The film industry made us accustomized to cult movies repropositions. From remakes to sequels, from reboots to spinoffs. At some point the question arises: are all these “returns” really necessary?
On June 17, 2005, Christopher Nolan opened a new season of the Batman franchise, with a trilogy destined to become the absolute benchmark for unrepeatable quality, content and individual performances.
The quality of this project comes from an excellent script, which plays as basis for the personal growth of the protagonist (Batman is interpreted by a certain Christian Bale), and from screenplay consultancy by David Goyer, former Dc Comics writer. The evolution of Bruce Wayne as man and alter ego in Batman, through all three films, is deep and extremely enjoyable. A man with his ancestral fear of bats decides to face it, to get in the game and to commit himself in an higher goal: to bring peace and justice in Gotham City, a place divided between Arkham Asylum psychotics and the organized crime. This, in short, is the plot architecture. But the substantial difference comes from how the story is told.
Christopher Nolan managed to build a world made of plausible content, never repetitive, never trivial. Every single scene, every single action is necessary for the purpose, and not many other times a director has succeeded in representing the conflict between good and evil in such a comprehensive way.
Coming back to our initial question, about the legitimacy of remaking a masterpiece. Basically the answer is: No. On August 29th, 2012, The Dark Knight Rises closes the perfect Batman trilogy. Tom Hardy, a Nolan’s well known preference, is a perfect villain who is not afraid of the previous giant Joker/Ledger. Everybody is happy and the usual process of collector’s edition and boxes starts. In some way, that trilogy is crystallized in history.
Nevertheless, on June 14th, 2013, Warner Bros began distributing the first of a series of terrible movies. Man of Steel, which was part of the DC extendend universe project, followed by Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League. Suicide Squad was a movie with no plot and no structure, Wonder Woman only a repetition of the aesthetic with nothing behind. David Goyer’s presence on Man of Steel and Batman Vs Superman‘s screenplays was not enough to provide thickness, ad the movies are just a collection of fight and special effects. In this sense, Batman vs Superman represents a simple container of beyond-measure action, the overexposure that becomes just aesthetic exercise. Ben Affleck as Batman, Chris Terrio and Goyer on screenplay and Snyder’s directing can do nothing to match the logical and beautiful power of Christopher Nolan, able to elevate the Batman’s concept to a unique level.
The unforgettable and unforgotten Heath Ledger, perhaps the best Joker ever, the madness interpreted by an immense actor, who won the Academy Award posthumously. Christian Bale, a deep Batman with human contradictions, a hero who easily attracts empathy, and all the the other actors, interacting and “dancing” with the protagonists, from good to villains. Perhaps the most appropriate term is related to dance, or to a harmony than moves from visual effects to meaningful flashbacks.
From the sequence of the Gotham hospital explosion caused by Joker, to Bane’s speech at the stadium, from the scenes where Batman drives in the traffic to the various introspective analysis on Bruce Wayne, Christopher Nolan trilogy remains one of the best movie productions ever. Somehow the hope is that his name can be remembered in a similar way to James Bond/007. But this is another, beautiful story.