Top 10 Scenes In The Dark Knight Trilogy

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I’d like to begin by saying that I am not a superhero or comic book fan. In fact, I’ve never read a comic book in my life other than an old Beano book when I was about seven years old. I even put off seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight for years because I was convinced that Batman was for “kids”. How wrong I was. It wasn’t until I started getting into Christopher Nolan films that I decided to give Batman Begins a try and needless to say I was blown away. You can’t imagine how bowled over I was when I then watched The Dark Knight in blu-ray for the first time. Seeing The Dark Knight Rises on the big screen was just a whole new level bliss.

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is my favourite trilogy of all time. I believe that The Dark Knight and its sequel are two of the greatest films ever made. They’re pure art and are already iconic pieces of cinema that will surely stand the test of time. I once (famously, I might add) described The Dark Knight trilogy as being akin to a perfect three-course meal. Batman Begins is the starter, a nice little warm-up which gets you excited for bigger things to come. The Dark Knight is the main course, arguably the best part of the meal. It’s the meatiest and tastiest part which leaves you completely satisfied. The Dark Knight Rises is the dessert. It’s just as good as the main course, but in a completely different way. Depending on your taste, it could even surpass it as it rounds everything off to perfection.

I am in fact one of those rare people who think that The Dark Knight Rises surpasses The Dark Knight, ever so slightly due to its atmosphere of dread and sheer scale and ambition. This trilogy is so much more than ‘superhero movies’. They’re individual pieces of art and contain some of the best filmmaking I’ve seen. There are so many incredible scenes, so unfortunately some real crackers won’t feature in my. I myself don’t even agree with this list so I’d love to hear your comments. Without further ado, let’s delve into Christopher Nolan’s nightmarish world of Gotham city.

10) Tumbler Tumble

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This is the first time we really see the tumbler in full action. The bat mobile has been completely reinvented, so that it is no longer a suave sports car, but a military tank. And it makes sense! It’s truly breath-taking to see it swoop across rooftops, speed down motorways and outrun police cars. What makes it all the more tense and exciting is that Bruce Wayne’s fancy woman is in the passenger seat at death’s door, so we know that he’s got to get to his cave fast! It’s an exhilarating scene and just a taste of even bigger things to come…

9) Bank heist

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The opening to The Dark Knight immediately tells you that this film is going to be a departure from the friendlier (but still dark) Batman Begins. In fact, this doesn’t feel like a family friendly superhero film at all! And that’s because it isn’t. This is a beautifully made crime/noirish sequence which feels more like a scene from Michael Mann’s, Heat than a 12A rated Batman film. Those who own the blu-ray will also confirm to you that it looks mesmerising. The opening shot never fails to literally take my breath away as we’re introduced to a frighteningly real world which looks like you could almost fall into it. All the gun fire feels unusually raw and real too, which is a good thing in my books. And of course, who could forget that introduction to Heath Ledger’s, Joker as he says those haunting words, “Whatever kills you makes you… Stranger.” This is a stonkingly good opener!

8) Batman Vs Joker

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I don’t know what it is about this scene, but there’s something about it which I find quite thrilling. There’s a spectacular set-up where we see that the building is full of the joker’s men, hostages and the joker himself, whose whereabouts have been unknown to Batman until now. It’s a set-up not dissimilar to a videogame and it’s heart-stopping to witness! What makes these action sequences feel so intense is that Christopher Nolan tries to use as little CGI as possible and shoot with few quick-cuts so we can actually see what is going on. The final showdown between Batman and the joker is also pretty spectacular. There’s something quite epic about a skinny man in a purple suit beating Batman to a pulp. I also love the way the camera spins as the joker is left hanging. It shows that the closer to death he is, the more unhinged be gets. Wonderful. I’d also like to include the boat scene in this which I really admire. Tense and powerful.

7) A silent guardian

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I never fail to get chills during Jim Gordon’s flawless final words. After a very intense and frightening scene where Harvey-now-the-deranged-two-face-Dent almost blows a hole in the head of Gordon’s son. Batman heroically takes the bullet and plunges the damaged Dent to his death. He then runs off like a thief into the night alongside Hans Zimmer’s grand score and Gordon’s speech before rapidly cutting to black. It’s a fantastic moment and so well written by the Nolan brothers. Some may find the speech contrived, but I see it as something theatrical and grand in scale. I also love the lighting here.

