A Cinefessions Series Review is a periodic column that sees one more writers watching and reviewing an entire film series. Cinefessions considers any film franchise that has two or more films a series, and thus available for review in this column. This is an excellent way to get a quick look at an entire collection of films in one column. Today, Ashe visits one of the most talked-about trilogies in recent memory: Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Batman hitting the scene. Since I’m a huge Batman fan, I’d be remiss not to do something for the anniversary. Rather than do a series review of the Burton/Schumacher films, along with the trilogy of animated films, and then these, we thought it better to do each series separate. I honestly don’t know if I’ll have time to finish off the Burton/Schumacher set as I don’t own the films that were cobbled together after Burton left that series, and I’m going to have to find the animated films on DVD since I used to have them on VHS only. I did have all three of the Nolan films at my house, eager to be thrown upon my big screen in honor of the man the Joker would call ‘Batsy’. These will be a little more in depth as I’m going to throw in some Batman facts and history as well. It might get a little spoilery, so you have been warned. So here it is, my series review of the Nolan trilogy for Batman’s 75th Anniversary. Enjoy.
Batman Begins (2005, dir. Christopher Nolan)
Batman Begins is almost the perfect resurrection of the Batman franchise after the spectacularly bad Batman Forever and Batman & Robin nearly buried it in the ‘90s. A far more serious take on the characters and setting than even Burton’s films, Nolan is definitely borrowing from some of the better graphic novels for this one, but at the same time he’s put a very different spin on it. Specifically here we’re going for Batman: Year One, the Frank Miller graphic novel with a twist on Bruce’s training and by tying it into the League of Shadows and Ra’s Al Ghul, a villain we’d only seen realized outside the comics at this point in the animated series. The Man Who Falls, about Bruce’s early life and training, is used quite a bit here, and there’s a little bit taken from The Long Halloween (but the sequel would borrow from The Long Halloween far more heavily). It’s not the perfect Batman film, but it’s damned close to it. As an origin film and a re-telling to set the stage for the trilogy it works on a lot of levels. Continue reading