I love the Christopher Nolan Batman films with all my soul – I truly believe each film is a classic. What Nolan did for the character is not easy – he made Batman, in the eyes of the mainstream audience, into a serious character. Previously, under different directorial regimes, I just couldn’t take character seriously.
But as well as all three films being wonderful, there are moments in the Nolan series that just make you remember why you love movies. Moments that force you to say “wow” and moments that conjure a chill at the back of your neck.
These are my favourite 10 moments in the Nolan Batman series.
Ten: Ras al Ghul reveal
I feel that Batman Begins gets a bad rap among fans and critics – I think it is a very good film that expertly lays the ground work for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. There are moments in the film that are as good as any in the series.
I remember the first time I watched Begins and seeing Bruce Wayne’s birthday scene and being blown away. The tension from the whole film pretty much builds to this moment. You realise that the real big bad of the film was a bloke you thought was a good guy and probably dead – Liam Neeson’s Ras al Ghul. From this moment on, I knew this was a very different Batman story than those that came before.
Nine: The Lau Extraction
This scene is the best bad ass “Batman” moment in series. I love it because it brings home a point that Heath Ledger’s Joker mentions earlier in The Dark Knight, “Batman has no jurisdiction.” It is the clearest demonstration of why Batman is more important than the Gotham City Police.
It is also just very cool.
Eight: Do you feel in charge?
As I have said before on this blog, I am shit scared of Bane and you only have to watch the below scene to understand why. In a moment, with a light touch of the shoulder, the whole dynamic of the conversation between Bane and John Daggett (played by the bloody brilliant Ben Mandelsohn) changes – and it is shocking.
Seven: Ninja Batman
Something that people overlook about Batman is that he is supposed to be a fiercely intelligent individual that thinks on his feet – a detective if you will. That is best illustrated in the Ninja initiation scene in Batman Begins.
First off, Ninja’s are just bloody cool anyway, so this scene was always going to stick with me. But I love the way that in this one scene you see Bruce using all of the knowledge Ras has passed on to him (or the knowledge we have seen him pass). This is where you pretty much see the transformation – this is the birth of Batman.
Six: The Bane walk
You take the boss hostage and threaten his life in front of his people who are ebbing closer and closer towards you. So you fight them with the help of a bloke that dresses as a bat, but more men keep coming. Chief among those approaching you is a big bastard with his hands on the collar of his jacket.
Question: What do you do? My answer: Shit myself.
Five: Joker’s coward
The thing with me is that I keep forgetting how great Ledger’s performance was as the Joker. I try to downplay it because of the incredible hype it gets but when you watch The Dark Knight you realise what a remarkable performance it is. Truly jaw dropping.
One of my favourite moment is when he taunts a police officer into an altercation. It is the way that Ledger achieves being extremely threatening and funny at the same time.
I chuckle every time Ledger mouths “six” in this scene - I don't know why. And when he drops his “do you know why I use a knife speech” you realise what Ledger was doing in this film was not normal.
Four: Joker reveal
There is probably nothing I can say about this moment that hasn’t already been written. It is my third favourite introduction to a film behind The Godfather ("I believe in America") and The Lion King ("Circle of life"). It is already iconic and rightly so.
Every time someone argues with me that Nolan isn’t a technically gifted director, I mention this scene because it is nigh near perfect beginning to a wonderful film.
And yes for a third time in a row I choose a Joker moment – I left out so many.
I’m really not that bothered about the rest of this scene (which is awesome in its own right), it is just the “hi” moment that delights me. Again, it shows you the level of detail Ledger put into his performance.
Firstly, it’s funny and secondly, for that to be the first word you say to a man who you ruined is just sadistic.
Two: Darkness is Bane’s ally
Tom Hardy’s Bane is one of my favourite villains of all time and just surpasses the Joker. As I have said before, I find him trulyterrifying and is an evil that speaks to my generation.
The fight scene in the sewers between Bane and Batman encapsulates everything terrifying about the character – but it is his “darkness” speech that tips me over the edge every time. Terrifying.
One: Fire Engine
It is just funny.
I remember laughing out loud in the cinema when I saw this visual gag. The thing is, I wasn’t the only one laughing.
Again, it sharply shows two important elements to the Joker, his humour and sadistic nature. But somehow, his humour is the thing that shines through the most – at least for me it is. I really don’t know what that says about me as a human being.
And that is my lot.