For many fans, The Dark Knight Rises very much stands out as the weak link of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and the range that fans like the film seems to vary, from those that love it, like it, and those who almost don’t even count it as part of the trilogy. Bringing an end to one of the most beloved franchises in cinema history though was never going to be an easy task, and the reaction to the movie was almost guaranteed to be varied.
However, one of the film’s cast members, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, thinks that the trilogy had a perfect conclusion, that came about because he believes that Nolan wasn’t constrained or contractually obligated by any other films in a cinematic universe at the time.
Speaking with Cinema Blend about the film, Gordon-Levitt explained why he thinks that The Dark Knight Rises had a perfect ending for Nolan’s Batman trilogy:
“I know we’re all used to the sort of Marvel movies, which are just kind of endless series. They don’t really have a beginning, middle, and end. But I think Nolan very much thought of that movie as a conclusion, and there’s a theme that runs through all three of those movies that begins in the first movie, runs through the second movie and it concludes in that moment where he says that Batman is more than a man, Batman is a symbol. And so to have another man other than Bruce Wayne kind of becoming Batman at the end of that trilogy, I think that’s the perfect ending to that story.”
On one hand, I think it’s easy to see where JGL is coming from when he talks about the possible dangers or storytelling issues that can come from not having a definitive ending in sight for a franchise, especially one like the MCU, which not only features a number of superheroes and main characters, but a number of other standalone franchises within it as well.
At the same time, as Captain America: Civil War demonstrated earlier this year, that kind of longform storytelling can also yield emotional and storytelling rewards that no other franchises or non-television series could, simply because of all of the work and history that has been put into that universe at this point. I’m one of the people who still really enjoys The Dark Knight Rises, though I don’t think it quite lives up to the other two films prior to it, and while bringing an end to the MCU feels like a task too large to truly accomplish right now, I plan on enjoying every film they still have yet to release until we get there.
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