14. The Action
For films that have running times of over two hours, the action is very sparse and when it does arrive, it is so dull. Tim Burton is often criticized for not being able to direct action but his action scenes in Batman are far more memorable than any Chris Nolan managed to produce in his three films. Everything from the scene in the Axis Chemical Factory to the Batmobile chase to the fight between Batman and Joker is well choreographed and most importantly, easy to follow. In Batman Begins, Nolan resorts to filming most of his action extremely close up and employing so many fast cuts that you have no idea who is who or who's fist is meeting with what face. The result is that you just sit there waiting for it to finish and the story to continue. The whole point of an action scene is to get the audience pumped and have a break from the plot progression, it is also a chance for the director to have some fun and give the audience a thrill. Nolan could have just filmed a close up of someone flicking really fast through an Argos catalogue and the audience wouldn't have known any different. Even the final climax with Ra's al Ghul on the train feels lifeless like it's just going through the motions.
The action took one step forward in The Dark Knight but the confrontation with the Joker came no where close to being as thrilling as it was in The Gotham Cathedral between Keaton and Nicholson. And if it was one step forward in TDK it was two steps back in The Dark Knight Rises with the extremely dull fist fight between Batman and Bane which is supposed to be one of the highlights of the film. It had all of Nolan's trademarks, awkward choreography involving too many extras and lacking any kind of flair to make it interesting. TDKR best sequence was the collapsing football field but that was spoilt in the trailers long before the film's release. Before anyone mentions the TDK scene when Dent is being transferred in the prison van, I admit it is the best action scene out of all three Nolan Batman films but it also is a prime example of how incoherent Nolan is when it comes to directing and editing action.