Christopher Nolan is undoubtedly one of the greatest modern filmmakers. From Memento to Tenet and more, the director has left a sustaining mark on the film industry. While a lot of his films are known and appreciated globally, it can’t be denied that the Dark Knight trilogy is the most famous of them all. However, not many of Nolan’s fans know that the director had a great deal of difficulty making The Dark Knight Rises and had to completely change genres for it.
Christopher Nolan And The Dark Knight Rises
In film critic Tom Shone’s book The Nolan Variations, Christopher Nolan expressed his thoughts on trilogies and described how he had trouble making the third film of the Dark Knight trilogy. The acclaimed director said:
“There are no good third sequels, basically. Rocky III maybe. But they are very difficult. So my instinct was to change genres. The first one is an origin story. The second one is a crime drama very much like Heat, and the third one, we needed to blow up bigger, because you can’t scale down. The audience doesn’t give you any choice, but nor can you go back and do what you did before. So you’ve got to shift genres. We went for the historical epic, the disaster film, The Towering Inferno meets Doctor Zhivago.”
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The Rocky franchise is also one of the most highly regarded movie franchises of all time. Rocky 3 closes off the trilogy of boxing movies brilliantly by giving the titular lead played by Sylvester Stallone an amazing antagonist in James Lang, a young and angry boxer who is hungry to win. To ultimately defeat Lang, Rocky has to realize who he has become and change strategies while teaming up with old foes like Apollo Creed.
One can find echoes of the same themes and even plot beats in The Dark Knight Rises as well. In a Variety interview, Nolan admitted that he was inspired by the James Bond films as well while making the Dark Knight trilogy. Apart from this, he also elaborated on his love for Batman in the interview.
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Christopher Nolan Related To Batman
In a Variety interview, Christopher Nolan said that he changed genres for each film in the Dark Knight trilogy because he wanted to explore Bruce Wayne in various ways. He said:
“We hadn’t planned on doing a sequel. So shifting genres and the nature of the antagonist felt the way to take the audience on a journey and tell them something different about Bruce Wayne.”
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As for Batman himself, Nolan explained that he relates to the vigilante because he doesn’t have superpowers and the character often deals with grounded emotions. He said:
“Yes, it’s a superhero, but it’s based on ideas of guilt, fear, these strong impulses that the character has. Bruce Wayne doesn’t have any superpowers other than extraordinary wealth. But really, he’s just someone who does a lot of push-ups. In that sense, he’s very relatable and human. I think that’s why I gravitated towards it.”
It looks like the director’s days of directing actors in superhero suits are over and in fact, it has been over for more than a decade now. Right now, Nolan is gearing up to present Oppenheimer to audiences.
Oppenheimer will be released on 21 July 2023, the Dark Knight trilogy is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Source: The Nolan Variations and Variety