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On June 15, 2005, exactly 10 years ago today, moviegoers were first treated to a groundbreaking new adaptation of an iconic franchise in Batman Begins. Christopher Nolan’s reimagining redefined what a comic book movie could become, kicking off one of the most celebrated comic book film trilogies of all time. Upon the anniversary of its launch, this new supercut effectively showcases the highlights of the epic Dark Knight Trilogy. Relive the excitement in the video below!
As you can see, Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is effectively represented in Thomas Davidson’s spectacular supercut, showcasing the dramatic beats with brevity. While it certainly serves as no substitute for seeing the actual films, it does effectively manage to isolate the unifying theme of the films; namely the symbolism in Bruce Wayne/Batman’s ostentatious attempt to tackle Gotham’s criminal element. It was a purely personal path and, as we saw in 2008’s The Dark Knight it also managed to escalate the evil that plagued the city. It’s an intriguing paradox that comes to define Bruce Wayne’s arc all the way to the (debatable) events ending the concluding chapter in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises
Coming into this adaptation with the intensely innovative 2000 mystery movie, Memento and the 2002 thriller, Insomnia under his belt, there were still more than a share of doubters who thought that Christopher Nolan may not have been ready for big budget popcorn primetime. Yet, with the Batman film franchise last left in the campy, neon-glowing nadir that was 1997’s Batman & Robin, it turns out that the Caped Crusader needed someone who understood the dark depths of dramatics. Thus, Batman Begins became an excellent array of pulse-pounding thrills, showcasing a new Batman in Christian Bale, who excelled in projecting the façade of a capricious playboy who moonlighted in costume, beating criminals with a grizzled gloom.
The retrospective nature of the supercut also serves as an interesting reminder of how far the franchise has come during Nolan’s artfully poignant tenure with a comic book property that, in the past quarter century, seems to cyclically revert from atmospheric depth to lighthearted disposable fluff. Yet, Nolan’s films, from start to finish set out to tell a single story of the tortured Bruce Wayne that would see his mystery-clad machinations turn the criminal element of Gotham upside down, while at the same time, plunging it into the same dark descent. It proved that sometimes, in a theme that oddly parallels the cyclical nature of the Batman franchise itself, the populace needs different types of heroes. It may be oddly ambiguous in a political sense, but it certainly made for magnificent, pathos-heavy pieces that served as critical proof of the potential poignancy of comic book movies.
Yet, as fun as it is to reflect on Nolan’s masterpieces, they already belong to the past, since we now rest on the cusp of yet another rendition of Batman when Ben Afflect dons the cape and cowl in next year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It should be interesting to see how director, Zack Snyder, who seemed to adhere to Nolan-esque elements in 2013’s Superman relaunch, Man of Steel, will tackle the tonality of iconic Caped Crusader this time around. That team-up/face-off super-film hits theaters on March 25, 2016.