Ever since Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the character of Batman 84 years ago, there has been no medium in which the character wasn’t adapted. However, although Batman had live-action appearances before that, many DC fans still consider Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ from 1989 the first Batman movie since it was the first movie that brought the character back to his dark beginnings.
However, it’s interesting that, even with so many movies and different adaptations, the first official ‘Batman’ trilogy wasn’t concluded until Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale united one last time to deliver the conclusion to ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy with ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in 2012. Today, Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy is still considered one of the best superhero and movie trilogies of all time. So, in this article, we’ll break the entire trilogy down.
‘The Dark Knight’ movies in order by release date
Following the critical failure of 1997’s ‘Batman & Robin,’ it took seven years for Batman to return to the big screen, and oh boy, the character returned with a bang! The sequel raised the bar even higher, and the threequel provided a fitting end to the trilogy. Another great thing is that the trilogy isn’t part of any cinematic universes, so you can always watch it as its own thing. The trilogy goes in this order:
- ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)
- ‘The Dark Knight’ (2012)
- ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012)
Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is still considered one of the best superhero and movie trilogies, particularly because of its mature tone, insistence on realism, character-driven storylines, performances of the cast, and Nolan’s writing and direction. It’s interesting that Nolan never really wanted to create a superhero trilogy but a crime thriller movie trilogy with Batman as the main character. In the following paragraph, we’ll quickly recap Christian Bale’s Batman journey.
Please note that the rest of the article contains spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Are ‘The Dark Knight’ movies connected? What’s the best order to watch them?
As we said before, ‘The Dark Knight’ isn’t part of any cinematic universes or larger franchises. The trilogy is a journey of one superhero from his beginnings, rise, fall, return, and ultimately, his final mission. We could say that it is basically one huge straightforward story divided across three movies. Therefore, watching this trilogy in its chronological and release order is the same; it starts with ‘Begins’ and concludes with ‘Rises.’
Since ‘Batman Begins’ was a reboot, and Batman’s origin story was depicted only through flashbacks in Tim Burton’s original ‘Batman,’ Nolan had the opportunity to start the whole story from the beginning. Bruce Wayne’s story begins when he meets Henri Ducard while locked up in a Bhutan prison. Although the story begins with Wayne as an adult, the flashback scenes that depict his childhood and his parents’ murder are much more detailed and more thoroughly depicted than in Burton’s original movie.
The first movie features Wayne’s beginnings as Batman, how he prepared and geared up for his life duty, as well as his first efforts to restore hope in the city. The first movie ultimately sets him against his former mentor Ducard, who turns out to be the real Ra’s al Ghul. Following Ra’s defeat, Batman makes a deal with the police lieutenant James Gordon to eliminate the organized crime in the city.
That leads directly into the sequel, which takes place not long after the first movie’s events. Gotham’s new district attorney, Harvey Dent, allies with Batman and Gordon to take down the city’s mob, but when a new villain, the Joker, arrives on a scene, things get very complicated, and some of them even end tragically.
Dent ultimately becomes Two-Face after his girlfriend, Rachel Dawes, is killed in an explosion. The Joker admits that Batman is truly incorruptible, but Dent is a different story. After taking Gordon’s family hostage, Batman confronts Dent, leading to Dent dying. Now wanting the public to know about Dent’s crimes, Batman and Gordon decide to accuse Batman of his crimes and his death, after which Batman escapes, and Wayne abandons his calling as the city’s hero.
The events of the threequel take place eight years later when a new villain called Bane arrives to finish Ra’s al Ghul’s mission to destroy Gotham. In the ultimate finale, Wayne puts on his mask again, and his calling to be Gotham’s protector will be both physically and mentally tested.
‘The Dark Knight’ movies in chronological order
As was said before, ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy features a straightforward story that is only split across three movies. Therefore, the chronological and release orders are absolutely the same. Is it possible to watch the sequels without watching the original movie? Well, yes and no.
The events of ‘The Dark Knight’ follow the events of ‘Batman Begins,’ but the stories aren’t so interconnected, and you should be fine watching ‘The Dark Knight’ without any previous knowledge, although watching ‘Batman Begins’ before is definitely recommended.
As for ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ you definitely need to watch both ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Batman Begins’ before since stories are heavily interconnected, and ‘Rises’ serves as the ultimate conclusion to the entire trilogy and everything that happened in it.
Where to watch the above-mentioned movies?
In the United States, Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy is available on Netflix and on Max. Max is a streaming service that is home to many movies produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, which means you can find all the DC content you can think of there. Availability in other regions depends on available streaming services. In the United Kingdom, for example, the trilogy is available on Sky Go and Now TV, while in Germany, the trilogy is available on Netflix and Prime Video.
Will there be more movies featuring Christian Bale’s Batman?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ concluded the story of Christian Bale’s Batman, and when asked if he’d be willing to play Batman again, Bale said that only if Christopher Nolan would come to him and say that he had an idea for the fourth installment. However, Christopher Nolan is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of this era, and it’s hard to believe he’d be willing to make another franchise movie.
Some reports are saying that Bale was offered to make a cameo in 2023’s ‘The Flash’ movie as Bruce Wayne. He refused, and that special Wayne cameo was ultimately done by George Clooney, whose Batman from 1997’s ‘Batman & Robin’ is still considered probably the worst portrayal of the character in history.
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