The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)

#1351 Post by knives » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:17 pm

Harry percieves it that way and certainly Milius wrote it that way, but Siegel directs it in a way that shows Harry as a failure and that his ideology is thoroughly flawed. The film goes a long way to show why due process is necessary and how Harry's circumvention only works to allow Scorpio to escape. Siegel makes a point to show that had Harry just done old school detective work and followed through on the law Scorpio would be captured far more easily. Harry is made out to be his own worst enemy.

LavaLamp
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am

Re: The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

#1352 Post by LavaLamp » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:44 pm

I am a huge fan of Batman Begins; I saw this in the theatre and enjoyed this excellent re-boot of the Batman franchise. Nolan brought a somewhat minimalist but at the same time very effective approach to the character; I liked the scenes with the Ninja training in the beginning, which led credence to Batman's being able to blend into the night when fighting criminals. I also liked the time taken to tell the origin story; you didn't see Batman in costume until about an hour into the film, which was IMHO the right approach to take here. Having been a fan of the Batman comics as a kid, I also liked the Scarecrow & Ras Al'Ghul as villains.

So, I had very high hopes for The Dark Knight prior to seeing it in the theatre back in Summer '08...And, I was extremely dissapointed. This film is definitely one of the most overrated movies ever made.

HL as the Joker was hyped long before the film was released, and IMHO his performance was just average. I also didn't like how he was basically just a scarred criminal with face-paint; in the original Batman comics (and the '89 Burton film), the Joker's clown-like color was due to an industrial accident. I understand that Nolan wanted to get away from that here in his re-imagining the character, but a compromise re: this origin could have been done here...

I also felt the inclusion of Harvey Dent as Two-face was extremely rushed & very artificial; his whole story seemed very tacked-on. I'm actually not even sure why he was in the film at all, other than for his death to serve as a storyline bridge to TDKR.

Sure, TDK's action scenes were amazing (especially Batman's motorcycle), but that's not enough for me to like a film...

I just re-watched the film to give it another chance, and if anything I like it even less the second time...

LavaLamp
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am

Re: The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)

#1353 Post by LavaLamp » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:31 pm

Just watched TDKR for the very first time. Excellent movie. I liked this as much as I disliked TDK.

Like in the other two Nolan Batman movies, Gotham City was an organic character in the film. The night-time skyline shots were stunning, and really impressed you with the sheer scope & grandeur of the city.

Bane was a truly frightening villain, moreso than any bad guy from the previous films....

The story of an already wounded/damaged Batman being brutally beaten & defeated by Bane, recovering, and then returning to fight was taken from the Knightfall '90's Batman comic book storyline, and was a very effective cinematic plot in this film.
SpoilerShow
Though you knew BW would be able to eventually get out of "The Pit", it was great to see him actually do so, especially without using the rope - i.e., if he had slipped or missed that last overhang, he would fall to his doom...

Was completely surprised by the betrayal of Miranda Tate who was revealed to be Talia (Ras Al Ghul's daughter) - very shocking & unexpected.

Liked the last scenes of the film as well, i.e.: Alfred seeing an alive & well Bruce & Selina Kyle in Europe, and Blake finding the Batcave and calling himself Robin - presumably, he will follow in Batman's footsteps & fight crime...

User avatar
pzadvance
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:24 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

#1354 Post by pzadvance » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:29 pm

LavaLamp wrote: HL as the Joker was hyped long before the film was released, and IMHO his performance was just average. I also didn't like how he was basically just a scarred criminial with face-paint; in the original Batman comics (and the '89 Burton film), the Joker's clown-like color was due to an industrial accident. I understand that Nolan wanted to get away from that here in his re-imagining the character, but a compromise re: this origin could have been done here...
Sorry, but this strikes me as nothing more than typical fanboyish quibbling over unimportant details. Decisions like this are emblematic of the best that Nolan brought to the franchise in his re-imagining. The notion that Joker owes his green hair and white complexion to a dip in the ol' acid vat is one of the most ridiculous aspects of a very ridiculous and dramatically uninteresting origin story. What Nolan was able to do was strip the character of its cartoonish ancestry and lend him some mystery and ambiguity via Joker's own re-tellings/"reboots" of his origins.
LavaLamp wrote:I also felt the inclusion of Harvey Dent as Two-face was extremely rushed & very artificial; his whole story seemed very tacked-on. I'm actually not even sure why he was in the film at all, other than for his death to serve as a storyline bridge to TDKR.
This is another standard criticism of the film that I'm sure has been discussed ad nauseam but I still find that, for whatever valid issues there might be with the pacing of this storyline, it brings the entire arc of TDK to its natural thematic conclusion. Far from being "tacked on", it's a further development of the character dynamics introduced at the start: Batman recognizes the problems inherent with his vigilantism, Dent represents a way out for Batman through his potential to effect change through legitimate means, and Joker acts as an agent of chaos intent on bringing down the forces that might save Gotham. Joker's corruption of Dent, the "best of them", serves as a corruption of hope, and forces Batman to take extreme measures to preserve that hope for the citizens of Gotham. For me, various rewatches have only improved my opinion of the way these three characters interact and move the story forward in an organic and dramatically compelling way.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)

#1355 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:08 am

LavaLamp wrote:
SpoilerShow
...Was completely surprised by the betrayal of Miranda Tate who was revealed to be Talia (Ras Al Ghul's daughter) - very shocking & unexpected...
SpoilerShow
Good for you. Months before the film opened, I read a press release that announced Marion Cotillard had been cast as "the daughter of Ras Al Ghul", so that undermined the surprise a bit.

LavaLamp
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am

Re: The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)

#1356 Post by LavaLamp » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:42 am

Yeah, that would be a giveaway. I missed that article...since I had no interest in seeing TDKR in the theatre (since I hadn't liked TDK), I didn't read about this before it was released. I try to avoid spoilers for movies anyway (more difficult to do these days with the Internet), since I want to be surprised before watching a film...





Persona
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:16 pm

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1361 Post by Persona » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:28 pm

yeah, Bilge's piece is a good read.

TDK kind of stands alone for me as the one truly great comic-book film.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1362 Post by tenia » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:14 pm

I'm still bothered by how quickly articles like this pass on the whole surveillance thing. It could have been a very deep development point (and it certainly anticipates similar real life events) but in the end, the film merely discusses these elements through quick discussions (like at the dinner between Wayne and Dent) or twist it in a way to show it as almost glorious. All hail to the superhero willing to do what it takes.

But this is even more problematic when looked through the prism of its sequel, where this doesn't particularly has an important moral impact. It impacts the way Bruce retreats, but the movie certainly doesn't emphasize why he did it, or rather focuses instead of how it was to cover up Dent's action, not because of what it took in terms of privacy intrusion to capture the Joker. Many of my friends actually only remembered the Dent cover up and forgot about how the guilt also is supposed to come from the privacy intrusion, and most of the articles linked in the ealy lines of Ebiri's piece either don't mention the telephones intrusion or only very quickly, and focus instead, again, on Dent cover up.

This thus isn't so much a problem in what the movie goes for (I mean, it's a moral development like any other, and not a bad one actually) but how it handles it afterwards.

connor
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:03 pm

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1363 Post by connor » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:55 pm

I've never been able to see what others see in The Dark Knight, definitely the weakest of Nolan's Batman movies. The opening pretty much demonstrates everything about it that I can't stand. The cool metallic Michael Mann realism of the Chicago locales alongside the overdubbed voices of the Joker's masked henchmen straight out of old Scooby Doo. This hodgepodge just doesn't work. And then brutally shooting William Fichtner's in the gut, having him lie there with a lame arm...but not a splotch of blood. Then screaming that totally forced "WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?" inanity. A movie where we can shove a pencil through someone's eye socket but...don't show any blood! There's something very repulsive about that.

You see it a few scenes later too when Dent has Eric Roberts's henchman on the stand. He's wearing some ridiculous plaid green jacket--what a hoodlum might wear, I suppose, in the 1940s or 50s. This wouldn't be a problem if Nolan was out to do something like Richard Donner's Superman. But no--he wants that Heat realism.

And the movie from there moves in such a herky jerky manner, like a million little threads stitched together. In this it shares similar flaws to JJ Abrams's second Star Trek movie. The difference is, the latter is bright and shiny and fun. The former aspires to some solemn message about statecraft or something.

black&huge
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:35 am

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1364 Post by black&huge » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:23 am

I'm with connor. TDK does not really hold up especially the last 20 minutes or so with the sonar and the lead up to the Joker. It was a good way to kill all momentum and any climactic effect with the final standoff between the two. DKR is all around a better film, Bane is a better villain and Tom Hardy doesn't overact like Ledger does.

That being said the second and third films suffer the same problem: being incredibly drawn out procedural wise. Batman Begins is the most streamlined but good god like I mentioned above the whole sonar thing in TDK and the sidetrip to China to capture that guy who is holding onto the mob's money. While a lot of people think the reverse bullet engineering is the most unbelievably stupid/goofy thing it doesn't hold a candle to the opening of DKR. The blood switch makes no sense since there's other ways to ID a body. It'd be the slightest more believable if they had gotten a corpse that actually resembled Pavel. But the biggest thing I cannot forgive is when Wayne fails the ledge jump then plummets all the way down only to be snap locked by the rope. Whereas it killed another random prisoner (at least it looked like it) it did nothing to Wayne. Like at all. It somehow didn't make his back injury worse and no matter where he tied that rope to it would have done major damage.

DKR is my favorite of the three and I think it's a legit movie but across the second and third films the heavy convolusion in that Nolan insists on explaining every piece of plot leading good guy to bad guy mixed in with things that are so inexplicable it actually NEEDS explaining makes these films truly puzzling in regards to the intent of realism over comic book schlock.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1365 Post by tenia » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:30 am

I still vastly prefer TDK over TDKR's horrendous pacing, sting of bad ideas and plot holes and awful villains (which Cotillard's acting being the icing on the cake).

I think I simply prefer Begins, which feels less heavy in pretention and ambition, indeed a more streamlined thing. But I don't dislike TDK's "Heat" realism, in the same way I have never been particularly bothered by superhero movies becoming darker or more down-to-the-ground. I'm fine with it, it has other stuff to offer anyway.

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1366 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:36 pm

I think at some level you need to accept that things are going to be incredibly incongruous on multiple fronts. I mean take the title character for instance. It's a billionaire playboy with severe trauma who dresses as a bat every night to fight crime. That's ridiculously absurd on any level and it's no wonder he was played as straight camp when he first came to the small screen. At some level I just had to make the decision to accept that there was going to be severe disconnect between the absurdity of the characters themselves and the severity of Nolan's storytelling.

People hate on Rises but I think it's a perfect tool to understand all of Nolan's weaknesses as a filmmaker. It's bloated and filled with nonsensical exposition ( Why was the sex scene necessary again? Did Bruce just need to raw dog somebody?) that does nothing but muddle whatever themes he was trying to convey. I certainly don't dislike the film (It's too cheesy to not love in my eyes.) but I cannot look at it as anything other than a charming mess with all of Nolan's excess on display. Plot holes aren't as much a concern for me (Say how Bruce gets back to Gotham) as the disconnect between thematic material (What does it all mean exactly? i.e Lol at the League of Shadows ).

However shame on anyone who doesn't like the comically meme worthy Bane.

connor
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:03 pm

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1367 Post by connor » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:47 pm

tenia wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:30 am
I still vastly prefer TDK over TDKR's horrendous pacing, sting of bad ideas and plot holes and awful villains (which Cotillard's acting being the icing on the cake).

I think I simply prefer Begins, which feels less heavy in pretention and ambition, indeed a more streamlined thing. But I don't dislike TDK's "Heat" realism, in the same way I have never been particularly bothered by superhero movies becoming darker or more down-to-the-ground. I'm fine with it, it has other stuff to offer anyway.
I prefer Rises to TDK simply because 1. i think the set pieces, particularly the opening, are superior 2. it's less concerned with "realism" 3. less claustrophobic

Overall, I think the first Nolan one is easily the best.

User avatar
Murdoch
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:59 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1368 Post by Murdoch » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:00 pm

I don't think I ever shared my thoughts on this one, but I wanted to write them down given how often I'm asked by friends on my opinion of the movie.

For me, the Joker is both the film's greatest asset and highlights the film's weaknesses. Whenever Ledger isn't on-screen the film drags and Nolan's attempts at pathos just reveal how the surrounding characters are shallow archetypes. Particularly Harvey Dent's moral shift plays out in such a disjointed, unbelievable fashion that the film's reliance on his downfall as the central tragedy feels severely lacking. I don't know if I can spoil the most ubiquitous movie of the past ten years but just in case:
SpoilerShow
It felt very odd to me that Dent would listen to Joker, the man that killed his lover, and focus his revenge on Batman. Not to mention how dramatically his entire demeanor changes afterward. I can understand that suffering severe burns and losing a loved one affects a person, but I never bought his sudden transformation to this supervillain overnight.
At most the film feels like one of Michael Bay's better movies, but with vigilante superheroes thrown in rather than patriotic soldiers. The scene that always stuck out to me was during a car chase, where the batmobile dodges around a series of cars and two young boys looking on from the back of a passed car oo and ah at the explosions. That really sums up the Dark Knight for me, spectacle masquerading as depth.

Persona
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:16 pm

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1369 Post by Persona » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:10 pm

Obviously, I disagree.

TDK basically has everything I want from a movie of this ilk, from the setpieces to the unforgettable villain to the way the whole thing is executed, but what I got and perhaps never expected to get from a movie like this is its profoundly compelling thematic core and the moral questions at its heart. It's that thing that, for me, makes the film stand apart from its peers and which has helped its resonance far outlast any other comic book films I can think of, and that includes the other Nolan Batmans. Really, to me, Logan is the only other comic book film that has come close, and it's not a particularly close "close."

You don't have to look much farther than Bilge's article to see why TDK is so great and still so relevant (or perhaps even more relevant than ever), but I also often come back to Chaw's original review, which is one my own personal favorite pieces of blockbuster criticism in the past decade, just in terms of how he expresses his passion for the film.

http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/ffc/201 ... night.html

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1370 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:14 pm

I was about to complain that people should read the thread all the way through before posting the same arguments over and over, but 55 pages? I guess I can't blame y'all. Maybe we shouldn't have joined these three threads together after all...

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1371 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:15 pm

You can have a change a heart rather quickly over the course of one night. I mean there's more than one vigilante movie out there where the otherwise normal upstanding person goes on a rampage due to something that happens to a loved one. I mean Charles Bronson coasted on this for years with Death Wish. Even further still this is a comic book movie rammed into a two and a half hour running time and no one is going to stick around for more exposition of Dent becoming more and more demoralized. With a villain whose plans only continue more often than not on pure chance Dent fracturing over the course of one night really doesn't strike me as far fetched. (The concept of one bad day has also been a thing in Batman for decades made famous in The Killing Joke.).

I certainly don't disagree that all of it isn't ridiculous though. But then again almost all of it is.

