Bale dons batsuit for the last time

Posted at 07/17/12 6:50 PM

Final chapter in trilogy hits PH theaters on July 19

MANILA, Philippines -- American actor Christian Bale will don the infamous batsuit for the last time as the concluding chapter in his Batman trilogy-starrer hits Philippine theaters on Thursday.

Christian Bale as he appears in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Oscar-winner Christian Bale bids goodbye to the role in the "The Dark Knight Rises," the concluding film in the "Batman" trilogy helmed by acclaimed director Christopher Nolan.

The film series, which debuted in 2005 with "Batman Begins," is credited for renewing interest in the title character of the long-running comic book series, as it retold the origins of the Gotham City superhero, from his being orphaned at a young age to his pivotal turn as DC Comics' prized Caped Crusader.

“In ‘Batman Begins,’ you see the tragedy and the pain that motivates this angry young man, who feels useless and is searching for a path—who wants to find out who he is and what he can become," Bale said, detailing Batman's progression across the three films.

"Then in ‘The Dark Knight,’ he’s discovered that path. He is useful; he is doing what he imagines is the best thing for him to be doing in his life.

"Now, we are eight years on and he has lost the one thing that gave him a purpose…until he is forced to deal with a new threat to Gotham City and to himself," Bale added.

'Veil of mystery'

In "The Dark Knight Rises," according to screenwriter David Goyer, Batman's visage as a superhero takes a backseat as his alter ego American billionaire Bruce Wayne becomes a mysterious figure in the series' concluding chapter.

"The reason we decided on a gap of eight years is that there needed to be significant enough time for the Batman legend to have faded a bit, and we wanted Bruce Wayne himself to have withdrawn behind a veil of rumor and mystery," Goyer said.

Bale's swan song portrayal of the Dark Knight will see the superhero encounter a personal struggle, harkening back to his turning point as "The World's Greatest Detective."

“Bruce feels absolutely isolated since the tragedy of losing the woman he loved, Rachel, and the terrible turn of events with what happened to Harvey Dent. He carries a certain amount of guilt that if he had not chosen the course of becoming Batman, none of that would have happened," Bale said.

"His belief has been rocked, and that has caught up with him, physically and emotionally. But how much longer can he allow the pain of what has happened in his life control what he does with his life? And at what point does it start to become completely self-destructive?” he said.

Not only will he Batman pose potential danger to himself, but he will also face a new nemesis in the new film, in the character of terrorist leader Bane, portrayed by actor Tom Hardy.

Lost purpose

In past "Batman" films in the same trilogy, Bale's Bruce Wayne has had to face The Scarecrow and The Joker. But according to Nolan, the final film in his superhero trilogy will see Batman fall short of seeing his life-long goal of extinguishing Gotham City crimes.

"We come back to find a man who is no longer on a mission, even though that had always been the goal," Nolan said.

Emma Thomas, producer of "The Dark Knight Rises," added: “On the surface, Gotham has become what Bruce had hoped for, but because it was all founded on a lie, nothing is quite that simple. It falls along the lines of ‘be careful what you wish for’ because without Batman, Bruce has no sense of purpose.”

Indeed, Bruce Wayne's purpose in life is reflected in his "Caped Crusader" persona -- which also happens to be the most humanizing factor in his repute as a seemingly all-powerful superhero.

“The reason I have always gravitated to the character of Batman is that, as often noted, he is a superhero with no super powers, apart from his wealth,” Nolan said.

“His extraordinary nature has always come down to his extreme motivation and sheer dedication, which makes him a very credible individual," he added.

Human struggle

While he may be a billionaire with near-unlimited resources -- among his identifying features as a "superhero" -- Bruce Wayne's human struggle makes him relatable to new audiences and long-time fans.

“One of the great things about this character is that the least relatable thing about him is his billionaire status. Having those kinds of resources is something very few people could ever fathom. But the rest of it is understandable from an emotional perspective,” Bale said.

This underlying "human" journey is reflected throughout the trilogy, according to Nolan.

“It’s been very rewarding to watch Christian chart the progression of his role through the three films,” Nolan said, referring to Bale playing the beloved title role.

“He (Bale) always had a strong commitment to finding the truth of the character, and I think you especially see that in this film, where he really embraced that Bruce is older, but not necessarily wiser. It’s a very thoughtful performance, and that’s what you consistently get from a talent like Christian.”

For his part, Bale said he is proud to have become the Bat-man on screen, in perhaps the Dark Knight's most humanizing iteration yet.

“It was very bittersweet when I took off the cowl for last time, because it’s meant so much to me personally to play this character. It never stopped giving me goose bumps to stand in that suit, because I recognize the honor of having portrayed this icon. And I can’t help but feel immensely proud," Bale said.

"The Dark Knigh Rises" opens across the Philippines on Thursday, July 19, in 3D, 2D and regular theaters.