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The Dark Knight: Top 10 Darkest Moments From Nolan’s Trilogy

The Dark Knight Trilogy's Darkest Moments Header

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy began almost 15 years ago. After some laughable Batman entries like Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, Warner Bros. was looking to reboot the series. Nolan crafted a film with a much darker tone than previous Batman movies, which most people were more than okay with.

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His trilogy began in 2005 with Batman Begins starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. The actor and director both returned for two more sequels; The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The trilogy is highly regarded among superhero buffs, with The Dark Knight even holding the number four spot on IMDb’s top 250 movies of all-time. Here is The Dark Knight: Top 10 Darkest Moments From Nolan’s Trilogy.

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10 Joe Chill Kills Thomas And Martha Wayne

Batman Begins - Bruce's parents

Like most Batman movies, Batman Begins shows the death of Bruce’s parents. The Joker was the one to kill Batman’s parents in the 1989 Batman movie, but in most iterations of the character, a man by the name of Joe Chill is responsible for their deaths.

In a flashback sequence, we see Bruce attending the opera with his mother and father. The young Bruce gets scared of the performers dressed as bats since he had recently fallen down a well and was attacked by bats. After they walk into an alley, Chill demands their wallets and jewelry. Thomas steps in front of his wife to protect her and is shot by Chill, who then shoots Martha as well. The sight of Bruce kneeling over his dead parents is no doubt one of the darkest moments of the entire trilogy.

9 Harvey Dent Turns Into Two-Face

Harvey Dent and his Coin

While the Heath Ledger’s Joker is in the spotlight for most of the movie, The Dark Knight also introduced Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face, played by Aaron Eckhart). Dent and his girlfriend Rachel were kidnapped and taken to separate warehouses, where they were both rigged to drums of gasoline.

After Batman interrogates Joker to find where Rachel and Dent are being held, Joker purposely switches the addresses on Batman so that he ends up saving Dent instead of Rachel. Unlike Rachel, Dent survives the ordeal but is badly burned on half of his face. Despite the Joker being the main villain of the film, Dent’s descent into revenge and madness while losing the love of his life is one of the darker moments of the film.

8 Bruce’s Fight With Alfred

Michael Caine as Alfred in The Dark Knight Rises

One of the saddest moments in the entire Dark Knight trilogy is when Alfred gets into an argument with Bruce during The Dark Knight Rises. Alfred doesn’t think that Bruce is up for the fight against Bane, given Bane’s training with the League of Shadows and Bruce’s declining health since The Dark Knight.

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Alfred doesn’t want to see Bruce get himself killed so he decides to leave to make the point that eventually, he has to stop his vigilante work. Alfred finally tells Bruce that he burnt the letter that Rachel gave to him and explains that Rachel was going to choose Dent over him. Alfred’s reasoning for leaving was justified, but also heartbreaking.

7 Bruce Almost Kills Joe Chill

When Bruce returned to Gotham in Batman Begins, he hears that Chill has an upcoming trial and wants revenge for the person who murdered his parents. Bruce goes as far standing outside the courtroom with a gun, but one of Carmine Falcone’s shot Chill before Bruce could get the chance.

When Rachel Dawes discovers what Bruce almost did, she slaps him and says that his father would have been ashamed of him. This was no doubt a dark time in Bruce’s life, but the events did lead him to him becoming the crime-fighting vigilante that we all know and love.

6 The Joker’s Ferry Plan

3 Heath ledger Joker Unhealthy Wrinkly

There have been many people to take on the role of the Joker, but the only one to win an Oscar for their performance was Heath Ledger. The actor tragically passed away prior to the film’s release, but still gave an incredible performance in the role. His Joker was a criminal mastermind who just wanted to see the world burn. One of the ways he was planning on causing chaos was by rigging explosives to two ferries that were being used to transport people out of Gotham.

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One boat had prisoners, while the other carried civilians. The Joker informed the people on each boat that they had the detonator to the other boat, but if one of the boats didn’t explode by midnight, then he would blow both of them up. Thankfully Batman prevented Joker from blowing up the ferries at midnight, but the scene was still a dark depiction of human morals and ethics.

5 Bane Breaks Batman

Christian Bale as Batman and Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

Batman faced a handful of villains in The Dark Knight trilogy, but one of his toughest opponents came in The Dark Knight Rises; Bane. Bane was excommunicated by the League of Shadows, making him a formidable fighter against the Dark Knight.

When Selina Kyle betrays Bruce, she leads him straight into a trap where Bane is waiting for him. The characters have an epic duel, but unfortunately, Batman’s body broke before his spirit did. After Bane pummeled the bat, he picked Batman up over his head and then broke the superhero’s back over his knee.

4 Ra’s Destroys Wayne Manor

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and Michael Caine as Alfred in Batman Begins

After seeking out a life of crime fighting, Bruce travels the world and eventually finds an organization called the League of Shadows. Henri Ducard is tasked with training Bruce as a member of the League, but Bruce refuses to complete his final test; killing a man who committed murder.

Bruce saves Ducard after burning down League’s temple, who later reappears to reveal himself as the real Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s comes to Wayne Manor, while Bruce is celebrating his birthday, so Bruce acts drunk to get everybody to leave his home. Ra’s then burns Wayne Manor to the ground, destroying everything from Bruce’s childhood.

3 Harvey Dent Kidnap’s Gordon’s Family

Aaron Eckhart as Two Face in The Dark Knight

Even though the Joker was the one to blame for Rachel Dawes’ death, Dent blamed Commissioner Gordon. To get revenge, Dent kidnaps Gordon’s wife and children and brings them to where Rachel died. He goes on a rant about how life isn’t fair, saying that there’s no point of trying to be decent men in an indecent time.

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Dent terrifies the Gordons, especially James Gordon Jr. who he is holding at gunpoint. Dent then tells the Commissioner to lie to his son and tell him that everything is going to be alright, even though he only had a 50/50 chance of surviving.

2 The Story Of Talia al Ghul

Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises

One of the biggest plot twists in The Dark Knight Rises was that Miranda Tate was actually the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul. The film shows the backstory of Talia al Ghul, who grew up in the Pit. Talia’s mother was killed by prisoners after her cell door was accidentally left unlocked. Talia tried to defend her mother but was then protected by Bane until she could climb out of the Pit.

Bane was disfigured while helping Talia escape, rescued by the League of Shadows, and then excommunicated simply because Ra’s al Ghul couldn’t look at Bane without thinking of his wife that he left in the Pit. Bane did some horrible things in The Dark Knight Rises, but his backstory certainly allowed people to feel sorrow for him.

1 Scarecrow Drugs Gotham City

Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow in Batman Begins

Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow were the two villains present in Batman Begins. Scarecrow (played by Cillian Murphy) used a drug called fear toxin, which made people have horrifying hallucinations. Dr. Jonathan Crane was working with the League of Shadows to destroy Gotham City by poisoning the water supply and then using a microwave emitter to vaporize the water.

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Their plan fails after Gordon uses Batman’s Tumbler to destroy part of the train tracks. While Batman and Gordon prevented the toxin from going airborne, there were still several people in the city who were affected by Crane’s drug. Thankfully, Lucius Fox had created an antidote, which was able to cure the people suffering from the terrifying side effects.

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