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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Explains Why There Doesn't Need To Be A Spin-Off Movie From 'The Dark Knight Rises'

by Edward Davis
August 15, 2012 6:16 PM
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises

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?

[/Film via Comicbook Movie]

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  • Chris | June 17, 2013 12:41 AMReply

    My feelings about this is there could possibly be another movie based on the ending to the Dark Knight Rises. The ending was too odvious. Even I think there will be another movie just like everybody else. And if there will be another movie, it won't be just Robin, it might be called Knightwing; just the comic. I'm pretty sure something is in the works.

  • Christopher post | December 11, 2012 12:51 PMReply

    I think the Dark Knight Rises could have been better!!! Dont get me wrong,Christopher Nolan didnt do that bad with his take of Batman,i just felt like there could have been more... The way Bane died was crap!!! The ending was also crap!!! And if your gonna end your story of Batman Dont leave so many people in the dark on what is happining with the blake character?? Whats actually happining with bruce wayne?? The ending sucked!! I think with an ending like that you have to make a fourth Batman!!!

  • jesuis | September 10, 2012 12:26 AMReply

    I actually thought that he would take over from bruce wayne before the end of the dark knight rises.

  • josh | September 2, 2012 10:09 AMReply

    Avengers was better by far

  • Wait WHAT????? | September 18, 2012 8:13 PM

    If u prefer good action and the hulk over amazing story, amazing characters, great acting, one of the coolest villains that's ever been put on screen, an solid action

  • Joe | August 26, 2012 4:11 AMReply

    I liked the movie. I did not like the ending, as much. I felt cheated. For the whole movie, everyone was trying to kill the villain,. At the end of the movie, Catwoman comes along and blows the villain away with a missile.

  • WELP | August 23, 2012 10:16 AMReply

    Please no more. I would much rather see a new director take on Batman. Nolan's vision was ......different......I know people love it and think he's a genius but I was underwhelmed by the series

  • SRG | August 23, 2012 8:15 AMReply

    Have you seen The Bourne Legacy?!?... why cant people leave films where they are instead of knocking out a sequel that isnt called, isnt up to scratch and that actually takes something away from the three films that went before.
    Batman isnt set up for ANOTHER sequel. A story/film can end without the title "The End - and everyone lived happily ever after."

  • Little Man Tate | August 29, 2012 5:17 PM

    Amen. Bourne Legacy was a bland, joyless affair about on par with Safe House - a tired facsimile that went through all the routine movements but lacked a soul

  • ikj | August 22, 2012 11:55 AMReply

    it may not have necessarily been a set up for a sequel, but who cares. i WANT a sequel. i want to see the development of Robin and Nightwing.

  • Ivan | August 21, 2012 9:17 PMReply

    I loved the film and thought it was just as good as the dark knight Tom hardy was awesome as bane but not quite on heath's level every one else was absolutely top. This was an awesome film and anyone else who says the film was "missing something" needs to watch it again

  • Adam | February 26, 2013 12:58 PM

    @Thatdude!! Really mediocre, Rises, may not have been better than Dark Knight, but Rises was definately an amazing film. Nolan ended the movie perfectly, allowing Bruce to live a normal life, while still allowing Gotham to have their protector, with a friendly nod to us fans with the characters first name being Robin. Also, Bane was a great character in the film. Batman vs Bane round 1, was so symbolic from the hits to the movements. When Bane kicked Bats off of the rails, and then jumped after him by climbing down the chains. To even how he threw away batmans mask like it was nothing to him because he knew he was gonna beat him down. For you to say its mediocre obviously shows youre one of those "Everyone likes it so I must say I don't so people think I'm rebellious" so in essence you're just a hater.

  • ThatDude!! | September 24, 2012 10:58 AM

    The movie WAS "missing something" (THE JOKER, LOL) and was NOT as good as the The Dark knight!! It actually was too long and a little slow many times. Great trilogy but the 2nd was most interesting, best villain (waaay better than Bane!!), best script, best action, best filmed, best everything!! I think you are one of those people who know it (TDKR) should have been better and it wasn't but you continue to try and stick up for a mediocre Batman movie. YOU need to go watch The Dark knight again!! Anne Hathaway though... yum!

