In the latest Screen Rant Pitch Meeting, we get a look behind the scenes of the original pitch for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Starring Christian Bale as Batman (but mainly as Bruce Wayne in need of physical therapy) and Tom Hardy as masked bad guy Bane, The Dark Knight Rises was the closing chapter in Nolan's Batman trilogy and the last DC movie to be released before the dawn of the DC Extended Universe.
Picking up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the movie finds Bruce Wayne living a secluded life at Wayne Manor, with the Dent Act having allowed the police to finally crush Gotham's organized crime into submission. However, the quiet times end with the arrival of Bane, who manages to destroy Bruce's fortune and leave him penniless. Bruce finally decides to take up the cape and mask again, but ends up walking right into a trap.
Since Bruce spends most of the first half of the movie in retirement and much of the second half at the bottom of a pit trying to fix his broken back, the amount of actual Batman screen time in Nolan's final Batman movie is somewhat limited. However, it did give us an iconic moment lifted from the Batman: Knightfall comics, as well as some truly epic speeches mumbled through Tom Hardy's mask. We'll let Ryan George explain how the pitch meeting (probably) went down.
While it didn't quite receive the same rave reviews and Oscar prestige as The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises was still well-received by critics and fans alike, and Bane's "darkness" speech remains endlessly quotable. Until it was recently overtaken by Aquaman, it was the highest-grossing DC movie of all time, with a total worldwide box office gross of $1.084 billion. It's little wonder that Warner Bros. decided that this gritty and violent take on Batman should set the tone for the upcoming DC cinematic universe.
Though many have praised Bale's performance as Bruce Wayne across the three movies, Bale himself has said that he fell short of his own hopes and expectations. The actor remarked that in The Dark Knight, "Heath [Ledger] turned up and just kinda completely ruined all my plans because I went, 'He's so much more interesting than me and what I'm doing.'" Bale explained that while he thinks Nolan's trilogy is excellent, he "didn't quite nail it" when it came to playing the character.
Interestingly, Ben Affleck said something similar with regards to deciding not to direct and star in The Batman, explaining in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, "I couldn't quite crack it." Perhaps the next Batman will have better luck!