The Dark Knight Trilogy: comic book movies for those who don’t like comic books

It is very common that in many money-making franchises, the third part is most likely going to turn out to be the weakest. Keeping that in mind, Christopher Nolan, DC Comics, Warner Bros and the filmmakers of “The Dark Knight” trilogy have all made a respectful attempt to produce a superhero movie that would satisfy both comic-book goers and perhaps -I would dare to say- a more “sophisticated” audience. When Batman Begins was first released in 2005, lines went around the block but it was the massive success of Mr. Nolan’s second Batman film, “The Dark Knight” that really brought a world wide positive reception that made the film the twelfth highest grossing film in history. “The Dark Knight” crossed the billion dollar mark and was honored by the Academy thanks to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker. Four years later and last week, “The Dark Knight Rises” opened world wide.

The film is flawed but it has great action moments, thrilling scenes and a mind blowing climax. The first half is sublime, great introduction of new characters, great set-ups and a well-thought out break into the second act. This film -just like the previous ones- has almost successfully attempted to depict Batman in a more human and naturalistic way. In today’s sociopolitical context one can believe it could actually happen: an eccentric multimillionaire tries to help stop crime masking himself at night as a vigilante while an underground -literally- terrorist group try to destroy the country’s most corrupt city. In a superhero film that is completely acceptable and believable. The film locks your attention during the first act of the film right up until the “all is lost” moment. Once the moment passes, the film gets a little too overindulgent and excessive. A flawed film is more or less like very good sex: it takes a very long time to climax and that is just what happens during the last half of act two of The Dark Knight Rises. But just like good sex, The Dark Knight Rises has a rewarding ending. After two hours of twists, plot points, exhausting action scenes, melodramatic dialogues and a handful of smart lines, it ends with a resolution that is such a bombardment of information that it almost literally and forcefully  blows your mind. Despite The Dark Knight Rises’ limitations it still remains part of the only film trilogy that does true justice to the Batman legacy.

The Tim Burton films were fun, the Joel Schumacher films were abominable and the Nolan films reach a superior level of decency. Batman has always been an interesting character for comic books but an even more interesting character for film, unlike other superheroes he lacks the prefix “super” which gives him supernatural powers, his secret identity is Bruce Wayne who is very relatable as a human being – but not as a taxpayer- his relationship with his parents, his moral and ethical codes, his love-hate relationship with Gotham City and his solitaire love life makes him sympathetic and agreeable. His method is respectful: he confronts his fears by becoming them and he confronts his enemies by outsmarting them. Of course, unlike us and Peter Parker he doesn’t have to worry about rent but he is relatable nonetheless. I think it’s safe to say that the only in-depth cinematic portrayal of the Batman/Wayne character that can stand alone as a film independent from the comic book is Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy”. If the filmmakers and producers would like to keep the trilogy in the same level as other memorable film trilogies like “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings” or “Alien” they must not make a fourth Dark Knight. It had a good run, an interesting approach, a decent ending and an even better title.