The Batman trilogy is probably one of the biggest fan-favorite movies ever. Starting in 2005 with Batman Begins, the 2nd installment featured one of the biggest antagonists in cinema history, Joker (R.I.P. Heath Ledger). In 2012, Nolan came with the 3rd and final installment of the series- The Dark Knight Rises. Picking from where it left from, the story continued and it closed with a climax with the audience left in thoughts, amazed, satisfied at the same time. Or we can say with a bag of mixed emotions. So what does the ending of The Dark Knight Rises mean?
Christopher Nolan is a name known to everyone. His filmography needs no introduction and discussion. Starting with Batman Begins in 2005, Nolan gifted the entire world one of the best movies ever with The Dark Knight (2008). He concluded his trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
With the likes of Christian Bale as Batman, Gary Oldman as Deputy Gordon, Michael Cane as Alfred Pennyworth, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox returning, the 2012 film includes Anne Hathway, Tom Hardy, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, and Marion Cottiland as new additions. The film closed the trilogy and since then Batman has been part of several films under different filmmakers. So moving on, we will be discussing the ending to The Dark Knight Rises. What does the ending to Dark Knight Rises mean?
What does the ending of The Dark Knight Rises mean?
So revisiting the ending sequence, we see Batman, with his Batpod, has steered clear of the city while carrying the neutron bomb, towards the sea. The bomb exploded and so did the pod. Batman is presumed dead. And Gotham has accepted Batman as their hero. A statue is unveiled of Batman in the city. So as the film drew towards closing, Alfred goes to Florence. There he sees Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) at the restaurant.
It seems that Wayne has finally settled down and is living peacefully. Wayne and Alfred exchange glances and they nod to each other. Back in the city, Lucius Fox has got to know that the autopilot function on the Batmobile has been fixed, that too by Bruce Wayne himself. John Blake (a.k.a. Robin)has been handed the keys to the secret Batman facility by Wayne himself.
The ending was initially termed as open-ended because of a callback in the movie. During the first half-hour of the movie, Alfred speaks about how he has a dream where Bruce Wayne would get himself a family and live a normal life. It was speculated that Alfred maybe was dreaming about seeing Wayne with Selina Kyle at that restaurant.
Nolan pulled the same type of ending with Inception where fans during the conclusion were left thinking that whether Caprio’s character was dreaming or it was all real. But it was confirmed by Bale later on that fans saw what they saw. Hence Bruce Wayne has survived and is retired now. Also, the fact that Fox found Batmobile autopilot fixed by Wayne hints that Bruce Wayne survived the blast.
Other meanings from the ending scene could be the passing of the torch to Robin. He has been handed Wayne’s secret facility and maybe he could be the polar opposite, optimistic sort of hero for Gotham in contrast to Bruce Wayne’s vigilante. He might not be the Dark Knight, but Robin could be Knight in Shining Armour. He took all the blame at the end of The Dark Knight (2008) for Dent because Dent was Gotham’s icon of justice. And Blake is also a justice-loving, optimistic sort of person. So Wayne might want him to look after Gotham.
The Dark Knight Rises – plot recap
So speaking of the plot recap, the movie begins with Batman still in shadows and on run. He has not returned to Gotham since his battle with The Joker when in the end he took all of Dent’s crimes on him. Also, Wayne Enterprises is at losses with Bruce Wayne shutting off the world. He is tempted to return when Bale comes to the city.
Upon his arrival, Bale first destroys the bridges that connected Gotham to the outside world. He then attacks the stock exchange and steals all of Wayne Enterprises’ money, courtesy of Bruce Wayne’s stolen fingerprints which were initially stolen by Catwoman herself. He then traps the entire city police in the sewers and takes the city hostage.
Batman loses his first encounter with Bale and is banished to the well cum prison from where Bale was also from. He escapes the prison and first with the help of John Blake, Batman frees the police from the trap and then continues to battle Bale, with Catwoman on his side.
Bale intended to destroy Gotham via decaying neutron bomb; which Ra’as Al Ghul wanted when he went against Batman in the first installment of the trilogy but he failed. Hence Bale wants to fulfill Ra’as Al Ghul’s dream and the city is therefore on a countdown of death now. Bale is thought to be the successor of Ra’as Al Ghul but it turns out that Tate was the successor after all this time. Her real name is Talia Al Ghul. And we know what happens thereon.
Batman’s arc is complete now. Gotham has realized that he was the hero for them all this time. He was just not the hero that Gotham deserved. He was the guardian all along. Gotham now identifies the Crape Crusader.