Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #21

Re: The Dark Knight films

What is your opinion of the addition of Catwoman, to be played by Anne Hathaway, in the third Batman film? I am worried that this may bring, for the first time in this franchise, an element of unnecessary sensuality. I think Nolan is a fine filmmaker but even with The Dark Knight he came close to crossing the line in terms of explicit, onscreen violence and mayhem. It seems that the franchise is departing from the inspiring, relatively clean tone set by Batman Begins.

For me, there’s a lot riding on The Dark Knight Rises, still a long way off at this writing. The Dark Knight is a brilliant film, but the darkness is so black, with so few grace notes. The series desperately needs to go out of a triumphant, redemptive high note. A concluding film like that will cement my high regard for The Dark Knight. If Nolan goes the other way, a good bit of my affection for The Dark Knight may turn to ashes in my mouth.

I’m all too aware that Nolan is capable of ruthlessly embracing a pitch-black ending. Memento and The Prestige are prime examples of that, and Inception very well may be as well. On the other hand, Nolan’s Insomnia adds a more redemptive ending to its source material, so it’s hard to know which way he’ll go here. Is the title itself a clue of which way The Dark Knight Rises is headed? I hope so.

Nothing in Nolan’s career to date leads me to be particularly concerned about gratuitous sensuality just because Catwoman has now joined the cast. In his earlier work he’s had ample opportunity to go that route if he wanted to — the dreamscape of Inception is an obvious example — and he hasn’t bothered to do so. I think it’s reasonable to suppose that Nolan’s Catwoman will probably be within the bounds of the taste and and judgment that he’s shown so far. Of course, we won’t know for sure until we see more of his vision.

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