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The Dark Knight

Most fans of The Dark Knight can recall their first time watching the movie in the theater, as the experience was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. But at the time, they probably didn’t know how it would radically alter superhero movies forever. Now, 12 years later, they’re celebrating its anniversary with some excellent tributes:

The Dark Knight officially released in theaters on July 18, 2008. The Christopher Nolan-directed film would go on to become the highest-grossing box office movie that year, raking in roughly over a half a billion dollars.

It’s hard to believe it has already been 12 years since The Dark Knight blew everyone away with breathtaking cinematography, incredible action, and awe-inspiring performances. Back then, the MCU was in its infancy. Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk had only just released a few months before The Dark Knight. Though with the images fans are sharing, one is reminded that The Dark Knight was already giving us more than our fair share with the superhero genre:

Comic book movies were in a totally different state at that time, though. X-Men, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four had been around for some time, but their tones still included somewhat silly and campy aesthetics. With this, there were many that didn't take them seriously within the superhero genre.

The Dark Knight helped inspire comic book movies to move toward a more grounded tone that takes itself a touch more seriously. Overall, it helped turn heads and make people realize the comic book genre could be something more. This was immediately evident with the film's opening sequence:

Perhaps one of the most iconic and hallmark performances in The Dark Knight is Heath Ledger’s Joker. From the pencil trick scene to his conversation with Harvey Dent, his chaotic and unpredictable portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime has inspired countless one-liners, memes, and callbacks. Heath Ledger received a posthumous Oscar for the outstanding, show-stealing performance, and fans are still taking the time to make note of the late actor's work.

The Dark Knight was followed up by The Dark Knight Rises four years later. With The Dark Knight becoming an instant classic, it was tough to follow up. Still, while The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t fully live up to The Dark Knight’s magic, it still had some iconic moments of its own.

With The Dark Knight trilogy being so popular and considered a masterpiece today, many fans have wondered why Christopher Nolan didn’t continue the franchise. He easily could have made more movies afterward. But according to Christian Bale, Nolan only worked one movie at a time and never intended on making any more than three Batman movies.

Still, even if Christopher Nolan didn’t make more Batman movies, his influence can be felt on many of the DC movies after. He helped write and produce Man of Steel, a Superman movie starring Henry Cavill, and his dark and serious tone is written all over Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

While most superhero movies back then haven’t aged too well, The Dark Knight has aged like fine wine and will likely forever be considered a superhero masterpiece that elevated the genre.

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