Batman ENDS…

“I haven’t given them everything. Not yet.”

I had just become an ordained pastor when Batman Begins took us all by surprise, not simply refreshing a franchise that had been Schumachered and Clooneyed to death several years earlier, but giving us a new vision, forsaking that notion that a movie based on a comic book needed to be a “comic book movie” and introducing many to the already compelling work of director Christopher Nolan.

As we head into the final installment this weekend, the film looks to be an atypical third film in a trilogy. Usually the final film in a franchise promises or threatens to simply be a “big fight” movie, the finale… and yet The Dark Knight Rises looks as if it aspires to be the headiest of the three, with its cowl-covered metaphors for real day issues exposing more human hopes and fearful folly.

Is Batman a hero?

Christopher Nolan views the term as “problematic” and the films reflect this. From interviews with Nolan to the character’s evolution since Bob Kane’s creation truly began in 1939, I had the opportunity to speak to a large audience on the mythos and the man up to 2005. I then had the follow-up privilege to speak on the The Dark Knight in 2008.

Whereas the first film redefined a character, the second film radically redefined the world in which the character lived.

If you want to check out the wealth of symbolism and themes in the prior films before Friday– when the Bat Lady sings– go in prepared to engage the final film with a deeper understanding of why we love this character and how he not only “Rises” but raises our own hopes for redemption.

How do YOU think Nolan will punctuate his vision? Will Batman die? Will he truly be able to redeem the city and walk the tightrope between justice and mercy, the pendulum between his father’s pacifism and his mentor’s terrorism? Will he reflect an image of sacrifice and redemption that, on some level, is possible in the real world? I guess we’ll find out together.

The lengthy audio features the evolution of the character from his origin to the comic coded mid-century and through the grim, gritty 80s, showing just how different his motivations and psyche have ranged over the decades, and then deep explorations of both Nolan films. You can listen or download using the options below.

  1. Josh

    Great post James, super keen to hear your thoughts on Rises – especially given what it says about hope, truth and the consequences of lies.

    Do you think Gotham has finally been redeemed? I do. I feel like the series does assert that Batman is ‘more than a man’ with the way they deal with Bruce and Batman at the end, and the way his actions mirror that of God’s redemptive plan.

    I found it amazing what you said about scapegoats, and the foreshadowing of Jesus. I think you read The Dark Knight much better than me; I had to reconsider my perspective on it after watching Rises. It didn’t quite register with me what the fallout might be for building this white knight up out of a lie – I saw The Dark Knight’s conclusion as completely hopeful, but you’re completely right in seeing its bittersweet quality.

    Anyway, looking forward to your future posts!

  2. Tony Sunzeri

    Hey old friend. Just saw Rises. At an IMAX. What an emotional experience. I’m looking forward to getting your take on mirandas role (could it have been eliminated to cut screen time down?) the intense character arc of Gordin-Levetta role and if a spinoff is eventual and the meta-narrative behind the final act of the trilogy. Post something asap with a spoiler disclaimer for those who have not yet seen it…please.

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