Christian Bale recently revealed why he and director Christopher Nolan never made a 4th Batman film. Nolan's 2005 blockbuster Batman Begins brought the beloved cape crusader into the 21st century with a grounded story and committed performance from Christian Bale, and the film helped make comic book movies what they are today. Batman Begins’ successors completed the trilogy in spectacular fashion, with each film building upon the prior’s stakes and scale.
The Dark Knight is considered by many critics to be the best entry in the Dark Knight Trilogy, often being compared to gritty crime sagas like Michael Mann’s Heat. All three films were successful in (very) large part due to Nolan’s vision for Batman; he has since described Batman Begins as the hero’s journey, The Dark Knight as a crime movie, and The Dark Knight Rises as a war movie.
While promoting his new film Ford v Ferrari, Christian Bale spoke with the Toronto Sun about his and Nolan’s approach to Batman. When asked if he was aware what he and Nolan were doing would reinvent the comic book genre, Bale admits feeling a responsibility to do so. He credits Nolan’s slow and steady approach as the reason it worked—specifically, working on only one film at a time. He laments the pair were never arrogant enough to assume they would be able to continue making those films, so they treated each film like it was the last. Bale said:
When they came and said, “You want to go make another?” It was fantastic, but we still said, “This is it. We will not get another opportunity...Then they came and they said, “OK, let’s do the third one.” Chris had always said to me that if we were fortunate to be able to make three we would stop. “Let’s walk away after that,” he said. Then when they inevitably came to us and said, “How about a No. 4?” I said, “No. We have to stick to Chris’ dream, which was always to, hopefully, do a trilogy. Let’s not stretch too far and become overindulgent and go for a fourth.”
After The Dark Knight Trilogy’s conclusion and the rise of the MCU, DC attempted to implement their own cinematic universe. Man of Steel was marketed as a more realistic take on Superman, with Nolan being a producer, but both Man of Steel and the following films never quite matched the quality of Nolan’s trilogy. For the most part, they're over-the-top superhero movies, taking place in a universe where Bale's Batman would be out of place. Ben Affleck's take was met with mixed reactions and has now been abandoned in favor of the upcoming Robert Pattison version of Batman.
Recently, both Warner Bros. and DC seem to be finding their footings with the success of films like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam! and Joker, however, there’s no denying the fact it was pretty touch and go for the studio after their (arguably) best franchise ended. After walking away from the superhero genre and the Batman series, Nolan and Bale's careers have both grown exponentially. Bale's Ford v Ferrari is receiving rave reviews and fans are ripe with anticipation for Nolan's mind-bender Tenet. It’s probably a good thing they stuck with their plan.
Source: Toronto Sun