Christopher Nolan Reflects On Batman, Villains, And Why He’s Done With The Dark Knight
It’s nothing new to report that Christopher Nolan, the man behind the immensely successful Dark Knight Trilogy, is finished with his interpretation of Batman.
With The Dark Knight Rises releasing on DVD next week, the director spoke to Film Comment and reflected on his interpretation of the popular DC Comics character, the trilogy as a whole, and why he’s done with Batman movies.
“For me, The Dark Knight Rises is specifically and definitely the end of the Batman story as I wanted to tell it,” he said. “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. He can be anybody, and that was very important to us.
“Not every Batman fan will necessarily agree with that interpretation of the philosophy of the character, 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 characterization of a guy transforming himself into Batman is if it was as a necessary symbol, and he saw himself as a catalyst for change.
“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, and as I say, the open-ended elements are all to do with the thematic idea that Batman was not important as a man, he’s more than that. He’s a symbol, and the symbol lives on.”
Nolan also talked about the trilogy’s villains, something he hasn’t spoken to in-depth in previous interviews.
“If you look at the three of them,” he said. “Ra’s Al Ghul is almost a religious figure, The Joker is the anti-religious figure, the anti-structure anarchist. And then Bane comes in as a military dictator. And military dictators can be ideologically based, they can be religiously based, or a combination thereof.”
Nolan added: “With my co-writers David Goyer and my brother [Jonathan Nolan], we decided early on that the greatest villains in movies, the people who most get under our skin, are the people who speak the truth. So with Ra’s Al Ghul, we wanted everything he said to be true in some way. So, he’s looking at the world from a very honest perspective that he truly believes. And we applied the same thing to The Joker and Bane in the third one. Everything they say is sincere. And in terms of their ideology, it’s really about ends justifying means.”
Are you going to buy The Dark Knight Rises when it hits home video next week?