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Legends of the Dark Knight or: How Christopher Nolan has ruined me with Batman

 

If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely – Ra’s Al Ghul

I was asked the other night by a good friend “Which of the three Batman films is your favorite? I had no real answer for reasons I’ll be putting below, but after pondering a little more I came to the realization that I was quick to immediately understand he meant the Nolan films, and not my favorite out of all of them. With that question and the fact that AMC has been playing the newer ones along with ’89 Batman and Batman Returns, the thoughts of my favorite character of all time have been in my brain off and on this week.

There is no doubt in my mind that Christopher Nolan has painted a vision of Batman that was better than any of it’s predecessors, as well as make it hard for anyone else in the future to live up to. He changed the idea of how a superhero movie could be told that has been copied now almost to death. I’ll get into some reasoning why this storytelling only works for Batman and not really any other character in a bit. So right now lets start from the beginning about it overall.

Ask anyone who knows me, Batman has been and always will be my favorite hero. He is the most real type of hero you can get that seems possible, he has the best enemies, the greatest city for stories to be created in, and the greatest gadgets anyone could ever have.  My reasoning is simple: He has no powers other than he is smart. He works his ass to the bone to fight for justice even if it causes people to turn against him. Because he has no powers, he has to find ways to overrun enemies that may be smarter, faster, or more powerful. He does all this and never kills. Even when people would understand that maybe it would be in the worlds best interest that the Joker was dead, he still won’t pull the trigger in a manner of speaking. There are probably a lot more reasons, but I could go on forever, the point I’m stating here is, in my opinion, Batman beats everyone on who is the best both in DC and Marvel. Debate me if you wish, I love hearing rationality why maybe an X-Men, or Superman, or Iron Man is better.

There was a point in my association with Batman that I was finished with it, and it came with that horrendous Batman and Robin movie in the late 1990’s. It was so over the top, neon filled, and pointless that I never wanted to see a Batman movie again. When my brother told me they were releasing a new Batman movie and called it Batman Begins, I thought, you won’t trick me this time, I’m not watching this garbage. My brother insisted to the point where I finally watched it. It is the only one out of the trilogy I didn’t see in the theater, and I really wish I had the opportunity now.

Christopher Nolan changed the game. Not just for Batman, but for most of the superhero and reboot movies we see today. He did for Batman, what Richard Donner did when he came out with Superman in 1978. He did an origin story that seemed believable, as well as set the tone for the Caped Crusader. Batman Begins did a phenomenal job at making Bruce Wayne seem like he could be in the real world, along with the probability of Batman running around. That is why the movie works. It took me out of the world and made me believe. When the Dark Knight came out, he upped the game. Nolan along with Heath Ledger, created a Joker that was evil, insane, chaotic, and 100% believable as well. Sure he didn’t get dumped into a acid plant to make his face the way it was. No his origin was probably scarier, and the fact that he was so messed up that he couldn’t keep an origin story straight hit the point. When Ledger died before the movie came out, it made the anticipation bigger, but it delivered on the performances. Not only Ledger, but Aaron Eckhart who played Harvey Dent. That was a great telling of a man who believed in justice and was brought down after losing everything. Almost what Batman could have ended up as if he decided that killing could be an option.

I wasn’t sure what the Dark Knight Rises would have in store. I know it could never have lived up to the masterful work of The Dark Knight, but I knew that Nolan had proved himself, and it was going to be decent. Rises was just as good, combining elements of the previous movies, and creating a nice way to end his version of The Batman story. There might be plot holes in his movies, all movies usually have some, let alone a trilogy, but these films get away with it by keeping the tone correct along with the characters for the most part.

So why am I saying Christopher Nolan ruined me with Batman? Its because of how good those were. It will be difficult for any future Batman movie to live up to those, but I am going to have to try my best to move on with it. The only negative thing I can say about Nolan’s vision is that too many people have now tried to rip it off to make their reboots or superhero movies. It really only works for a Batman type character.

I loved Man of Steel, but that realism shouldn’t be with Superman. He’s a pretty invincible alien from another planet with powers we can’t even begin to imagine in real life. He doesn’t need to brood, he doesn’t need real, he’s grandiose in his overall character. Batman has had to overcome his human limitations by using his brain, his bank account, and his own patience at times to think beyond and outwit his enemies. The only other guys I can think of that are on his level are Iron Man, and The Punisher, but they don’t use the same code of ethics that Batman tries to keep.

I don’t want to see more realistic portrayals of my superheroes, other than Batman. Make the rest of the super powered guys be a little more campy, because they have to use some of that camp to beat up Monsters, Robots and Alien Invasions. Batman has to keep crime down for the most part in his own section of the world against legit insane people, the mafia, and corrupt officials.

All this being said, I will watch Superman/Batman: Dawn of Justice because I am curious, time will tell just how it will hold up in the scheme of things. Will it be closer to The Dark Knight trilogy, or closer to Batman and Robin on the good to bad meter?

 

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