The dark knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan is considered to be one of the best movie series ever made. It changed the way super human movies are made. Instead of concentrating on the power of the super heroes the movies started focusing more on their vulnerabilities, which gave a totally new dimension to these genres of movies. Sam Mendes director of the latest edition of James Bond movie Skyfall talked about the influence of dark knight series in his movie. Though a failure still it shows the effect Nolan movie had on other directors. Failure in the sense that Sky fall was more of mimicry of dark knight rather than an inspired art work. Remember the villain who plans and gets himself captured and hero’s emotional attachment to characters surrounding him. I seriously could not understand why Roger Ebert gave 4 rating to this mockery stuff while giving only 3 to The dark knight rises, which I felt was a completely original work.
Now coming back to our topic of Nolan’s dark knight series, I would like share some of the interesting things which come to my mind when I remember those movies.
Most common element in all the three movies is the treatment of fear. The first movie almost entirely revolves around fear- Bruce Wayne’s fight to overcome fear, villain scarecrow with fear as the weapon and so on. When we reach the last movie it all reverses now Wayne has to find his fear back to help him to find a way out of deep well. Like the blind prisoner in the movie says “How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.” In the second movie there is no direct reference to fear as such. But the villain Joker always plays with the fear of people throughout the movie to execute his plans.
The dark knight uses the concepts of games theory throughout joker’s plan of action. Game theory is basically a mathematical tool designed to help in strategic decision making. Usually in situations involving complex decision making where outcome depends on the actions of all participants you can make use of this tool to help you. The classical example would involve two prisoners interrogated separately. They have two option either to confess or not. Accordingly four output is possible if both of them does not confess they will be set free. If either one of them confess other one will get 5 years in prison and other one will be set free. But if both of them confess then both will get 2 years in prison. Above situation can be shown in the 2x2 matrix below:-
If both does not confess both will be set free
If Prisoner 1 confess then prisoner 2 does not confess then prisoner 1 becomes free and prisoner 2 gets 10 years
If Prisoner 2 confess then prisoner 1 does not confess then prisoner 2 becomes free and prisoner 1 gets 10 years
If both confess the both will get 2 years each
The best solution for them will be to do not confess and then both will be set free. But since there is a fear of confession of other, both will confess and arrive at a suboptimal solution of two years.
In the movie Joker’s all moves be it the climax when he gives detonators to explode each other’s boat to people in the other boat or any other we can see that he is playing games with others forcing them to take decisions he wants. I believe that Nolan brothers derived the idea from this economic concept and used it in the movie.
The climax:- The way villains are removed from the movies
In all the three movies villains are suddenly removed from the movie. Scarecrow, joker and Bane three super villains disappear from the movie suddenly after a scene and no information thereafter. May be to show that with comic book villains there is always a chance of come back.
Nolan’s improvement in shooting fight sequence
Over the movies we can see a great improvement in Nolan’s directorial skills. In batman begins the fight sequence involving the bat-mobile jumping of the roofs and all were not that great. After the bat mobile lifts from one place it suddenly cuts off to the other scene of landing. It was more like using the editing techniques as a cover up. But in latter movies you can see Nolan showing a great improvement in the way he handled complicated fight sequences.
Reference to populist movement in The dark knight rises
The recession and the many events following it have resulted in a widespread criticism of corporate world and their mishandling of economy. There is a general feeling that 1% of people control the majority wealth of the world leaving little to others. This issue is the central theme of the 3rd installment of Nolan’s trilogy. The most interesting part is that Nolan has done this without taking sides, because he criticizes Bruce Wayne and other wealthy people for not being handling their wealth in a proper way. At the same time he is not supporting the violent and outlaw methods of Bane and his group.
Overall the series has been a great watch with memorable characters and quotes. Like I said before Nolan’s ability to adapt the real world to a fantasy level has played a major part in the success of the series. But now everyone is trying to imitate Nolan, which I feel is not great news as a viewer. I would like to taste different styles rather than same mode of storytelling.