Christopher Nolan Reveals Why Today’s Superhero Films Aren’t As Good As The Dark Knight


Not only is The Dark Knight the best superhero movie of all-time, but it’s also one of cinema’s greatest accomplishments. When critics consider the best films ever made, a few selections usually bob to the surface: Citizen KaneThe GodfatherSchindler’s List, etc. No one could have imagined that a superhero sequel would ever face off against those titles. And yet, many critics out there, myself included, would nominate Christopher Nolan’s stunning Batman opus to join the ranks of cinema’s greatest.

Why is The Dark Knight so brilliant, though? Well, perhaps it’s because, despite initial appearances, the film is not just an endlessly quotable superhero movie. It would be more accurate to call it a sprawling crime saga, for it operates on a far more sophisticated plane than any other comic book adaptation to date.

It’s a weighty meditation on the nature of the antihero and the unending battle between good and evil, society and anarchy, and order and chaos. It works as a blockbuster, to be sure, but The Dark Knight also works on political, moral and philosophical levels. It’s a parable for post-9/11 America and the War on Terror, a simultaneous condemnation and exultation of the vigilante and a dissection of the public defender. But according to Nolan, there’s one other reason why the film turned out so well, and that’s because he had the luxury of time.

Speaking at a BAFTA: A Life In Pictures event, the critically acclaimed director explained the following in regards to why having time in between Batman Begins and its sequel was so crucial for him.

“That’s a privilege and a luxury that filmmakers aren’t afforded anymore. I think it was the last time that anyone was able to say to a studio, ‘I might do another one, but it will be four years’. There’s too much pressure on release schedules to let people do that now but creatively it’s a huge advantage. We had the privilege and advantage to develop as people and as storytellers and then bring the family back together,” he said.

When people look back on the ’00s as a cinematic era, there’s no doubt in my mind that The Dark Knight will be considered the decade’s finest accomplishment. It’s the superhero epic that comic book devotees deserved, as well as the one the genre needed to break out into the mainstream.

Simply put, it’s a masterpiece, and while most of that is due to what we mentioned above, Nolan’s certainly right in saying that having that time to develop is a huge advantage. Like he said, that’s not a luxury people get nowadays and rushing just to meet a release date almost always results in a half-baked film. Just look at Justice League for proof of that.