Christopher Nolan Discusses ‘Dark Knight’ Trilogy at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

While Christopher Nolan was promoting Dunkirk, a journalist made the mistake of asking him about Ben Affleck’s Batman. Nolan quickly shot down the question, as he was there to promote Dunkirk and not to give his opinion on an actor that he had no bearing on. The press spun his response out of context and it seemed like Nolan was finished talking about Batman and his Dark Knight trilogy.

However, that was not the case. At Cannes Film Festival yesterday, Nolan appeared as a special guest and gladly talked about his beloved franchise. Among other topics as a gifted filmmaker, he discussed each movie in the trilogy and how the genre shifted between each movie. Apparently, that wasn’t the initial intention. When Nolan set out to create Batman Begins, it wasn’t with the intention of creating a franchise. Exploring the various aspects of Bruce’s journey sort of necessitated the change in genre between the flicks. Nolan says, “We hadn’t planned on doing a sequel, so shifting genres and the nature of the antagonist felt the way to take the audience on a journey and tell them something different about Bruce Wayne.

Of each movie’s shift in genre, Nolan explains that each movie was essentially defined by its villain. He considers Batman Begins an origins movie. Of Ra’s Al Ghul, he says, “The villain is an appropriate adversary. He’s a mentor-turned-enemy.” Next up, of course, is the Dark Knight, which Nolan viewed as a crime drama, saying “The Dark Knight for me was always a crime drama in the mould of a Michael Mann film. The Joker was a terrorist, an agent of chaos set loose.” And lastly, it’s the contentious finale, The Dark Knight Rises, which Nolan says was “This is an historical epic. Bane as a militarist foe helped that.

“Very relatable and human”

Prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we had an occasional superhero movie and we had the Dark Knight trilogy. The trilogy continues to resonate strongly among Batman and movie fans alike, kick starting a new generation of Batfans. When Nolan finished the series, I remember reading a foreword written by him in an art book, where he expressed his love for the character. Nolan explains what makes Batman different: “Yes, it’s a superhero, but it’s based on ideas of guilt, fear, these strong impulses that the character has. Bruce Wayne doesn’t have any super powers other than extraordinary wealth. But really, he’s just someone who does a lot of push-ups. In that sense, he’s very relatable and human. I think that’s why I gravitated towards it.

Also, he admits that he borrowed a lot from the James Bond franchise to create the Dark Knight trilogy.

I love that he’s talking so openly and fondly about the movies. I don’t believe he’s done that in a while because he’s been so busy creating other films. It seems like Nolan will be associated with Batman and his work on the Dark Knight trilogy in perpetuity, and he doesn’t seem to mind. You’ve just gotta let him promote his movie when he wants to.

If you are a fan of Christopher Nolan and his other endeavors outside of Batman, I strongly recommend you check out the rest of the conversation here.

What do you think? Do you agree with Nolan’s assessment of the character and his movies? Let us know.

Adam Poncharoen​sub

Adam Poncharoensub is a blogger, movie critic, and Born-Again Batman fan. When he’s not chained to his desk writing, he likes to spend his days spreading the gospel of the Dark Knight in the treacherous suburbs of Miami or working under Dropping Loads Productions, where he co-hosts a comedy podcast and produces sketches.