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The Dark Knight Series

Since the 1960s the superhero Batman found a kitschy home and legacy on television, but the Gotham crusader had a difficult time cementing its legacy on-screen.

Starting in the 1980s, every major director and movie star seemed to have been fitted for the renown comic book series. After largely failed film interpretations in the 1990s by directors Tim Burton, and Joel Schumacher, Batman's appearance on the silver screen was dismal. On paper, visions of Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney as Bruce Wayne seemed like perfect fits. However, their individual films were widely and negatively panned by audience and critics alike.

For several years, the Batman franchise went on a long and much deserved hiatus until director Christopher Nolan took the helm to reboot the series.

In 2005, with Batman Begins, Nolan lit a fire under the Bruce Wayne legacy with a strong introduction to how the young, troubled millionaire developed his Batman persona. An odd but striking choice for Batman, Christian Bale took over the role of Bruce Wayne. Michael Caine filled in the shoes of the family butler, Albert, while Morgan Freeman was the locked-away Wayne Enterprises employee who helped Bruce develop his gadgets, and Katie Holmes gave a refreshing performance of love interest, Rachel Dawes. In Batman Begins, we got a taste of how Gotham was overrun with the mob and criminals, like Scarecrow, played by Cillian Murphy. It was movie that critics - though devoutly agree was the darkest superhero film they had seen before - agreed positively that the film was realistic, gritty, and finally a Batman movie we could all get behind.

And, with The Dark Knight (2008), critics and audiences were still standing behind by Nolans' Batman. Fans' growing devotion and passion was rewarded with a shake-up in the cast and characters. Aaron Eckhart took on Two-Face, Heath Ledger was set to play The Joker, and Maggie Gyllenhaal replaced Katie Holmes as the girl who got away. From trailers to promotional work, The Dark Knight was the forth runner of the most anticipated film of the year. Once released in theaters, it became one of the best films of the year. Critics vied for a Best Picture nomination as the world went wild for Heath Ledgers' legendary performance of The Joker. The young actor who passed away from a drug overdose months before the films release, went on to win multiple awards including a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In Summer 2012, the deeply beloved and praised Batman series by Christopher Nolan comes to an end with The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan all but guarantees another blockbuster success and Oscar-worthy attention with its star studded cast and re-imagining of the Batman tales. From Inception (2011) Tom Hardy physically bulks up to play an overpowering Bane, and Anne Hathaway reprises the iconic female villain, CatWoman. Also starring, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, and Christian Bale returns to suit-up as Batman. In the final installment, Batman is pushed to the brink by Bane in what might ultimately be his final rise or fall against evil. No matter how the series reaches its epic conclusion, the series as a whole is sure to go out with a bang just as it arrived.

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