David Cronenberg Bashes The Dark Knight Films And Fans

In a very interesting interview with Next Movie, Cosmopolis director David Cronenberg took the opportunity to bash Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy and the fans who love those films so much.

“A superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core… That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the f**k they’re talking about… I think it’s still Batman running around in a stupid cape”

Cronenberg is wrong on many levels here. The reason why The Dark Knight Rises and the rest of the trilogy are such exceptional movies is the fact that they were able to step beyond the bounds of the superhero stereotypes that Cronenberg described.

Heck, in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne doesn’t don his “stupid cape” until the movie is fully into the plot. The Dark Knight films were able to turn what may be considered a children’s story (though I believe at its core Batman comics are much darker than that) into films that I wouldn’t consider taking a young child to, by infusing them with a gritty, dark sense of realism.

I believe one of the most impressive feats for a filmmaker is to break the conventions of whatever they are doing in a way that improves the film, not just for the sense of being an “artist.” Nolan left the safety of cool effects and shallow characters and by doing so he took a genre that may have previously been mocked by all but children and fanboys, and turned it into something that appeals to the masses. I guarantee a good portion of even opening night audiences have never picked up a Batman comic.

Cronenberg did concede that the work Nolan does is very impressive technically, but threw a few extra jabs in with his compliment.

Christopher Nolan’s best movie is ‘Memento,’ and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting, though they’re 20 million times the expense. What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in ‘American Cinematography Magazine,’ and technically, that’s all very interesting. The movies, to me, they’re mostly boring.

I’ve loved Memento since we watched it in my very first film class, which was in my freshman year of high school. It is certainly a masterpiece, not only because of the deviation from tradition narrative storytelling, but because of the phenomenal story it does tell, and how well and completely the entire film is crafted.

That being said, Memento is not Nolan’s best movie. An argument could really be made for any of his films to be his best, but the magic of the Dark Knight trilogy, and the absolute triumph of original filmmaking that was Inception, push Memento to number 5 on my list of Nolan films.

Cronenberg is obviously free to have his opinion, but this one is just ridiculous. Even those who weren’t the biggest fans of The Dark Knight Rises have to respect that it was an incredibly well-made film, and certainly the furthest thing from boring.

Am I taking this too personally or do you agree? Sound off in the comments below.

Comments (11)

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  1. pch79says:

    Uhm, Nolan has NEVER used 3-D, Mr. Cronenberg. Cronenberg’s an equally great director, but I think he’s being a tad overly harsh & cynical.

  2. I think Cronenberg is absolutely wrong in
    classifying The Dark Knight trilogy as
    just another set of films showing “Batman running around in a cape”.
    In fact,
    classifying the whole comic book genre as something that’s just “for kids” can
    be viewed as ignorance. Just because a particular work is famous and popular,
    doesn’t mean it should be degraded. In addition, just because The Dark Knight focuses on a superhero,
    doesn’t mean it’s not infused with complex themes that can be related to
    adults. Comic books and graphic novels have the same depth as any other
    literature piece. They shouldn’t be degraded just because they use drawings and
    colors. Each color, image, text, grid pattern is just as significant to the
    story as any metaphor, personification or literary devices in a novel.

    In my opinion, I think The Dark Knight trilogy contains a lot of complex, mature themes.
    Nolan’s adaptation is quite dark that some of the themes may not even be
    suitable for “kids”. The second movie of the trilogy delves deep into the human
    psyche with the Joker’s character. And I definitely disagree that Nolan’s best
    work is Memento. Don’t get me wrong, Memento was good, it was brilliant.
    However, it shouldn’t be considered as Nolan’s best movie because it had a non
    linear structure and seemed a bit complicated. Just as The Dark Knight trilogy shouldn’t
    be considered as anything less than what it is mainly because it seems simple
    and features a guy wearing a costume.