  • Formerly From Tokyo | August 20, 2012 2:05 AMReply

    "...There Doesn't Need To Be A Spin-Off Movie From 'The Dark Knight Rises'" is my comment in itself. In addition, The Dark Knight Rises was a disappointing film for me which did not entertain me as I would have expected save the parts with Alfred, which I found touching. But if I pay $20 to see a film, I want to be entertained emotionally/intellectually/however throughout the film. I also found Tom Hardy's voice as Bane to be too distracting. Even so, the film had an air of finality about it that made me satisfied with the ending, even if I didn't exactly like the movie in itself. There doesn't always NEED to be a sequel.

  • tyrone | August 19, 2012 1:46 PMReply

    To be honest , I was disappointed in TDKR; while I enjoyed watching it, it just didn't live up to it's hype.
    The plot was the main culprit: it was pretty lame and it was obvious that it was a low priority,
    which unfortunately, is the trend with 'franchise' movies.
    The SX were great, as would be expected with that amount of financial clout, and the acting was at the top of the scale for that genre, but there was 'something' missing.
    That's why, for me, it was merely a good movie and not one that comes anywhere near being a classic.

  • Manny | August 19, 2012 3:50 AMReply

    It seemed clear to me that John Blake was to take up the mantel as Batman. Bruce essentially leaves him the keys to the cave, while at the same time restoring the bat signal at the top of MCU. During a conversation between Bruce and Blake he plants the seed of this idea of Batman being a symbol that can be embodied by someone else, not just him. I guess taking the extra step and revealing John Blake as Robin is what's throwing film goers off.

  • EP Sato | August 17, 2012 11:13 AMReply

    Nolan had a great run with Batman. We can end his vision here and I'm happy. DC comics has been able to retell/reinvent this story several times over. In comics, graphic novels, radio, newspaper comic strips, a tv show, multiple cartoons, the late 80s/90s movies and now Nolan's series.

    I say we as fans should enjoy these movies for a few years, then DC/Warner should find a new Batman and a new visionary director and start again from scratch. There've been several catwomen, several jokers, Penguins, Scarecrows, etc. Why stop now? Marvel just remade Spider Man, which had been a success not even 10 years ago!

    So long as the movies are worthy of the character, I say keep them coming. The 2020s vision of batman will be very different than the current vision. There's no harm in that.

  • Mishmashmor | August 16, 2012 8:33 AMReply

    What is it about this film that stops people being able to not like it without severe hatred? You liked it? Great. You didn't? That's a shame. But hell, can't we debate it's merits & faults without childish name-calling?
    Ps - great post.

  • rOn | August 16, 2012 6:03 AMReply

    Of course there doesn't need to be one and of course there won't be one. Warner Bros would be morons to step on Nolan's toes like that if they want him to ever make anymore movies for them.

  • Great Scott! | August 16, 2012 1:41 AMReply the message was that anybody can become the symbol. Great. Big fhuggin whoop. And we see a specific character who we are invested in stumble upon the Batcave, heavily suggesting he will be the next, and, what, we're just supposed to sit here and not want to see that story rightthehellnow? can do. Do want.

  • Formerly From Tokyo | August 20, 2012 2:05 AM

    Agreed, Alan.

  • Great Scott! | August 16, 2012 9:04 PM

    Sure...I can imagine infinite stories on my own to fill in the blanks. That doesn't mean I don't want to see another perspective put on film. That gives me an interesting idea. Hollywood should give 5 directors 50 million dollars to each make their own DKR sequel. You know we'll watch them all...and we'll each like a different one best. :p

  • Alan | August 16, 2012 3:42 AM

    The brilliance of the ending is that what happens next ... is whatever you want.

  • anon | August 16, 2012 12:01 AMReply the premise is "anyone can be a hero", just not anyone wearing "hockey pads"...awkward.

  • Bozo | August 29, 2012 5:20 PM

    Ruh-roh! Your butchering of the term premise ruins what is otherwise a mildy funny if forgettable remark

  • Ralph | August 16, 2012 7:25 PM

    LMAO! Poor fat Batmen at the beginning of "The Dark Knight". I literally just saw that part.

  • Sean | August 15, 2012 7:30 PMReply

    He the stomach.

  • Really | August 15, 2012 7:29 PMReply

    "Nothing comes close, frankly."

