Coffee Talk #505: My Problem With Christopher Nolan’s Batman

Now that Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has wrapped up with The Dark Knight Rises, let’s take a look at his movies through the old retroscope. Nolan’s Batman flicks have been critically lauded and there are lots of reasons why the praise is totally deserved. However, it seems like the director gets a lot of passes, partially because he’s Christopher Nolan and partially because he’s not Joel Schumacher.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Kristen Stewart’s cheating heart, Michael Phelps disappointing Olympic 2012 start, or super cute Jordyn Wieber failing to qualify for the all-around gymnastics competition, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Now that Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has wrapped up with The Dark Knight Rises, let’s take a look at his movies through the old retroscope. Nolan’s Batman flicks have been critically lauded and there are lots of reasons why the praise is totally deserved. However, it seems like the director gets a lot of passes, partially because he’s Christopher Nolan and partially because he’s not Joel Schumacher.

As a comic-book nerd, my biggest issue with Nolan’s Batman is based on the director’s penchant for realism. His ultra-realistic take on the Dark Knight made for some distinct movies, but it also took away from one of Batman’s defining characteristics: his desire not to see anyone die. I had a problem with the cavalier way that Batman let Ra’s al Ghul die in Batman Begins. The Bats that I know and love in the comics would have found a way to save Two-Face and Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight. Naturally, villains died in The Dark Knight Rises too. It was real and made sense under the rules of reality, but it wasn’t like comic-book Batman.

Look at the panel on the right from Kingdom Come. For those of you without the benefit of flash photography images, it’s Superman telling Batman, “More than anyone in the world, when you scratch everything else away from Batman, you’re left with someone that doesn’t want to see anybody die.” To me (again, as a comic-book nerd) this sums up Batman perfectly. The traumatic death of his parents has left him with an irrational desire to make sure that everyone lives — even his greatest enemies like The Joker! At times it’s frustrating, because comic-book Batman’s world would be simpler and his life would be easier if he’d let the occasional baddie die (or if Gotham had the death penalty). But comic-book Batman is not about simpler or easier. He’s about life.

So yeah, that’s my big issue with this particular Batman (and I totally admit it’s a nerd nitpick). Now it’s your turn to go on a Bat-rant! What are your problems with Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman?

Author: RPadTV

15 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #505: My Problem With Christopher Nolan’s Batman”

  1. I have no issues.

    He did somehow lasso Joker in TDK and recovered from a broken back in less than 5 months while confided to a 3rd world prison. Those weren’t fantastical enough?

    This all comes from a person who has only read 1 comic in his life.

    1. Yeah, but then Joker…too soon to make that joke???

      The back thing can be chalked up to Batman being in peak physical condition. I don’t know that the majority of moviegoers have the medical knowledge to say if that’s realistic or not. *shrug*

      1. I think Batman killed that guy in the garbage truck in TDK. Just straight up killed him by smashing the truck to the top of the tunnel haha

  2. Double-edged sword discussion incoming!

    I have given this a lot of thought and I have concluded that Nolan’s Batman is the Batman we deserve, but it’s not the one we need right now.

    Ha!, but seriously, the meme fits if you think about it. This Batman trilogy was made for not just us, but for the rest of the population. The rest of the population NEEDS a realistic grounding to help with the story’s escapism. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that everyone here is biased because we grew up with Batman. It’s a childhood fantasy that we’ve seen nurtured over the years and “grew up” right along with us. The majority of the population has not had this experience. Therefore, you have to ground the characters in as much realism as possible in order to hook you along for the ride. The story of Batman is a very difficult premise to believe. His villains are even more unbelievable. Nolan’s job was to convince the entire movie-going population that a billionaire can don a costume and fight crime and crazies. He succeeded (although probably with the first two more than the third).

    We, unfortunately, have the ability to compare the character against other (better) mediums like the TV series and countless comic books. We are spoiled in this regard since we have decades of different takes on the character to compare him to. In a way, this is not fair to Nolan. This series was Nolan’s Batman not Kevin Conroy’s, Frank Miller’s, or Joseph (“Jeph”) Loeb’s. While we have come to know Batman as having a strict “no killing & no guns” policy, Nolan’s Batman has no compunction to 2nd-degree murder. Why? Because it would be extremely difficult to contain (capture, but not kill) some villains that are hell-bent on mass destruction and murder in real life. Nolan chose to put this realism over pretty much everything else (most of the time). By doing this, he may have left a bad taste in the mouths of rabid Bat-fans, but he made the characters very easy to digest for everyone else.

    This trilogy is the one that is needed right now because it will allow a large portion of the population experience the character and his world. This may be a starting point for many people who are unfamiliar or apathetic towards Batman. From here, other iterations or future movies can be made that could possibly mirror the Batman we have come to know and love over the years… the Batman movie we need.


    1. The problem is that the next director is screwed if he/she goes ultra-realistic (unless he/she is doing The Dark Knight Returns). This is especially true if Warners is moving towards a Justice League movie. Ultra-realistic would hard to implement with power rings, green martians, and a guy running at the speed of sound.

      1. Hey, I agree with you on this one. Nolan’s Batman is not my favorite version, but I did enjoy it for what it is (was?). I don’t think that The Justice League movie is Nolan’s problem, either. It’s DC’s. Where a dark, edgy tone works for Batman, it will not work for other JLA members. Unfortunately, I think that DC’s movie department will not realize this until it’s too late and put a dark, edgy spin on all of their characters since they think that what worked for Batman will work for all of it’s IP. This is a recipe for disaster, as you know.

        No doubt that DC has a huge uphill climb to even get anywhere close to the fun-filled romp that was The Avengers. In my opinion, they do not have to do what Marvel did and give each one of their characters a movie. Instead, they should take a page from the X-Men franchise and try to do a successful JLA movie first, then give each character a stand-alone spin-off (if warranted). A Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, or Green Lantern (again) movie would be welcome if they can make these individual characters interesting enough in the JLA movie. All they need is a good story, character development, plot and execution. I have a feeling that the “ultra-realism” will be left at the door whether DC wants to believe it or not.


      1. Happy (belated) Birthday, B!

        When am I going to see you on Cajun Pawn Stars, by the way? You could have brought that guy your old truck and put an alligator skeleton in the back just to get on TV.


  3. Ah the good ol retrospect. I think that Nolan only really expressed a true batman in TDK. He shouldve let Joker die but didnt. I think that two-face wouldve returned in the sequel if it wasnt for Heath Ledger killing himself. This is the series shows that batman can be done and it can be successful even if it goes dark. The next director needs to bring it back to basics; show batman doing brilliant detective work and still keeping it real.

  4. Did everyone get an email account? It’s pretty sweet so far. I can’t wait until the Skype feature works.

      1. Yes, you can access it through a general “Live” account. Once you set it up, you can actually assign up to five aliases that forward to the account. I kept mine separate from my Live account though.

Comments are closed.