6) Plane Heist

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Some may disagree, but I think the introduction to Bane is even better than the Joker’s intro! What a stroke of genius to have a villain the complete opposite of the Joker, a cold, calculating and hulking figure who is actually a match for Batman! This whole scene is exhilaratingly filmed. The gorgeous scenery and insane special effects make it all the more intense to watch. There’s also some fantastic music here as well which elevates everything. You also can’t help but admire the stunt work here and the way Nolan directs is just flawless as he gets right in on the action with no shaky cam or manic quick cuts! This just goes to show how powerful Bane is and how he always has the upper hand. I also absolutely love his voice. You’d expect him to have the voice of a bull frog, but instead it’s like Shaun Connery on acid. Tom Hardy did almost the impossible, and made us forget about Heath Ledger’s electrifying performance. Whilst Bane still doesn’t reach those heights, he’s still a bloody excellent villain in his own rights. Christopher Nolan himself announced the other day that this was his favourite scene from his entire career!

5) Stadium woes

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This is the moment when we realise that Bane really means business. What would normally be the big finale to a superhero film occurs barely halfway through. It’s the moment where the hero usually comes to stop the villain just before he carries out his evil plan, but not here. The Nolan brothers clearly don’t care for convention and their films are all the more better for it. Bane wins and we’re all surprised. After this moment there’s a fantastic atmosphere of dread where everything seems hopeless and huge in scale. The stadium explosion itself is incredibly well shot. After hearing Hans Zimmer’s masterful, menacing score there’s suddenly silence with just the voice of a innocent child singing and the looming image of Bane in a brilliant coat making his way to the stadium entrance. To top it all off Tom Hardy (apparently) improvises the haunting line, “It’s a lovely, lovely voice” before blowing the stadium to shreds. It’s magnificent to watch, as is seeing all the bridges blow up. Most directors would shoot this from every angle possible in a series of quick cuts, but Nolan only uses one or two shots to really capture the reality of what’s going on. And it really works.

4) Bane’s prison speech

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Bane makes many powerful speeches in the film, but this is probably my favourite. Bane has won and has proudly put himself up as a vicious dictator. He shatters the reputation of “hero” Harvey Dent by reading Gordon’s real speech and liberates the criminals of Gotham by blowing a hole in the prison wall. To top it all off he goes on to explain his plans for Gotham, including blowing it to smithereens. This really shows off the incredible writing skills of the Nolan brothers. They really know how to get inside a character and make them endlessly quotable. I also don’t think that they get enough credit for what they did with some of the Joker’s lines.

3) The bomb

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Christopher Nolan really did end the trilogy with a bang. I’ll never forget seeing this bomb chase scene in the cinema. My heart was racing and chills covered my spine. It was so intense to watch, it’s a feeling I’ve not had since watching Black Swan for the first time. The whole scene is flawlessly done. The music, the directing, the special effects, the sheer emotion. Perhaps it’s because the film is so unpredictable that you don’t know what’s going to happen! Everything seems so hopeless. Alas, Batman gets blown to pieces and saves Gotham, almost like Jesus atoning for everyone’s sins. Or does he live? I also love the scene where Gordon realises that Batman is Bruce Wayne. It’s all so powerful and emotional. Especially when Alfred’s crying his eyes out at the funeral. Oh, and here’s some trivia that you might not know. The bomb actually ticks down in real time! This also subconsciously adds to the intensity.

2) Interrogation

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The iconic interrogation scene features some of the best acting and writing ever committed to film. You can feel Batman’s reeling anger as he brutally beats the Joker. It’s like he actually wants to kill him! But the more angry Batman gets, the more amused the Joker is. He just smiles more with every punch. This is really tremendous acting from Heath Ledger and it’s also the scene where the Nolan brothers give the Joker his most iconic lines such as, “Does it depress you commissioner… To realise just how alone you really are.” The directing here also really captures the emotional intensity of everything. To top it all off, there’s Zimmer’s menacing high-pitched score for the Joker playing over which ratchets up the tension a couple of notches. There’s also that breathtaking moment afterwards where Batman has to save either Harvey or Rachael. If it was any other superhero movie, then Batman would find some sort of way to save both unharmed. But this is Christopher Nolan, and he really hits home when he decides to blow up Rachael. This makes finding the Joker, much more of a revenge quest for Batman.