    That doesn't mean anything, it was still a bad film. I'm happy you all are easily satisfied and settle for mediocity. Thankfully, many others aren't and are rightfully calling the film out for the cluttered, tedious, poorly written piece of crap it was.

  • Little Orphan Funkhouser | August 29, 2012 5:23 PM

    Boy howdy! This Ron character is one contemptible faggot! hehe~

  • LC2 | August 23, 2012 10:56 AM

    @RON Why did you had to say things like that to people who got different taste and opinion with you? And maybe, you are actually one of those nimrods who think they are above everyone by cursing and bad-mouthed easily on the internet forums. Why? Because it is internet. No wonder we never notice you in the real world... :D

  • Katherine | August 20, 2012 4:06 PM

    I was pretty much spellbound by The Artist, but maybe it's just because I enjoy "snooze fests" like City Lights, Singing in the Rain, and, yes, The English Patient. It doesn't make me a nimrod, though, or snobbish. Thanks for seeming so yourself.

    And, granted, The Dark Knight is still the best one, but I quite enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises. A movie is "great" in my mind if it inspires me, makes me think deeply about an issue, or if it is one I want to watch it again and again. The Dark Knight Rises fits quite a few of these categories. Plus, my husband loves Batman almost as much as me, so it will definitely grace our shelves along with all the others.

  • rOn | August 16, 2012 6:08 AM

    People like you amuse me. You hate on a movie this great just to be "cool" and "hip", while almost everyone who has seen it loves it and almost 90% of critics who have seen it really liked it as well. Why don't you go back to watching worthless pop corn flicks like any Michael Bay film...or wait, maybe your one of those nimrods who think they are above that and claim to enjoy snooze fests like The English Patient, The Artist or other terrible movies like that. Moron.

  • evie | August 15, 2012 7:16 PMReply

    Henry Knowles is an idiot fanboy that does not grow. He should never be taken seriously!

  • Little Lord Cunt-y Bunz | August 29, 2012 5:15 PM

    @Ron - It's shaved, but you're 100% right

  • D'Artagnan | August 16, 2012 8:26 PM

    Yea, he cannot be considered a film critic.

  • Tom | August 16, 2012 5:18 PM

    @Ron - It's "you're," but you're 100% right.

  • RON | August 16, 2012 6:09 AM

    It's Harry, but your 100% right.

  • harry knowles | August 15, 2012 9:55 PM

    How dare you! I'm comic book and geek royalty! Blah Blah diabetes blah blah tiny asian wife blah blah wheelchair blah blah heart attack! Chris Nolan bad, Michael Bay god! Gravy on everything! I'm irrelevant and should be ignored! Giant butter and pork gravy sandwiches!

  • Jesse | August 15, 2012 7:20 PM


  • DG | August 15, 2012 6:55 PMReply

    Also I really think they should go ahead witha JGL Nightwing movie cause honestly thats perfect casting which is one thing out of the way so why not just do it?

  • DG | August 15, 2012 6:51 PMReply

    I feel like everything people say is wrong with the movie happens in the last 20-30 minutes and though I agree there were some significant missteps there it's no reason to lose perspective on the films merits. Honestly I think a lot of the criticism (including Cronenberg) is coming from people who are going to say they don't like the genre no matter what, which is totally fair. I think a lot of what I like about the movie comes from seeing how characters that I already care about from a different medium are translated to film, which is where the Dark Knight movies really succeed, and become kind of magical IMO, but also where the division In the fan ranks comes from. Either way I feel like its almost two separate issues and that even fans who hated it at least are passionate enough to ask themselves why. Maybe it was a bad idea to start thinking of these movies in terms of great cinema in the first place, though I think over time once the hype machine and back lash has all died down the appreciation will still be there and will continue to grow

  • guy | August 15, 2012 6:33 PMReply

    Did you write this from the future? Rises has only been in theaters 26 days and is close but yet to cross the $400 mil mark. Impressive tho. More news from the future would be much appreciated.

  • guy | August 15, 2012 6:55 PM

    "the film hit the $400 million mark domestically today after 29 days in theater."

  • Sean | August 15, 2012 6:40 PM

    Read the article again. They also mentioned in total. (A little less that 400 million domestic, and more that 400 million internationally).

  • jimmiescoffee | August 15, 2012 6:30 PMReply


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