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Chris Nolan Says ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Is the Biggest Film in Almost 100 Years

Chris Nolan
Warner Bros.

Are you ready for the most epic ‘Dark Knight’ film yet? Chris Nolan explains some of his inspirations while making ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ and you might be more than just a little surprised.

In an interview with Empire, Nolan refers to ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as “the biggest one” he’s done, but that’s not all — Nolan believes the film is “The biggest one anyone’s done since the silent era.”

Nolan invoking the silent era in a discussion about a Batman film is about as surreal as it gets. He also had some interesting things to say about the tone of the film:

It’s all about historical epics in conception. It’s a war film. It’s a revolutionary epic. It’s looking back to the grand-scale epics of the past, really, and for me that goes as far back as silent films. I’ve been watching a lot of silent films with my kids on Blu-ray. We’ve shot over a third of the movie on the IMAX format, and that naturally puts you more in the mode of staging very large events for the camera. (…) There’s an attempt to visualise certain things in this film on this large scale that are troubling and genuinely to the idea of an American city. Or, to put it another way: revolutions and the destabilising of society have happened everywhere in the world, so why not here?

Nolan claims he used approximately 11,000 extras for the film, hence the claim that this is the biggest film since the silent era. (Badass Digest points out that 1982′s ‘Gandhi’ actually used over 300,000 extras for the funeral scene and holds the record according to the Guinness Book of World Records.)

The idea of a society collapsing and being reborn is one that’s been explored in both previous ‘Dark Knight’ films. In ‘Batman Begins,’ Ra’s Al Ghul wanted to destroy Gotham because he believed that only when a society on the brink of self-destruction had been completely wiped out, could it become something better. In ‘The Dark Knight,’ the Joker was a nihilist who thought people were at their best when they caved to baser instincts, acting out on their most primitive feelings of rage. The Joker wanted Gotham to become an anarchic place where people destroyed themselves, believing it would create a better place.

Every villain in Nolan’s Batman universe has had their own set of ideals for society, and shared a similar end game.

This time around, the people of Gotham still blame Batman for Two Face’s crimes in ‘The Dark Knight,’ and as the city slowly unravels, two new enemies — Bane and Catwoman — threaten to push it over the edge once and for all. From what we’ve seen in the trailers, Nolan is right: this is his revolutionary epic, a film that speaks to the current climate of society  with the wealthiest 1% versus the 99% — the rest of us — placing Batman in a precarious position as he is definitely a member of the former, but a crusader for the latter. Get ready for war.

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