1) Tunnel chase

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Most will probably disagree with me here, but for me, this is probably where the trilogy hits its highest point. This scene really shows how much of a talent Christopher Nolan is as a director. He shoots everything for real and uses extremely little CGI, which makes the action feel real. It doesn’t feel like you’re watching a movie any more, it’s like you’re actually there and it’s heart-stopping to watch. The Joker rolls up in his comically graphitized truck with a bazooka, trying to blow up the prison van which Harvey’s in and it’s frightening to watch because it just feels so real! The stunts here are just incredible to watch as Batman’s new motorbike feels like it’s going to pop out of the screen. Everything’s going on here: a helicopter crashes, the tumbler dies, Batman crashes through a window, the Joker steals a huge lorry and Batman finally turns it over in spectacular style. But things only get more epic when the Joker crawls out of the wreckage and toys with Batman’s “one rule”. It’s hair-raising to see Batman rocket towards the hapless Joker as he shouts, “HIT ME! HIT ME!” The whole sequence is damn near perfection. I truly believe that it’s quite simply one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. It just feels so powerful, intense and real.

So there’s my list. I know, I know. Your favourite scene isn’t in there, right? Well to be quite honest with you if I did a 20 greatest scenes, I would still miss something out. I would’ve loved to have included the stock market scene, Batman and Bane’s first fight, Alfred’s leaving and the scene where the Joker makes an appearance at the party. There are just too many great scenes to admire in this awe-some trilogy. What are your favourites?

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Why does everyone hate The Dark Knight Rises?

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This will contain several major spoilers so if you haven’t seen The Dark Knight trilogy yet, then A) What are you doing with your life? B) Don’t read on.

In the words of Ledger’s Joker, let’s wind the clocks back. Let’s wind them back to the time when The Dark Knight Rises hit cinemas for the first time. The anticipation was huge thanks to the incredible success of The Dark Knight. We had months of sensational trailers and it finally came to our big screens! The reviews were overwhelmingly positive from critics and audiences alike. They called it an ambitious, spectacular and very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. No one said that it was better than The Dark Knight, but no one expected it to be. Bane was hailed as a brilliant villain, although not as interesting as The Joker, but who is?

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So why on Earth is everyone slagging it off now? It’s been called the worst film Christopher Nolan has ever done and one of the worst superhero movies ever. People endlessly pick holes with the plot, with the biggest question being “how did Bruce Wayne get to Gotham in time?” and Bane is slagged off as a limp villain thanks to the surprise ending and Tom Hardy’s peculiar voice. However, I whole-heartedly disagree with all these points. When I first saw The Dark Knight Rises on the big screen I felt elated. It was the most intense movie experience I had had since Black Swan and to me it was as close to flawless as a film can get. I still believe that, and I even prefer Rises over The Dark Knight.

To me the trilogy is like a three course meal. Batman Begins is the soupy starter. This is proper high-class soup which satisfies your taste and gets you all warmed up for the main course. The Dark Knight is the main course and is arguably the best part of the meal. It’s big, meaty and blows the starter out of the water. It’s completely satisfying and leaves you wanting to experience it all over again. The Dark Knight Rises is the desert. It’s as good as the starter, but in a completely different way. It’s also the perfect way to end the meal, leaving a sweet taste in your mouth. To me, The Dark Knight trilogy is the best trilogy ever made.

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It might be worth pointing out that I’m generally not a fan of superhero films. I watched X-Men: First Class the other month and just did not understand the appeal of it at all. So perhaps The Dark Knight Rises is a bit of a disappointment to superhero fans. After all, Christopher Nolan’s vision is dark and realistic. It feels more like an adult crime/thriller than a piece of family entertainment. Batman does also take a back seat in Rises, and the story becomes much more about Bruce Wayne. This doesn’t bother me at all, I absolutely love the long build-up of Bruce Wayne slowly bringing his alter-ego out of the closet (not in a gay way) as it makes you feel the weight of the suit. The idea of Batman’s biggest threat coming at a time when he’s at his weakest is incredibly appealing.

