Nolan's Batman: The Characters

The first of a short study as to why Nolan's Batman went above and beyond any of its camp or Burton counterparts. (Spoiler free)

Christopher Nolan never truly went out of his way in creating new and exciting characters, some of them like Joker and the Bat himself have been around since 1940, with their creation courtesy of Bob Kane. Even the dark side of its animated counterpart also proves that the lore, for the most part, is nothing new. What Nolan manages to explore and exploit however is the turmoil and realism of the human beings in his stories. Something that the previous camp interpretations could never fully achieve. And more specifically, the beautifully flawed 'villains'.

As much as I love this darker side of Bale Batman, like Michael Keaton in the first two Batman movies, he was easily overshadowed by his villainous co-star.

The Joker, played by the posthumous Oscar winning Heath Ledger, manages to retain a certain spontaneous insanity while staying charming and extremely philosophical about his actions. His iconic colourful comic book persona is replaced by a darker and disturbed human being who rather than making the world laugh, he wants to watch it burn for his own amusement.

You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!” - Joker, TDK

While the Scarecrow is one of the least complex villains in this trilogy, he still shows an incredibly vindictive side not found with Nolan's other characters. The fact that he appears in all three films, all played by Cillian Murphy, also adds a brilliant fluidity to the films.

The newest instalment, TDKR, has the most amount of characters from the trilogy, but while that was a negative aspect in Spiderman 3, TDKR manages to give each of them enough screen time and brilliant dialogue to feel a certain connection to each one.

Bane, in particular, is incredible. He completely dominates every scene he is in with a barrier of hostility around him. When we learn about his past and see him get angered you cant help but feel for him as a human being, rather than just some 100% evil comic book character. Even as he sheds a tear near the end, you know Nolan has done something memorable someone other directors would’ve just taken advantage of.

Catwoman, just like her comic book counterpart, never really takes a side in the black and white world of Gotham. This leaves you with just a generally entertaining character, someone you hope turns good but then does something bad, and vice versa. This unpredictability shows her as more of a real life character than most. Fending for herself. Trying to survive. Unlike the rest of Nolan's characters who are either kings and queens of situations or just simply don’t fear death.

Regardless of whether they are out to kill the Bat or give him a hand, each character is original and layered. This is no manichean story. There is no black and white, no good and evil. Just human beings with all their attributes and flaws and that is ultimately what makes them worth remembering.

Still to come:
The Beliefs
The Reality of Batman
The Visuals