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"The Director We Deserve..." - The Christopher Nolan Thread

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With the Interstellar review embargo being lifted today and already creating division among critics, I thought Nolan is a director who may deserve his own thread.

 

I'm at work, so I can offer thoughts/input as the discussion unfolds.

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My opinion on nearly everything Nolan has done is usually roughly the same:  "It was good, but damn is it overrated."

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Awesome troll thread. 8 pages minimum.

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My opinion on nearly everything Nolan has done is usually roughly the same:  "It was good, but damn is it overrated."

 

This is a variation of my opinions on most of his output. I fall in the "I liked it. It's fun to talk about, but I doubt it's too high on my end of the year list. There' s no need for you to freak out or overreact."

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I'll pop in just once to offer my opinion and then let his fans have their fun. I think he's a terrible director who has no grasp of human emotion, female characters, how to film action scenes that make sense, and much more. Basically if you were to ask me to describe the characteristics of a shitty director Nolan embodies them all, and his filmography consisting of nothing but bad to mediocre films bears that out.

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I swear to God I thought this was entitled "The Director We Deserve..." - The Christopher Guest Thread. Now, I am disappointed.

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I swear to God I thought this was entitled "The Director We Deserve..." - The Christopher Guest Thread. Now, I am disappointed.

 

I have never been great with titles, and I thought aping a line from the end of TDK was a fun bad pun because "The Director We Deserve..." works regardless if you like/dislike Nolan.

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Nolan is a very talented man.  That being said, I both love and hate the effect his Batman films have had on the industry and I suspect he does as well. 

 

Its refreshing to see superhero films with high production values, rich characters, and meaningful plots, but do they all have to be so dark and gritty?   I mean, Jesus, even Superman was a downer,

 

If Nolan has a downside, it is that he has little idea what to do with female characters.  The quality of his female characters depends greatly on the stage presence of the actress and the role in question. 

 

Out of all of his films, I am most pleased by his hard sci-fi and have higher expectations for Interstellar than I did for TDK.

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I liked Inception alot, and the first two batman movies, but Rises sheer bleakness turned me off him for now. I don't have a critical eye for cinema necessarliy, but I want to generally have fun when I watch movies, or at least be intellectually stimulated. Nolan doesn't really do either for me.  . . .

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I liked The Prestige to the point where I'm afraid to rewatch it now.

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That's kinda how I feel about Dark Knight (haven't watched it since TDKR).

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I liked The Prestige to the point where I'm afraid to rewatch it now.

 

This is why I have hesitated on revisiting Memento. I list it among my favorite films of the oughts, but it has been probably seven or eight years since I've seen it, and I am afraid that it will not hold up at all for me.

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1. Memento

2. The Dark Knight

3. Insomnia

4. Batman Begins

5. The Dark Knight Rises

6. The Following

7. Inception

8. The Prestige

From best to worst. That pretty much sums up my feelings.

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This is why I have hesitated on revisiting Memento. I list it among my favorite films of the oughts, but it has been probably seven or eight years since I've seen it, and I am afraid that it will not hold up at all for me.

 

 

I've watched it recently and watched it at least three times over the years. I'd say it holds up just swell. My favorite Nolan, for sure, by a wide margin - though I'll admit I haven't seen all his films. Also, it was the first film of his I saw, so I went into it without any hype or preconceptions about overrated-ness. I'm not sure if that affected my opinion. Still, I can't really imagine an alternate scenario where I wouldn't think Memento is awesome. So I don't see the argument for overrated. I think it helps that it's so understated compared to his later films (except for the time gimmick, but that just works so naturally with the story and main character that it goes far beyond a gimmick, really).

 

As for his other stuff, I think Inception, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises are all good to really good, but not great (TDKR being the least good). The Dark Knight is pretty damn great, but a lot of that is due to the Joker clicking so well - if it wasn't for that, I don't know if it would be appreciably better than the rest of the pack.

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Its refreshing to see superhero films with high production values, rich characters, and meaningful plots, but do they all have to be so dark and gritty?   I mean, Jesus, even Superman was a downer,

 

I'm probably taking you too literally, but I think this goes a bit too far.  Let's look at the major superhero flicks since Batman Begins(*) and see if they are or are not dark and gritty.

 

(*)throwing out films that were part of a series that began prior to BB, like X-Men 3 and Spider-Man 3

 

Obviously there are a bunch that are kinda halfway in-between, but here's how I see it:

DARK AND GRITTY:

 

Batman Begins

Superman Returns

Dark Knight

Watchmen

Dark Knight Rises

Wolverine

Man of Steel

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Captain America 2

 

 

Light and Fun~!

