Chet Greason, Popcornucopia
Between the shooting in Colorado and the risk of revealing spoilers, it’s been somewhat taboo to talk about Batman. But I feel enough time has passed so...I wanna do it.
I wanna talk about The Dark Knight Rises.
I’ll get the beefs out of the way first: Let’s see...Batman spends a large chunk of the movie in a hole or moping around his mansion, that’s a big one. The film’s a little too long, there’s another. Batman appears to forgive criminals if they’re sexy, but we’ve known that for a while now. And Bane, the major villain for the entire movie, dies as unceremoniously as a common henchman.
Oh, and every other previous Chris Nolan Batman villain gets a mention or cameo except the Joker. C’mon...
Other than that, it was great. Director Nolan, knowing he had an insurmountable obstacle to overcome in surpassing 2008’s The Dark Knight, did his best to up the ante. Just as Batman Begins used classic Batman tales like Batman: Year One as jumping off points, and The Dark Knight used The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween, The Dark Knight Rises takes the best bits of stories like Knightfall and No Man's Land to create a scenario that puts more on the line for the hero and his city, without resorting to tired clichés like aliens from outer space or time travel.
Tom Hardy’s Bane is the main villain, and the jury is still out whether his odd, squeaky voice is badass or just plain weird. Anne Hathaway vamps it up as crafty Catwoman. The rest of the cast, including Christian Bale as Batman, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Michael Caine as Alfred, are back as well.
The film has begun to be discussed for its political connotations as well. With Batman, the issue of wealth and privilege are never far away, as Batman can only do the heroic things he does because he can afford too. In The Dark Knight Rises, the French Revolution is evoked as the rich and powerful of Gotham are dragged in front of a kangaroo court and put to death (although minus the guillotine).
Bane’s take-over is seen as an extreme “Occupy Gotham,” and his destructive goal masking as populism seems to imply a distrust of attempts to level the economic playing field. Pay no attention to Rush Limbaugh’s implication that it’s a liberal conspiracy (Hint to Limbaugh: It helps to see a film before you allegorize it). If The Dark Knight Rises symbolizes anything, it seems to be the rabble’s susceptibility to destructive notions, and the ruling class’s natural inclination to do right. Case in point: The real evil mastermind admits to having humble roots.
Or maybe it’s just Batman. Chris Nolan says so; and kudos to him. We knew Dark Knight was going to be tough to top, but he did the best he could and The Dark Knight Rises ended up being a great film.
Thanks for the foray into film, DC Comics. Marvel will take it from here.