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“You’ve changed things. Forever,” the Joker says, leering at a caped crusader on the verge of defeat. It’s been ten years since The Dark Knight carved a crooked smile into the world of pop-culture. The film made Christopher Nolan a household name, redefined blockbuster movies, necessitated recognition of the artistry of big-budget filmmakers, and transformed how the public viewed the mythos of Batman and the Joker. Simply put, The Dark Knight changed things. Forever. Ten years on, and with pages of comic panels spilling onto the screen on an almost monthly basis, The Dark Knight, which opened July 18, 2008, remains the high-point of comic book adaptations.

Yet, despite the recognition of the film’s unequivocal greatness, much of the reason behind its greatness has become dislodged in the explosion of superhero movies, and the so-called “dark, gritty, and grounded” reboots that followed in its wake. Nolan delivered unto us what was arguably the first prestige superhero movie, but what did The Dark Knight cost?

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