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Nolan's Batman Trilogy (2005, 2008, 2012)

my stomach was doing some odd things due to food that disagreed with me so i decided to not do too much other than lay around to recover. Part of this involved watching the Nolan Batman films, the first two of which i had already seen but it had been ages, and watching the third one for the first time.

I remember that the biggest issue i had with the first two movies had to do with an aspect of Bruce Wayne's character absent from the films that is very prevalent during his tenure in Timm's animated series: Bruce is supposed to be super intelligent. As the only "ordinary" person in the Justice League with no real super powers, Bruce still stands above all of the other Justice League members as someone everyone respects to cover their back - and to take them out if they ever go rogue. In the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the conflicts between Owlman and Batman, both physically and psychologically, are what makes that movie shine, and none of the live-action batman movies going all the way back to Michael Keaton capture that in the way that the animated series did.

not to say that Nolan didn't do great things with Wayne's character development as a person who develops a great deal of inner strength through sheer force of will, struggles with his role as the Batman and the lurky morality involved with being above the justice system and all of that, and that's going to click with the mainstream audience more as a character that they can at least somewhat relate to.

so chalk that aside to a personal preference rather than an actual flaw, and how are the films?

pretty good.

the strength of the trilogy is in a lot of its character portrayals - in particular Wayne, Gordon, Alfred on the one hand, and Joker, Dent, and Bane on the other hand. The other characters range from okay to good, none of the other characters are particularly bad with maybe the exception of Rachel Dawes.

The weakness of the trilogy is that there's a certain lack of true depth to the stories and the way that the Gotham universe is portrayed because a) everything is so self-contained, and b) everything feels so microfocused. Just when a particular plot point or a character arc starts to get interesting and you want it to develop into something more, the movie moves on to the next thing. It has this illusion of depth that ends up feeling a bit surface-scratchy at times, which i think is actually a characteristic of Nolan's recent work because i felt similarly about Inception.

But it was still a fun thrill ride, they were still good films. i just don't know if i think they have the same replay value as Crisis on Two Earths or Under the Red Hood, the latter of which is still the best batman movie ever made.

Bale's interpretation of the Batman voice didn't help either. Jesus, get that man a cough drop. I'd be much happier if they overdubbed all of Bale's Batman lines with Kevin Conroy. Really, no one should be Batman other than Kevin Conroy.

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March 2017