The Dark Knight Rises has the impossible task of following what are arguably two of the best first and second parts in a series since The Godfather and The Godfather II; name me a better original and a sequel? Alien and Aliens are in this debate. The first two Terminators were solid.
But of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which is superior? Consider the variables ...
Story: Batman Begins vs. Dark Knight Rises
This is one of the very few cases where the super hero backstory is as interesting and compelling as the rest of the film. Following Bruce Wayne's rise and training with Ra's Al Ghul and Henri Ducard in the mountains actually makes it semi plausible that a billionaire playboy adult could turn into a butt kicking vigilante.
Plus, the explanation of The League of Shadows near the end of the film is too much fun.
The Dark Knight Rises is Gotham City going to hell and Batman trying to save the town from The Joker.
Bad Guys: Henri Ducard, Carmine Falcone, Ra's Al Ghul, Scarecrow vs. The Joker, Two-Face
The Dark Knight
Liam Neeson and Tom Wilkinson made for outstanding villians, and Scarecrow was chilling, but Heath Ledger's Joker is one of the more disturbing portrayals of a sociopath in recent memory.
Aaron Eckhart is very good as the good DA with a very dark sie, but Ledger's version of The Joker managed to even dust Jack Nicholson's turn in this role.
"Let's put a smile on that face" from Ledger is better than Jack's, "Wait 'til they get a load of me."
Memorable action sequences: Bruce Wayne taking apart Ra's Al Ghul's castle; Batman mobile rips apart Gotham; train ride climax vs. Opening bank heist; Batman kidnapping Lau from China; Batman's motorcycle vs. The Joker in the 18-wheeler; the hospital; climax in the high rise
The Dark Knight
Because Batman Begins had to explain more of Bruce Wayne's past, it could not devote as much time to action. Director Christopher Nolan took off in The Dark Knight with near non-stop action. The movie didn't stop.
The Verdict: Batman Begins vs. The Dark Knight
They are different movies, and hold their own as invididual films and conitnuing the story arc. I change my mind on this one.
Today, because of Ledger, I pick the Dark Knight.
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