In the power ranking of movies that look like they help ease me into a good nap by the end of 2016, Oliver Stone‘s Snowden is circling the number one spot. The story of Edward Snowden should not be boring and yet, everything I’ve seen thus far about Stone’s latest makes me think that Snowden will drag on with a familiar cautionary tale about how the government has corrupted our liberties because we don’t care enough. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised but Stone’s recent streak of mediocrities doesn’t bode well for Snowden on the whole.
That might be the reason that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who portrays the titular, controversial free-information advocate, took the time to harken back to a more popular film at the recent LA press day for the film. While answering questions from Cinema Blend, Gordon-Levitt discussed his feelings about the ending of Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Trilogy, specifically his last scene in The Dark Knight Rises. Here’s what Gordon-Levitt had to say:
I know we’re all used to the sort of Marvel movies, which are just kind of endless series. They don’t really have a beginning, middle, and end. But I think Nolan very much thought of that movie as a conclusion, and there’s a theme that runs through all three of those movies that begins in the first movie, runs through the second movie and it concludes in that moment where he says that Batman is more than a man, Batman is a symbol. And so to have another man other than Bruce Wayne kind of becoming Batman at the end of that trilogy, I think that’s the perfect ending to that story.
I can empathize with what the talented actor says here. In terms of a thematic arc, the scene where Gordon-Levitt’s character arrives in the Batcave is just fine and dandy, speaking directly to the idea of Batman as a symbol. The problem is that the storytelling is too neat, too mechanized, and there’s no complication to that thematic idea. There’s nothing particularly human about Nolan’s movies outside of his performers, and most of the time, they’re too busy making sure the gears of the plot keeping moving in time. Trust me, I’m as exhausted by Marvel’s movies-as-TV-episodes rhetoric as the next guy, but that doesn’t make the ending of The Dark Knight Rises feel any less opportunistic and indecisive, especially considering the fact that Gordon-Levitt didn’t even turn out to be the next Batman we saw.