Such is the filmmaking style of Christopher Nolan that months and even years after one of his films grace the silver screen, moviegoers and critics alike will continue to deliberate theories as they slowly peel back the layers. Movies like Memento, Inception, and, more recently, Interstellar are labyrinthine greats that effectively demand a second viewing in order to truly appreciate their depth and scope (to figure out what the bloody hell is going on, basically).
But one Nolan film that was met with similar critique was The Dark Knight Rises, and star Christian Bale was recently asked about his own interpretation of the trilogy’s conclusion. Warning, therein lies spoilers:
The British actor was asked the question during a recent panel for his upcoming sword and sandals epic, Exodus: Gods and Kings and it is, for all intents and purposes, the dominant reading of Nolan’s trilogy-capper.
For the sake of context, the final moments of The Dark Knight Rises sees Bale’s Bruce Wayne throw his life on the line when he transports the unstable nuclear warhead away from the city. Presumed to be dead, we then see his loyal friend and butler Alfred Pennyworth visit his usual café in Florence only to see Bruce there, alive and well, with Selina Kyle. Freed from the shackles of The Caped Crusader, we assume that he will go on to live a happy life while the Batman mantle is passed rather appropriately to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Robin Blake.
What seemed to cast doubt in people’s minds however was the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending Inception, which drew up a myriad of questions in the final frames as Dom’s totem continued to spin. Much like TDKR, though, we’re left to draw up our own interpretations, but given how the threequel focused on the notion of Batman as a symbol, it’s almost certain that the closing sequence in question was, in fact, real.
Alas, it’s up to you to draw up your own conclusions on The Dark Knight Rises. But isn’t that the beauty of cinema?