It takes a special kind of creative talent to create a movie about a man unable to form any new memories trying to solve a murder. That one put Christopher Nolan on the map and allowed him the chance to approach Warner Brothers about a remake of the Batman series without immediately being laughed off. The previous decade’s Batman spun off into a vortex of camp, innuendo and heavy merchandising. It was a tough hill to climb, but Nolan’s first release, Batman Begins, earned unadulterated praise, and the world eagerly looked forward to the second installment of the trilogy.
On this day, July 18, in 2008, the Dark Knight, with Christian Bale reprising his role as Batman and Heath Ledger, just a few short months after his accidental overdose, making a posthumous and haunting appearance as The Joker.
Nolan’s film combined dazzling action sequences with pitch-perfect character performances. The plot itself stayed true to the Batman canon while combining it with Nolan’s own ability to superimpose light and dark themes. Where Batman represented order in the world, his friend-turned-nemesis Harvey Dent / Two-Face was pure chance, as symbolized by his trademark coin flip. As for the Joker, he was widely noted to represent Chaos incarnate. He wanted nothing so much, as the oft-repeated quote from the movie went, as “to watch the world burn.”