By Matthew Turner (Erdington, Birmingham)
Before I begin I find it necessary to say Christopher Nolan, YOU RULE! I adored Nolan’s vision of the Batman universe, to make The Dark Knight a kind of vigilante hero version of Heat (which starred De Niro and Pacino). From the settings at night to the cross dialogue between the 2 leads over the whole movie, Bale and Ledger delivered a masterpiece of a crime story rather than a comic book movie, and it was Nolan’s genius that he thought very carefully before embarking on The Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan gets all the credit and plaudits for making The Dark Knight dark again, yes he had to drag it back from the campness and disgraceful Batman and Robin that Schumacher put together (although “ice to see you 2” is a great line from Mr. Schwarzenegger)…YES, REALLY!
Nolan had to get it back to a nitty gritty and more adult portrayal of the caped crusader. Batman Begins was inspirational type of film making and a great re-introduction to a much loved but Hollywood ruined character. He gave us the birth of the Batman legend without having to really delve in to a high octane plot or use of a major villain. Don’t get me wrong, he could have gone down the route of blowing his load straight away and delivering a Joker that wouldn’t get enough screen time or dialogue in between seeing Bale transform to a vigilante of the night. Instead he gave us a more low key villain “the scarecrow”, yes, he was a pretty major villain in the comics but has rarely if ever been portrayed on screen, and Begins was the perfect platform to be portrayed on.
Cillian Murphy deserves respect for his edgy performance and can hold his head up high that Ledger did not necessarily out do him but merely extended the evil so to speak, so the outcome was a great visually entertaining movie that had just the right balance of intrigue, danger, excitement and wonder (apart from the boy wonder of course).
The Dark Knight upped the ante to such a level even I knew a third instalment would be hard to match Knight’s intensity or power, like I said, this wasn’t merely a hero movie, it was a crime saga with costumes. The late Heath Ledger never gave the audience a chance to blink as when he was on screen you simply did not want to miss a single bit of his madness. The cameo appearance of Cillian Murphy set this one up to be ultimately unpredictable and remembered for all the right reasons.
Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman provided great support in the first movie, same can’t be said for Katie Holmes who was swiftly replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal in this sequel, and she was also joined by Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent aka Two Face. Although I feel his character was slightly underused and could have possibly been a lead villain in the 3rd chapter. And on that note it’s the 3rd chapter which has given me the most difficulty to review. I enjoyed it and thought it was a pretty standard and fair way to end this particular vision of the character, but I have to admit I wasn’t keen on the Catwoman being in it, yes I understand she was a kind of vital part of the film and she played Batman and Bane like a PlayStation, but she didn’t really make the movie any more enjoyable for me.
Tom Hardy has come in to a lot of stick for being a Darth Vader on steroids minus the suit portrayal of the ultra-violent Bane, but come on people, did you see him in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin? Poor Bane, poor Bane… Well the character came back with a vengeance and I can honestly say he was more menacing than Ledger’s Joker in a brutal sort of way.
The introduction of Robin could have been an hour earlier but I suppose the movie had to end on a cliff-hanger and it certainly did, but for me it’s not the end it’s only the beginning because obviously we are going to see Batman on screen again in the recently announced Batman v Superman, but we will also see him in multiple new movies down the years. Joel Schumacher threw the towel in but Nolan threw down the gauntlet…good luck whoever’s next!