  3. mikesays:

    Make a better one then, Cronendouche

  4. flybywiresays:

    Firstly, I’m not a troll, i’m not looking to annoy anyone with my own subjective views here. I loved the first two films, in fact I’m a big fan of comic book films as a genre having had zero interest in comic books as a kid.


    I was deeply disappointed in TDKR. I couldn’t understand why everyone around me was raving about it but i was deeply underwhelmed. Then a ComicBookMovies article popped up in my FB newsfeed and the author nailed it for me and it basically centred around a mass of confused story arcs that weren’t properly explored (despite the length of the film) that led to feeling of unresolved conclusions. I won’t go into it here, read the article yourself over there.


    It seems that this guy’s beef is with Batman being childish and that is just bollocks as far as i’m concerned. The author of this article is taking this rather personally IMHO but i do see his point.

    TL;DR First two films set and impossible precedent and the studio’s requirement for future sequels compromised the last one too much. Oh and Inception isn’t original in any way, it was based, almost word-for-word, on a Donald Duck cartoon (thank Cracked.com for that)

    Again, not meant to offend, just my opinion based on what i feel and what i’ve subsequently researched.

  5. Joesays:

    Don’t listen to Cronenberg… He’s mad just because nobody wants to watch his Limo film “Cosmopolis”… Christopher Nolan’s left testicle probably has more talent than David Cronenberg could ever achieve…. Eastern Promises and A History of Violence were his only good movie, Just a director who thinks he knows the difference between “art” and “blockbuster movies” but in reality, He is just a filmmaker who will never achieve something spectacular for the viewers… This isn’t coming from a Nolan fan, This is coming from a comic-book fan…. “Ignorance is bliss”

  6. browserniekssays:

    I dont know any movie shot by Nolan in 3D… Cronenberg, are you an idiot?

  7. Blue Cloudsays:

    This is the reasoning of a man who wants to remake one of his own movies (which was already a remake) because he wanted to use CGI

  8. To be honest, Cronenberg is a very educated and clever man, so reading something like this is (somewhat) surprising. I mean yes, there is a great level of absurdity with the superhero genre (in film and comics), but to dismiss them as being stupid, unintelligent and adolescent is too much. Superheroes come from sci-fi, fantasy, horror and crime, among others, and really are no more absurd than Mythological figures/archetypes, monsters, dr jekyll/mr hyde, sherlock holmes etc.. Hell, his comic adaptation of “A history of violence”, had a guy who was essentially as violent as batman, and then some because he would kill, and he didn’t wear armor or a cape. Comic books are either not just for kids, or not for kids at all, and Someone should explain this to Cronenberg in the most condescending manner.

    Speaking as a canadian myself, Cronenberg behaves like a typical arthouse snob, who comes off as being too ignorant for the sake of it. A great filmmaker/writer like himself should understand genre and study it better if he were to think that the horror genre is vastly superior to the superhero one. Its disappointing. All these outlandish genres are about ideas and metaphors in the end, it all just depends on whose hands it is in order to see it through to that goal.

  9. Oblivion138says:

    Considering all the horror pictures Cronenberg made, you’d think he wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss genre work as “kid’s stuff.” He’s taking the same prejudices that were applied to him early in his career and throwing them at Nolan. Which is really quite pathetic. Cronenberg’s a great director, but he’s got his head up his ass.

  10. carboncopy11says:

    excuse me, but i am suprised that a man like cronenberg who makes pretentious movies that no one understands (even he doesn’t) and like a fashion star relies on his yes men followers to add raves for garbage sold as art.
    …but my point here is didn’t SUPERMAN a man in pajamas who flies! capture the adult consciousness of an entire nation!! to say comic books is for kids is essentially a false argument because comic books are fantasy that we wish were real. to say another way. Comic book movies appeal to the child inside of all of us, and no matter how old we get, there is still a part of our souls that remain child like in nature. For chronenberg not to even understand this shows how truly awful a film maker he really is.
    Christopher Nolan has accomplished a brilliant feat, making the implausable seem like real life. amazing!

  11. The man is entitled to his opinion.

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