Warning: Contains spoilers from Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and possibly The Dark Knight Rises that I haven’t seen.
So, it has come to this. The “epic conclusion” to director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy premieres in theaters this Friday. The reboot of the Caped Crusader starring Christian Bale donning the cowl began in 2005, following Schumacher’s horrendous and excessively garish Batman and Robin (1997). That film was rather important because it taught Hollywood how it shouldn’t create any future superhero flicks. Not that mistakes still didn’t happen.
Before entering Nolan’s “realistic world” of the fictional vigilante Batman one final time, here’s a comprehensive refresher course regarding the previous motion pictures and what happened in them, along with my thoughts about each one.
Batman Begins (2005)
While playing with his childhood friend Rachel, a young Bruce plummets into an abandoned well where many bats are residing. Due to this experience, he acquires a fear of bats. Not long after, he witnesses the murder of his wealthy parents, Thomas and Martha, in front of him, at the hands of robber Joe Chill. As a result, Bruce is raised by the family’s butler Alfred Pennyworth. Many years later, his parent’s killer Joe Chill is given parole for agreeing to testify against mafia lord Carmine Falcone. Bruce, now a man, attends, intent on shooting Joe Chill. However, one of Falcone’s assassins shoots Joe before Bruce can do so. He confides in Rachel Dawes, Gotham City’s assistant district attorney, who is outraged and revolted by Bruce’s thirst for revenge.
He leaves Gotham so can find out more about the criminal underworld, allowing him to come back and liberate the city from its own teeming crime and corruption. Inside a Bhutanese jail, Bruce meets Ducard, a man that trains him to become a ninja and join up with Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Shadows. Upon finishing his training, Bruce discovers the League’s real purpose: to rescue Gotham City by setting it ablaze. He burns the temple down, killing Ra’s, while saving Ducard’s life. Ducard warns him that his compassion for his enemies will be his undoing.
Bruce returns to Gotham. Pretending to be billionaire playboy, he plans on wrestling control of his family’s company Wayne Enterprises away from the current CEO William Earle. He befriends Lucius Fox, a demoted employee working in the corporation’s Applied Sciences Division, who shows him some prototype tech that’ll be key towards transmuting Bruce Wayne into his Batman persona. Following The Dark Knight foiling an illegal drug shipment, an empowered Sgt. Jim Gordon and police arrests the before inaccessible-to-cops Falcone. Elsewhere in the city, an experimental Wayne Enterprises’ weapon called a Micromave Emitter, designed to vaporize an enemy’s water supply is purloined during the raid of a Wayne Enterprises cargo ship.
Thanks to the crooked psychopharmacologist Dr. Jonathon Crane, Falcone and his cronies are deemed “mentally unfit for trial” and sent to Arkham Asylum. Dr. Crane has been using Falcone to smuggle a potent hallucinogenic drug that causes intense psychosis. Because Falcone failed, wearing a burlap mask, Crane exposes him to the toxin, driving Carmine insane with fright of the “Scarecrow”. While examining Dr. Crane’s apartment, Batman too, becomes a victim of the toxin. Luckily, Alfred saves him and Fox is able to concoct an antidote. A frustrated Rachel goes to Arkham to confront Dr. Crane and after explaining he’s been putting the toxin into Gotham’s water supply, she is also exposed. Batman shows up and defeats Crane by using the toxin against him. He divulges that the toxin is harmless in liquid form, but deadly if exhaled. With the police in pursuit, Batman rushes back to Wayne Manor in his Batmobile and inoculates Rachel. He then hands her two vials: one for Gordon and one for the purpose of mass production.