 

Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four 2

Iron Man

Iron Man 2

X-Men: First Class

Captain America

Thor

Green Lantern

Avengers

Amazing Spider-Man

Iron Man 3

Thor 2

Guardians of the Galaxy

Amazing Spider-Man 2

 

 

I had a tough time with Incredible Hulk and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  My recollection is that they're not exactly Dark and Gritty, but they are mostly serious.  So that gives us 9 dark, 14 light, and 2 other.  Even if you put the 2 others in the dark category and move a few light ones into the dark column (like IM2 and First Class), that would still be 13 dark and 12 light.  To me, it looks like roughly half and half. 

 

And I'm sure that the successes of Avengers and Guardians will offset the success of the Nolan films in reminding studios that you can go either way as long as you do it right.

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The biggest Nolan cheerleader on the board is probably Natural, and he's not been around. As far as I'm concerned, Nolan is a guy who was good when he had limitations (in terms of budget, or studios overruling his decisions or whatever), but as soon as he had monster hits and became Mr big money untouchable Hollywood genius, he disappeared right up his own arse. And now everything he does is overblown and pretentious.

 

He does cast well though. Other than casting Joe Gordon Levitt in TDKR in the role that Joffrey should have been playing.

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Awesome troll thread. 8 pages minimum.

 

Yep. For all the talk that Nolan smells himself too much, I suspect this thread will do the same.  And at least Nolan makes good bank for his supposed fallacies.

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I'm probably taking you too literally, but I think this goes a bit too far.

 

Yes, you are taking me a bit too literally.  The Nolan formula has been applied to concepts that don't need it for the sake of "what worked before will work now."

 

I can see The Watchmen or V For Vendetta (two comic book movies you forgot) needing a certain air of darkness and certainly TDK did if you want to show the true menace of The Joker, but SUPERMAN NEEDED TO BE DARK AND BROODING~?  REALLY~?

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I'm probably taking you too literally, but I think this goes a bit too far.
 
Yes, you are taking me a bit too literally.  The Nolan formula has been applied to concepts that don't need it for the sake of "what worked before will work now."
 
I can see The Watchmen or V For Vendetta (two comic book movies you forgot) needing a certain air of darkness and certainly TDK did if you want to show the true menace of The Joker, but SUPERMAN NEEDED TO BE DARK AND BROODING~?  REALLY~?

 

 

I guess you can throw Sin City into that equation as well.

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I'm probably taking you too literally, but I think this goes a bit too far.
 
Yes, you are taking me a bit too literally.  The Nolan formula has been applied to concepts that don't need it for the sake of "what worked before will work now."
 
I can see The Watchmen or V For Vendetta (two comic book movies you forgot) needing a certain air of darkness and certainly TDK did if you want to show the true menace of The Joker, but SUPERMAN NEEDED TO BE DARK AND BROODING~?  REALLY~?

 

 

I guess you can throw Sin City into that equation as well.

 

Yep, and From Hell.

 

Hollywood had the Only Serious Comic Book Stories Need Apply bug so bad that studios and audiences were reticent to give stories with a lighter spirit much of a chance.

 

Fortunately for us, Guardians of the Galaxy finally cracked that code.

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I'm probably taking you too literally, but I think this goes a bit too far.
 
Yes, you are taking me a bit too literally.  The Nolan formula has been applied to concepts that don't need it for the sake of "what worked before will work now."
 
I can see The Watchmen or V For Vendetta (two comic book movies you forgot) needing a certain air of darkness and certainly TDK did if you want to show the true menace of The Joker, but SUPERMAN NEEDED TO BE DARK AND BROODING~?  REALLY~?

 

 

I guess you can throw Sin City into that equation as well.

 

Yep.  Hollywood had the Only Serious Comic Book Stories Need Apply bug so bad that studios and audiences were reticent to give stories with a lighter spirit much of a chance.

 

Fortunately for us, Guardians of the Galaxy finally cracked that code.

 

 

I think the problem exists more in a need for everything to be a great social commentary for our times. I would prefer that big tent films stayed away from sharing any sort of political agenda within them.

 

Hollywood went through a period (and is kind of still there) where they want to obsess over a post 9/11, criticizing our many efforts at war or militarized actions, and the economic collapse that it spilled over into making these films dark, gritty, and hyper-realized.

 

I am fine with dark, gritty, and hyper-realized when the source material calls for that kind of a film.

 

Batman is always going to be a more interesting character when Batman explores its dark side. Superman is not going to be as interesting of an exploration through that prism.

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I am fine with a dark feel if the content merits it.  Some stories are deliberately nihilistic and frankly those are tales best told when cold.

 

I am not fine with a dark feel for content that does not necessarily need it just because it worked well for Batman stories.

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How the hell did you put the two Amazing Spider-man movies in the fun category? They are the most painfully Nolanized films this side of MoS.

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ASM 2 had the most fun Spider-Man sequences in franchise history.

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How the hell did you put the two Amazing Spider-man movies in the fun category? They are the most painfully Nolanized films this side of MoS.

 

I have reached my quota of positive votes for the day.  Damn.

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