We're almost at the end of this look at Batman's rich cinematic history. In this part, we'll be taking a look at Christopher Nolan's take on the Dark Knight.
In 2002, Joss Whedon had pitched a reboot of Batman which failed. Warner hired Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer to write a Batman origin story. They came up with one that explored Batman's humanity and realism that had never been seen before in a movie or comic. He wanted a contemporary feel to a story that saw the hero rise. Taking inspiration from Richard Donner's Superman, in that we had the all star cast alongside a growing character.
Rather than use Year One like so many people had done before, Goyer used The Man Who Falls from the Secret Origins novel, which features a Younger Bruce travelling the world. The other story used as inspiration was The Long Halloween, which used Carmine Falcone as the villain and the sober approach to The Dark Knight.Some elements from Year One were used, such as the corruption of GCPD and the need for Batman. The movie relied heavily on traditional stunts, special effects and models over CGI and as such, received very heavy fanfare, earning $372 million world wide and even getting an Academy Award for Cinematography.
In 2008, we got the sequel to Batman Begins, simply called The Dark Knight. The movie was supposed to take place over the trilogy and this would set up Joker and Harvey Dent, with Joker scarring Dent in court and thus set him up as the villain in the 3rd movie as Two Face. However, that was changed. Goyer's script was turned into what we know and love in this movie.
Goyer's main comic story adaptions and influences came from Batman 251 - "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge" in which Neal Adams bought back the Joker. Once again The Long Halloween served as a main inspiration, especially with Two-Face. Nolan did once again return to the director's chair.
While coming up with how to portray the Joker on film, they turned to a 1930s movie called The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, from Germany and directed by Fritz Lang, which features a former stage hypnotist and criminal mastermind by the name of Dr, Mabuse who has gone insane, written detailed plans of his crimes and these plans are acted out. Once again the movie was a hit in cinemas when released and earned over a billion world wide. it was nominated for 8 oscars, but one 2. One for sound and posthumous award for Heath Ledger's support.
Warner had hoped to get the sequel and final piece of the puzzle in place in 2011, however, this was not to be. Nolan had finished a draft by then, but had to delay the movie due to him working on Inception. However, it was finished in time. Nolan wanted a villain in this, comparable to Leonardo DiCaprio's character from the movie and had planned to use The Riddler.
As Nolan wanted to have a character that would have a physical presence, he opted for Bane. The main comic inspirations for this movie came from the 1993 Knightfall arc, which featured Bane defeating Batman, who came back for a second fight. The second inspiration was No Man's Land, which featured Gotham cut off from the rest of the world and overrun by criminals and gangs. The movie did very well at the box office, earning well over a billion in returns and was named one of the biggest movies of 2012, however, it wasn't nominated for any Academy Awards during it's run.
In 2007, Warner planned to have two Batman series running side by side. In this one, they planned to call Justice League: Mortal. Warner had cast Armie Hammer as Batman, penned by Michele and Kieran Mulroney, with George Miller at the helm. It was greenlight for a budget of $220 million and scheduled for a 2009 release. The Writer's Guild Strike moved production to Australia, but they refused to hand over a 45% tax relief as there were no Australians in the movie, production was moved to Vancouver before the project was finally scrapped and Warner chose to move on with Dark Knight Rises.