THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
This is not a traditional review of The Dark Knight Rises. Bottom line: I loved this movie. I thought I would use this time to kind of focus on the why I thought it was brilliant.
I am one of those Batman fans who has a definitive idea of how Batman should be, how he should act, what he should value. The Dark Knight Rises shows a Batman who flies in the face of most of those should’s, but is still the best Batman movie of all. And here’s why:
One of the reasons people find it easy to become attached to a favorite “Batman” is that nothing else is shown to be different. Gotham is still crime riddled. Super villains abound. Super heroes abound. The writer only shows how really focuses on how Batman behaves in a situation. At his zaniest, Joker is still randomly killing people. Nolan gives us a Gotham City that has never been shown before: one free of organized crime. This Gotham isn’t constantly under threat of super villains with hilarious plots. What is Batman to do when Batman is no longer necessary?
This goes to the crux of why I like this interpretation. This is a very human Batman, one who has accomplished his goal and has to deal with life afterwards. We will probably never see a crime free Gotham in comics, because that would nullify Bruce Wayne’s motivation. Most of the plot flows from the fact that Gotham no longer needs a hero to rally around, from Miranda Tate’s cold fusion project to WayneTech’s cutting of charitable contributions to Bruce Wayne’s reclusion. Nothing Bruce has tried to replace being Batman with has succeeded and he sort of stalls out. I find it really poignant that it took the appearance of Selina Kyle and a visit from Officer Blake to get Bruce moving again. While it is the menace of Bane that puts him in costume again, the fact that these are the characters to get Bruce out of his funk is brilliant storytelling.
An aside: And Bane? Tom Hardy brings a character the likes of which we have never seen before, a brawler with a strategic mind. While he does have certain knowledge that gives him the upper hand in this film, Bane’s ability to outthink and outfight Batman made him even more fearsome than the Joker. I have to commend Hardy for really putting the same effort into fleshing out Bane that Heath put into the Joker. But really, all the actors in this ensemble are great. Anne Hathaway brings a fierce independence to Selina Kyle, showing Catwoman as truly resourceful and morally conflicted as she is in the comics. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is ALWAYS great, absolutely owns as Blake, a police officer and Batman advocate who finds himself working directly with Commissioner Gordon and Batman when Bane’s victims start to surface. I could name every individual actor and how well they did, but suffice to say they are fantastic.
The Dark Knight Rises basically excels in showing us a Batman with frailties anyone can identify with, at the same time showing us a Batman with a determination most people don’t think they are capable of. It was also a showcase of character development. I have to refrain from going to deep into specifics because I believe it should be experienced before being discussed. So go see it. Right now.