Author Topic: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy  (Read 5103 times)

1SO

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One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« on: December 30, 2016, 09:50:34 PM »

When Christopher Nolan released Batman Begins in 2005 he cemented himself to me as one of the Best Directors working at the time. By the end of The Dark Knight Rises he had become one of my least favorites, proving all of his detractors correct and opening my eyes to the common criticisms against him, while at the same time becoming just as popular a pop culture figure as his films. The Chris Nolan fanbase is large and loud, lapping up whatever he cares to serve. Meanwhile, I not-so-quietly turned in my membership card.

So, what happened? Is there a way to comb through this trilogy in detail, dividing out the Good from the Bad? Can I find the moments that fueled my initial passion, and do they still stand up with up to a decade of hindsight? I don't think I will have to re-visit the films between - The Prestige and Inception - the answers should be within these three films. I think enough time has passed to where we can blow off the hype of The Dark Knight Trilogy and put the films under the microscope.


Batman Begins
You’re Practice – More Than Just a Man – What Do You Fear? – A Little Bit of Opera – Tragedy – The Will To Act – This House – Not One Of Your Good People – Carmine Falcone – Embrace Your Fear – Gotham Must Be Destroyed – Monastery Mayhem – Incorruptible Symbol – Nest of Bats – Welcome Home – Applied Sciences – Gordon’s Visitor – Does It Come In Black? – Secrets of Scary People – The Dock Night – Rattle the Cages – Missing Weapon – More Inside – Crane’s Mask – Do I Look Like a Cop? – Lighten Up – Work to Do – Arkham’s Basement Secrets – A Taste of Fear – Winged Backup – Tumbler on the Roof – This Monster of Yours – Dual Identities – Purging Fire – Inferno Rescue – Spread the Word: Panic – What Defines Me – Catching a Train – Not Kill but Not Save – New Owner – This is Your Mask – Calling Card


The Dark Knight
The Bank (Preface) - Why They Call Him The Joker - Robbery Gone Stranger - Intimidate Mode - Unknown Limits - Last Game in Town - Protector's Mantle - Kill the Batman - Hong Kong Holiday - Why So Serious? - Bruce Wayne in Hong Kong - Landing Lau - Dealing With Lau - Men of Their Word - Hero With a Face - Somebody With Access - Tonight's Entertainment - Watch the World Burn - Your Plan is Blackmail? - Dishonor Guard - No Rules - Right Choice - I am the Batman - Trip to County - Bat-Pod Faceoff - We Got Him - Good Cop, Bad Cop - Two-Way Race - Burned Down - Now and Always - Harvey Two-Face - Better Class of Criminal - Watch Out - Hospital Room - Agent of Chaos - Too Much Power - Unlucky - Ferry Scary - Prewitt Building Siege - Verge of Fireworks - Battle for Gotham's Soul - One Pointing the Gun - Dark Knight


The Dark Knight Rises
Bane on the Plane - High-Altitude Hijacking - Harvey Dent Day - One of the Maids - The Night Batman Vanished - Not Living, Just Waiting - Beneath Gotham - Someone to Open Doors - Bane's Lair - Fresh Air - Scar Tissue - Investments and Interest - Back From The Pit - Stocks and Bane - Time to Go Mobile - Return of The Batman - The Clean Slate Myth - Alfred's Ultimatum - Weaponized Clean Energy - Allies - This Way to Bane - Batman vs. Bane - Cages - The Legend of the Child - Destruction Sites - Game Day - Bane Makes a Speech - Martial Law - The Symbol of Oppression - Everyone's Home - Here's the Important Part - Out of the Pit - Crane's Court - 18 Hours - Marking the Truck - Batman Returns - Open Fire - The Trigger - The Protector - The Fire - Bomb Chase - Detonation - Batman Forever
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 10:51:38 PM by 1SO »

smirnoff

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 10:11:53 PM »
Oh good, I just watched 1 & 2 again over the last month, so I'll be familiar with the scenes! :)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 10:52:34 PM »
Tempted to chime in on this one a lot, but it will mostly be negative, although I do think the first two films are overall good films.

oldkid

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 11:35:22 PM »
Well, time to watch them again.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 11:52:19 PM »
Tempted to chime in on this one a lot, but it will mostly be negative, although I do think the first two films are overall good films.
This is going to be very different for me compared to my Pixar/Disney Marathon because these films are so (over)stuffed they almost need to be looked at in small bites. I also think this Marathon is going to pick at a lot of scabs, rehashing debates from three separate spoiler threads. I also don't know how the films will average out. There's also my minority opinion that the first film is the best in the trilogy. The Dark Knight has higher highs, but also some major lows.


Well, time to watch them again.
I'm curious to see how they look today, with the over-saturation of superhero films and the best ones coming from the more lighthearted Marvel brand.

1SO

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One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2017, 09:30:47 PM »

Batman Begins - "You're Practice"
"I don't need protection."
"Protection for them."


