The Audience Rises: Heroes for All

So earlier this morning I had the pleasure to see the final installment of Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Before moving forward I have to admit that I am a comic book and Batman fan so I come from a specific perspective. I thought the movie was amazing and was the best of the three films. In my eyes, the strength of the movie lives in the emotional arcs Nolan allows his characters to experience in the context of a social/political/action film. He is able to do this while making his protagonist appear real and grounded. Bruce Wayne  isn't a cartoon character, but rather a man. This is a difficult thing to pull off for a director when you're at the helm of a highly successful Hollywood franchise. This got me thinking about the state of opportunities for independent filmmakers. I've read social media conversations, interviews and articles where independent filmmakers, both aspiring and established, talk about the saturation of comic book movies in hollywood and the seeming connection to fewer chances for filmmakers to create varying content. The director in me tends to generally agree with this sentiment and I do believe it is valid to an extent. But the fan in me has a problem with this assessment. Although I didn't have any intention of being a director when I was a kid; I LOVED going to the movies because it took me to places I wouldn't be able to go to in real life. I was and still am an avid reader and enjoyed being taken to Narnia or Cybertron or Gotham City as a child. It excited and inspired me. This was important for my development. I think the world needs films like The Dark Knight Rises. It reinforces the fact that everyday people can be heroes. That we don't need superpowers to make the world a better place.  It is ok for everyday people to see themselves as heroes from time to time. And while these films dominate one particular market, the super hero/comic book genre isn't a monolithic entity that renders it impossible for other types of films to be seen by the world. I think there is room for all types of films and the stories they are depicting. In my mind, the more great storytelling audiences can choose from the better off we all are.