When looking through the canon of filmography and various entertainment media surrounding Batman, a central theme is at play. The trajectory of chaos and order in director Christopher Nolan‘s “Dark Knight” trilogy is palpable not only in each singular film but also through the arc of the three stories. Within each plot of the separate movies, Bruce Wayne’s Batman is confronted with varying degrees of chaos and order. Each film building to the culmination of the trilogy’s conclusion. Bruce Wayne, following the murder of his parents, is molded by the chaos that surrounds him. It is through this chaos and Wayne’s desire for some semblance of order that procures Batman, leading down a path of confronting fear, pain, hatred, chaos, and order.
In a video essay, Jack’s Movie Reviews tackles the “Dark Knight” trilogy and the means by which each film coincides with the larger theme. In “Batman Begins,” Bruce is met with a confrontation of fear and order via Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul. In “The Dark Knight” Bruce is pushed even further, battling chaos at the hands of The Joker and hatred by Harvey Dent. In the final chapter of “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Bruce confronts pain through antagonist Bane. While each of these can be taken as a battle Batman, more than Bruce, must fight, the internal struggle Bruce Wayne has of protecting the city he sees some good in, and procuring justice even with the worst odds, is both reflective of his personal and public journey.
Nolan created Gotham is a world without order, a city barely breathing in the shadows of crime and chaos. Each individual film plays on the arc of order and chaos, but it is also the trilogy as a whole that adds to this thematic commentary. Over these three films, we see Bruce Wayne become Batman, battle villains and restore peace. In each film, there is a cost to this. And the battle between order and chaos looms for the caped crusader to rectify.