'The Dark Knight,' 'Star Wars,' 'The Godfather' and more
7. The 'Dark Knight' trilogy
Films: "Batman Begins" (2005), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Best of the bunch: "The Dark Knight"
Weakest Link: "Batman Begins"
Why it's a great trilogy: If Tim Burton's "Batman" films brought superheroes to a critical and popular mass in the early 1990's than Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy proved the Caped Crusader could reach unexpected cinematic heights in the 21st Century. While "Batman Begins" is unfortunately clunky at times because of the need to fashion an origin story with an extra third act, "The Dark Knight" is a hands down masterpiece and one of the top 10 films of the '00s. The final installment, "The Dark Knight Rises," combines all the themes of heroism and revenge introduced in "Begins" into a great film that is only diminished when standing alongside its predecessor. Many superhero films (including the popular "Avengers" related films) will age quickly. Like the best of Bond and Indiana Jones, "The Dark Knight" will endure for decades to come.
- Gregory Ellwood