Everybody likes Dark Knight.
Christoper Nolan had many great films previous to his 2008 Heath Ledger fueled Mann inspired neo-classic and superhero genre film elevation under his belt but it was Dark Knight that has since made his name a film release event.
One of the great films he made previous to Dark Knight was Batman Begins, which is my favorite of Nolan’s caped crusader joints. This is not a knock or reevaluation of Dark Knight, merely a statement expressing an appreciation of what I think might be the best superhero origin film of all time and an actual Batman film.
It falls apart in the third act in the same way most superhero movies and action films in general did before and often still do.
Marvel has really nailed paying off the perfunctory loud CGI-laden Boom! Bamf! third acts in recent years but even films we look back upon fondly and have near perfect initial acts like say Iron Man ultimately lead to a pretty forgettable finale involving shooting and punching stuff in an often incomprehensible or void of tension manner. A lot of people knock Michael Bay, but all these things tend to end in a Michael Bay way and he’s actually better, often times significantly so, at it then them (I just wish he didn’t think that’s all movies are).
Dark Knight, which many people mistake for perfection, often forgetting the ending is undone by a fundamentally and comically stupid leap regarding who has to be blamed otherwise court cases will be undone and what has to be done… OR SOMETHING, I still would argue is a singular film experience and a platform for one of the great showcases of the century in Heath Ledger’s revolution of a performance.
I just like Batman Begins more.
While not in the majority this is not an altogether rare opinion.
If you listen to the right podcasts, follow certain writers, you will hear and see this opinion at times from people the internet has trained to consider these words as a hot take. For now it’s probably just below being a cool hipster opinion that causes us to secretly whisper think “one of us, one of us” when we hear another repeat. We agree for similar reasons I won’t litigate but I was recently surprised to hear Quentin Tarantino apparently is an adherent to the same take.
For myself, excluding the aforementioned third act, the only knocks I have with Batman Begins is that it’s a little stiff in its action, not really a strong suit of Nolan in general (and probably the reality of the suit), and I was a little disappointed that Ken Watanabe’s roll was fairly throwaway, though Nolan would pay him back with Inception.
Tarantino was recently a guest on the The Ringer’s Rewatchables podcast where the subject was Dunkirk, a film that Tarantino considers Nolan’s finest work and the second best movie of the decade. The subject of Batman isn’t touched on a lot but Quentin, Chris Ryan, and Sean Fennessy quite loosely share their personal favorite Nolan films, and Tarantino goes
- Batman Begins
- Dark Knight
I’m not as high on Dunkirk.
I like Dunkirk but not as much as people who LIKE Dunkirk but rather in that way we all like Christoper Nolan films, sometimes very much, but we don’t LIKE them the way a certain crazy crust of Nolan fans do. On this topic though I’m probably what many would consider an odd The Prestige fan. There’s less in that movie that has grown to bother me from the perspective of nitpicking the work of an auteur filmmaker who has a pretty great catalog of films.
Anyway, I highly recommend The Rewatchables pod and not just that episode. It’s been in my rotation since its inception and nearly every one is worth a listen for films fans. If you require someone famous to be in another you want to sample, Aaron Sorkin sat in on their episode of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The Ringer staff tho are quite funny and many of them who rotate in on the pod host other significant podcasts.
Anyway, always good to welcome another member to our blue flower smoking circle.