The Batman trilogy starring Christian Bale as Batman has been one of my favorite movie series since it came out. I’ve watched it many times and continue to watch it at least twice a year. The other day I told my dad that I could probably create a government system based off this series. The movies were made so well that despite knowing what’s going to happen, they still have great meaning. The first movie, Batman Begins, is a great intro into the world of Batman. The Dark Knight starts to show many of the struggles that Bruce has to face during his journey as both billionaire by day and unwanted, but needed hero by night. The third and final movie, The Dark Knight Rises, ends the series with people finally realizing what the once hated hero had actually done for them all this time.
The premise of this series is that a rich kid who lost his parents leaves everything he knows. Whether he leaves because home only reminds him of sad memories, or because he wants to die is unclear. Honestly, both of these are probably true. There was nothing good for Bruce at home, and he wouldn’t care to much if he died. After learning some lessons about the other side of the social hierarchy, Bruce seems to find himself wanting to help those who cannot help themselves. He goes out and learns how to defend himself and then in return disarm those who choose to do evil. After seven years he finally emerges from the dark hole he threw himself into. He has one goal: to save his city.
Batman begins has to be the best intro movie to any super hero series out there. Not only does it make Batman look epic and thoroughly tell young Bruce’s story, but it gives him an incredible moral ground to stand on. For the entire beginning of the movie the time period switches back and forth with perfect timing. One moment your watching Bruce’s sad life as a child, then the next your watching him use that emotion to strengthen himself in training. When Ducard asks him about his hatred for the man responsible for the death of his parents, the movie takes you back to the trial of the murderer of his parents to share with us Bruce’s pain. Never before have I seen such good timing for flashbacks. The creators make all the various flashbacks seem like one story instead of a bunch of rushed background information.
At the end of Batman Begins, Bruce saves the city for the first time from his former master and friend, Ra’s al gul. In order to do this he had to first publicly humiliate himself as Bruce, then switch into the persona of Batman to save the people that hate him. Next comes The Dark Knight where we get to see the best done villain role of the century, Heath Ledger’s Joker. In this movie we not only see into the eyes of Batman, but into the eyes of the Joker as well. The Batman will stop at nothing to save people who hate him, while the Joker will stop at nothing to kill anyone and destroy everything just because it’s entertaining. It reminds me of the Joker’s alteration of the word ‘laughter’ into the word ‘slaughter’ halfway through the movie on the side of a carnivals semi-truck.
Alfred suggest to Bruce that perhaps this time Bruce is the one who does not understand the criminal. The Joker’s only purpose is cruel entertainment. At the same time, the Joker cannot understand the Batman’s motives. They are the perfect set of enemies, neither will stop chasing the other because of what drives them. Amusingly the Batman won’t kill the Joker because he isn’t an executioner, and the Joker won’t kill the Batman because that would leave him with no one good enough to play with. The other struggle for Bruce throughout this movie is that the public wants the Batman gone. He risks his life saving them and he get’s nothing for it, not even gratification.
The best part of the Dark Knight is when Bruce realizes that the city needs a white knight, Harvey Dent. Batman can fight the bad guys, but at the end of the day, people take him for granted. Harvey, however, is respected by the people, and by the end of the day, they will follow his every move. The only issue is that if he messes up even once, and he is often pressured to, everything he has ever done becomes worthless. In the end, Harvey falls and Batman has to take the hit.
The Dark Knight Rises takes everything that has happened up to this point and plays off of it. Ra’s al ghul returns in the form of Bane. The sad story Ra’s tells in the begging of the series turns out to be true, he did lose everything including a wife and child. Despite having died, he truly does seem immortal in a way. Batman had to disappear after sustaining injuries from his battle with Harvey. Not only that, but the entire city is on the hunt for him. Now a new threat emerges and is after his identity (someone is finally putting the disappearance of his two identities together). Gordon has lost everything he holds dear after helping the batman and is soon to be fired. The typical war hero story; save the world, you loved for a short while, next thing you known your thrown away.
The Batman is not only injured, but he has lost his motivation and youth. Bane seems to have all the advantages. It takes utter defeat to get Bruce back into the fight. This time though, it will take more than Bruce to win the fight. This movie shows how despite having been enough, even a hero needs the help of the people. The people of the city help create the monsters they fear, but they can also help destroy them. When everyone works together for the same cause, good things can happen. In the end, the people find their way and the Batman regains his strength. The bat dies, but the city is saved. “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain”. Harvey became a villain, the bat died a hero.
This series has tons of great action even if you don’t have the time or care to dive into it’s deeper meanings. The series isn’t for everyone, but I highly recommend you watch them at least once.