Christopher Nolan looks back at The Dark Knight Rises ending

News Simon Brew 29 Nov 2012 - 06:32
Christopher Nolan returns to the mind-twisting of Memento and the sci-fi of The Prestige woth Inception.

Christopher Nolan shares his thoughts on the ending of The Dark Knight Rises. Spoilers within...

Warning: this story contains spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises

Arriving on DVD and Blu-ray next week is the final part in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. It's probably fair to say that the film is the most divisive of the trilogy, and that while reactions to the movie were positive, there appeared - from where we were sitting - to be a bigger proportion of those less convinced than there had been with Nolan's previous two Batman movies.

That notwithstanding, Nolan has given an interesting interview to Film Comment, where he's looked back at the series of films. And he's addressed the ending of the last final.

In it, he confirms once again that The Dark Knight Rises is "definitely the end of the Batman story as I wanted to tell it", adding that "the open-ended nature of the film is simply a very important thematic idea that we wanted to get into the movie, which is that Batman is a symbol". Thus, you're not supposed to take the scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the end as the jumping off point for the next big screen Batman (no matter what rumours are coming out of Warner Bros for its Justice League movie).

"Not every Batman fan will necessarily agree with that interpretation of the philosophy of the character", said Nolan, "but for me it all comes back to the scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred in the private jet in Batman Begins, where the only way that I could find to make a credible characterisation of a guy transforming himself into Batman is if it was as a necessary symbol, and he saw himself as a catalyst for change and therefore it was a temporary process, maybe a five-year plan that would be enforced for symbolically encouraging the good of Gotham to take back their city ... To me, for that mission to succeed, it has to end, so this is the ending for me".

It's a fascinating chat at Film Comment, and worth reading in full. You can do that here.

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I was very disappointed by the film. Easily the weakest. He abandoned his own semi realistic rules. Alfred is right, seven years with a bad leg hiding in the attic means he could never be the man he was. Likewise add a broken back and it's is game over. But hang on, a few 80s montage push ups later and he's ok. Other than that far too much emphasis on support characters and a laughable recycling of the first film and liberal pinches from weak 90s comics like no mans land. Not a patch on the Dark knight. If he wanted to go down the older batman route he should have done a mutant leader dark knight returns movie. Only the last Indy film and phantom menace were this disappointing. In all the cases? Weak script.

It was obvious to me when I saw the film why Nolan ended the film the way he did. It was the perfect way to finish his trilogy.

You're comparing an intelligent, epic, and highly accomplished example of blockbuster cinema like TDKR to George Lucas' recent train-wrecks?

Glad hes spoken about it, it was pretty clear to me why it ended the way it did but so many people seem determine that the story needs to continue with Gordon-Levitt as Batman but I just cant see them making a Justice League movie with John Robin Blake as Batman, it has to be Bruce Wayne.

I thought the ending was fine, I did have issues with the start and middle of the film however.

Now a mutant leader DKR would be a film I would love to see on the screen.

That said, Nightwing being in the Justice League film (or even a Batman Beyond) played by JGL would work.

hell yes.

It's not the open ended conclusion that's the problem. It's the fact that the second act is boring (what's going on in Gotham is far more interesting than Bruce-Wayne-does-Rocky) and the bad guys plot is a load of nonsense - all that trouble just to prove a point to Bruce. Also, the conveniently ridiculous bomb/reactor and the mass brawl at the end which, since the occupiers had AKs, should have been a massacre.

Nolan forgets that Batman has been around for over 70 years old and does a disservice to the history of the character by presuming he'd only have a five year plan. That why ultimately his films aren't canon and should be rebooted. The Animated Batman series of the early 90s pitched the character perfectly IMO. It brought something new, whilst celebrating all of the character's past. Bring on Paul Dini.

Delete 'old'.

Sort of like the pirate in The Princess Bride... It is the name that evokes fear, so wear a mask and let everyone be Batman?

Yeah. If it was about the 'people taking back Gotham' then it needed to be more complex than 'good' police vs 'bad' criminals. We got a very superficial view of what Gotham was like under seige, a confused rush towards a final battle, and no follow through with the whole opressed underclass angle built up at the beginning of the film. I wanted Bane's followers to realise they'd been duped/lied to/were on the wrong side and fight back themselves (particularly considering the whole thing boiled down to a simple vendetta), rather than have the film end in such a simplistic way.

I love Nightwing but its not a household name so could never form part of a headline emsemble. They should make a standalone Nightwing movie next year in Nolans universe (sans Batman) with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Nightwing to introduce him to the world, then it would work!

Gee! I'm so happy that the comments so far are reflecting a truer view of the movie's many faults.

Nolan acknowledges in the quotes above that his interpretation is not a classic one but a personal one. These movies were all about how he could make sense of it and not trusting in the source material enough to just accept the internal logic presented there and run with it.

