Retrospective: THE DARK KNIGHT – 10 Years Later

Batman, a character that has changed a lot over the years, especially in film. From his serial in the 1940s to his film series in the 1980s. Batman has always been a part of pop culture. There have always been different versions of the Caped Crusader, so how does one create his own spin on the character? That’s what director Christopher Nolan did with The Dark Knight Trilogy. Let’s look back at one of the greatest superhero films ever made, The Dark Knight.

It’s amazing that after Batman Begins, an astonishing film in its own right, Nolan was able to elevate the genre. Crafting a sequel that felt like a roller coaster ride from start to finish. Here’s what Nolan had to say about the making of the film: Yeah. well you know, it’s daunting, the idea of taking on a sequel. I saw it, I came to see it as an interesting challenge, but at first, I was a little bit unwilling to roll the dice again, if you like. Because Batman Begins had been well received. There’s really no point in doing the sequel unless you can try and do something that you’ll be more interested in or that you hope the audience will be more interested in. 

The Dark Knight is the timeless story of good vs. evil. chaos vs. order, The Batman vs. The Joker. We have this story set up beautifully. With Batman Begins focusing on Bruce Wayne becoming Gotham’s symbol of justice, The Dark Knight focuses on The Joker becoming Gotham’s agent of chaos. Both are two sides of the same coin. The film frames their dynamic in a more realistic way than ever before. Batman won’t kill the Joker out of his misplaced sense of morality and Joker won’t kill Batman simply because he views Batman as too much fun. This is classic Batman and Joker, even if at first glance you don’t see it.

This movie is only as good as Heath Ledger’s performance. Every scene that he’s in he steals it. He looks vastly different from any interpretation of the character, but he makes the role his own. He gives the single best performance in any superhero film: He would very gradually reveal to me the voice, and the way he was going to do things, but not in one go, like, ‘Oh, here’s the Joker’,” said Nolan. “On set, there were always moments like that clapping and things he would do with his voice. His voice was so unpredictable. He created this bizarre pitch. I’ve seen a lot of people try to imitate it since… You never knew what that guy was going to do, and that’s what was terrifying about it. Ledger gave the role his all, and you can clearly see it on screen. This is his movie, and he gave a performance of a lifetime.

The Dark Knight is a film that changed the game. It helped usher in a wave of superhero films back in 2008 (along with Iron Man). To this day, 10 years later, it remains the peak of comic book movies. It didn’t need flashy CGI or a Cinematic Universe to create a world where audiences want to go back to. It simply showed the world what Batman truly is; A silent guardian, a watchful protector, a Dark Knight.

For Christopher Nolan’s full interview(s), check out Collider and SyFy.

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