CC Issue 17 / Film / TV

The Pressure Rises: Can Christopher Nolan End Well?

Just in case you were wondering – this was the death of Batman:

And then Christopher Nolan came along and brought Batman back from the dead.

And now he might kill him.

I love Batman, I always have! I’ve never hated a Batman movie in my life… possibly because I’ve never seen all of Batman and Robin. (Pictured above)

But what gets me really pumped about Chris Nolan’s Trilogy is that, well, it’s a TRILOGY. Maybe it didn’t start out that way – I’m sure back in 2004 when he was shooting Batman Begins, Chris Nolan wouldn’t have imagined making three batman movies. In fact, when The Dark Knight Rises is released in 130 days, 4 hours and 29 minutes (not that anyone’s counting) it will make history as the first time a single director has directed 3 Batman movies. But its not just the number of movies, its the fact that Nolan has decided to tell one big story about Bruce Wayne/Batman and give it a definitive ending. Like I mentioned above, some people are even saying *gasp* that Nolan might kill Batman in TDKR. Time will tell.

Either way, I’m excited about this third episode. This finale. And I feel like I have some solid reasons for feeling optimistic.

Let’s look back:

Batman Begins . July 15th . 2005

Chris Nolan makes a smart Batman movie and not just because he takes things seriously. He also stocks the movie with an all-star cast including the inspired casting of Gary Oldman as Gordon and Michael Caine as Alfred. (And… cough cough… Katie Holmes) And I’ll say it – Christian Bale is the best Batman ever. Even the villains were cast with top notch actors giving genuinely good performances. And did I mention Morgan Freeman? Batman Begins was embarrassingly good because it reminded everyone how absolutely kick ass Batman could be while highlighting just how terrible the Batman franchise had become before Nolan resurrected it. And even though, according to Nolan, he had only planned on making one, the movie ends with a wonderful tease: the joker card.

I came out impressed – but not completely awestruck. But I was certainly hoping Nolan would make another one.

He did.

The Dark Knight . July 18 . 2008

Ok, this time I was awestruck. I went into The Dark Knight with sky high anticipation. Thanks to Chris Nolan’s policy of keeping as much as possible a secret I knew pretty much nothing about what the movie was about. Most of the die hard Batman fans in the world had heaved a collective groan when it was announced that Heath Ledger had been cast to play The Joker. I had always been a fan of Heath Ledger and after reading a quote wherein Nolan admitted to casting Ledger because he was “fearless” my anticipation was increased even further. And then in January of 2008, Heath Ledger suddenly died. The impact of Heath’s death on the movie is unknown, but I’m sure it was substantial. Everyone wanted to see his last role. And that desire grew exponentially when word started to get out about how good Heath was in his final movie. So that’s all I knew – that The Dark Knight had the joker in it, that he was played by Heath Ledger right before he died, and that it was an amazing performance. And wow, was it ever.

The Dark Knight broke almost every record there was at the time. About 5 minutes into the movie (“No no… I kill the busdriver…”) I was thinking, ‘this is the superhero movie of all-time and nothing will beat it’. (I still feel that way) About 25 minutes into the movie (approximately the moment where The Joker kicks the door open to exit the mob meeting) I was thinking ‘This is the best movie I’ve ever seen in my life’. And then the movie just KEPT blowing my mind. My dad used to draw attention to the fact that great movies tend to have at least three GREAT scenes, where you walk away thinking ‘Man, I loved that scene where…’, and The Dark Knight has like ten scenes like that. One right after another. The Prologue, Batman jumping on the van, The Joker in the mob meeting, The Hong Kong scene, The Truck Chase… I could go on and on. It’s just a stupid good movie and I could watch it on repeat for the rest of my life.

On last thing about The Dark Knight – it was the first Batman movie ever to not include the name Batman in the title.

Speaking of good titles… The Dark Knight Rises is not one of them.

The Dark Knight Rises . July 20th . 2012

Time flies. I can’t believe it’s been four years. There is a lot of speculation surrounding TDKR. Will Batman Die? Will Bane break Batman’s back like in the comics? Will one of the beloved supporting characters die (Gordon? Alfred? Morgan Freeman?) How does Catwoman fit into things? Will there be more to Joseph Gordon Levitt and Marion Cottilard’s characters than we’ve been told so far? (Which is nothing)

Lots of questions.

I’ll be at the front of the IMAX line at 11:59 pm on July 19th to find out.

In the meantime, like the fans say: “In Nolan We Trust!”

5 thoughts on “The Pressure Rises: Can Christopher Nolan End Well?

  1. Ceej,

    Do you think that Nolan’s work with Inception will have any effect on The Dark Knight Rises? I loved the stop-gap of The Prestige prior to The Dark Knight and am just curiously as to whether Nolan will try too hard to be smart/epic/etc. with this Batman finale.

  2. I was thinking the same thing. I’m not a big fan of Inception – but part of that is that Nolan wrote it himself, over a long period of time, and I think he went too far into his own head. The Prestige was a perfect little movie to make in between Batman movies, and I agree that I would feel better if Nolan had done the same again. As it is I feel the “try too hard to be smart/epic/etc” from the new sneak peak IMAX prologue alone – which is really big spectacle, but has none of the sexy finesse of The Dark Knight prologue. I’m hoping that even if Nolan jumps the shark he’ll do it with enough mind-blowing moments to keep me satisfied.

  3. With Nolan’s track record, it’s pretty hard to imagine him going too far wrong with this one. Looking forward to it, too. (P.S. Batman and Robin might be worth watching between now and then, just to make you appreciate Nolan’s work even more.)

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