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.


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Tags: a, batman, books, charles, cities, dark, dickens, films, knight, movies, More…of, rises, tale, the, two


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Comment by L Chicone on January 23, 2012 at 9:25am

This is a very interesting parallel that I think is very plausible. Although Nolan will not make it obvious I think that you are right in saying that there will be underlying themes of A Tale of Two Cities. Although do you think that there will be any  characters in the Dark Night Rises that are like the Defarges? I am extremely excited about this movie and I can't wait to see what the final product will be!

Comment by JD on January 20, 2012 at 3:23pm

I'm glad that Nolan isn't retreading old ground. That would make a tedious end to an otherwise very enjoyable trilogy.

Afraid I can't directly respond because I haven't read A Tale of Two Cities but thank you for another prompt to dust off some Dickens and get reading! Although what do you think to the idea that there are no new stories, just different ways of telling them? That's something a teacher of mine from school used to say.

Comment by michelle on January 19, 2012 at 12:47am

Mr. Holmes, I think you have misread this article. The author is only speculating that there might be similarities in the themes of A Tale of Two Cities and the Dark Knight Rises, because Nolan cites inspiration from the book.

Comment by Alexander Holmes on January 18, 2012 at 2:44pm

Only Christopher Nolan could compare his comic book movie to Dickens and not seem pretentious. God bless you, Nolan. God bless you.

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