This week we see the release of The Dark Knight Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray Set from Warner Bros. and it caused us to ask the question, “What’s better….the vehicles or the villains?” There is no denying that Nolan has secured his place in the fans eyes and hearts as having released a definitive assemblage of Batman movies that brilliantly stands alone as a modern masterpiece collection.
If you look at each movie Nolan does a fantastic job of delivering exciting new takes on fan -favorite characters AND exposing us to vehicles and technology that leave us wanting more. (The beauty of the vehicles is that 2 of the 3 are actually functioning modes of transportation!) Let’s take a look at the incredible vehicles that the Dark Knight uses as well as delve into the madness of his foes.
NOLAN’S DARK KNIGHT VEHICLES AND VILLAINS:
VEHICLES: Designed by Nathan Crowley the all-new Batmobile aka “The Tumbler” made its triumphant return to the silver screen in Batman Begins. That being said, this beefy version was unlike ANYTHING that had come before it. Gone was the open seating from the 60’s TV series and gone was the sleek design from all the movies since. Crowley designed a rugged urban assault vehicle worthy of a vigilante who fights crime in the dark of the night. The new version was built by Chris Corbould and Andy Smith and literally takes your breath away when you look at it. (We saw it in person at SDCC, truly impressive!) Here are some stats:
- The vehicle was called “The Tumbler” and was a behemoth coming in at a staggering 9 feet wide and just over 15 feet long (so much for parking at the mall!)
- The Tumbler weighs in at 2.5 tons
- Powered by a 500 horse powered Chevy 350 V8
- Capable of 0-60MPH in under six seconds with a top speed of 110MPH
- Utilized 44″ Super Swamper tires on titanium axles
- Able to make unassisted jumps of up to 30 feet
- Driver’s seat could move to the center of the car and reposition the Dark Knight to lay face down.
- This provided additional protection by shielding Batman with multiple layers of armor
- Machine guns were mounted between the 2 front tires
VILLIANS: Henri Ducard (aka- Ra’s al Ghul), Dr. Jonathan Crane (aka- Scarecrow)
Henri Ducard is a mysterious individual who heads the League Of Shadows as Ra’s al Ghul and was played by Liam Neeson. He trains a young Bruce Wayne in martial arts and takes the whole “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer” saying to new levels. A master manipulator and highly skilled martial artist the enigmatic Ra’s al Ghul proves himself to be one of The Dark Knight’s greatest foes. He is not crazy like other Batman enemies but he does have a twisted way in his attempt to make things ‘better‘ in society.
Dr. Jonathan Crane- As the Chief Administrator of Arkham Asylum, Dr Crane deals with some of Gotham’s most lethal and corrupt criminals. Dr Crane is a psychopharmacologist who has developed a fear-inducing toxin from a flower that grows in Ra’s al Ghul’s sanctuary. As the Scarecrow, he uses that toxin to control victims and works alongside Ra’s al Ghul in an attempt to bring Gotham to its knees. Looks can be deceiving as this seemingly frail individual turns out to be a ruthless scientist who gets inside the head of the Dark Knight like no other criminal before.
- The Tumblr could now operate via remote control
- Preprogrammed routines include “Loiter” and “Intimidate” to help draw attention away from The Dark Knight’s activities
- Weapons could also be fired via remote control
- In the case of pending destruction, the Dark Knight could eject via The Bat-Pod
- The Bat-Pod is a motorcycle-like vehicle featuring massive, over-sized wheels like its companion vehicle The Tumbler.
- It’s powered by a pair of electric motors mounted in the wheels and synched via an on-board computer
- Steering was done sans handlebars. Instead the Bat Pod is maneuvered via shoulder shields that have sleeves which accommodate Batman’s arms.
VILLAINS: The Joker, Harvey Dent (aka Two Face)
The Joker is one of Batman’s long-time enemies and some even argue that they are each part of a vicious ‘yin and yang‘ circle of good and evil. Heath Ledger described HIS version of the Joker as a “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” In THE DARK KNIGHT the Joker’s goal is to plunge Gotham into anarchy. He also offers the mob his services to kill Batman, (which THEY can’t seem to do). His morbid, signature scarred grin is also known as a “Glasgow Smile” but your gonna have to Google it because it’s too gruesome for me to describe in detail! The Joker isn’t motivated by money, he simply thrives on chaos. Ledger’s performance of The Joker is hands down one of our favorite film performances ever and it was SO compelling that it won him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Harvey Dent (aka Two Face) is a leading attorney in Gotham who is initially heralded as the city’s “White Knight.” After his battle against organized crime leaves him disfigured for life, it is his psyche that is more damaged than his body leading him to become a ruthless murder constantly seeking revenge and leaving the fate of his victims to a simple coin toss. Since his disfigurement he suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and multiple personality disorder which makes him a handful for the Dark Knight.
Vehicles: For the final act in Nolan’s trilogy he opted to take to the skies and introduced “The Bat.” Nathan Crowley was once again called upon to design this devilish contraption and he felt the need to make it fit in with the family of other vehicles that had been revealed in the first two films. In the story “The Bat” was developed at Wayne Industries Applied Sciences Division and is easily one of Batman’s best vehicles. “The rotors are configured to maneuver between buildings without recirculation” and it was initially built for “urban pacification.” It hovers, it flies, it shoots and it is impressive. Unfortunately this is the one vehicle from the trilogy that is NOT functional….yet.
VILLAINS: Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), Talia al Ghul and Bane
Selina Kyle is a cat burglar looking for a “clean slate”. As a supervillainess she excels at stealing, manipulating and beating up her opponents. In the case of the Dark Knight things are not so cut and dry. She actually develops feelings for Bruce Wayne and has to decide if her future lies in a life of crime and deceit or if she can give in to her feelings like never before. Creator Bob Kane was originally inspired by actress Jean Harlow when he conceived the Catwoman character and we think that actress Anne Hathaway did an excellent job portraying this antiheroine in Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Unbeknownst to Bruce Wayne, Miranda Tate is a member of Wayne Enterprises executive board. She also happens to be Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Batman’s arch rival, Ra’s al Ghul. She uses this deception to lure Bruce Wayne into a false sense of hope and tries to destroy the Dark Knight.
And that brings us to Bane. Bane, portrayed by the brilliant Tom Hardy, is an ex-member of the League of Shadows who aims to bring not only the rich and powerful of Gotham to their knees but the Dark Knight as well. He is relentless in his pursuit of the Dark Knight and even breaks the vigilantes back forcing him to remove himself from his crime fighting ways. Banes mask supplies him with an analgesic gas to relieve pain he suffers from an injury he sustained earlier in life. (It also makes him extremely difficult to understand but don’t tell him we said so.) He is a brilliant strategist and physical menace to anyone who is foolish enough to get in his way.
So there you have it, what do you think? Are the tricked out vehicles better or are you of the mindset that the villains are the main attraction. We think that Nolan has blended these two effortlessly and made each an integral part of each film. That being said, we want to hear from YOU. Give us YOUR opinions below in the comments section.
The Dark Knight Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray Set from Warner Bros. is available now and can be ordered HERE. Pick it up and get lost in Nolan’s Dark Knight universe over and over and over. It contains hours of special features including a fantastic documentary about the history of the Batmobile.