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New Escapist Column! On How “The Dark Knight Rises” Abolished Its Billionaire to Build a Better Batman…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. TENET reviews are dropping in under an hour, and DC Fandome is happening this weekend, so it seemed an appropriate time to take a look back at Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises is a particularly interesting project in the current climate. It’s become common to criticise the idea of Batman as a billionaire who spends his fortune to dress up as a bat instead of actually using it to help the poor and impoverished of Gotham. In that context, The Dark Knight Rises is a work ahead of its time. It’s a story about how Bruce fails Gotham in his role as a billionaire, how maybe Batman shouldn’t be “a man from privilege” and a story in which Bruce donates his family home to the city’s “orphaned and at-risk youth.”

The Dark Knight Rises is the rare superhero story to posit an actual and meaningful ending for its protagonist, and The Dark Knight Rises argues that the only possible happy ending for Batman is for Bruce to lose his fortune and be declared dead, understanding that maybe the mantle of Batman should go to another person who is more keenly aware of what it means to live in Gotham. It’s a very clever and very insightful commentary on the Batman mythos, and one that has aged remarkably well.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

A Knight by Any Other Name: Why We Don’t Need Nolan to Use Characters from the Comic Books…

Read our in-depth review of the film here.

There was a bit of a ripple on-line last week when it was announced that Marion Cotillard was playing a Wayne Enterprise employee by the name of Miranda Tate and Joseph Gordon Levitt was playing a cop named John Blake in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises. Both actors had been suggested for various and established characters (Cotillard seems a perfect fit for Talia Al Ghul, while Levitt was linked to characters as diverse as Alberto Falcone and the Black Mask). Still, it’s surprising how shocked everybody seemed that neither high-profile actor would playing a character established in the Bat mythos. Does it really matter that much?

I can’t Talia if it’s really an original character…

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Joseph Gordon Levitt as Johnny Blake in The Dark Knight Rises…

There seems to a strange bit of symmetry here. The same night that I went to see Thor, starring a hero with a fictional identity of “Donald Blake” (which… sorta… makes a cameo appearance), Joseph Gordon Levitt’s role in The Dark Knight Rises is announced as the long-established Batman supporting character John Blake.

Wait, what?

Even I don’t recognise that character. Thankfully, Bleeding Cool have done some digging and they’ve come back with the secret origin of Johnny Blake. He shares a history with the Joker. Follow the link above for the complete story.

More (genuine) thoughts about this casting announcement probably next week (including the “Marion Cotillard really, really isn’t Talia… we swear!” bit), but enjoy this in the meanwhile!

Also, no confirmation that Zack Snyder’s Superman will see Lex Luthor take forty cakes (that’s as many as four tens!), because that would be terrible.