The Dark Knight Trilogy: The Why of Batman

One of the things that makes Batman such an interesting character is that he blends several motivations. He is a force of vengeance and justice. And while his life as Batman began on the night his parents died, the hero he has become has evolved beyond that singular motivation.

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The Dark Knight Trilogy: The Rogues Gallery

Let’s face it: nobody really gives a damn about Batman.

Sure, he’s a great superhero. He’s got a cool costume, a good origin, and is the epitome of the badass normal vigilante. But he’s not the reason people read his comics. The reason people read Batman comics is because he has the best villains. Bar none.

Outside of Spider-Man and Dick Tracy, nobody in the history of comics has the sheer quantity of recurring rogues that Batman has. Spider-Man’s rogues gallery is vast, but there are a lot of them that are just plain duds. Dick Tracy has an array of enemies spanning back decades, but most of them wind up dead after their first appearance. Batman’s rogues, on the other hand, have been developed and fleshed out over the course of 70 years. You love to hate them. And, on occasion, you feel genuine pity for them.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the villains that showed up in the Dark Knight Trilogy and how they connect to their comic counterparts.

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The Dark Knight Trilogy: Elemental Forces

The Dark Knight Trilogy is a big, epic set of movies with big, epic themes. For all the talk about them being darker and more realistic than your average superhero film, they actually have the same scope as a lot of epic fantasy tales, with battles between pure good and fell evil and the fate of an entire city in the balance. With such big action and high stakes, the films have some large themes and symbols behind them. In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne crafts Batman as a symbol that is, “Something elemental, something terrifying.” Today we’re looking at some of that elemental imagery and how it runs throughout the films.

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The Dark Knight Triology: The Importance of a Symbol

In a genre that has become all about setting building, The Dark Knight Trilogy stands out as a rare example of an arc-driven franchise film. It doesn’t introduce us to an expanded cinematic universe (although I think it should have, but that’s a discussion for another time). Instead, it tells the story of Bruce Wayne, his transformation into Batman, and his eventual retirement after a job well done.

So let’s take some time to analyze the three Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman movies: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. We will begin with the theme of symbolism, which gets to the heart of what Batman sought to accomplish throughout the triology.

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