Review: The Dark Knight Trilogy – Ultimate Collector's Edition / Cert: 12 / Director: Christopher Nolan / Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer / Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Tom Hardy / Release Date: Out Now
These toys... Where does he get those wonderful toys? Wrong Joker, wrong Batman series, but you get the idea. Now you too can be the envy of all of your friends with this special edition Blu-ray collection of Christopher Nolan's beloved Dark Knight Trilogy. Best of all, it actually comes with toys included – a trio of vehicles from the films. With a selection of gorgeous pictures, posters, a bonus disc, and it all coming sealed in a great big lovely (shoebox-sized) box, not even the relative disappointment of The Dark Knight Rises can spoil this one.
Regarded by many as the greatest superhero trilogy of all time, and by some as one of the greatest trilogies of all time, per se, Nolan's startling reboot of a character mired in camp pastiche, nipples and George Clooney is not one to be sniffed at. Batman Begins is a wonderful re-introduction to the Caped Crusader, grounding Christian Bale's growly Batman in realism and grit. The decision to make Bruce Wayne the focus of the film, and not his villains, is a smart one, ensuring that the Dark Knight isn't too outclassed by his supporting cast (although Gary Oldman and Sir Michael Caine do a good job of trying). The bloody doors are blown off with The Dark Knight, which introduces us and the Batman to Heath Ledger's mesmerising Joker. Rightly regarded as one of the best superhero films of all time (although I still prefer Batman Returns) this sees the trilogy at the peak of its powers – balancing action, drama, resounding sadness, pop psychology and even a little humour with extraordinary clarity. It fumbles a little towards the end, but is more than worthy of the fanboy praise frequently heaped upon it. And then we have The Dark Knight Rises, where it all begins to crumble, a little. Tom Hardy is fun as massive menace Bane, and Anne Hathaway isn't a bad Catwoman, but here we see Nolan begin to overreach himself, trying to do his own version of Knightfall, No Man's Land and The Dark Knight Returns all at once. It's a disappointing ending to a trilogy which could have been truly great.
Thankfully, there's so much goodwill earned over the course of the previous films and throughout this impressively definitive box set, that it hardly matters. If you do own the films individually already, there may be cause to think twice, since many of the extras have been repeated from previous editions (save for a couple of featurettes and the now infamous video of Bale wearing Val Kilmer's mask). The toys too, aren't as exclusive as one might think, being old HotWheels miniatures, repackaged for this Bat-box. Still, if you're something of a Bat-collector or don't own the Blu-ray features already, one could do far worse than this Ultimate Collector's Edition.
Here, by the way, is the point where we should quote The Dark Knight again, saying something about how this is "not the box set that Gotham deserves," etcetera, etcetera, but I think we've all had enough of that, over the past few years.
Extras: Exclusive villain prints / Reproductions of the Tumbler, Bat-Pod and Bat / Over 90 min of new special features / 48-page photo booklet / Letter from Christopher Nolan