Christopher Nolan recently discussed the importance of mythmaking in The Dark Knight Rises, which I use as a starting point in my analysis in the latest TOH/Indiewire column.
While other directors strive to ground their superhero movies with relatable characters, Christopher Nolan has achieved something greater with The Dark Knight Rises: he wraps up his gritty Batman trilogy with an operatic flourish and a sublime catharsis, coming full circle back to Batman Begins. In fact, he makes us forget that we’re watching a superhero movie at all. It’s just terrific drama and mythmaking. And true to his word, Nolan enhances the experience with the added clarity and larger than life theatricality of IMAX.
And Wayne’s story is defined by two primal images: falling into a pit at the beginning of Batman Begins and crawling out of a pit at the midpoint of The Dark Knight Rises. In effect, the films are mirror images: Wayne learns to overcome his fear of death in the first one; and in the last one he regains his fear to complete his journey. Yet in both films he must confront his mentor, Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson), the Darth Vader of the tale, first directly and then indirectly through the brutal terrorist, Bane (Tom Hardy), who’s also bent on destroying Gotham.