One: don't read any further unless you've already seen "The Dark Knight Rises." And if you haven't, ask yourself: what's the deal? There will be major spoilers throughout this post. OK? Good. Let's move on and not throw eggs at David Cronenberg for a second.
Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" has become a divisive picture. While the super hero picture got off to a relatively slow start, thanks to the Aurora tragedy the weekend of its debut, the film hit the $400 million mark domestically today after 29 days in theater. That makes it the 4th fastest film to reach that mark after "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight" and "Avatar." By this weekend it should hit $900 million worldwide so those who counted it out initially should think again. At this rate, the estimable $1 billion mark is within reach.
Back to what makes it polarizing. While it possibly wasn't as critically beloved as "The Dark Knight" (its Rotten Tomatoes score is 7% lower, if you care about such things), "The Dark Knight Rises" was still celebrated and in our minds is easily still the tentpole movie of the summer. Nothing comes close, frankly. But strangely enough, some of the biggest naysayers of the picture were the hardcore comic-book movie fans. Harry Knowles from Ain't It Cool News was practically outraged by the picture because it wasn't, in his opinion, what a Batman movie should be, for example.
Moreover, there's been lots of debate about the film's ending. Spoilers: In it, Gotham City detective John Blake (as played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is revealed to be a person known as Robin John Blake. And as Bruce Wayne hangs up the cowl for good, John Blake is given the keys to the Batcave to ostensibly have the legend endure and live on in whatever form he sees it. Fans have speculated that that must mean Robin John Blake will become Robin, and/or Nightwing, the character in the D.C. Comics that Dick Greyson graduated to when he became older and felt Robin was too childish, and too much in the shadow of Batman.
But as we discussed in our Playlist Podcast about "The Dark Knight Rises", some fans seemed to miss the point of the ending, which was not to set up a sequel and/or hint at something more, but rather to simply echo the message of the film, that anyone can be a symbol and a symbol is more important than the individual and can be everlasting. The point is not who Robin John Blake possibly becomes, the point is, he is simply another figure that can take on the symbol which can always stand as an icon against injustice, etc.
Anywhoo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was recently on Jimmy Kimmel (and if you haven't seen the film yet, let us tell you, Jimmy didn't bother with a spoiler warning) and the talk show host asked JGL what he thought about a potential sequel and where this franchise could possibly go. Thankfully, Gordon-Levitt gave the only answer there really should be. It doesn't really need to go anywhere else because it wrapped up perfectly on message.
"I don't think it's necessarily a set-up [for another film]," Gordon-Levitt said. "I think it is a great ending for that trilogy. Even if you go back to 'Batman Begins,' [Bruce Wayne] is talking about how Batman is more than a man, it's a symbol. And a hero can be anybody and we all have heroes inside of us and that's a theme that runs throughout the entire trilogy."
Frankly, again as discussed in our podcast this is really the only intended ending of the film. Hell, ask Christopher Nolan (he's pretty much said as much), but the debate will likely rage on and that's possibly part of the genius of the film. Nolan does like to keep things open-ended. Our guess, "The Dark Knight Rises" arrives on Blu-ray/DVD for Christmas? Maybe by then it'll finally be out of theaters. Anyhow, maybe your thoughts are different and you can weigh in with a yay or nay on the ending, but you know where we stand. Maybe we should have just linked to this?