The Dark Knight Rises
—by Nathan on July 25, 2012—
Last summer, my dad and I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. In the previews, there was a teaser for TDKR, which came out July 20th. I've been excited ever since I saw that teaser. I've seen previews, heard rumors, and formulated my own hypotheses. All the waiting and questioning ended July 20th, when we saw it. I actually don't think I've seen a movie opening day before, which made the experience cooler. Heckuva movie. If nothing else, Nolan wrapped up his Dark Knight Trilogy beautifully (but when does he ever do anything bad?). A very well-done conclusion to a great franchise, even if it wasn't as good as The Dark Knight. In this blog, I'll go through a couple of things about the movie (WARNING: Spoilers ahead).
STORY: Bruce Wayne is retired. