Why the Dark Knight Trilogy was so overrated!
Christopher Nolan's masterpiece... or so people think
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 29th March, 2015
There have been many versions of Batman, with another coming our way in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. So I thought we would look at the last version, which was very successful.
For years people have said the Dark Knight trilogy was the best version of Batman. Personally I have always thought of it as the most pretentious and boring version that has been made.
The main problem is that every film in the Dark Knight trilogy takes itself far, far too seriously. Everything is dressed up as if there was some major social commentary being made about society. What Christopher Nolan forgets is that this is a fucking comic book movie! It’s meant to be fun. Although comics have had always had an adult fan base, it’s meant to be entertaining.
There was also a huge problem in the need to explain absolutely everything. From where the Batmobile (or the Tumbler as it was also called) came from to how they made his cowl and kept it all hidden. These are things I just don’t care about. This makes the Bruce Wayne\Batman character so boring. Where is the mystery of the character? Simple there isn’t any if you tell the audience everything. I don’t need to know how Bruce Wayne trained to be Batman.
Another major problem was that everything had to be realistic. Did we really have to give explanations of how Batman could glide or making a Batmobile that could actually work. Basically it took all the fun out of the character, as you have no sense of wonder left. It’s like watching a magician after he has told you how to do all his tricks.
If we breakdown the films one by one we can see the problems:
Ok to start with we see Bruce Wayne committing crimes and being put in a foreign prison. This was his way of understanding the criminal mind. Kind of like the only way to understand what a killer thinks is by becoming one. Just a little bit over the top. We also see the meeting of Ra's al Ghul, and Bruce being trained by the League of Shadows.
Now this is nothing new, it has been documented over the years in the comics that this actually happened (although technically it should have been called the League of Assassins). But from my understanding it just references Batman’s training rather than go into details, like it did here.
Also we have another major problem, Liam Neeson. He just never seems right as the big bad guy in this film. Having him there (which is a completely modern take on what the comics have dictated in the past) just doesn’t feel right, and completely wastes the other villain of the film, the Scarecrow. He was actually very good and Cillian Murphy did a good job for the character. I just thought it didn’t go far enough with it. The Scarecrow just ends up being one of the henchmen, what a waste that was.
The story is pretty dull, it’s Batman trying to save Gotham from being poisoned by Ra's al Ghul. In his attempt of destroying Gotham after it has been considered to sick to save.
This is where the film really gets pretentious by trying to add a social commentary to a superhero film. I don’t care about this. I watch Batman so that he can beat the villains in clever and deductive ways. I don’t want to see this type of film for Batman.
The last major problem is Christian Bale. Now I believe him to be a fine actor I just never saw him as Batman. There was just something that didn’t look right when he was in the suit. And his voice for when he was Batman was just plain awful.
In all this was a version of Batman I just didn’t enjoy. It just wasn’t a proper Batman film for me. Too much of the mystery was taken away from a character that has to be mysterious for it to work.
The Dark Knight
Now the main problems I have with this film was that it doesn’t contain anything original within the battle between Batman and the Joker. I want someone to show me something that was original and not taken from the 1989 Batman film. There is nothing but the same old retreaded story here. All the Joker does is set traps for Batman, just like he always does.
Another problem is the story again. With this version they are trying to add a sense of purpose to the Joker’s plans. This is not how the character should be; the Joker should always be trying to play sick (possibly homicidal) jokes on the people of Gotham. Not trying to prove sociological principles by bringing out the worst in people. And his obsession with anarchy didn’t fit right with me, as it seemed to what to explain his actions. Which in turn seems to contradict the explanation that Michael Caine gave ‘some men just want to see the world burn’. If the filmmakers had left the Joker with that ideal this version would have worked better.
Also I felt that the Joker just suddenly seemed obsessed with Batman. There wasn’t any real reason for it. In past versions it was because he helped create the Joker, usually by falling in a vat of acid. This version he just suddenly becomes obsessed. Doesn’t really make as much sense as previous versions have.
The character of Harvey Dent/Two-Face was completely wasted. It made no sense to have everything happen to the character in to this film. It just made everything completely bloated. Now if they stopped the character’s arc to where he was scared and hurt by the Joker, they could have used him in the sequel and give him the entire film to grow and move. At the present all we have is the typical clunky he’s been scarred (in a way that is not very realistic at all) and now he must turn bad. It was very clichéd.
There are excellent aspects such as Heath Ledger’s performance. I have to agree that it was truly fantastic. But I do also think it was overshadowed by his death. Everyone thought it was greater than it actually was.
The way the film was shot fitted very well. It had the correct mood for everything; although I felt that it was maybe too realistic but that is an issue I had with all the films in this trilogy. Although I didn’t like the Batmobile, I did like the Batpod. I thought that was a really cool idea, and quite well executed.
But overall the film is just too long and trying to be clever for its own good. Everyone says it as a master piece of filmmaking, well I think it was just a bland piece of filmmaking and that everyone was trying to bring a hidden adult meaning to a superhero movie. Which was already made perfectly well nearly twenty years before this. So it was really just a case
The Dark Knight Rises
Now this is the film that fans of this series thought was a real let down. Personally I think it was the best one. It still had a tremendous amount of problems though.
The story of this one has huge plot holes. Characters in this film just do the most bizarre things. Let’s start with Bane. Firstly you can barely understand a word he says. Secondly his plan is hold hostage Gotham City with a huge nuclear like bomb, but he tells them all the citizens are free to do as they please and releasing all the criminals and killing all police and government officials. However due to the nature of the bomb everyone will be killed in three months anyway.
So why is everyone willing to accept this? There doesn’t appear to be any benefit what so ever to this plan. The only cop out reason we are given is from Talia saying she is continuing her father’s work of destroying Gotham.
This makes the Dark Knight completely irrelevant. You didn’t need it at all. The only reference is to Harvey Dent. This could easily have been taken out replaced with something, and then you don’t need the Dark Knight at all. Now this may have been different if Heath Ledger was still alive, but we can only go by what was released.
There are several ways in which Bane’s master plan could have been foiled. Just look at all the ways shown in the How It Should Have Ended. Lets just say there are so many ways, which are just ignored by the characters.
Once again though it is far too long. The story just keeps going and going. It just doesn’t have enough to keep my interest for one sitting. Although I did find it more enjoyable than the Dark Knight, mainly because this was an attempt at creating a story that hadn’t been done before (I’m not counting the horrible version of Bane in Batman & Robin). So it gave so something new and different, even if it had ripped aspects of the Dark Knight Returns comic book.
For me the whole Dark Knight trilogy was a complete bore. As I have stated already, there was nothing unique about it. The idea of a remake of anything must bring something new to the table. The only thing new that has been brought here is a large degree of realism, something that I’m not interested in seeing in a superhero movie. Other than that there is nothing new. It was a very competent effort just very stale. There was no reason to watch this version over the Tim Burton version, other than it is newer.
If you’re after a version of Batman where everything is explained then this is the perfect version for you. Judging by the number of fans of this version, it seems that there is a market for this.
Personally my perfect version of Batman was the 1990’s animated series. That always found the balance of seriousness and entertainment. No other version has come near to its success (Tim Burton’s Batman came very close but still had issues). That’s just my opinion though.