I was recently met with the challenge to contrast/compare the Matrix & LotR trilogies against Christopher Nolan’s Batmans. Such is the sad state of fandom, but I risk digression. Let’s get to it.
Matrix: Not a trilogy. The first film has a definite ending. After that, the sequels scan like big-budget sexist fanfic with poorly written cool/clever ideas in them.
LotR: I appreciate the technical challenge that went into bringing LotR to the screen, but effort is not the only standard by which quality is assessed (IMO, ‘effort’ should be the least factor). I appreciate slow storytelling (Brown Bunny, Solaris, 2001, Dead Man, Tinker Tailor, Ben Hur, JFK), but I have never been so completely bored. Beyond one theatre viewing, Fellowship has always put me to sleep; Two Towers has, if not several naps, then definitely pee-breaks built into the film. Return is the only one that engages from open to close. The trilogy, though, is nearly entirely as self-indulgent as anything by Ed Wood, only better-funded & -executed.
Batman/TDK: I have to hold judgement, as I haven’t seen Rises. But the first film is very strong & the 2nd is excellent. After their promise, & if Nolan’s still on his game, it’ll be the only trilogy that is a true challenger for the rep of the original Star Wars trilogy.