With the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises just around the corner, it seems like a good time to revisit a popular movie theme: creating the most successful Batman movie in history. The Caped Crusader has been captivating moviegoers for over 80 years now, with his memorable catch phrase “to infinity and beyond”. So what has made him so memorable, and can we learn anything from his history of success?
The Dark Knight
For those unfamiliar, The Dark Knight was the 2008 sequel to The Dark Knight (2005), which in turn was a remake of the Batman (1966) starring Jack Nicholson. Despite the film’s enormous success, it is also often considered to be one of the worst Batman movies ever made. A lot of this has to do with director Christopher Nolan’s ambitious approach to the material, which spanned multiple countries and time zones. This led to many production delays and a rushed release schedule. What’s more is that the film was not particularly well-liked by audiences or critics when it was first released.
The Dark Knight Rises
One month after the premiere of The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. launched an official campaign to promote the film’s upcoming sequel, The Dark Knight Rises. The film would go on to become the highest-grossing domestic and worldwide hit of all time. Many people believe that Nolan’s unique brand of hyper-reality and dark humor made the difference. Critics loved it, considering it to be one of the best superhero films ever made.
What is the Importance of Story?
One of the biggest differences between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises is the former’s heavier emphasis on character over plot. However, the importance of story in cinematic storytelling was not novel when it came to Nolan’s Batman movies. The director had previously stated that he saw his work as a “continuation of the character [he] always wanted to play,” and that the film was intended to be a “love letter to the fans”. So, it seems that Nolan and Caped Crusader share a similar creative vision.
The Importance Of Craft
What makes a good Batman movie even more impressive is the craftsmanship that went into it. From the stunning cinematography to the incredible score, every aspect of the movie looked incredible. However, it’s not just the visual style that makes The Dark Knight stand out. The sound design also played a huge part in the movie’s success. When the Joker laughs, for example, it’s not always because he’s joking – sometimes it’s because he’s caughing at you! The same can be said for the various other villains as well – they have a laugh all their own that is just as integral to the movie’s soundtrack as the Joker’s. Even the quieter moments are rich with emotion thanks to some truly excellent sound design. All in all, it’s fair to say that The Dark Knight is one of the most well-rounded superhero movies ever made. It’s a triumph not only as a caped crusader adventure, but as a complete audio-visual experience as well.
Now, some might argue that the most important thing that made The Dark Knight so special was that it broke new ground for superhero films, specifically in terms of character development. The Joker’s tragic backstory was explored extensively, as was Harley Quinn’s, resulting in these characters becoming somewhat sympathetic figures instead of just comic book clichés.
Harley Quinn is one of the most memorable characters from The Dark Knight. The crazed socialite first appeared in Batman Returns (1992) and went on to become one of the most popular characters in all of DC Comics. The character’s portrayal in the movie was inspired by Bob Kane’s wife, Betty Kane, who was also inspired by William Moulton Marston’s wife, Elizabeth. Harley is often considered to be part of the great evolution of the Batman characters, as her portrayal marked a shift from the campy humor of the previous films to something darker and more realistic. Even today, with several sequels and a TV series, Harley Quinn remains in high demand, with many merchandising opportunities available.
One of the most interesting characters from The Dark Knight is The Mask. The character was inspired by the 1966 Batman TV series, and his design was even influenced by the show’s star, Adam West. While the character did not exactly do much in the movie aside from be in it, he managed to garner a legion of fans who eagerly await the sequel, which is set to premiere on October 25, 2017. With a release date this far in the future, it’s clear that the filmmakers had plenty of time to work out any kinks in the casting process. Like many of the other characters on this list, The Mask’s popularity lies in his ability to completely switch costumes and identities, with most of them being some sort of representation of the great mask that he wears. In the show’s opening credits, West and company actually credited the character’s costume changes as the inspiration for the costume designs for the various other superheroes on the show!
What is a Character?
While this article has focused mainly on the characters from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, it is important to remember that these are not standalone movies. Both films are part of a larger cinematic universe which Nolan and his team have built over the years. So, it might be more accurate to say that this is a character study of one very particular type of individual: the Batman. The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises both explore the character’s psychology, his methods of crime fighting, and even the various gadgets that he uses. It is also important to note that Nolan does not see his films as standalone pieces – he has stated that they were meant to be seen as an “event movie” that can be enjoyed on its own, but also in comparison to other films.
Ultimately, the success of a Batman movie hinges on two things: the first is the design of the characters, as they must fit the cinematic requirements of a “blockbuster” film, which need to be action-packed and as realistic as possible. The second is the director, as Christopher Nolan is arguably one of the greatest film directors of all time. It seems that everything he touches turns to gold, which is exactly why it’s important to keep an eye out for his upcoming films!