User avatar
Feiereisel
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:41 am

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1372 Post by Feiereisel » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:31 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:36 pm
I think at some level you need to accept that things are going to be incredibly incongruous on multiple fronts. [Batman is] ridiculously absurd on any level and it's no wonder he was played as straight camp when he first came to the small screen. At some level I just had to make the decision to accept that there was going to be severe disconnect between the absurdity of the characters themselves and the severity of Nolan's storytelling.
This is a good point, especially given the complexity of his history as a fictional character. I feel like fans, especially devout ones, sometimes take too narrow a focus, over-inflating the importance of certain elements of the character (or canon) while unfairly dismissing others. (Grant Morrison's extended run on the character in the comics, which was partially driven by the conceit that every previous Batman story "counted," is a good read for those who want to shake up their ideas about what the character may or may not be about.)

Those critiquing then narrative and structural flaws of Nolan's Batman films make valid points that, logically speaking, I agree with. However, I think all three films function very effectively--and imperfectly--on a more holistic level, especially if the viewer wants to look at them through certain thematic lenses.

The Dark Knight lends itself to this particularly well, I think. Not only is it the most "realistic" (note the quotes!) of the three films in both content and tone, but, unlike the adjacent films, it lacks the need to "establish" or "resolve" Nolan's version of Batman, allowing him instead to dig into the established world in an extremely incisive and meaningful way. It is absolutely a messy and imperfect film, but upon revisiting it this week I was struck by how rich and resonant the mess of it is. It doesn't add up, and yet it still feels relevant and appropriate.

Revisiting the film with some distance was almost a surreal experience. There's a sense of truth to everything, from the contrived and simplistic the ferry sequence to the unresolved issues of surveillance. The film's presentation of Dent as a crusading, morally rigorous savior--who jokes about pulling strings to get tables at restaurants, overlooks Caesar's tyranny while making a point about civic duty, is romantically involved with his subordinate employee, and uses a trick coin to charmingly deflect from his own hubris--really jumped out at me this time around. The morally questionable flux of the film is pervasive in a way that was apparent and appreciable in 2008, but, as some online authors have astutely pointed out, is stinging ten years later.

I agree with Tenia that some focused critical writing on the film's treatment of surveillance (i.e., that it's ethically wrong but necessary from a practical standpoint) would make for some really interesting analysis. To some extent, I would even argue that expecting the subsequent film to pay that off in a meaningful way is asking too much of it--we've barely begun to process and resolve it on a societal level.

Anyway, I don't know how to close this other than to say that I'm of opinion that the incongruities--of the narratives, the films' thematic concerns, and of Nolan in relation to the subject matter--are what make the films the best of the contemporary superhero epoch by a country mile. I'd write the book, if only I had the time to do so.

EDIT: Oh, jeez, that thing happened again where I spent so long working up this post that a handful of posts appeared by the time I'd finished. With regards to relevance, please know that...I try. :?

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1373 Post by tenia » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:58 pm

Persona wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:10 pm
You don't have to look much farther than Bilge's article to see why TDK is so great and still so relevant (or perhaps even more relevant than ever)
I'd nuance that by writing Bilge's article isn't saying so much why the movie might be great, but what people liking it can find in it. I've become more and more mixed towards the movie, for many reasons, and Bilge's article amost don't tackle any single of these reservations. It's obviously written by somebody who's very fond of the movie, but I doubt it's a particularly objective piece looking at the movie's true qualities.

This being written, I never understood Logan's appeal, so I guess it might influence how I appreciate this kind of movies compared to you (and other aficionados).

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1374 Post by nitin » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:59 pm

I have never understood the dislike of TDKR but the liking of many other superhero movies.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012)

#1375 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:56 am

Anything that followed The Dark Knight was bound to have some scorn towards it. I have my own issues with it but overall I think it was a good way to close out the story. I'm a bit disillusioned by the current state of comic book films to the point of not really having much interest anymore, so much so that I see Nolan making this series a world onto itself with a finite conclusion is something I appreciate more and more now.

Post Reply