The first image of a sky full of bats that ultimately forms the iconic symbol is so surreal and epic you'd think Christopher Nolan had already filmed the entire trilogy, like Lord of the Rings. The color and sound strike a mood different from any previous version of Batman and it sets the right tone for this trilogy, though I wonder if it was done just for the cool transition of young Bruce and Rachel running through the gardens of Wayne Manor.

There may be a lot of discussion about the score, credited here to James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. I don't have the proper knowledge on the subject, but in my memory this is where movie scores start getting away from themes and standard orchestrations and began to use the music as part of the audio landscape. You hear it sound like a car moving forward, giving momentum to the story as it sets up Bruce Wayne during the defining moment of his life before we move forward to the place where our story begins.


Batman is closely associated with Gotham City, but Nolan likes to have his Batman around the world. It's something that never sat right with me, but then again my Gotham City was always built on a stage. Because Gotham doesn't exist, putting Bruce anywhere else is like using a chess piece for a game of Monopoly, you can still play but it clearly doesn't belong.

This Chapter ends with a fight scene. I'll try not to say it too much, but Nolan is generally terrible with the choreography of the action with the camera. Here, we have a bunch of guys all dressed alike, all covered with mud. Sure, it's obvious that Bruce is outnumbered and wins easily, but there's no excitement.
Rating: * * * - Good

smirnoff

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2017, 10:14:34 PM »
I loooove how it starts... hearing the first rumblings of the score. In general I'm a huge fan of the way these movies, and all of Nolan's movies, are now scored. There's a kind of relentlessness to it, that I find gives real immediacy to every scene. I like how it occasionally extends itself into dialogue scenes that are on the verge of something happening.

To me that well scene could be improved. I didn't get much sense of fear from watching him panic and swat at those bats that swarm him. You hear screaming, but you don't actually see the kid open his mouth. And his arm waving is kind of weak, exactly what it would look like if you were waving your arms at cgi bats that weren't actually there.

I want something more intense from that scene.  I want terror on the level of Haley Joel Osmond getting stuffed in that closet in Sixth Sense. Absolute blind panic. That scene will knock you on your f'ing ass. Having adult Bruce Wayne wake up from a nightmare on that level would sell his still being haunted by bats better. So yeah, more intensity would've been better imo. A slight whiff, but not a disaster by any means.

I like how quickly he's down the well though. What like 30 seconds into the movie? I'm all for it. Let's get this backstory, which people have already experienced in other batman iterations, out of the way. The sooner the better.

I find the fight scene average and not memorable. But at that point in the story, Bruce Wayne is also not his full self yet, so maybe it is fitting.

1SO

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 10:49:34 PM »
In general I'm a huge fan of the way these movies, and all of Nolan's movies, are now scored. There's a kind of relentlessness to it, that I find gives real immediacy to every scene. I like how it occasionally extends itself into dialogue scenes that are on the verge of something happening.
That's how I remember it too. I think "24" might've also done this. The music playing quietly through the dialogue gives the impression that the story is laying low, but is getting ready to pounce.


I like how quickly he's down the well though. What like 30 seconds into the movie? I'm all for it. Let's get this backstory, which people have already experienced in other batman iterations, out of the way. The sooner the better.
Certainly preferred to the Spider-Man films which spend 30 minutes on stuff most of us know going in. Still, I'm curious how the murder of the parents will play this time. I remember it being different enough from the way Tim Burton shot it, but now there's BvS. I haven't seen this since watching Zach Snyder's version of events, but I remember the two scenes being very similar, except for Snyder firmly establishing that Bruce's mother is named Martha.


I find the fight scene average and not memorable. But at that point in the story, Bruce Wayne is also not his full self yet, so maybe it is fitting.
There are going to be plenty of action scenes against Nolan, but this trilogy also has the bank robbery that opens Dark Knight, which I remember as a spectacular action sequence, and the truck flip, which is perhaps the greatest non-CG stunt of this century. The first action scene is crucial, raising or lowering expectations for the rest of the film. This one is very brief but it tips you off that clarity is going to be a problem.

smirnoff

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 10:54:24 PM »
In general I'm a huge fan of the way these movies, and all of Nolan's movies, are now scored. There's a kind of relentlessness to it, that I find gives real immediacy to every scene. I like how it occasionally extends itself into dialogue scenes that are on the verge of something happening.
That's how I remember it too. I think "24" might've also done this. The music playing quietly through the dialogue gives the impression that the story is laying low, but is getting ready to pounce.
Great example! 24... you nailed it.

Quote
I find the fight scene average and not memorable. But at that point in the story, Bruce Wayne is also not his full self yet, so maybe it is fitting.
There are going to be plenty of action scenes against Nolan, but this trilogy also has the bank robbery that opens Dark Knight, which I remember as a spectacular action sequence, and the truck flip, which is perhaps the greatest non-CG stunt of this century. The first action scene is crucial, raising or lowering expectations for the rest of the film. This one is very brief but it tips you off that clarity is going to be a problem.
You blew my mind... didn't know that truck flip was non-cg.

1SO

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Re: One Chapter At A Time - The Dark Knight Trilogy
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2017, 12:02:19 PM »