‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ is crafted in such a way that between Bruce Wayne and Batman, Christian Bale could perfect only one role.
‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ displayed how superhero films can be more than just action fests. It explored deeper truths about the human psyche with its neo-noir take. Christian Bale took on two identities in the trilogy. While his Batman is far from being the worst, Christian Bale definitely portrayed an unparalleled Bruce Wayne. Keep reading to find out why!
- Bruce Wayne takes the centre stage
- The many blunders of Batman
- Christian Bale’s destiny as Bruce Wayne
THE BEST BRUCE WAYNE
Christopher Nolan‘s ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ is essentially about the Caped Crusader, but the films make wonderful use of storytelling to nudge the journey of Christian Bale’s character forward. While Batman does all the fighting, his internal compass is controlled by Bruce Wayne.
As a result, Bruce Wayne’s character’s journey is more pronounced than Batman. Christian Bale also gives one of his best performances as the complex Bruce Wayne.
That Bruce Wayne’s arc takes precedence over Batman in the trilogy is not incidental but a choice to which Nolan committed. The filmmaker revealed his approach to “Variety” that made the films more than just superhero movies,
“Yes, it’s a superhero, but it’s based on ideas of guilt, fear, these strong impulses that the character has. Bruce Wayne doesn’t have any superpowers other than extraordinary wealth. But really, he’s just someone who does a lot of push-ups. In that sense, he’s very relatable and human. I think that’s why I gravitated towards it”.
This makes more sense when we see how Bruce Wayne influences Batman. After all, the identity of Batman himself comes from Bruce Wayne’s conquered childhood fear of bats. This constant interplay between Batman and Bruce continues throughout the films.
It ultimately also influenced how Christian Bale carried his performances as Batman and Bruce Wayne.
Christian Bale trained hard to fit into the Batsuit. His application of a husky, deeper voice as Batman is commendable. All in all, taking on the role of the prized Batman is no easy feat and Bale lived up to the task wonderfully.
Consequently, many people deem Christian Bale’s Batman as the best version out there. This is where it becomes problematic. While Bale played the role well, his Batman is, at most, average. Christian Bale’s Batman committed some of the worst blunders in the films.
As Batman was never detached from Bruce Wayne’s life, Wayne’s love interest Rachel was always a factor in his decisions. She was his biggest weakness, something that took a horrible turn in ‘The Dark Knight‘. Batman was not able to cope with the ensuing loss and chose to abandon his cape.
While superheroes are not invincible in the face of heartbreak, letting go of responsibilities has consequences. This was evident in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ with Bane’s growing strength due to the power vacuum left by Christian Bale’s Batman in his worst decision.
Bruce Wayne could afford that heartbreak but not Batman, something that the superhero could not fathom. Furthermore, what made his Batman weak was the fact that Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne received the best treatment a character can.
When Bruce Wayne is tested in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, he climbs out of a dark place, literally and metaphorically, through his sheer strength and resilience. No fancy Bat equipment is required, only his heart.
The best quality possessed by Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne is that he evolves through all hurdles. When he faced a grave loss due to Joker, he closed his heart to the world and refused to face the truth: that he must move on, something that even his father-figure Alfred reiterated,
“Maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day”.
Alfred even beckons him to look beyond that “awful cape” of Batman and stop sabotaging himself. It takes a hard lesson for Bruce Wayne to realize that it’s time to move on and begin afresh. He learns that it is far easier to hold on than to let go. Wayne bids goodbye to Batman to do the most important thing all superheroes must do at a certain point: pass the mantle.
Christian Bale’s Batman, in the end, abandons his attachment to vigilantism and chooses a fulfilling life for Bruce Wayne. ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ was never about Batman but Bruce Wayne’s healing. This is what makes it the best portrayal of Bruce Wayne, taken to new heights under Christian Bale’s skills.
Do you believe anyone else could have played Bruce Wayne or Batman as well as Christian Bale in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’? Comment below!