THE DARK KNIGHT Director Christopher Nolan Says His Trilogy Was Before The Genre Became "Engines Of Commerce"

The Dark Knight Trilogy director Christopher Nolan has claimed his superhero movies hit theaters before the superhero genre became a "machine" and and "engine of commerce for the studio." Check it out...

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What is going on with Christopher Nolan this year? Despite the fact that we're in the midst of a global pandemic, the filmmaker pushed for Tenet to be released in theaters this summer...and it ended up being a major box office disappointment for Warner Bros. Now, he's further cemented his status as an "outspoken" director by weighing in on the success of superhero movies.

Asked about the success of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Nolan started by talking about getting the opportunity to tell a very different Batman story by exploring the Caped Crusader's origin for the first time on screen. As he explains, "The version of that with Batman had never been told. We were looking at this telling of an extraordinary figure in an ordinary world."

However, he would then add: "The other advantage we had was back then you could take more time between sequels. When we did ‘Batman Begins,’ we didn’t know we’d do one and it took three years to do it and then four years before the next one. We had the luxury of time. It didn’t feel like a machine, an engine of commerce for the studio. As the genre becomes so successful, those pressures become greater and greater. It was the right time."

It's a little strange to describe the genre that way, especially when two of his Batman movies gross over $1 billion at the box office, and comic book adaptations were big even back in 2005 (by that point, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 had been huge successes for Sony Pictures). 

It could also be argued that Nolan helped turn the genre into "an engine of commerce" after The Dark Knight found such extraordinary success, while it's a tad hypocritical to hear an argument like this when he pushed so hard for Tenet to play in theaters earlier this year.

What do you guys think?


Click on the "Next" button below to see where each
Batman movie ranks according to Rotten Tomatoes!

10. Batman & Robin

Score: 11%

Rotten or Fresh? Rotten

Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.

Widely considered the worst Batman movie of all-time, it's no great surprise that Batman & Robin comes in at last place. There's no denying that it featured an impressive cast (George Clooney, Uma Thurman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all sharing the screen is pretty incredible when you think about it), but Joel Schumacher's vision for the franchise went completely off the rails here.
 

9. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Score: 28%

Rotten or Fresh? Rotten

Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.

Zack Snyder's movie deserves to place higher than this, and while critics didn't respond to what proved to be a vastly different vision for a comic book adaptation, a lot of fans loved what this team-up delivered. There were some mistakes - Doomsday's appearance, Batman killing criminals, and "Martha," for example - but this score isn't representative of what ended up on screen. 
 

8. Batman Forever

Score: 39%

Rotten or Fresh? Rotten

Critics Consensus: Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief.

As memorable and Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones may have been, this complete "disasterpiece" was every bit as bad as Batman and Robin, and a chore to watch. After Batman Returns, it was a baffling and unexpected direction to take the Dark Knight in, and Val Kilmer unfortunately made for an underwhelming version of Bruce Wayne, especially after Michael Keaton's take.
 

7. Justice League

Score: 40%

Rotten or Fresh? Rotten

Critics Consensus: Justice League leaps over a number of DC movies, but its single bound isn't enough to shed the murky aesthetic, thin characters, and chaotic action that continue to dog the franchise.

Joss Whedon brought a lot of good ideas to the table with his take on Justice League, but trying to combine his vision with Zack Snyder's created a weird, Frankenstein's monster movie (literally in the case of Henry Cavill thanks to his CGI jaw). Ben Affleck's Batman was fine, but not really given anything significant to do beyond being an ass to Diana Prince and being willing to sacrifice himself.
 

6. Batman (1989)

Score: 71%

Rotten or Fresh? Fresh

Critics Consensus: An eerie, haunting spectacle, Batman succeeds as dark entertainment, even if Jack Nicholson's Joker too often overshadows the title character.

This is a classic, but it's also a little rough around the edges. Zack Snyder's Dark Knight received a lot of flak for killing bad guys, but Michael Keaton's eccentric Bruce Wayne - who sleeps upside down at nighttime - was every bit the murderer. In many ways, this was The Joker's movie, but the Capec Crusader was given the chance to shine, and he did so in a stylistic Gotham created by Tim Burton.
 

5. Batman: The Movie

Score: 78%

Rotten or Fresh? Fresh

Critics Consensus: Batman: The Movie elevates camp to an art form -- and has a blast doing it, every gloriously tongue-in-cheek inch of the way.

If you loved the TV series, then this movie was everything you could hope for and more. It hasn't aged well (it was released way back in 1966, remember), but in terms of being a campy, silly adventure starring the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder, it works wonderfully. With a star-studded cast of actors and characters, this is perhaps the most "comic book-y" movie of all those listed here.
 

4. Batman Returns

Score: 80%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Director Tim Burton's dark, brooding atmosphere, Michael Keaton's work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first.

This movie is a masterpiece, but it's no great surprise that a certain trilogy beats it! However, Batman Returns is arguably better than the next two entries in this feature, even if it doesn't quite deserve the #1 spot. Catwoman and The Penguin made for terrific villains (even when Max Shreck did not), and it was impossible not to get invested in Bruce Wayne's relationship with Selina Kyle.
 

3. Batman Begins

Score: 84%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.

Batman Begins was exactly what this iconic DC Comics character needed after Joel Schumacher's awful movies, and Christopher Nolan's in-depth look at the hero's origin story proved to be immensely satisfying to watch unfold. This story was arguably at its best before Bruce donned the cape and cowl, but it was definitely refreshing to see him battle a baddie like Ra's al Ghul.
 

2. The Dark Knight Returns

Score: 87%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan's franchise in spectacular fashion.

As a finale to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, some fans loved it, and others hated it. The Dark Knight Rises is certainly a complicated, busy movie, with massively different takes on characters like Bane and Catwoman, and the ending was both a departure from the comics and very unexpected. It's a pretty great movie, though, and Nolan made a lot of bold choices here.
 

1. The Dark Knight

Score: 94%

Rotten or Fresh? Certified Fresh

Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.

A masterpiece, The Dark Knight once again saw The Joker overshadow Batman himself, but Christian Bale was at his best here...even when his "Batvoice" was not. An intense crime thriller, the Caped Crusader's world remained grounded in reality for the sequel, but that worked for Christopher Nolan, and the filmmaker set a benchmark here which has yet to be surpassed by another movie.
 

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