Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy” serves as the current definitive version of the famous superhero known by children and grown men across the world as “Batman”. With the conclusion of the ‘Dark Knight Trilogy” this past July, and the expectation that this universe as it currently stands is a closed space, Christopher Nolan sets the stage for its audience to finally begin pouring over the entire narrative with scrupulous eyes to identify and dissect themes and messages of story and characters in this rich tale of the murky region between good and evil.
Telling the story of a billionaire turned vigilante, Batman has become an archetype of sorts in modern lore. His story first emerged in 1939, a creation from artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Creators combining elements of the characters Zorro and Sherlock Holmes, managed to build a hero with a very distinct set of skills and attitudes. Over many years the character of Batman has been portrayed in many different media, expanding from comic books into graphic novels, appearances on radio, a continued presence on television and eventually emergence onto the silver screen. In 1989, Tim Burton delivered “Batman” starring Michael Keaton, which was became at that point in history, the 5th highest grossing film of all time. That film went on to spark 2 sequels, “Batman Returns” and “Batman and Robin”, directed by Joel Schumacher, the latter of which was critically panned. After a long hiatus from the silver screen, Nolan resurrected “The Bat” in the live-action blockbuster film “Batman Begins” starring Christian Bale as the titular character.
“Batman Begins”, released in 2004 as the first of the trilogy serves to establish the universe of the trilogy as a hyper-realistic one and in doing so sets its follow-up “The Dark Knight” with a system of assumed truths that allow several ideas about the human order to emerge. In Nolan’s concluding film, “The Dark Knight Rises”, the story’s messages and theories of social truths are cemented.
This series of posts will attempt to dissect the narrative elements of the “Dark Knight Trilogy”, mining its rich story and ideology, attempting to deconstruct the Bat and draw conclusions worth drawing. Some topics that will be discussed include studies into fear, chaos versus order, power versus agency, and the tension between absurdity and realism.
This is due to be a fun ride and hopefully an intellectually stimulating conversation. Please feel free to throw comments suggesting new topics of inquiry into this deep canon.