You can't fault his ability to tap into the mainstream popcorn audience but then these were most likely the same movie goers who also went to see Transformers 3 plus a few extra batfans. The box office returns are no guarantee of quality but I'm glad that now hopefully he has a free reign to go out make more movies in his usual style which no doubt I will be able to enjoy a whole lot more.

I was disappointed too... after all it's a sequel to TDK !!! my hypemeter was at infinite.But i wasn't disappointed that much...it was still a good experience.
The pacing, n few plot holes bugged me.

Not sure how it does a disservice to it?

It made Batman believable in the real world. He didnt just want to make a comic to film adaptation (Avengers, Spiderman etc). He used the source material and then made it his own. We have already seen Burton's Batman films, and then the 2 over the top, colorful versions. This is exactly what needed to happen to Batman to reboot the character and the franchise. Why would we want to see Batman how he has already been done? What Nolan attempted to do has led to one of the best trilogys we have seen in a long time.

I like that we have this stand alone trilogy, and now someone else can make Batman the way they see fit. And I look forward to those also.

P.S I really don't think Nolan 'forgets' that batman has been around for 70 yrs. He's a smart man, I'm sure he didn't go into Batman Begins blind and not know anything about Batman.

TDK had a MASSIVE plot hole. The fact that everything that happened, the Joker planned and had needed to happen. Basically the Joker needed to be able to see the future for everything that happened to be pulled off. Seeing as he kept saying, he didnt have a plan, he just 'does' things, there was an AWFUL lot of planning involved! haha.

I loved the film, but lets not kid ourselves that TDR did not have plot holes.

Also, when batman saves Rachel from falling from off the building and they land on the car (not dying somehow and crushing the car), he just leaves the Joker up there, terrorising all those guests!? He didnt go back up to save them!

(sorry im not having a go, im just sayin! i like debates lol)

I'll be honest I'm a big fan of Batman but after seeing the
movie I was a bit disappointed. It seems like he may have closed up the trilogy
as he says, in terms of how Batman "endures" and becomes a symbol of
the people and can pass the torch new hand, however he did leave the story open.

What I think he has done is left it open for Bruce Wayne to
come back as Batman. He names Blake at the end of the movie as
"Robin" and sends him to the "Bat Cave".
Fox knows he's not dead and will continue to make gadgets and make sure he gets
his company and money back, Alfred knows he's not dead and will help resurrect
him from the dead, and Commissioner Gordon finds a fixed Bat signal which makes
him believe Batman is still alive. Bringing him back isn't hard either they've
done it before, and can do it again. They can make it look like because he was
broke and he decided to leave, was presumed dead because they thought he was
killed along with all that happened with Bane in Gotham
and wasn't found and was presumed dead along with many others, this will help
him get Wayne Enterprises back. Don't forget Scarecrow wasn't dealt with,
Harley Quinn never enters, and the Joker wasn't seen in this movie and dealt
with. Plus, Catwomen is with him, but was never officially announced as such
and whole lot more could be added to the story with her.

I just hope they decide to make a 4th entry or standalone
that adds more to they way we love to see Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) as
Batman and see some Arkham Asylum next time.

It was a massacre. They were all being shot as they were running towards each other.

Then when Talia leaves in the amroured car, she tells the driver "Shoot them, shoot them all". And they do. We see them all laying on the ground dead.

Would it not just better to accept this ending, and that NOLANS Batman is over.

If they ever do a new Batman I really hope they just start a new version, with no ties to this film. If they do, it will just ruin this perfect trilogy.

I don't really think Ra's/Talia Al Ghul, Scarecrow or Bane were household names (to people who dont read the comics, which is a lot). I mean they even got Carmine Falcone in there for the first film.

If the story, script and director are good enough, they can introduce Night Wing I think.

So odd how Nolan cherrypicks that one jet scene from Batman Begins to justify Rises' ending, when it seemed like The Dark Knight explored the idea that NOT just anyone can be Batman, you need training, finances, etc,etc.

That's the main reason I dont like Rises' ending. Blake's just some guy. Some guy, to quote a recent Cracked article, "who was at one point overpowered by Gary Oldman ina hospital gown."

I see your point, but oddly for me yes! With Indy IV I knew it could be ropey and with Phantom Menance, again, I was prepared for the worst. Plus, if you just miss the first 40 mins of Phanton Menance it's an alright film. With Dark Knight Rises I was convinced it would be perfect. I don't think I've enjoyed a film as much as The Dark Knight since the Usual Suspects. So I really was gutted with the sequel. I actually got told off in the cinema as I started laughing when Caine had his little dream of Master Bruce at the start - it was so obviously the ending. A very weak film. It's on a list of films I will never see again: Indy IV, Batman Returns, Spiderman 3, the Matrix sequels; X Men 3...I could go on.
What I find astonishing is the amount of people who still maintain it's any good. The same thing happened with Indy IV it's reviews were really positive for a long time. At least Batman didn't enter Gotham again via a fridge...

