Can’t Wait: Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

While my other movie series, I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Film School, looks back, I figured I should place at least one foot in the here and now of giddy anticipation.  Therefore, Can’t Wait focuses on upcoming movies I, well, can’t wait to see, along with a few reasons why.

I know everyone is writing this week about director Christopher Nolan’s Batman series finale, The Dark Knight Rises.  But the excitement surrounding the film wouldn’t be so high if Nolan hadn’t made the single best superhero film yet with 2008’s The Dark Knight.  And with his last go-round in the Gotham City playground about to premiere this Friday, of course I’m anxious.

There was never a chance I would refuse to see the movie in a theater, but that new trailer has made The Dark Knight Rises my most anticipated summer movie in years, perhaps since its franchise predecessor.  There are plenty of reasons for this — Tom Hardy disappearing into another role, Anne Hathaway playing a Catwoman who appears to be more soldier than crook, and the utter destruction of Gotham seemingly imminent — but the most interesting notion put forth by the trailer is Batman’s mortality.

In it, you can see Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) walk with a cane.  A lot of time has passed since the last film and that time has not been kind to Batman.  He’s a recluse, having given up his vigilante mantle (“You’re not Batman anymore.”).  When Bane arrives and Bruce is forced to be a hero again, he’s overmatched.  Bane is stronger, both physically and in the number of followers he amasses.  You feel Batman will fail.

That’s the kicker.  Knowing this is indeed the end of the line for this story and these characters, anything can happen.  Warner Brothers can simply reboot the series to allow this trilogy (started by 2005’s Batman Begins) to stand on its own.  Nolan can take his dream of making realistic Batman films to its logical conclusion: Bruce Wayne’s death.

If I’m right and Nolan does kill Batman, I will applaud the decision.  Batman’s humanity should be explored in every way possible.  We’ve already seen him stand up to great evil and forces of chaos.  He has lost almost everyone he loves.  He has sacrificed his home, his family, and his reputation in search of some kind of greater good.  Now it’s time to stick the landing and give this series — the finest of its kind — the beginning, middle, and end it deserves.

Batman needs to sacrifice the rest.


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