It’s hard to accept that The Dark Knight Rises will likely be the last time we’ll see Christian Bale as Batman (though as Sean Connery would say, “Never say never”). On that note, Bale took the time to express his thoughts on the last chapter of Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy and the series as a whole, as well as speaking about his feelings about leaving the character behind after three films.
Bale sums up the character arc of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the three films as, “In Batman Begins, you see the tragedy and the pain that motivates this angry young man, who feels useless and is searching for a path—who wants to find out who he is and what he can become. Then in The Dark Knight, he’s discovered that path. He is useful; he is doing what he imagines is the best thing for him to be doing in his life. Now, we are eight years on and he has lost the one thing that gave him a purpose…until he is forced to deal with a new threat to the city and to himself.”
One of the challenges of the film for Bale is that the film’s main villain, Bane (portrayed by Tom Hardy), is a much more physical match for the Caped Crusader than any other villain. Bale explains, “This is the first time it appears highly unlikely that Batman will come out on top in a physical altercation. He has been dormant for years, so he’s in a weakened condition to begin with, and Bane is not only incredibly strong but ruthless in terms of his sheer militancy and the ideology that drives him.”
Another challenge Bale found while making the trilogy was portraying a billionaire as a character the audience could he relate to. He points out, “One of the great things about this character is that the least relatable thing about him is his billionaire status. Having those kinds of resources is something very few people could ever fathom. But the rest of it is understandable from an emotional perspective.”
Bale comments that adding Selina Kyle/Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) to the mix helps humanize Wayne, adding, “What really impacts Bruce is that, after years of isolation, he’s meeting this woman he finds fascinating and funny. He suddenly recognizes he’s been seeking something, even unconsciously…that he’s lost all the color in his life and needs some human contact.”
In the end, Bale finished the film with a number of mixed emotions. He reveals, “It was very bittersweet when I took off the cowl for last time, because it’s meant so much to me personally to play this character. It never stopped giving me goose bumps to stand in that suit, because I recognize the honor of having portrayed this icon. And I can’t help but feel immensely proud.”