Happy Birthday, Christopher Nolan: The 'Dark Knight' Trilogy Director Turns 42!

Christopher Nolan

by Ashleigh Schmitz

It's not a bad birthday when you wake up and your most recent movie dominates the box office for the second week in a row. Especially when you're Christopher Nolan and that movie is "The Dark Knight Rises."

Nolan brought new life to Batman and created a Gotham we were glad to live in for a while. These are the reasons we're celebrating with the writer, producer and director of the "Dark Knight" trilogy on his 42nd birthday. (Oh, and spoilers ahead!)

He Rescued The Caped Crusader

By making the "Dark Knight" trilogy about Batman, rather than "Batman & Robin," Nolan gave the comic book hero Hollywood street-cred. Before Nolan took over, fans could only remember the embarrassment of the last campy Batman movie. Creating a dark character and exploring Bruce Wayne's journey to Batman was to the beloved character what the "clean slate" device might be for a regular Joe: the chance to start anew.

His Batman Lived In The Real World

Nolan's trilogy also created a great social commentary by representing themes relevant today. "There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne," Selina Kyle purrs to Bruce at once point in Nolan's final Bat-film. "You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us." With that line and more, the director is alluding to issues we're currently facing. He made Gotham mirror our world so that his Batman would be the same one we wish could swoop down and solve our problems today.

He Gave Us The Joker

Few have ever given us a villain so deliciously evil and demented as Heath Ledger's Joker. From the maniacal laugh to the costuming that spawned a million Halloween recreations, Nolan's vision for Joker was dark and twisted, bringing the character to the forefront of pop culture, and creating the ruler by which all future villains will henceforth be judged.

He Gave Us Catwoman Selina Kyle

Nolan brought depth to a role previously revered for its sexual imagery. Anne Hathaway's Catwoman transcended the cat suit and created a character that Batman fans could love and hate at the same time. Her wishy-washy morality gave way to a vague villainess that added an extra layer to "Dark Knight Rises."

He Rewarded Us With The Happy Ending We Deserve

After three dark movies that curated despair so well, it was fitting that Nolan would grant fans a happy ending. Giving Batman life after death was a wonderful way to end the "Dark Knight" trilogy. Maybe everyone wasn't thrilled, but it closed a chapter and gave something that many third and final movies don't: a real ending. Sure, some things might be left open to explore further (Will we see Joseph Gordon-Levitt's John Blake/Robin in his own movie? Will Hathaway come back for a Catwoman spin-off?), but Nolan gave closure to Bruce Wayne in perhaps the best ending we could have asked for.

Leave your birthday well-wishes for Nolan in the comments section below or on Twitter!