The Dark Knight Rises: 6 Themes That Define The Movie

Benji Taylor examines the underlying themes of Christopher Nolan’s final thematically rich installment of the Dark Knight saga.

Benjamin Taylor


After what seems like an eternity of waiting, during which we have been treated to some relatively decent but not overly fantastic superhero movie fare, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises – the culmination of his dark and gritty tripartite Dark Knight saga- has finally exploded onto our cinema screens.

By way of introduction I want to say that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films are, in my humble opinion, the best series of superhero films ever made. Batman, whilst not technically a ‘super’-hero in that he does not possess latent super powers, holds a special place in the hearts of many comic book aficionados as their favourite crime-fighting protagonist. The true beauty of Nolan’s films is that not only are they replete with explosions, gadgets and fantastic one-liners, but that they hold up a looking glass to our own world. And in doing so Nolan’s films illustrate that the broken and recession ravaged Gotham City is but a reflection of our own murky and often unpleasant society, exposing the flaws and the decay within. Indeed, this intense crime saga trilogy has been characterised by a deep thematic richness the likes of which we have not seen in any series of superhero movies ever before.

It’s impossible to conduct a true thematic analysis without providing a substance of context and for that reason this article is bursting with spoilers. So if you don’t want to know what happens then I suggest you bookmark this page until after you have seen this awesome movie, and in the meantime read Shaun Munro’s spoiler-free review here.

As per many trilogies, The Dark Knight Rises comes full circle with many of the thoughts and notions that it explores, most notably in its treatment of ideas, returning to the underlying themes from Nolan’s Batman Begins: fear, pain, chaos, redemption, and justice. If you thought you were going  to the cinema solely to see a movie showing Batman and Bane tear strips from each other you couldn’t be more wrong… The Dark Knight Rises may not be the only movie this year that weaves its story around a vision of impending apocalyptic tragedy but, as we will discuss here, it boasts an intelligence and epic grandeur that sets it apart from all of its box-office rivals.