When The Dark Knight made its debut, it garnered a level of critical acclaim that hadn’t been seen before for films of its genre. Christopher Nolan‘s second entry into his Batman trilogy had a significant effect on the way that comic book movies were viewed by audiences and handled by filmmakers.
Examples of the film’s impact on the industry can be seen in Empire Magazine’s recent interview with some of Hollywood’s hottest known creative talents; industry names like Tim Burton, Zack Snyder and Rupert Wyatt shared their opinions on Nolan’s work and its influences on their craft and the genre.
Check out what they had to say below.
“I like Chris Nolan’s Batman movies. It kind of makes me laugh because I got so much shit for being too dark and now, with him, it’s like, ‘Lucky you.’ But that’s the way it should be. I wish I hadn’t had to go through quite so much torture. They weren’t used to that mood then. Comic books were supposed to be light. I did what I wanted to do and it seemed different at the time. And what he did has become normal.”
“The success and quality of The Dark Knight was just as important for Marvel as it was for all the people involved in that movie. I look back at the summer of 2008 as a two-hander between Iron Man and The Dark Knight, and I think they both really announced, ‘Okay, this is not a fad, this genre is here to stay.’ After The Dark Knight, we didn’t fall into a trap of saying, ‘Woah, audiences like dark and gritty! Make Thor dark and gritty, make Captain America dark and gritty!’ But I think it showed how diverse these movies can be. I root for ever single one of the comic book movies that aren’t ours. I hope every one is great and when they’re not, it’s disappointing, because people don’t always make the distinction between DC and Marvel.”
“When I’ve watched The Dark Knight more analytically, as a filmmaker, I’ve noticed things that go against the way we’re supposed to do them. Like there’s music throughout that movie, yet they pull it right out during the really intense chase scenes and it has a strange effect of making those moments really grounded and believable and more exciting. It’s stuff like that that really sets it apart from other blockbusters. And I’m really pleased the movie was such a success because never again can a studio underestimate the audience.”
“The greatest villain of all time is The Joker – he always has been and I don’t know anyone who’s not going to have Heath Ledger’s performance burnt into their brains for the rest of their lives. And the thing about Chris that I admire so much is that he’s not afraid to talk up to the audience, rather that down to the audience. He makes a gorgeous film; he makes an elegant and intelligent film, and that’s the sort of thing that they didn’t used to do with the superhero genre.”
“What Chris did with that movie was he made our mythology mean something to us. Batman is no longer a man in a suit. He’s us. But it’s not a repeatable thing, as far as tone and mood go. The Dark Knight Rises can be that again, but other superhero movies can’t because they don’t have the balls. That tone is transcendent. That’s a movie anyone can see and say, ‘I understand that mythology instantly’.”
“I think audiences, especially at that particular moment in time, were facing a certain reality check. Foreign wars, a crumbling economy – and the actor who played the villain met a really, premature, tragic death before the movie came out. All of those things combined to make a very zeitgeist film. I referenced it all the time during the making of Apes, in terms of my hopes for people understanding the idea was to make a film that really dealt with our world. Warner Bros. has done a huge amount, especially with that particular film and Christopher Nolan, to make other studios give other filmmakers the opportunity to tell really intelligent, well thought-out character dramas on that kind of scale.”
Nolan crafted an incredible film with The Dark Knight and even if you aren’t a fan of comic book movies, there’s no denying that it’s a film of great significance and importance. It’s nice to hear these filmmakers speaking so highly of Nolan and The Dark Knight, it’s also interesting to hear their thoughts on it and what they appreciate about it. They’re all right though, Nolan really took the superhero genre to the next level with the film and he forever changed it.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, Christopher Nolan will conclude his Dark Knight trilogy this summer with the release of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th.