Christopher Nolan’s fantastic take on the Batman legend has wrapped up its third and final installment. The Dark Knight Trilogy has given us an overabundance of cool moments, and we can’t think of a better time than now to recap of the 20 Coolest Moments From the Dark Knight Trilogy.
Honorable Mention: Batman vs. Liam Neeson
When Batman Begins came out, Liam Neeson was a year removed from a critically acclaimed starring role in Kinsey, and he was probably most famous for his fantastic portrayal of Oscar Schindler. While he had also played some awesome, tough guys before (see: Rob Roy and Gangs of New York), he definitely wasn’t someone that you thought of as an action star, but instead as a serious actor who occassionally dabbled in genre fare. Then, a few years later, Taken came out, and he immediately jumped to the top of the List of Ultimate Badasses. So watching the already exhilirating climactic fight scene of Batman Begins now just makes you wonder how Gotham survived the Neutron Bomb of Coolness that is Batman vs. Bryan Mills.
20. Bruce Wayne’s Ninja Training
One of the things people lost sight of as this trilogy progressed was that this is still a story about a superhero who uses super-tech and dresses as a giant bat to fight crime. While the movies are relatively reaistic by comic book movie standards, they’re still, essentially, works of modern fantasy.
A big reminder of this comes in the first film, when Bruce Wayne goes through ninja-boot-camp in the mountain fortress of an ancient, conspiratorial cabal of warriors who have access to an uncannily potent, naturally-growing hallucinogen. If you’re on board with that, then you can’t really ask, “Why doesn’t Harvey Dent have a speech impediment when half his face is missing,” without sounding like someone who hates fun.
Bruce’s training in the League of Shadows sets the tone for the franchise, and shows how he went from being an angry, troubled rich dude who can hold his own in a street fight, to being a guy who can vanish on command and take out a team of mercenaries with minimal effort. In short, it showed why Batman is so damn Batman.
19. Catwoman Doesn’t Appreciate Being Double-Crossed (Spoiler)
Our first cool moment related to a character other than Batman himself comes early on this list, and comes from the latest movie in the trilogy, but it’s definitely a worthy entry. When Selina Kyle delivers Bruce Wayne’s fingerprints as promised, in exchange for a seemingly-mythical bit of technology that will wipe out a person’s identity and history to give them a “clean slate,” her contractors decide it’d be better to kill her than pay her. Selina sees this coming, and makes preparations to ensure she can make it out alive. Anne Hathaway plays the scene (and every other scene she’s in) perfectly. In a single scene, the Catwoman character is established as a capable fighter, an efficient killer, a brilliant conniver, and a cunning improviser.
18. Batman Turns a Mob Boss Into a Human Bat-Signal
One of the things the trilogy does well is take something familiar to the Batman mythos and give it a reasonable cause for existing within this version of the Bat-iverse. The Bat-Signal is one of those things that doesn’t make much sense when you think about it too much, and didn’t seem like it would fit in with Nolan’s slightly more realistic flicks, but its introduction in Batman Begins is fitting and uplifting. It almost makes you wish you lived in a city that had a searchlight-beacon to summon a superhero with, as long as that city isn’t Gotham, where even the freaking opera theatre was located dead in the middle of the dangerous slums.
17. Hey! Check Out That Big Fiery Bat Symbol on the Bridge! (Spoiler)
What better way for Batman to announce his return to save a beleaguered, otherwised-doomed Gotham City than to ignite an enormous, burning Bat symbol on one of the stone towers of the Gotham Bridge. This is immediately after saving Gordon and his fellow officers from “death by exile,” and it serves to inspire Matthew Modine’s toolbag Deputy Commissioner to put on his dress blues and join his fellow officers in a battle to reclaim Gotham. Hell, it’s so impressive that it even makes the previously fearless and implacable Bane mutter, “Impossible,” to himself. Again, another moment that makes you wish you could see something like that in real life, minus the circumstance of being stuck in a city ruled by a militaristic, homicidal warlord.
16. Joker’s “Applause” for the New Commissioner
A relatively subtle, but still highly memorable moment (just type in “Joker clapping” in Google and watch the image, .gif and video results flood in). The Joker had already given us a few, “oh shit, he’s up to something,” moments, but his sarcastic applause for Gordon’s spontaneous promotion to Police Commissioner was particularly chilling. He wasn’t laughing anymore. He was captured, locked up, surrounded by police officers and seemingly defeated. But here he was letting everyone know that he wasn’t worried at all. He was still in control of the situation, they just didn’t know it yet.
15. Blackmail Fail
Nothing I can add here will be better than just listening to Morgan Freeman put some corporate a-hole in his place.
About J. Compton
J. Compton is a horror author whose stories have appeared in Pseudopod, Arkham Tales and other publications. He is co-creator of the BNC, and a generally cool dude. His short story collection Civilized Monsters is available now on Kindle.