"Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
Was The Dark Knight Rises the finale that Batman deserved and needed? On the new TDKR DVD/Blu-ray release (on shelves today), Christopher Nolan and his collaborators wax poetic about their Batman saga and shed light on what made Bruce Wayne's rise, fall, and redemption such compelling material.
"Every film has to be driven by a story," says Nolan in the bonus feature "The Journey of Bruce Wayne" in which he offers up his personal take on the Batman mythos along with brother/screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer, Christian Bale, and Hans Zimmer. "And story is driven by people, by characters, by the human face. What we recognize in it, what we’re attracted to, what we hope for, for that character — that relatability — is what drew me to Bruce Wayne’s story."
Nolan and his co-writers speak of Batman/Bruce Wayne in clinical terms: He's depressed, addicted, and traumatized as the events of Batman Begins and moreso The Dark Knight give way to the confrontations of The Dark Knight Rises.
"We tried to treat Batman – the Batman costume, the Batman personality — as if it were an addiction," said Goyer. "He’s addicted to it; he’s addicted to the anger, that he’s addicted to the violence, that he’s addicted to the suit. It’s all he really lives for, how he was able to channel his anger and his energy is by being Batman and as long as there was something to push against he had a reason for existing, and now that the streets are relatively crime free he doesn’t have anything to push against, so he doesn’t have a purpose."
Bale puts it another way: “He’s not the most healthy of individuals."
The imperative for Nolan & Co.'s game-changing approach to superhero stories was, according to Jonathan Nolan, "being conscious of never straying too far from these being films about a man. There’s a city, there’s a rogue’s gallery, there are some amazing, compelling characters — but it’s really the story of a guy who decided to do something very unconventional, illegal, dangerous, out of a somewhat broken sense of righteousness and justice."
Behind-the-scenes looks abound on Warner Bros.' comprehensive home video release, from a franchise-spanning Batmobile featurette to the plethora of making-of pieces that peel back the layers on the technical orchestration that went into TDKR's explosive, epic production. But if you want to get to the heart of Nolan's Batman — and the series that, starting with Batman Begins, ushered in a new era for the Caped Crusader and comic book movies for cinephiles and fanboys alike - this is the must-watch of the batch.
As much as the bombast and drama of TDKR makes for a standalone watch, it was intended to fulfill a specific purpose: To question all that came before, and round out the complete three-film journey of its hero. "For the ending of The Dark Knight to have the validity of gravity it should have," says Nolan, "it is important to have The Dark Knight Rises."
Read more on The Dark Knight Rises, on DVD/Blu-ray today.