At Wayne’s birthday celebration, Ducard appears. He reveals he is in fact Ra’s al Ghul, how shocking. Bruce shoos his guests away by feigning an intoxicated tirade before taking on Ra’s and his ninjas. His plan involving the Microwave Emitter and Crane’s fear toxin is told to Wayne which’ll cause Gotham’s citizens to destroy each other and the city. Furthermore, in retaliation for torching his home, Ra’s and his henchmen set fire to Wayne Manor with Bruce inside it. Once again, Alfred saves him. As the League of Shadows move forward with their scheme using Gotham’s train system to spread the toxin throughout Gotham, Batman frees Rachel from a drug-induced mob and tells her his secret identity. Leaving his Batmobile with Sgt. Gordon, Batman chases and fights Ra’s al Ghul. Batman flees from the train just as Gordon annihilates the tracks with the Batmobile, presumably killing Ra’s in the resulting fiery crash.
Batman is recognized as a Gotham City’s hero, but Bruce loses Rachel. She can’t seem to love both Wayne and Batman. Because Wayne Enterprises went public, Bruce purchases a controlling stake, fires Earle, bestowing the position of CEO to Lucius Fox. The newly promoted to Lieutenant Jim Gordon shows Batman the new Bat-Signal and remarks about a costumed criminal that leaves Joker cards at the crime scenes. Batman says “He’ll look into it” and vanishes into the night.
Bruce Wayne’s journey and ultimate transformation into Batman.
Strong supporting cast: Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius), and Gary Oldman (Gordon).
Batman Begins drawing inspiration from comic book storylines Batman: Year One, Batman: The Long Halloween, and The Man Who Falls.
Hans Zimmer’s techno-ish score.
Bale’s Batman voice that sounds like a smoker combined with Donald Trump. Every time he’s on screen, I had to stifle back my boisterous laughter. Bale makes this Batman undeniably funny and not intimidating. I realize that isn’t Bale’s fault, but merely an awful decision of director Christopher Nolan’s.
The character of Rachel Dawes portrayed by Katie Holmes in every possible way. She feels unnecessary and shoehorned in. An obligatory love interest for the main character. Pfft, she only exists to be a plot device in The Dark Knight (2008) anyways.
Depicting two unknown by mainstream audiences’ villains, Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow. Neither of them are ever seen as a threat to Batman. In fact, he’s able to trounce both super easily!
Also, why would such a powerful organization like the League of Shadows needs to have an asinine roundabout plan to annihilate Gotham City? It is also exceeding complicated and inefficient. I mean seriously think about it…
The Dark Knight (2008)
Taking place six months after Batman Begins (2005), the movie opens with Joker and his accomplices robbing a mob-owned bank. After engineering their deaths during the robbery, Joker leaves alone with the dough. Lt. Gordon and Batman decide that including the new righteous district attorney Harvey Dent, in their plan to topple the syndicate is a swell idea. Bruce Wayne has been watching him closely because Dent is moral, strong, and… Dating Rachel Dawes. He agrees to throw a fundraiser for him too. Meanwhile Lau, a Chinese accountant, explains to the mob bosses, Sal Maroni, Gambol, and The Chechen, that due to the recent pressure, he’s left Gotham with their money and escaped to Hong Kong. Joker interrupts the assembly, cautiously informing them that Batman is beyond any normal “jurisdiction”. The bosses reject the Joker’s obviously buggy offer to kill Batman for half and Gambol then puts a bounty out for Joker: dead or alive. Later, Joker kills Gambol, gaining command of his men while Batman seizes Lau from China and returns him to Gotham City, prepared to testify.
