In the 11 years that have passed since its release, The Dark Knight has reached an iconic status unlike any superhero film before or since. Not only because prior to its release, comic book adaptations were not doing well financially and critically, but also because one man’s performance managed to outshine all the other brilliant elements of the movie itself, which is rare feat.
The Dark Knight was and still is unlike any other comic book adaptation. The movie redefined the entire genre, proving that comic book films can be art, and was, at least in part, responsible for the age of superhero movies we live in today.
What Made The Dark Knight So Different
The Dark Knight was so popular because it didn’t have that same cliche, comic book feel to it. It looked at all of the over-the-top, cookie-cutter aspects of the genre and did away with them, making Gotham and its citizens feel like they could inhabit our own little stories, our own little lives. Batman, Two Face, and the Joker didn’t feel like caricatures, dressed in flamboyant costumes for the sake of entertainment.
Fast forward to today, and superhero movies have changed. A lot. There is more focus on world building and a lot more emphasis on fleshing out characters as opposed to big, elaborate yet hollow stories reminiscent of cartoons.
It is interesting to ponder what things would be like if the Nolan trilogy had been part of the DCEU. Maybe it could have given the MCU a run for its money.
Regardless, the truth is that the industry has evolved beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, so much so that movies like Avengers: Endgame have earned ridiculous amounts of money. And, yes, some of the massive success of the MCU has a lot to do with The Dark Knight’s success.
Eleven years and one sequel later, and countless other movies inspired by the same characters, and even two new Jokers, and The Dark Knight remains the best movie at combining comic book elements and placing them in a real life setting, seamlessly. The movie has some of the most brilliant performances, some breathtaking action scenes, and truly iconic quotes. And let’s not forget about Hans Zimmer’s genius soundtrack.
By doing all of these, The Dark Knight changed public perception toward comic book movies in ways never thought possible; comic book movies became a way to tell meaningful stories by actors who cared deeply about the performances they were putting in.
There won’t be another movie like The Dark Knight for a very long time. While it is not everyone’s favorite take on Batman, it is by far one of the most appreciated films of the past decade.