Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was a critical and financial success, but that doesn't mean everyone loved the last chapter. Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently got to talking about how he thinks it was good The Dark Knight Rises had an ending and thought it was a perfect one at that.
CinemaBlend spoke to the actor about his upcoming turn as Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's new film but decided to ask one unrelated question. They wanted to know if he would have been interested in a continuation of The Dark Knight Rises story with him at its center. He told them he felt it was unnecessary.
I know we're all used to the sort of Marvel movies, which are just kind of endless series. They don't really have a beginning, middle, and end. But I think Nolan very much thought of that movie as a conclusion, and there's a theme that runs through all three of those movies that begins in the first movie, runs through the second movie and it concludes in that moment where he says that Batman is more than a man, Batman is a symbol. And so to have another man other than Bruce Wayne kind of becoming Batman at the end of that trilogy, I think that's the perfect ending to that story.
I should stress first I don't think Gordon-Levitt was taking a dig at Marvel here, just stating a fact. The Marvel cinematic universe has been built as one giant story. And that's appealing to a lot of people, myself included. Whether that's because I'm a comic reader and am used to that sort of never-ending storytelling or it just works for me, in general, I can't say. There hasn't been much like that anywhere else in fiction. Maybe Doctor Who? Star Wars?
Anyway, I know a lot of folks disliked the ending of The Dark Knight Rises for various reasons but it really worked for me. I have a strong emotional attachment to Batman. I was even featured in a documentary called Legend of the Knight a few years ago because of my deep love for the character. So when I realized Batman was not only going to get a real ending but a happy ending at that, I started crying. Batman doesn't get a happy ending. He never stops. His work is never done.
Looking at Bruce in that last scene and knowing he not only felt his work was done but that he'd left the city he loved in good hands was powerful to me. We never got to see Gordon-Levitt's Sgt. John Blake (a.k.a. Robin) take up the mantle on screen. And that's OK. I'd argue it was GREAT. Batman lives on.
Stories that have and ending are left open-ended all the time. It allows the audience to fill in the rest with whatever they'd like. And of course, now that Warner Bros. has started building their own cinematic universe off of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, it wouldn't make sense to try and connect Nolan's work into the entirely different feel of that world. The Dark Knight Rises had an ending as it was meant to and complete stories are welcomed by many people.