Geekery & The Dark Knight Trilogy

While Ethan tackles the weightier questions of the trilogy, I’ll look at the geekier ones.

All in all, this comic geek can’t complain all that much. This trilogy turned out to be a departure from the Batman tradition in many respects. I’ll start with the third movie and then move backwards.

The most frustrating thing to me, was John Blake. Namely, that he wasn’t named Tim Drake (the third Robin). Given the similarity of name, I actually wonder if it might have been their intent. If their intent was to make the Robin connection a surprise, they gave their game away with more than the resemblence I saw. As the movie wore on, I kept thinking “Just call him Tim!”

I was smacking myself over the head for not picking up on Talia. The signs were all there. How did I miss it? The timeline of Bane didn’t make sense (namely, Bane having simultaneously been crippled in the pit and having escaped uncrippled) as I tried to piece it together. The obvious answer just didn’t occur to me. Watching it the second time was even more painful in this regard. Could they have been more obvious? Tate talks about balance!

This was probably the best depiction of Catwoman that I have seen to date. Unlike previous depictions, rather true to the character. I was a little worried about Catwoman with no overhead mask and the cat ears, but they made it work.

Bane was also well-done, though much more of a departure. The trick of combining the concepts of the Lazerus Pit and Pena Duro was kind of neat. Bane just isn’t the same without Venom. And, of course, it turned out that we were dealing with Bane The Henchman rather than Bane The Mastermind. At least he was an intelligent Henchman and not a drooling idiot.

It’s a bit irritating that Nolan took two of comparatively few minority Batman villains (Arabian Ra’s al Ghul and Latin American Bane) and replaced them with two white people. I’m really quite tired of villains with British accents.

As with Catwoman, they did a good job with the Batman costume throughout the trilogy. One of the more ridiculous things about the previous Batman franchise were the stiff necks. To see anything that wasn’t right in front of him, he had to turn his entire body around. Here they produced a costume that not only looked good, but had much more passable functionality.

Notably, a porn production also did a pretty good job with both Batman and Catwoman’s costumes.

Out of curiosity, will Harvey Bullock or Rene Montoya ever appear movie form? They made Flass a Bullockesque character in appearance, not unlike the corrupt Lt. Eckhardt from the 1989 movie. They had a Montoya-like character in the second. I had actually guessed that she was a mole because they hadn’t named her Montoya. The inclusion of Hugh Foley was an interesting touch.

The lack of an actual Batmobile in this series was an interesting and unexpected decision. Mostly because it’s the kind of thing that directors/producers seem to like to have fun with.

One of the things that struck me is that, starting at the second movie, was that Gotham really had too many good and loyal servants. Commissioner Loeb, a corrupt piece of work in the comics, was actually a good commish. Mayor Garcia. By the time Harvey Dent came along, the city already seemed like it was in good hands.

Whenever a series of movies conclude, I always feel a bit of loss for the villains who weren’t used. I liked that this one introduced some less common ones, like Ra’s, Scarecrow and (a non-drooly version of) Bane. I’m sorry that Riddler and Penguin didn’t get a showing. One of these days I want to see a master franchise. Five movies or more. Let it build, let it continue, and so on.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. Looked great in IMAX.
    Apparently Anne broke a camera and singlehandedly increased the budget of the film by a couple percent.

    Felt more real for using real architecture — particularly Mellon Institute. Feels like a bit of soot suits Gotham pretty well.

    Did anyone else find some of the ads distracting…?

    • I’m not sure if this is what you’re referring to, but I did find myself wondering why the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center had a Gotham City branch.

      Our theater doesn’t have IMAX. It has two screens and is 90% empty most of the time. The upshot? Very comfy seats!

      • Same reason it has a Newcastle, England branch and one in Sicily too, I suppose. 😉
        2hours 45 minutes director’s cut. nobody went to the restroom.

        If you can, catch it on an IMAX.

  2. I saw the third movie on Saturday. I really liked it. The thing I appreciate most about the whole trilogy is that they presented it could happen. It was realistic. The villains didn’t have supernatural abilities (Killer Croc, Poison Ivy). They left out the cheese (Riddler, Penguin). It was gritty. It was Frank Miller’s Batman.

    I suspected Blake was Robin when they revealed he grew up in an orphanage. It seems though that he will more liekly be Nightwing than Robin.

    I saw Talia coming about 5 minutes before the reveal. The betrayal pissed me off so…job well-done. Loved Hathaway as the Catwoman. They played her perfect. She has a good heart but her own needs come first.

    The saddest thing is comparing the potential for DC’s brand verses The Avengers. Talk about an opportunity missed!

    • I saw the Talia thing coming from much further away than that (for me, a big hint was that she was played by Marion Cotillard, who was also an emotional pivot in Nolan’s Inception), and the Blake-as-Robin thing was projected pretty strongly from the previews.

      But Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman was a show-stealer — Bane lacked charisma but I couldn’t get enough of Selina Kyle. And not just because she was sexy (that, um, didn’t hurt matters), she was interesting and a lot of her character remained obscured and tantalizing.

      But even though it had flaws, the final movie was an absolute feast, and I’ll look forward to seeing it again, maybe in a Batman marathon with the first two Nolan movies.

      • It’s interesting how differently we react to these kinds of things. I thought Blake was over-projected, in that the obvious telegraphs throughout the whole film were “Batman is going to die”, so I thought Blake was just going to be Batman. In some sense, I guess that’s not really much different from “he’s Robin”.

        I also loved Bane. He was easily my favorite character in the movie. Tom Hardy’s screen presence was amazing, and that voice. Oh, that voice. I could listen to it all day.

        • I wonder if the point they were trying to make with the comment that “Batman can be anyone,” was that if they make another movie in a few years with Blake as Batman no one should complain about the change in actors.

          They really did a great job of making Wayne seem exhausted and tired looking in the early part of the movie (kudos to Christian Bale on that). I then loved the juxtaposition of him looking very happy and healthy looking in the final scene. Retirement suited him. Meanwhile you have a now-jaded Blake who wants to fight crime in a different way, ready to assume the role of Batman. Pure awesome.

        • I agree with regard to Bane. Even as tired as I am of British-accented villains (though it was downplayed somewhat here), the voice was quite good and the inflections almost perfect. And given the limits of how clearly we could ever see Hardy’s face, it was extremely well played.

        • 60% of his acting in the movie was body language. Very well done indeed!

          • I’ve watched the movie three times now. I have to say, my favorite scenes and the ones I most look forward to the Bane scenes.

  3. I agree a million percent on the Blake thing. Anyone who knows anything about the comics saw it coming a mile away. And anyone who doesn’t won’t recognize the name.

    Likewise I was surprised by the Bane twist, even though I objectively should not have been.

    I loved the ending. It’s almost exactly how I’d end a batman series.

    I was happy to see Cillian Murphy’s cameo. But thinking further, I really wish we could have those scenes with Heath Ledger instead.

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