Justice League needs a new cast with no connection to TDK whatsoever. The comics do this all the time when they have a different artistic team and vision for each graphic novel or limited series. Batman and DC's JL characters are strong enough properties to carry this. Just let Nolan's trilogy lie.

I love these films, a lot. Prob one of favourite ever trilogy's.

But everytime they talk about 'anyone' being Batman, he is a symbol, I just think about the fat guy wearing hockey pads in TDK and then think, no, not ANYONE can be Batman. Also, Batman told those guys to stop dressing up as Batman. So... quite the contradiction of his message! Haha.

They need to have access to superior technology, be incredibly smart and have 7 years training with Ra's Al Ghul to be a ninja.

Batman is a 'symbol' yes, but not anyone can be Batman.

Not a fair comparison. If it had been a movie just about Al Ghul, Scarecrow or Bane would it have been as popular? No. Batman was the headline name and everyone has heard of him, whereas asking Nightwing to help generate appeal for a new movie franchise to a mass audience without introducing him first wont work for the same reason that the Avengers ensemble movie came AFTER the individual movies.

Hmm, good point. BUT... if they called it something like 'The Dark Nightwing Rises' (see what I did there?) and made sure the studio's promoted it in a way where people knew it was a follow on, new story, I think it could be a good step in the right direction.

P.S I am copyrighting The Dark Nightwing Rises. So Hollywood, name your price!

Works on so many levels :)

They managed to squeeze Victor Zsaz in Batman Begins too!

To be fair, The Dark Knight was a really long, complex talkie film with only a small bit of action. I don't think the comparison with Transformers is apt. In fact, whilst I enjoyed it, I was always surprised that TDK had such widespread success. I don't think it was tailor made for the masses at all...

I defend 'Spider-Man 3' and will continue to do so, flawed it may be but it's a worthy and surprisingly mature conclusion that works just fine... the lack of a short montage sequence of Venom on the rampage for which Spider-Man gets the blame, plus M.J. being held hostage in the climax for the THIRD film in a row being my only real complaints, other than that, I'm cool with it.

The 'Matrix' sequels could have been better, I grant you that, the trouble there was that a culture of over-deference to the brothers Wachowski existed following the enormous success of the first film, they were hailed as geniuses and no-one pushed back on their excesses the way that happened during the original film's development, meaning you got insanely bad rave sequences, S & M club shootouts that were little more than a poor redux of the original's superior lobby sequence, unnecessary video game live-action segments that detracted from the integrity of the films themselves, and... well, I could go on, but you get the idea.

'Batman Returns' was arguably a much better film than the 1989 original - and I LOVE the 1989 original - it had a better and more sparkling script, better action, and a more unified creative focus, I just love 'em both to tell the truth...

'... Crystal Skull' I have no time for, but Episode I had a pretty decent story idea, if only George had hired Frank Darabont to write (or co-write) the actual final screenplay as he originally planned, ditto the other two episodes with another screenwriter(s), it was the execution of the ideas not the ideas themselves that sunk the prequels in reaching their potential.

I understand and respect the fact you were disappointed with TDKR, some people were, and you are actually right about Alfred's dream at the beginning telegraphing the end, but I liked it overall, I thought it was a fitting, exciting, engaging, intelligent, and pleasingly epic conclusion to an outstanding trilogy, just my opinion though.

that's the thing...every movie has plotholes. It only matters if the audience were able to detect them easily.
When i watched TDK i didn't have time to think about plotholes ...i was glued to the screen. But TDKR was kinda slow paced and the plotholes were too easy to detect.

No problem with the ending, but Bane was dreadful, and seemed to have been created by someone who had never read Batman before. His voice was also so offputting, and just sounded like someone had dubbed it over the film afterwards, blocking out all other background noise whenever he "spoke". Ruined it for me somewhat.

Nolan's Batman was the story of a aristocratic fascist emo.

He did very poorly in his interpretation of Batman, because to make sense of Batman, you have to make the man who would put on such a suit as crazy as the villains that responded to him. You HAVE TO take it as silliness, operatic...stage play style zorro theatrical stuff. Stuff inspired by the old black and white film serials. Frank Miller got it right twice with Dark Knight Returns and Year One, making Batman both more real and human, but he doesn't make the mistake of trying to drag Batman into real reality, just comic reality. I tell you after watching Avengers, it was so bad it allowed me to hate Nolan's Batman movies, Iron-Man's explanation of the Avengers is what made me realize how pointless and silly it is to try to make Super-heroes real unless you make them vigilantes like Kick-Ass and Super. After Avengers I felt like a silly little boy, but liberated. The Amazing Spider-man also made me realize you can bring a hero a bit more rounded and real without making it a boring crime drama.

Personally, I think that if Nolan doesn't want to direct another film, he should atleast do something in a film. Nightwing should be the next film.

Come on bring in nightwing just for ones I would like to see a movie about nightwing

NIGHTWING!!!!

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