And now, it really ends. This week sees The Dark Knight Rises released on DVD and Blu-Ray and with it Christopher Nolan's Batman films take their place in cinema history. Some would argue that these three films – the middle chapter especially – are the defining movies of our generation, advancing what Blockbuster cinema can achieve both visually and thematically. Now viewed as one monumentally impressive saga, we can debate whether or not the Bale/Bruce/Batman behemoth is the greatest trilogy of all time.
In the battle of Good Vs. Evil you can't really beat Jedi Vs. Sith. But life, as The Dark Knight pointed out, isn't ever that black and white. Even as early as Batman Begins, Nolan and writer Goyer were playing with the moral ambiguity inherent in donning a mask and beating the living crap out of those that our hero considered wrong. The Joker's theories about chaos and rules ripped up conventions completely but it all began with, as any great villain should, Ra's al Ghul being 100 per cent committed to the belief that what he was doing was right.
Great trilogies should inspire great days of movie marathons. The Godfather day is a tough one to pull off. Sure you get close to 6 hours of the finest film ever shot but by the time you've eaten your bodyweight in cannoli you'll start to think about the virtues of sticking Disc 3 in. No such issue for Mr. Wayne and company. An added bonus of reviewing The Dark Knight Rises is the quibbles against the final chapter lose even more power when seen at home. Away from the overly grandiose expectations your first cinema viewing encouraged, the final chapter delivers in every single way.
Shooting three films back-to-back with no guarantee of success was a ballsy move by Peter Jackson and New Line, but for all its myriad of virtues Frodo's tale was relatively safe. Deviating only slightly from what Tolkein had put on the page a half decade or so before, Jackson remained faithful and pleased the populace. The reinvention of Batman for the 21st century had the potential to go horribly wrong, yet Christopher Nolan (plus his wife and his brother) pitched perfectly the change from cartoon to truly dark Knight.
The Bourne Trilogy's reinvention of action cinema gave it it's place in cinema history, yet by shaking the shit out of every lens and gate it was virtually impossible to leave a single Jason outing with a memorable picture. Compare that to the shot of Batman looking out over his city, The Joker leaning out of the fleeing police car or the Bat symbol fired up above Gotham. So many everlasting, indelible images.
The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight Trilogy is out on Blu-Ray and DVD