The films of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy – Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – are often cited among some of the most influential films in recent memory, certainly responsible for revitalizing the superhero genre in the public consciousness, but perhaps also changing the landscape of big-budget blockbuster Hollywood filmmaking. Nolan’s grounded approach to superhero films, seeped with realism, has influenced every franchise since, for better or worse.
It is easy to note and cite the influences these films have had since their release, but art is not born out of a vacuum. And while I do think “everything is a remix” can be a rather pessimistic way to look at things – if nothing is truly “original,” what is even the point, right? – it is important to look back, not just to gain a deeper understanding of a work, but also to acquire a new outlook with which to look forward.
So, what are the influences of The Dark Knight Trilogy? It is, of course, a marriage of two mediums, taking a character predominantly associated with comic books and bringing him onto the big screen, so it must have had influences from both films and comic books. What films informed the cinematography of this trilogy? And what stories from the character’s rich publication history were mined to tell the tale Nolan et al. were trying to tell with their films?