While DC has been struggling with the famed character and its entire universe recently, Christopher Nolan’s trilogy with the Caped Crusader succeeded, perhaps in part because of its finite story with overarching themes. Throughout The Dark Knight Trilogy, the concepts of chaos and order are always at the center of Bruce Wayne’s relationship with his alter ego and his city. He and Gotham seek a balance between the two conflicting energies, beginning with Joe Chill murdering his philanthropic parents.
The tension this struggle provides serves as a catalyst to the films, as shown by the new video essay from Jack’s Movie Reviews. In the video, he highlights how the five villains from the trilogy represent “a thematic idea that Bruce needs to overcome in order to balance chaos and order in his life.” In Batman Begins, Bruce needs to conquer fear through The Scarecrow in order to have power over himself. He must also question the notion of too much order through his former mentor Ra’s al Ghul, who wants to destroy Gotham because the city has fallen too far into the seedy darkness. As one of the most effective villains of all time, the Joker represents pure chaos which forces Batman to question his belief in justice and order. The other antagonist in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent, shows Bruce that he cannot let himself or his city succumb to hatred. Finally, in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane forces Batman to confront unimaginable pain, culminating in the iconic back-breaking scene of the comics. However, Bane is unable to break his rival’s spirit and only strengthens his resolve.
Although many fans of the franchise were upset about the ending of The Dark Knight Rises, it is the most logical conclusion to the ideological and thematic conversations Nolan had been toying with. In the video, Jack cites Professor Will Brooker who asserts that “the defining characteristic of Gotham must be that there is always crime” because, at his core, Batman is “the man who fights crime.” Nolan knows the two entities are inextricable. If Bruce is ever to find order in his life, Gotham has to as well.
Both do find order and, more importantly, peace by the trilogy’s end. Through their mirroring, symbiotic relationship, both Bruce and Gotham found a balance between the turmoil inside them through Batman. Watch Jack’s comprehensive look at Batman’s journey below and get a closer look!