Beyond aspects of quality and tone, what ultimately separated Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy from other incarnations of Batman —including Zack Snyder’s recent take on the iconic superhero— is that it’s entirely the work of one singular vision that avoids the demands common to corporate interests. With the franchise in dire straits after the abject failure of Joel Schumacher‘s “Batman and Robin,” Warner Bros. needed to pull a 180 to reverse any ill will amongst fans.
The heads at WB wisely felt it was vital to give audiences a no-holds-barred look at the character, one that would be associated more with a filmmaker than with a global brand, and that’s when they turned to Nolan. It was a gamble to give full control and complete artistic license (not to mention a hundred million dollars) regarding a beloved 60-year-old character in the care of a British filmmaker who at the time had only made small indies like “Following” and “Memento” and the moderately budgeted adult thriller “Insomnia.” Of course, in the end, Nolan ultimately produced not merely great superhero movies but a great series of films, period. And that process is chronicled in “The Fire Rises,” a 76-minute behind-the-scenes documentary included in the “The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition.”
Featuring interviews with film critics and journalists like Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen, Variety’s Scott Foundas and Richard Roeper, as well as Nolan, executive producer Michael E. Uslan, producer Emma Thomas, WB President of Production Greg Silverman, screenwriters David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan, Michael Mann, Guillermo Del Toro, Damon Lindelof, former DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz, Batman comics writer and editor Dennis O’Neil and nerd eminence Chris Hardwick, among others, the doc explores the various challenges, obstacles and expectations found within all three films. It’s an interesting, thoughtful, well-spoken and ultimately timely documentary, particularly in the wake of “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.” Watch below.