Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight – still the unchallenged zenith of bold and brainy blockbuster filmmaking in the 21st century – turned 10 years old this summer. FilmFisher’s own Joel Bourgeois just published a retrospective on the film, and doubtless there are dozens if not hundreds of similar appreciations and analyses popping up all over the internet – and rightly so. However, this is also an ideal time to revisit and discuss The Dark Knight’s less popular and less accomplished older and younger siblings, Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Certainly, The Dark Knight is by far the best of the trilogy, but even so, it is all the more striking when framed between the bookends of its prequel and sequel. Taken together, in themes and in story beats, Begins and Rises form a rhyming pair to contrast with The Dark Knight’s singular line – the three form an A-B-A rhyme scheme, if you will. To change the metaphor, the first and third films are like major chords placed before and after the dissonant minor chord of the second film. The hopeful ending of the first film deepens the tragedy of the second, and the third film brings needed resolution and closure.
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