What I liked and didn’t like about Nolan’s Batman franchise

I re-watched ”Batman Begins” and ”The Dark Knight” before going to the theaters to catch a second viewing of ”The Dark Knight Rises”. The screening I went to last night started at seven, but the projector broke, pushing the next showing to eight. I got a refund and two free complimentary tickets, so hats off to the Odeon in Limerick.

Now that the Nolan trilogy has ended, I wanted to make a list of my favorite and least favorite things about this Batman franchise that has dominated the box office and has manifested a massive fan base.

The Good

1. Bruce Wayne’s Journey

For once, I cared about the character Bruce far more than the caped crusader in this trilogy. We don’t see much of Batman in ”The Dark Knight Rises” and that didn’t bother me because my focus was on Bruce and his struggle. We see Bruce grow from boy to man, we see his love for Gotham City grow and we see the tortures that Wayne endures to protect the innocent. Bruce could have easily lived a care-free life, but chose a road of sacrifice and that, as a audience member makes me care more for the man behind the mask.

2. Relationships

Nolan mastered the relationships between Bruce and his following allies/enemies throughout this successful trilogy. Alfred’s love for Bruce, to Commissioner Gordon sharing the same passion for the city, was wonderful to see. The dialog was magnificent during many moments. Even Batman’s scenes with the Joker and Bane were some of the best interactions in this franchise that drove the relationships with the likes of Alfred, Fox and Gordon to greater heights.

3. Villains 

A lot of superhero films have over the top villains that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Christopher Nolan took villains such as; Bane, Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, Ra’s al Ghul and made them work in a convincible way. Of course, Nolan had to subtract certain elements from each villain like; Joker doesn’t have permanent white skin, Ra’s al Ghul doesn’t use the lazarus pit and Bane doesn’t use venom. Even when Nolan removed these aspects, the villains worked just as well because of the tone, dialog and motivations of each character.

4. Realistic Environment 

Nolan’s Batman franchise is far from realistic, but he grounded it as close as he could in a realistic environment. This works best for Batman, due to him not having super powers. Batman uses his intelligence, resources, gadgets and vehicles, so it’s easy to drop the dark knight in that sort of world. Even in the comics I prefer when they ground Batman in an environment that’s parallel to the kind of man he is.

5. Suit, Gadgets and Vehicles 

I loved the suit in ”Batman Begins” and I loved the upgraded version even more in” The Dark Knight” and ”The Dark Knight Rises”; Batman can finally move his head! I dig that Nolan didn’t need the feel to upgrade the suit again in the third installment; don’t fix what isn’t broken!

While the tumbler isn’t exactly Batmanesque, it’s still a badass vehicle that springs out a freaking bike. Speaking of vehicles, I never thought we’d ever see a flying air craft in these movies, but, The Bat(batwing) appeared and that was marvelous to see.

Even Batman’s gadgets were badass throughout this trilogy. My favorite was the sonar vision, just because it gave Batman the white lens over his eyes, delivering an awesome nod to how Batman’s eyes are drawn in the comics.

The bad

1. John Blake

I really liked Joespeh Gordan-Levitt in this film, but two things bugged me. First off,  Bruce paid a trip to the orphanage where John Blake was staying as a kid. Blake discovers that Bruce is Batman just because he knew Bruce was putting on a false smile; wearing a mask if you will. Really? How lame is that. So what if Bruce was masking his inner pain? How could you make that connection to Batman?

Second thing that bugged me, was the reveal of John Blake’s legal name; which is, Robin John Blake. While that’s kinda cool, why couldn’t his legal name just be, Dick Grayson? I would’ve freaked out in joy if that was revealed as his legal name.

 2. Microwave Emitter

In ”Batman Begins”, Scarecrow is dumping a hallucinogenic drug into the water system, so a weapon called a microwave emitter, will vaporize the water, so the drug will make people go crazy. The only problem is, won’t this emitter cause water in the human body to vaporize too? Also, people vaporize water on a daily basis for cooking, baths and using hot water for other uses. People should have went nuts before the emitter came along.

3. Lucius Fox’s Dilemma 

I loved Lucios Fox, especially when introducing new gadgets to Bruce Wayne; their dialog is always fun, but near the end of ”The Dark Knight”, Fox becomes a little bitch. The Joker is holding hostages in a building and there’s two boats filled with people who’s lives are at risk, but yet, Fox is so worried about about people’s privacy. Really Fox? It’s death vs privacy here. You trusted Bruce Wayne enough times before, hell, even got your job back you ungrateful bastard.

4. Unnecessary Fire Symbol

During ”The Dark Knight Rises”, a nuclear bomb is going to go off and every second counts to disarm it. Batman returns to save the day, but feels it’s necessary to waste precious time by making a massive fiery bat symbol. While it’s a neat cinematic moment, it just doesn’t make sense with the urgency of the situation.

5. No Mention of Joker

Due to the death of Heath Ledger, we got no mentions or flashbacks to the character, which sucked. It kinda made a scene or two just seem disjointed to me. The Joker created the events that led to Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face, which led to Batman, to take the fall of Dent’s actions and go into hiding for 8 years. One mention or a flashback would have made the last two film sewn together a bit more.

Even when Katie Holmes was recast, I kinda felt it disjointed the trilogy a bit.


One thought on “What I liked and didn’t like about Nolan’s Batman franchise

  1. I don’t disagree with you on 80% of it but do on two things. Foxes dilemma, I get that times are awful but times are always awful. Personal privacy is a huge issue. Fox rightly saw this machine as a step far. But he used it for the situation and then he was happy it was destroyed, I see no issue with it.

    The other thing is Joker. Lets be honest, Ledger’s death just created an impossible situation. Re-cast him and there’d be outrage. I for one would NOT want to see another Joker in Nolan’s universe. Using old footage would be a cheat and Nolan said he wasn’t mentioned out of respect. So I’m cool with all of that.

    The fact is there are a thousand reasons Joker mightn’t have been in Gotham anymore. Maybe they moved him to a special prison for his own safety (as Gotham’s prison was filled with mobsters he ripped off), maybe he was moved for everyone else’s safety. What if Bane ensured Joker wasn’t released. When you’re trying to hold total control over a city you don’t want Joker running around doing his thing. It’s easy to explain away and they don’t need to do so for my benefit. The big gap of 8 years was more disjointing (not that there’s anything wrong with it) then Joker’s absence, Gotham was a different city.

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