The Dark Knight Trilogy is a superhero film series directed by Christopher Nolan, featuring the DC Comics character Batman. Following the critical failure and box office disappointment of Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Bros. decided to reboot the film franchise in 2005 with Batman Begins, directed by Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Nolan returned to direct two further installments in the trilogy, The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 with Bale reprising his role in both films. The two sequels both earned over $1 billion worldwide. The Dark Knight Trilogy has received universal acclaim from critics and audiences and is considered to be one of the best film trilogies of all time.
Batman Begins Edit
Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It stars Christian Bale as Batman along with Michael Caine,
Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman. The film reboots the Batman film series, telling the origin story of the character from Bruce Wayne's initial fear of bats, the death of his parents, his journey to become Batman, and his fight against Ra's al Ghul's plot to destroy Gotham City. It draws inspiration from classic comic book storylines such as The Man Who Falls, Batman: Year One, and Batman: The Long Halloween.
After a series of unsuccessful projects to resurrect Batman on screen following the critical failure and box office disappointment of Batman & Robin (1997), Nolan and David S. Goyer began to work on the film in early 2003 and aimed for a darker and more realistic tone, with humanity and realism being the basis of the film. The goal was to get the audience to care for both Batman and Bruce Wayne. The film, which was primarily shot in Iceland and Chicago, relied on traditional stunts and miniatures – computer-generated imagery was used minimally.
The film opened on June 17, 2005, in the United States and Canada in 3,858 theaters. It grossed $48 million in its opening weekend in North America, eventually grossing over $374 million worldwide. The film received positive reviews and has been considered by many as one of the best superhero films ever made. Critics noted that fear was a common motif throughout the film, and remarked that it had a darker tone compared with previous Batman films. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and three BAFTA awards.
As a young boy of 8, Bruce Wayne falls down a well, where he is caught in a swarm of bats. Bruce is rescued by his father Thomas, but he is left with a fear of bats. When Bruce and his parents attend the opera Mefistofele, Bruce is frightened by the portrayals of bat-like demons in the performance. He and his parents exit into an alley, where they are confronted by an armed mugger, Joe Chill, who shoots and kills Bruce's parents. Chill is arrested and convicted for the double murder, but Bruce is left traumatized by the incident. The family's butler, Alfred Pennyworth, raises Bruce in the absence of his parents.
When Bruce becomes a young man, he returns home to Gotham City from Princeton University, intent on killing Joe Chill, whose prison sentence is being suspended in exchange for testifying against the mob boss Carmine Falcone. Chill is assassinated by one of Falcone's henchmen, depriving Bruce of his opportunity. When Bruce tells his childhood friend Rachel Dawes about his foiled plan, she expresses disgust and gives him a lecture about the difference between justice and revenge. Realizing she is right, Bruce decides to confront Falcone himself, but the mob boss dismisses him as ignorant of nature of the underworld (Saying, "You're Bruce Wayne, the Prince of Gotham--you'd have to go a thousand miles to find someone who doesn't know your name!"), having his thugs rough him up. Realizing that Falcone is right, and that he cannot truly understand what he intends to fight as a wealthy playboy, he abandons his life at home, stowing away on a cargo ship and traveling the world for nearly seven years.
He associates with criminals to learn their ways and is thrown in prison by police in China for theft, ironically of Wayne Enterprises property. After a prison brawl, an enigmatic man who identifies himself as Ducard invites Bruce to join an elite vigilante group, the League of Shadows, under the leadership of Ra's al Ghul. Bruce is freed the next day and travels to the top of a mountain to begin his combat training with the League. In his training, Bruce overcomes his fear of bats while under the hallucinogenic influence of a mountainside blue flower. Following his training, Bruce will lead the League in its fight to restore order to Gotham. When Ducard orders Bruce to execute a murderer as a final test, Bruce refuses to obey and destroys the League's headquarters, killing Ra's in the process. However, Bruce rescues an unconscious Ducard from the wreckage and leaves his mentor at a nearby village.
20 years after Bruce's parents' death, Bruce Wayne returns to a Gotham City that is mostly ruled by Falcone and begins plotting a one-man war against the corrupt system. He seeks the help of Rachel, now an assistant district attorney, and police sergeant Jim Gordon, who consoled him in the aftermath of his parents' murder. Bruce pays a visit to Gordon one night in disguise to establish communication. After reestablishing his connections to his father's company, Wayne Enterprises, Bruce is able to acquire, with the help of former board member Lucius Fox, a prototype armored car and an experimental armored suit. He augments the suit with League of Shadows armor, and a special cape that can become a rudimentary hang glider.
