The Oscar Project
Your favorite superhero film
There are so many films to choose from in this category, and thankfully the superhero genre has gone through a bit of a renaissance in the last decade or so. Many people credit Iron Man with updating the superhero films and bringing them a bit more into the mainstream, but I honestly think 2005’s Batman Begins set the stage even more.
When Christopher Nolan took over the Batman franchise, he placed it in a world that felt more real than anything else in superhero films of the past. There were some elements of fantasy at work, and Batman Begins is probably the most “comicbooky” of his three Dark Knight films, but it was a different way of looking at the character that many people enjoyed.
Fast forward to 2008 and the release of The Dark Knight. If you thought the story in Batman Begins was dark and gritty, Nolan took things to an entirely different level with his second installment. This film has it all. While the first film featured Bruce Wayne’s ascension into the role of Batman, while this featured him wrestling with the need to retain the Batman persona, while also running his millionaire empire. There is the love triangle of Bruce, Rachel and Harvey, whom we all know becomes Two Face. And there are the dual father figures of Michael Caine’s Alfred and Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox.
There are so many strings to pull on with this film, and I haven’t even mentioned Heath Ledger yet. One of the few actors to receive an acting Oscar posthumously, his work on this film was rightly praised. While Cesar Romero portrayed the Joker as a prankster in the 1960s Batman television show and Jack Nicholson turned Batman’s nemesis a bit darker in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, it was Ledger who truly transformed the character into a sinister psychopath. It is a shame that he didn’t live to receive the acclaim for the role, but his Oscar is well deserved.
Ultimately, the story unfolds, and we discover, along with Bruce, that he and The Joker are two sides of the same coin. As throughout the comics, they almost can’t live without each other. While in prison, Ledger’s Joker even throws out a Jerry Maguire reference when he tells Batman, “You complete me.”
I had several films in my final grouping before selecting The Dark Knight as my favorite superhero film. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse was an option, as was Logan, for very different reasons. Avengers: Endgame also landed near the top for the way it was able to pull together storylines from dozens of different characters and almost as many writers and directors into one grand finale. Even the first Iron Man and Thor: Ragnarok came to mind, but in the end, my choice was clear.
The Dark Knight is currently available on HBOMax.
Day 9 – A film you hate that everyone liked | Day 11 – A film you like from your least favorite genre
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?