Yeah I said it. I don’t like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. While it is true that they’re the best live action Batman films we’ve gotten thus far, that doesn’t make them good. The earlier Batman movies were absolute disgraces that I could rant about for hours, but in all honesty those don’t make me nearly as furious as the Nolan trilogy. A reminder that this is just my opinion based on my own taste, I am not a professional critic in any way, and if you hate my opinion and think I should go fuck myself that’s completely valid. I’m going to go film by film and address my biggest problems with each one.
Let me start by saying that casting Liam Neeson, a middle-aged Irishman, to play Ra’s Al Ghul, a 600 year old Chinese man raised in North Africa, is fucking ridiculous. But the role Ra’s played in this movie was equally ridiculous. I don’t want to waste time going over Batman’s origin story, so I’ll just say that Ra’s was not nearly as involved as the movie suggests. I understand wanting to include a major villain, but a well written story of Batman’s fight against mobs, mafia, and even still using Scarecrow, would have been really cool. This movie felt like it didn’t really know where it was going, or rather, that it was trying too hard to be a “serious” film. I think Nolan wanted to set his trilogy apart from the whacky disgraces of the past, which is understandable, but this movie barely succeeds as an origin story. Also, the ending sucked!
The Dark Knight
Let me start by saying that Heath Ledger has given the most comic book accurate portrayal of Joker we’ve ever had in live action cinema and that he is truly missed. He did everything he could to take this poorly written mess and turn it into greatness. I also have to admit that while I’m not the biggest fan of this movie, it’s the best live action Batman film thus far. I’d say it starts out strong and gets weaker the further you go. What begins as mob bosses cowering from Batman turns into Joker causing random destruction and misery to point out the “joke” of law and society, and trying to make Batman commit murder, which is very true to his character. Personally I think the worst parts of this movie are the parts that try to set up a Two-Face origin story, Joker’s scars bits. the makeup, and the ridiculous ending. I know Nolan was determined not to be “comic bookey” but I think if we can have a good man with half his face blown off turn evil, we can have the joker face be more than just makeup.
The Dark Knight Rises
Look, this movie is absolute garbage. There’s nothing redeemable about this movie. From the very first scene it makes no sense and it only continues to snowball. If I tried to list everything wrong with this movie this opinion piece would turn into an obnoxiously long essay, so I’ll just say the things I hated the most: Bruce’s broken and then mechanically fixed and broken again body, the fact that Bane is supposed to be Middle Eastern in the movie even though his character his Latino and the actor playing the role is British. The pointless callback to the League of Assassins, Joseph-Gordon Levitt playing a twenty something year-old cop whose real name is apparently Robin, etc. Also, another completely stupid ending.
I still stand by the fact that these movies are better than the Tim Burton fever dreams of the 90s, and that they’re the best live action Batman movies we’ve had so far, but that doesn’t make them good. Ask yourself this, as great as The Dark Knight is, how often do you rewatch it? How often do you think about it when you think about superhero movies? If you chose to watch The Dark Knight, does it make you want to watch the other two? This trilogy is one gold bar mushed between two turds. But, if we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that great superhero movies can be made. After all the bad movies we had to go through to get good Spiderman films, the fact that we’re getting a good Fantastic Four movie for the first time, maybe Batman can be saved!