Listen, Jena, it turns out Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities was a key inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises. Seeing as the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth is this coming February 7, I thought it’d be nice to explore the themes Christopher Nolan might be drawing on.
It’s clear that Gotham explodes with civil unrest in the film. The trailer shows scenes of a wealthy house being raided, the people inside it dragged down the stairs and out of hiding places. That parallel is easy to draw with Dickens’ novel, which centers on the French Revolution, in which the wealthy were mobbed and executed. It’s clear that in this film, it will not be a good time to be as wealthy as Bruce Wayne.
In Batman Begins we dealt with fear and passivity. In The Dark Knight we dealt with terrorism and chaos. It seems in The Dark Knight Rises we will deal with revolution.
It’s clear Nolan is not looking to retread old ground. He will not repeat himself in this, only the second “sequel” he’s ever done, and he’s decided not to ignore the fact that his hero, Bruce Wayne, is part of the 1%.
What about the idea of Batman “rising?” It reminds me of Carton, the generally disliked, hopeless lawyer who, in the end of the novel, gives his life for the good of others, elevating himself from distasteful to Christlike. In the Dark Knight Bruce sacrificed Batman’s reputation. What will be sacrificed now?
With his birthday coming up and a Batman film inspired by his writing on the way, there’s never been a better time to read Dickens.