Batman: 5 reasons the Dark Knight trilogy is the gold standard

Photo: Batman Begins.. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe
Photo: Batman Begins.. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe /
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Dark and Gritty Tone

Let’s wind the clocks back to the release of Batman Returns, which, thanks to a pervy Penguin, casual cartoon murder (including at least one intentionally committed by Batman himself) and a Catwoman who effectively is not your father’s Catwoman, was the darkest Batman we ever got up to that point in cinema history.

This Batman proved to be far too dark for McDonald’s, and in hopes of appeasing their Happy Meal toy selling partners, Warner Bros. replaced Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher the director of future Bat flicks, and decided to take the franchise into a more kid-friendly direction. According to Hollywood, a dark, gritty version of Batman just wasn’t profitable enough to sustain forever.

Fast forward to 2005, where new facts prove the opposite. Those facts being Batman Begins making $374 million from a $150 million budget, followed by The Dark Knight making over $1 billion from a $185 million budget. The Dark Knight Rises continued the hot trend by grossing even more than that, pulling in $1.08 billion against a $250 million budget.

Seeing how well gritty reboots did in a modern age convinced studios to try to reproduce the same effects with different heroes, almost to the point of exhaustion. Of course, a gritty Superman and a gritty Spider-Man wasn’t nearly as well-received as a naturally gritty Batman and fans quickly grew tired of the sub-genre, but we can’t deny Nolan’s trilogy started the trend.