Joker issues a video ultimatum that people will die every day unless Batman reveals his identity; Gotham City Police Commissioner Gilliam B. Loeb and the judge of the mafia trials are the first casualties of Joker’s warning. Joker barges in at Dent’s fundraiser, his next named target. However, Wayne has hidden him. At Loeb’s memorial service, Joker attempts to assassinate Gotham City Mayor Garcia, but Lt. Gordon takes the bullet instead and seemingly dies. Because of how brazen and vicious the Joker’s methods are becoming, Bruce has determined that revealing his identity must be done. Before he can, Dent lies in front of a crowd and says he’s Batman, keeping the truth still a secret. Following a brief moment with Rachel, Dent is taken into protective custody and Joker pursues him throughout Gotham City. Batman is right on him the entire chase though. The Batmobile is demolished during this. A motorcycle, known as the Batpod is born. The protective custody’s driver is none other than Gordon, (he faked his death earlier) and thanks to an elaborately devised strategy the Joker is finally arrested. At the police department, Mayor Garcia promotes Lt. Gordon into Commissioner Gordon. Unfortunately, both Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes end up missing. Gordon starts an interrogation by removing Joker’s handcuffs and then he leaves to get some coffee. The lights suddenly brighten and Batman appears, brutally questioning Joker about where Harvey and Rachel are. Discovering he has nothing to threat Joker with, Joker says that they are in separate buildings filled with explosives and Batman only has time to save one of them. Batman arrives to what he thought was Rachel’s address and frees Harvey Dent, seconds before both buildings explode, killing Rachel and dreadfully scarring half of Dent’s face. In addition, Joker flees with Lau in tow after detonating a bomb inside GCPD.
Coleman Reese, an accountant at Wayne Enterprises, realizes that Batman is Bruce Wayne and is going to blackmail him. Following his escape, Joker kills Lau and The Chechen, and has said he’ll bomb a hospital unless Reese dies. Gordon rescues Reese and Joker dressed up as nurse visits Dent in the hospital, egging him on to seek revenge against those that have wronged and taken everything from him. Dent makes his choice by flipping his now scorched “make his own luck” coin, resulting in the deaths of corrupt officials and some mobsters that were involved in Rachel’s demise. Since Reese didn’t die, Joker takes hostages with him and blows up the hospital. His next terror are two explosive rigged ferries, one carrying innocent Gotham citizens and other transporting Arkham Asylum prisoners. The catch is that each is capable of detonating the other, but if neither do before midnight, Joker shall explode them both. Using city-wide tracking technology, Lucius Fox is able to pinpoint the Joker’s location. However, he plans on resigning afterwords. Batman solves Joker’s hostage puzzle, while clashing against Gordon’s SWAT team and Joker’s men. The passengers from both ferries refuse to blow up the other and Batman apprehends Joker just before he can detonate the ferries. Yet, a jubilant Joker says he’s triumphant since Gotham’s hope will entirely crumble upon finding out “all of the heroic things” Harvey Dent’s been recently doing. Batman leaves Joker handing upside down and begins searching for Dent.
Dent baits Gordon to where Rachel died and holds his family hostage. Batman shows up. Using the coin, Dent judges the fates of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son James through three coin flips: Batman gets shot in the stomach, Dent lives, and before knowing what’ll happen to James, Batman, intervenes, knocking them both over the edge of the building. The drop costs Harvey Dent his life. Batman tells Gordon to blame the deaths Dent caused on him so Harvey still remains a symbol of hope for Gotham. Batman then runs away from a GCPD manhunt on his Batpod. The film closes with Batman driving his Batpod quickly away, Alfred burning Rachel’s letter to Bruce Wayne about how she loved Dent (and was going to marry him), Fox witnessing the tracking machine self-destructing, and Gordon breaking the Bat-Signal before giving a eulogy at Harvey Dent’s funeral.
Ledger depicts the Joker as a dark disturbing unpredictable vile heartless individual that brings Batman to his breaking point with a warped but witty sense of humor. This anarchic representation of Joker in all honesty is wickedly awesome, extremely droll, hauntingly beautiful and just as equally ominous.
Furthermore, Ledger overshadows another person downright worth acclaiming: Aaron Eckhart in the role of Gotham City’s District Attorney Harvey Dent. He’s forceful, suave, and uncompromising.
Pulling influences from: Joker’s first appearance in the Batman comics, Detective Comics, Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: The Man Who Laughs, The Dark Knight Returns, A Death in the Family, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, The Killing Joke, and finally Batman: The Animated Series episodes “Two-Face Part I and II”.
Hans Zimmer’s and James Newton Howard’s powerful score.
Rachel Dawes: I’m only a plot device and a damsel in distress, yay.