Talking of enemies… Bane gets a lot of stick for some reason. Personally, I love what Tom Hardy does with the voice. It’s strange, unconventional and a little bit creepy. In fact, the scenes where Bane has a monologue are the best scenes in the film as there’s a kind of hypnotic quality to them. I think it’s brilliant to have a villain who is a complete contrast to The Joker. Bane is not only physically superior, but he’s a match for Bruce’s intelligence too. He’s a man with a plan, as opposed to The Joker who was just  blowing up stuff for a laugh. Furthermore, Bane manages to do what The Joker never did. Halfway through the film my jaw was on the floor because I was watching a superhero film where the villain wins! There’s a fantastic atmosphere of dread and hopelessness throughout the film because Bane beats Batman and destroys most of Gotham.

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Some say that the twist sucks because it reveals Bane as some lovesick puppy and not the badass mastermind he’s been made out to be. However, this just makes me appreciate the Nolan brother’s writing even more. They haven’t just created a cardboard cutout villain, they’ve created a real character who runs much deeper than he first appears. In regards to the much mocked death scene, yes it is a little underwhelming but let’s not forget what Liam Neeson said in Batman Begins, “Death does not wait for you to be ready! Death is not considerate or fair!” All of the deaths in The Dark Knight trilogy follow this rule, so why should supervillain Bane be treated any differently?

People also tend to bang on about various plot holes, but all of them can be explained if you use your imagination a bit. How did Bruce get back to Gotham? It’s never stated where the pit is, he’s a renowned billionaire so he could’ve easily flew over or summoned his new fancy Bat plane. Who’s to say that he ever returned at all? Perhaps the entire finale is one big wishful thought. I know it’s unusual for a blockbuster to make you think, but this is Christopher Nolan. He has somehow managed to bring the intimacy and intelligence of art-house/indie cinema to multi-million blockbusters so not everything is going to be spelled out to the audience.

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People seem to be so hung up on these plot holes that they forget just how extraordinary the film is. Christopher Nolan’s direction is superb. The majority of action scenes nowadays are filmed from every angle with quick-cuts and a frantic shake to make sure that the audience can’t see what’s going on. The entire last half hour of The Expendables is one big fiery blur because the directing is just appalling! Even Christopher Nolan fell for this with some of the action sequences in Batman Begins. Thankfully he’s learnt from his mistakes and is now the master of shooting action. He only films from one or two angles so that we can really get involved with what’s going on. It’s so much more intense, and it also helps that it’s all done for real with little CGI.

The plane heist is a seriously spectacular opening and it’s filmed with a fantastic sense of scale which leaves you breathless. I can’t help but get chills when Bane says, “Oh yes, the fire rises” and Hans Zimmer’s epic score kicks in as we see Bane completely hijack the plane. Talking of the score, Bane’s chant is one of Hans’ best. When the film’s over it’s still ringing in your head and it’s the perfect musical embodiment of Bane. It’s loud and threatening. Hans Zimmer always does his best scores when working with Christopher Nolan. His latest score in Interstellar is probably the best he’s ever done, which is saying a lot.

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Rises is also the most emotional of the trilogy. The finale is very intense and certainly sets your pulse racing. There’s definitely a sense that Batman won’t save Gotham, thanks to how unpredictable the film is throughout. I also love the much-debated ending which plays on the idea of dreams and again leaves it up to the viewer to answer. Some of the best scenes in the film aren’t just the eye-popping ones such as the stadium blowing up, but the smaller ones too. Michael Caine’s goodbye for example is incredibly powerful and one of the best scenes in the film. Rises really does soar during its exhilarating action scenes though.

So there you have it! The Dark Knight Rises isn’t just a good film, it’s a downright mesmerising one. It’s superb in every department including: directing, writing, acting, editing and music. It has a grand sense of scale, yet it also crucially cares about its ensemble of characters. The film has a lot of heart to spare too and injects a lot of emotion. Can we please lay off it now? It’s as close to flawless as a film can be. A film that’s almost three hours in length is bound to have a few problems, but the problems here are so minor they’re not worth mentioning. Besides there’s so much more good about it than bad, so let’s enjoy it.