Updated on 16 October, 2021
A recent discussion in a bookstore dedicated to Batman Collectibles brought about several heated discussions, with some readers expressing confusion over the supposed differences between The Dark Knight and No Reservations. That film differs from its predecessor largely due to its visual style, which is lighter than its preceding outings. Some movie-goers are upset with the changes, claiming that it diluted the quality of the story and failed to maintain the original dark and gritty feel of Batman's comic book origins. Others are praising the film, calling it a smart, entertaining film that avoids the dated, cartoonish style of previous Batman films. In this article, we'll attempt to identify the main differences between the two Batman films.
In contrast to earlier films, No Reservations relies less on elaborate, 3D effects and more on its witty writing and unique cinematography. Starring opposite Christian Bale in his iconic role as Batman, Anne Hathaway plays the titular character in what's easily the most memorable part of the movie. In the story, Gotham City is faced with an outbreak of biological weapons caused by a virus. When the city's Dark Knight protects the city, he battles not only Batman but also the villains The Joker (ctors Jude Law and Anne Hathaway), The Penguin (Joel MacLaine) and The Riddler (esar Coronas).
It's easy to compare No Reservations to the Dark Knight, since both films introduce new characters and expand upon familiar ones while introducing new Gotham City settings and dynamics. The basic plot of No Reservations revolves around a virus that has killed off all the remaining humans in Gotham City, except for The Riddler (B Bale). With the ability to read minds, he's determined to kill the human race so he can survive. Batman, after saving the city in the Batmobile, sets out to find The Riddler and kill him, but he finds The Joker instead. The Riddler meanwhile commands other criminals to attack Batman and rescue The Joker (Lawyer), thus starting the chain of events that leads to The Dark Knight ( Bale and Hardy).
Unlike some movies, No Reservations isn't a weak film. It opens up with a terrific chase scene involving Batman and The Riddler, and then seamlessly shifts to the story of The Joker. From the get-go, it's clear that No Reservations isn't an official sequel to any of Batman's Batman films; it's its own movie, and it follows the same storyline as all of them. This is quite refreshing for modern-day blockbuster cinema, which often retell the same stories using different characters and locations. The plot is solid throughout, but it occasionally falters due to too many comic book-like elements inserted into the story for movie-goers to take on board.
Fortunately, No Reservations manages to overcome this issue, largely thanks to the performances of both Bale and Hardy, who easily carry out the character's unique traits. The chemistry between Hardy and Bale turns the film into a tightly-paced one, and the supporting cast more than makes up for Hardy's less stellar performance. Hardy's role is especially commendable seeing as he plays a character whose motivations are so different from those of the dark knight - he wants to make Gotham a better place, but he has no intentions of robbing anyone in the process. Instead, his motivations are more akin to those of an actor playing a character suited for the part of The Joker.
The chemistry between Hardy and Bale also provides for some of the best comic relief from the screenplay: Bale's understanding of exactly why his Bruce Wayne is the man known as Batman allows him to overcome the emotional guilt that initially drove him to become the hero. In many ways, this emotional connection is what propels the entire movie. When the criminal masterminds are defeated, Batman's emotional connection with Rachel Dawes also motivates her to give up her own life of crime to join him. The characters in The Bigger Than Mr. Joker are given more depth than ever before, and this is undoubtedly owed in large part to the groundwork provided by the previous films. The movie even uses the characters we met in the earlier Batman films well, and while it may not be nearly as funny as the later outings, it is just as successful in depicting the character and his relationships with others.
The Bigger Than Mr. Joker is one of those rare instances where a blockbuster movie can have just as much fun outside of the confines of the theater. Hardy's Batman makes for an exciting solo outing, and the supporting cast of Daisy Ridley and Anne Hathaway give the movie some much needed depth. Those interested in the Caped Crusader will find this to be an entertaining and intelligent movie with a number of laugh-out-loud moments, but those hoping for an action-packed finale will be left wanting.
Overall, The Bigger Than Mr. Joker is a fun and enjoyable movie that those looking for dark humor will find rather entertaining. Movie-goers who are more serious about the subject matter may find this one to be a disappointment, but those hoping for a sequel to the Dark Knight Rises will likely find this one to be a hit. It's clear that audiences are in the mood for another installment of this Batman franchise, and The Bigger Than Mr. Joker makes a fantastic candidate.