After seeing the final instalment of the Batman trilogy I thought against writing a review for it. It quite simply is a masterpiece and that’s what pretty much every review is concluding anyway. For me to sit here and write a similar review would be like us all just saying ‘yeah, that Hamlet was a bit good’; we’re all pretty much agreed on the matter. Also, there is the risk of a spoiler, even without intending it and I am always 100% against evil spoilers. So, instead I decided to take a look at the main man behind it and how he invigorated and basically saved the summer blockbuster, just a few years after it looked to be sinking rapidly.
First, let’s take a look a few years back. The summer of 2007, a year before The Dark Knight wowed audiences and Inception was still a dream. The highly anticipated Simpsons movie had flopped, Die Hard 4.0 came and went without making an impact and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 didn’t make any sense to anyone at all. Not even the people making the movie. This was also the summer of Transformers. Although both the movie and Michael Bay get an insurmountable amount of stick the movie wasn’t so bad, although it did mean that the audience didn’t have to think anymore. And the times of narrative and compelling three dimensional characters had taken a back seat for a mess of CGI. Things were looking like they might stay like this for a while with scriptwriting a dying art. But Nolan in the following years with The Dark Knight and Inception took the notion that the audience could follow complex plots; and with the backing of the studios, that came from his successful indie career (Memento, Insomnia, etc) and the success that was Batman Begins, set to work reformulating the Blockbuster.
The reason Nolan’s films work is that he shows a respect to his audience. Like Shakespeare, who wrote his often complicated plays with the intentions that his audiences, whether they be rich or poor, work it out, so does Nolan establish his narrative and lets it flow without explaining it in a patronising manner. The Bard’s work was rich with political and historical subject matter that many of his audience members, then and now, wouldn’t be overly familiar with. But the quality of the story stood out. Nolan presents us with the modern equivalent. Inception especially is so filled with science, psychology and all sorts of theories that would be more in place in a university than a cinema. However, he never loses the audience because of the quality of the story and the characters. Many films struggle with finding this balance but Nolan has managed to do it, and not only this, but brought it away from the independent films and into the Blockbusters.
His ability to mix the special effects and emotional heart is unrivalled in modern cinema. The use of realism in the Batman films is something that all other comic book adaptations attempt to compete with but cannot at the same levels. The Amazing Spiderman was desperate to repeat this system in its ill fated reboot. As has the new Superman franchise, which Nolan has an executive producer title on. No doubt it will attempt to emulate its successful predecessor in the genre. Every Superhero film wants to match Batman.
The Dark Knight Rises takes every successful element from the previous films and serves as the best conclusion possible. The cast is pitch perfect, once again a triumphant ensemble. Everything in Rises comes together so beautifully and precise. Nobody in the cinema would be thinking its dragging despite its marathon running time, which is almost an impossibility to achieve. Nolan and his team, that should not be forgotten, including Jonathan Nolan, Wally Pfister and Hans Zimmer who continues to captivate with his unrivalled epic scores have created one of the best and certainly the most consistent trilogies in the history of cinema while revitalising the Blockbuster and proving audiences deserve better. I think we all look forward to Nolan’s next venture, whatever that may be.