THE DARK KNIGHT
2008, Warner Bros., 152 min, USA, Dir: Christopher Nolan

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) must protect Gotham City from the Joker (Heath Ledger, in an Oscar-winning performance), whose path of destruction turns Batman’s potential successor, district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), into the disfigured villain Two-Face. The all-star cast includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. While the bravura action sequences come fast and furious, Nolan’s exploration of the characters’ psyches - and the issue of vigilantism - is equally skilled.


BATMAN BEGINS
2005, Warner Bros., 140 min, USA, Dir: Christopher Nolan

MEMENTO director Christopher Nolan and BLADE scribe David S. Goyer reinvent the BATMAN franchise, with the help of the best cast ever assembled for a comic book film. Christian Bale infuses the Caped Crusader with emotional gravity, an approach that’s underscored by Nolan’s effectively realistic approach to the material. Michael Caine, Tom Wilkinson and many other noteworthy character actors provide solid support in this adventure film that’s as smart as it is rousing.


SPIDER-MAN
2002, Sony Pictures, 121 min, USA, Dir: Sam Raimi

Stan Lee’s conflicted young superhero swings from the pages of Marvel Comics to the big screen in spectacular fashion in this first installment of the Spider-Man franchise. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is just a kid with a crush on girl-next-door Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) until a bite from a radioactive spider imbues him with super-strength, acute vision and the ability to climb walls and shoot webs from his wrists. These powers come in handy when Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), the alter ego of an eccentric millionaire, arrives on the scene. Can Spidey save the city from this super villain, and will he get the girl of his dreams? Director Sam Raimi’s hyperkinetic action sequences pushed the boundaries of special effects and breathed new life into the superhero genre.


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