20. The Soul of the Source
In my years studying film through a University education and beyond, I’ve had a few realisations on adapting from a source material to the screen. It’s my understanding that to effectively adapt the source, the adapter must bottle its ‘soul’ find a way to reverse engineer it so to speak, so that he or she can recreate their own version of it in their own retelling. No mean feat with the Batman mythology, by any stretch of the imagination.
It doesn’t exactly matter what they decide to change, as long as the soul remains. That’s why Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining was so good, even though it was so unrecognisably different from King’s book. The soul of the source was still there in full; the story had just been reworked and retold by a master of the craft.
I can’t help but feel that throughout the series, Nolan lost his grip more and more on the soul of Batman lore. While in Batman Begins, it was there – we relived Bruce Wayne’s agony, we felt his intense drive and ambition to excel, I believed he was becoming The Batman – I feel like the Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises represented exponential departures from what makes this 80+ year-old character so inspiring.
Nolan’s focus seemed to fall on making a successful film franchise (and that he most certainly did) and not on making a successful adaptation. I’ll go into more depth as to why, but in denying the vast Batman audience the satisfaction we craved from the character, I can’t help but feel that Nolan alienated an integral part of his audience.