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Why The Dark Knight Trilogy is Still the Gold Standard

Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

With The Batman coming out soon, many people are revisiting Batman’s previous films. One Batman franchise that still holds up and remains the gold standard in comic book movies is The Dark Knight trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe dominated the box office and changed comic book movies, as well as the DC Extended Universe, becoming the main DC movie franchise, The Dark Knight Trilogy changed things for comic book movies and make their mark on the box office. It’s been nearly ten years since the franchise ended with The Dark Knight Rises. Since then, we got many great comic book films, but the Dark Knight Trilogy remains the best.

One of the reasons The Dark Knight Trilogy is great is the characters. Yes, these movies are about Bruce Wayne and his journey as Batman. Christian Bale gave a great performance in all three films. The characters surrounding him as well also made this trilogy special. Michael Caine’s performance as Alfred Pennyworth is one of my favorite performances in any comic book movie. The emotion Caine put into his performance, as well as the chemistry with Bale and the guidance he gives him, hits me on an emotional level. Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, Batman’s closest ally, is incredible as well as Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, who helps provide Bruce with the tech he uses as Batman. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, is a fun performance, going from a cat thief to ally and love interest to Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises.

The villains also make the movies incredible. Heath Ledger as Joker is the standout villain of the trilogy. Ledger even won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Each villain’s performance is great. Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul brings a great calm and calculating villain. Tom Hardy as Bane is my second favorite villain performance in the trilogy. My favorite moment of his is when he delivers the speech that reveals the truth about Harvey Dent and takes over Gotham, breaking the prisoners out of prison. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, also known as Two-Face, does not get enough praise. Eckhart does an incredible job making Dent this tragic character.

The journey Bruce Wayne goes through in these films is one of my favorites in a film franchise. In Batman Begins, he learns how to be a symbol. In The Dark Knight, we see Bruce take on the mob and push his limits against the Joker. The Dark Knight Rises, despite having the least amount of time with Bruce as Batman, does a great job examining Bruce Wayne’s character, showing his return as Batman after eight years, his loss to Bane, and how he comes back to save Gotham.

Hans Zimmer’s score for all three films is my all-time favorite film series score. Zimmer captures the score for each scene perfectly. When a moment of hope comes up, like when Bruce climbs out of the pit in The Dark Knight Rises, the score has a great blend of hope and tension. When an emotional moment comes up, such as when Bruce Wayne’s parents die in Batman Begins, he delivers an emotional score.

Some people criticize how realistic Nolan made his Batman films and think he does not understand Batman. I enjoy the realistic take because it keeps the series grounded to a certain point, which is rare to see in comic book movies these days. Also, Nolan understands Batman. Each of his films takes inspiration from popular Batman comics. For example, Batman Begins is heavily inspired by Batman: Year One. The Dark Knight takes inspiration from Batman: The Long Halloween. The Dark Knight Rises takes inspiration from Batman: Knightfall and The Dark Knight Returns. They may not be comic book accurate, but they respect the lore of Batman.

All in all, The Dark Knight Trilogy delivers on great characters and tells a great character journey for Bruce Wayne. Nolan understands Batman more than what people think. These movie also got me into other Christopher Nolan films. The Dark Knight itself remains my all-time favorite comic book movie ever made. If you have not seen these movies, I highly recommend that you do.

What did you think of The Dark Knight Trilogy? Let us know in the comments down below.

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