So there we have it; The Dark Knight Rises.
The epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The finale of the story he wanted to tell.
And “what did you think?”, I hear him ask.
Well . . . .
“You liked it though . . . didn’t you?”
Yeah, but . . . . .
That was my initial reaction to the film. And now I’m going to try and elaborate.
To do that I need to go way back to autumn 2008 . . . .
The Dark Knight has just been released to critical acclaim and commercial dominance; everybody’s raving about it and, most importantly, it’s raking in the cash. So, unsurprisingly, Warner Brothers want more: Nolan’s not so sure, but he’s willing to be persuaded.
That job goes to David S. Goyer, his co-writer for both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The two men are sitting in an L.A. diner, discussing the future of the franchise. Out of the blue one of them has a brainwave. They have an ending for the third instalment, and the entire trilogy; one image that will conclude everything that has come before.
Not a beginning, not a middle, not a villain, not a title, not even one word of dialogue. An image.
Now, I’ve read this story many times, most recently in an issue of Empire magazine. So I’ve had more than enough time to mull things over, to create my own ending to someone else’s franchise. That story, along with internet rumours and Nolan saying that the end is the most important part, had left me with only one possible outcome; Batman dies.
I was sure of it. It seemed to fit with the Nolan universe, a world of pain and suffering . . . but also light. I decided that in a monumental act of heroism, Batman would sacrifice himself for the greater good, for the people of Gotham.
So, Mr Nolan, how come you didn’t listen to me? How come you didn’t read my mind and end the film exactly how I’d envisioned?
Wait, what was that?
You didn’t know that I thought Batman should die?
You went and made a Batman movie without consulting me?
How very dare you!
I’d tried to go in with no preconceptions; hell, I thought I was going in with an open-mind. I was wrong.
However long ago it was that I had decided on the death of the Caped Crusader, those thoughts and ideas had had plenty of time to imbed themselves onto my psyche. At first subconsciously and then, as time went on, very much consciously, I knew that was what I wanted to happen. That would be the finale; a glorious fanfare of thanks and appreciation to a legend. The people of Gotham would accept that Batman was right all along, that they should have never doubted him, that he was trying to help.
Instead, we got something else. It doesn’t matter how close it was to my ending, it wasn’t, and will never be, what I had hoped for.
But who is to blame for that?
Me, that’s who. Me . . . and the internet.
Now, I love the internet as much as the next person, but it has changed the world as we know it, and not necessarily for the better. It gave me the kindling to create the finale I wanted. All it needed was a spark; a spark that I gleefully supplied.
The fire was lit.
The fire rose.
And then the fire died, leaving behind a pile of ashes for me to craft whatever I saw fit.
So . . . . .
When rumour is ashes, you have my permission to die.