like no iteration of Batman I’d ever seen. I agree with John Nolte who posits that each of the three movies has a different genre feel to it. He suggests that Batman Begins uses the conventions of a horror movie, The Dark Knight is a detective crime thriller, and The Dark Knight Rises plays like a war movie.

The genre elements complement the separate themes of each movie. Batman Begins is about facing one’s fears. The Dark Knight delves into questions about what methods are necessary to stop destructive madmen. The Dark Knight Rises is all about noble sacrifice.

Back to Batman Begins… Viewed in hindsight as the beginning of this trilogy, Batman Begins takes on greater importance. It truly sets the stage for everything that follows.

Those that think The Dark Knight celebrates nihilism really miss the point. Also, the Joker was no more violent or vicious than any list of movie villains. Lastly, those who found themselves rooting for the Joker probably need to have their sociopathic tendencies looked into.

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The Joker was the black-and-white villain of this movie. There was no moral ambiguity or gray areas. It’s was a simple good versus evil plot that happened to pose some deeper questions… such as: is there such a thing as a noble lie? Is giving Hope better than telling devastating Truth?

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Although some critics and fans found it disappointing, Nolan did not leave those questions unanswered in The Dark Knight Rises. Without getting into spoilers, the Noble Lie ends up eating away at those involved in keeping it told… and the Hope was false at best.

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For me, I prefer completely told stories…and that is exactly what Nolan gave us. He set the premise with Batman Begins, raised the stakes and put forth a central question in The Dark Knight, and in The Dark Knight Rises, he answered that question while simultaneously finishing the story arcs from the first movie.

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Masterful storytelling.

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Again, I will not give any spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises, for the benefit of those who have not seen it yet. So all I can really say is that I Really, really, really, really, really liked it.

Is it a perfect movie? No… but what in the world is a perfect movie? I have certainly never seen one. Some have complained about some of the plot points being hard to swallow. Nolan has grounded his movies in reality…but the plots to all of them involve some pretty fantastical happenings. The actual plot of The Dark Knight is pretty sloppy and confusing when you think about it – and yet, many fans consider that movie to be one of the best films ever made. As with any movie, The Dark Knight Rises requires you to put some things in the OK-Box and not think too critically about it. But the magnitude and emotion of the story makes you forget about any small contrivances.

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There are a few themes in The Dark Knight Rises which seem to be comments on current day events… but that seems to have been more of a coincidence than anything else. The script was written long before any of the Occupy Wall Street silliness actually happened, even though there are some elements of the movie which mirror those happenings (and criticize them). As it turns out, the writers have indicated that the key to understanding The Dark Knight Rises is knowing A Tale of Two Cities. So, the story takes its themes and tones from more universal and archetypal sources than being a timely commentary.

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In closing, GO SEE THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

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That is all.

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