Christopher Nolan says that each movie in The Dark Knight Trilogy belongs to a different genre. While Nolan's breakthrough in the movie business came in 2000 with his mind-bending crime thriller Memento, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker truly established himself as a force to be reckoned with the release his Batman movies.
It all started in 2005 with Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne opposite Liam Neeson as Ra's al Guhl. Nolan then followed the film up with 2008's mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight, co-starring Heath Ledger as the Joker, which earned the late performer a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Wrapping up the Batman trilogy in 2012 is Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, which brought Batman a new adversary with Bane (Tom Hardy), as well as an uneasy ally in Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). And it seems, each of those movies were fundamentally different according to Nolan.
Christopher Nolan briefly discussed his career, especially The Dark Knight Trilogy, at the annual Cannes Film Festival this weekend. According to Total Film, Nolan said that he viewed each of his three Batman films as being part of different genres: Batman Begins is "a heroes journey," The Dark Knight is a "crime film," and The Dark Knight Rises is "a war film." He gave more of an explanation as to why, which you can read in the tweet below:
Christopher Nolan says each of his Bat movies is a different genre. Begins is “hero’s journey”. Dark Knight a “crime movie” comparable to Mann’s Heat. Rises is a “war film”. Genres defined by adversaries: mentor Ra’s al Ghul, terrorist Joker & “militaristic Bane” #cannes2018— Total Film (@totalfilm) May 12, 2018
The Dark Knight Rises released six years ago, yet there's still quite a bit to discuss about the movie as well as the films that preceded it, especially with regard to thought-provoking observations from the person responsible for making the films. Sure, in broad strokes, it easy to pinpoint the Dark Knight Trilogy as a trio of films in the superhero genre, but clearly, they're not just superhero movies. While all three films are connected by characters and themes, what Nolan says makes sense.
Breaking things down, it's easy to see how Batman Begins truly is "a hero's journey," a la the works of Joseph Campbell, as Batman/Bruce Wayne discovers who he is and embraces his destiny. Meanwhile, the crime story in The Dark Knight escalates in tension as the hero and the villain find themselves on a collision course that is fully realized in the climactic final act (like Heat, which Nolan has acknowledged before). Lastly, given the destruction and the way society crumbles in The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the threat of annihilation via the hand of Bane (and Marion Cotillard's Talia al Guhl), it's quite evident that war is one of the focal points of Nolan's third and final Batman film.
Nolan's observations about his Batman films come at an interesting time, considering The Dark Knight celebrates its 10th anniversary this July. And, while films like Avengers: Infinity War have since shattered the box office records set by The Dark Knight, there's no question that it's a landmark film that set a standard upon which all other superhero films will be judged. With any luck, Nolan will reveal more of this thoughts about The Dark Knight Trilogy in the coming months.
Source: Total Film