Since their surge in popularity in the 1930s, superheroes have been one of the most significant developments in youth culture. Since then, the superhero idea and the figures actually have undergone gradual but significant evolution. It was just a matter of time before heroes adjusted and expanded into the cinema industry.
Even now, there is one character and one film in particular that has been elevated above the others. The Dark Knight not only redefined the superhero genre but also affected a large number of subsequent films. The entire trilogy is fantastic, but here are 15 explanations why The Dark Knight is still the outstanding superhero film of all time.
#1 Among The Best Acting In Superhero Movies
Bale as Batman and Ledger as Joker are the most obvious, but Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and the criminally underused Maggie Gyllenhaal put their best foot forward as well.
#2 A Brilliant Villain Origin
While Heath Ledger’s Joker steals the spotlight, Harvey Dent and his eventual fall and rebirth as Two-Face is done in a way that emphasizes the character’s tragic nature.
#3 Heroes with flaws.
The Dark Knight exposes Batman as a hero who can fail, with his failure to save both Harvey and Rachel being a prime example. Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent are also examples of imperfect characters.
#4 Inspired By Some Of The Greatest Batman Stories
The Dark Knight was inspired by two of the most important storylines for the character: The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke. The former was an excellent mystery thriller that showcased the superhero’s detective skills
#5 Problems that are realistic.
In The Dark Knight, the story told and the villains involved manage to make the stakes feel even more daunting than most other superhero films. The fact the protagonist facing these issues doesn’t have superhuman capabilities also helps.
#6 The Best Live-Action Batman was played by Christian Bale.
Christian Bale properly encapsulates what a modern-day Batman would look like. Even before Batman Begins, people knew that Bale had the acting chops necessary to bring a certain gravitas to the role. While Bale properly sells Bruce Wayne’s character as a broken person.
#7 Directed by one of the most talented contemporary filmmakers.
Not one of Christopher Nolan’s past projects, or movies that came after this trilogy, has been received poorly. Nolan has an incredible track record and will most likely continue the positive trend going forward with Tenet.
#8 The Best Portrayal Of The Best Supervillain
Heath Ledger’s performance in the 2008 film set a new and extremely high standard for how the character could be shown in a realistic world and setting. His portrayal is simply legendary.
#9 The Dark & Gritty Tone
Not every superhero movie needs to be overly dark, gritty, or serious, but The Dark Knight uses these elements in the best possible way. For an example of this not fully working, Batman v Superman serves as a prime case of “dark” and “gritty” tones going too far.
#10 The Best Take On What A Real-Life Superhero Would Look Like
It is the most grounded and brilliant take in this trilogy that stripped its plot, world, and characters of any supernatural elements to deliver the most possible realistic representation of a superhero. The only things given to the character of Bruce Wayne were immense wealth, intellect, and determination.
#11 A Strong Message.
The Dark Knight took a far different approach with several story arcs and thematic elements woven into one overreaching message. It showed that when faced with a crisis situation, mankind’s best and worst traits would emerge in their extremes.
#12 There isn’t a happy ending.
Everything that happened to both innocent people and the villains has haunted Batman more than we thought, ending off a triumphant but bittersweet night with a mouthful of pure ash. There is no happy ending, which is a direct slap in the face of most superhero movies that came before, and that’s the perfect way to shake things up.
#13 Real-World Hiccups
The iconic Nolan’s trilogy established Batman far differently than the comics or previous films did. He faced all of the challenges and technical hiccups that came with creating his suit and gadgets, from a bad run of face masks to imperfect body armor that left him susceptible to damage.
#14 Supporting Characters Who Actually Support
The Dark Knight put its supporting characters front and center, and they were integral to the story. Gordon and Harvey played active roles in taking down the Joker, while Rachel, Lucius, and Alfred each did their part as full-fledged sidekicks capable of holding their own. This made it a story about a collective group, as opposed to one man.
#15 Tension Beyond Compare
The Dark Knight portrayed destruction in a way that made audiences feel both uncomfortable, and unsafe. The carnage was not only realistic but plausible which made audiences invest more attention and devotion to what was happening on screen.