One night, in his new costume, he disrupts a drug shipment by Falcone, and leaves the mob boss tied to a searchlight, forming a makeshift Bat-Signal. He also disrupts an assassination attempt on Dawes, leaving her with evidence against a judge that has gone soft on Falcone in the past. While investigating the "unusual" drugs in the shipment, Batman is stunned by Dr. Jonathan Crane ("The Scarecrow"), who sprays him with a powerful hallucinogen. Bruce is rescued by Alfred, administered an anti-toxin developed by Fox and awakens two days later on his thirtieth birthday. Crane later poisons Rachel after showing her that the toxin, which is revealed to only be harmful in vapor form, is being piped into Gotham's water supply. She is saved by Batman. The police enter the asylum, and Batman escapes with Rachel in his Batmobile. After administering the antidote to Rachel in his cave, he gives her two vials of it for Gordon; one for the detective to inoculate himself, and another to mass-produce for the city's population.
Later at a party held at his mansion, Bruce is confronted by a group of ninjas from the League of Shadows and his old mentor Ducard, who then reveals himself to be the real Ra's al Ghul, the former who died being a decoy. Ra's, who had been conspiring with Crane the entire time, plans to destroy Gotham by distributing the toxin (which was extracted from his blue flowers) undetected via Gotham's water supply, and then vaporize it with a microwave emitter stolen from Wayne Enterprises. Bruce, tricking his guests into leaving, fights briefly with Ra's while the League of Shadows set fire to Wayne Manor. Bruce escapes the inferno with Alfred's help just as the manor is destroyed.
Batman arrives at the "Narrows" section of Gotham to aid the police, who are engaged in battle with psychotic criminals set free from Arkham Asylum by the League. After saving Rachel, and intimating his identity to her, he leaves Gordon in control of the Batmobile to stop the elevated train that is being used to transport the vaporizer to the city's central water hub. Batman battles Ra's, then escapes just as Gordon topples the elevated line using the Batmobile's missiles, leaving Ra's to crash with the train to the ground.
Following the battle, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce gains control of Wayne Enterprises and installs Fox as CEO, firing Earle. However, he is unable to hold onto Rachel, who cannot reconcile her love for Bruce Wayne with his dual life as Batman. Gordon, newly promoted to lieutenant, unveils a Bat-Signal for Batman and mentions a new criminal that, like Batman, has "a taste for the theatrical", leaving a Joker playing card at his crime scenes. Batman promises to investigate and Gordon mentions that he forgot to thank Batman for his efforts. Batman replies by saying that he'll never have to, as he takes off into the night.
- Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
- Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul
- Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow
- Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes
- Gary Oldman as James Gordon
- Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
- Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone
- Rutger Hauer as William Earle
- Mark Boone Junior as Detective Arnold Flass
- Ken Watanabe as Ra's al Ghul (Decoy)
- Colin McFarlane as Gillian B. Loeb
- Linus Roache as Thomas Wayne
- Sara Stewart as Martha Wayne
- Richard Brake as Joe Chill
- Tim Booth as Victor Zsasz
The Dark Knight Edit
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the second part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins. Christian Bale reprises the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with
a returning cast of Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. The film introduces the character of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Gotham's newly elected District Attorney and the consort of Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes from the first film), who joins Batman and the police in combating the new rising threat of a criminal mastermind calling himself "The Joker" (Heath Ledger).
Nolan's inspiration for the film was the Joker's comic book debut in 1940, the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke, and the 1996 series The Long Halloween, which retold Two-Face's origin. The nickname "the Dark Knight" was first applied to Batman in Batman #1 (1940), in a story written by Bill Finger. The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as well as in several other locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Nolan used an IMAX camera to film some sequences, including the Joker's first appearance in the film. On January 22, 2008, some months after he had completed filming on The Dark Knight and six months before the film's release, Heath Ledger died from a toxic combination of prescription drugs, leading to intense attention from the press and movie-going public. Warner Bros. initially created a viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight, developing promotional websites and trailers highlighting screenshots of Ledger as the Joker.
A co-production of the United States and the United Kingdom, The Dark Knight was released on July 16, 2008 in Australia, on July 18, 2008 in North America, and on July 24, 2008 in the United Kingdom. Considered by film critics to be one of the best films of the 2000s and one of the best superhero films ever, the film received highly positive reviews and set numerous records during its theatrical run. The Dark Knight appeared on more critics' top ten lists (287) than any other film of 2008 with the exception of WALL-E, and more critics (77) named The Dark Knight the best film of 2008 than any other film released that year. With over $1 billion in revenue worldwide, it is the 19th-highest-grossing film of all time, unadjusted for inflation. The film received eight Academy Award nominations; it won the award for Best Sound Editing and Ledger was posthumously awarded Best Supporting Actor. The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the trilogy, was released on July 20, 2012.