Somehow, Bale’s voice got even more worse and laughter-inducing.
JOKER: Had too much screentime, not allowing for enough Harvey Dent/Two-Face characterization. One character cannot make a film work, ever. Also, if The Dark Knight (2008) is set six months after Begins (2005), then, what has Joker being doing the whole time…? Has Joker eluded Batman for that long already? Has he been stealing money from banks? Hiding in Gotham City somewhere? What drove Joker to intensify his actions…? Is he too intelligent or is everyone too darn dumb?
I’m going to say too dumb, check out these examples.
Gotham’s Horrible Paramedics
Right after Gordon’s death, a member of Joker’s gang is in the ambulance, handcuffed to a stretcher. In reality, soft restraints would have been used. Also, the fact the medic left the patient alone with Harvey Dent is unlikely, since such an action (known as abandonment) would cause that individual to lose his/her license. Furthermore, the ambulance’s engine would have been left running, not turned off. Finally, the paramedics’ greatest stupidity is when they check the inmate that collapses inside the jail cell. Before even thinking of removing his shirt, they’d assess his airway, breathing, and circulation first. Also, the shirt wouldn’t be removed, trauma shears would be utilized.
A fire hose is seen spraying a jet of water from side to side across the burning rubble. No professional firefighter would do this because they concentrate the water at the base of the fire then move their way sluggishly across the blaze.
Commissioner Stupid Gordon
Before interrogating Joker, Gordon removes Joker’s handcuffs. You know, since he’s not an unpredictable killer and terrorist that has managed to thwart Batman for possibly months, but has least at accomplished this regarding two earlier instances in the flick, for sure. Realistically, considering Joker’s erraticness and previous violent plans, there’s no way Gordon would of freed Joker from his shackles. Apparently, the newly appointed Comissioner lacks common sense. AND, because he did that, Joker was able to run away and then the movie got to drag on too long as well.
Harvey 50/50 Dent
Harvey intended on having Ramirez call away the guards from the Gordon residence, luring out Mrs. Gordon, so she can exit the house unnoticed. Nevertheless, Harvey is shown knocking out Ramirez, due to a coin flip result, thus sabotaging his own kidnapping Gordon’s family plan. It is simply assumed he determined which guards to slay successfully through his coin offscreen or something? And he was able to still gather them up and take away the Gordon family? Riiiiight, so believable isn’t it?
Harvey’s coin flip scenario near the conclusion of The Dark Knight is completely incorrect. For it to be truly “fair”, it should have been in this order: Batman, Gordon’s son, and then himself.
Well, those are all of the examples I came up with or noticed.
In Batman Begins, (2005) one of Gordon’s children was in highchair, yet within a six month time period, both are shown to be considerably older in The Dark Knight (2008).
Due to extent of the damage his face endured, Harvey’s lips are gone on his left side, leaving his teeth, cheek muscles, and tendons exposed. Somehow, his speech remains the same. He would have been, almost impossible to understand in real life. Additionally, his left eye wouldn’t work. Harvey can magically still move and see with it though.
I only mentioned these observations since director Christopher Nolan has been praised for his “realism” within his Batman motion pictures, yep.
GUESSES ABOUT THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: References the story arcs The Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall, and No Man’s Land. Miranda Tate is indeed Talia al Ghul, Ra’s daughter and Wayne’s forced love interest. Bane breaks Batman a.ka. Bruce Wayne becomes badly injured, but he won’t die. Catwoman alters between her allegiances, a lot. And that pearl necklace she wears is from Wayne Manor, Bruce’s connection to his mother Martha Wayne. The truth about Harvey Dent/Two Face from The Dark Knight (2008) is told to the clueless citizens of Gotham City. Gordon Joseph-Levitt’s cop character John Blake shall become the next Batman, utterly closing Nolan’s trilogy indefinitely.
Armed with so much knowledge, you’re all set to see The Dark Knight Rises.
You’re welcome. Hope you enjoy Nolan’s last Batman movie.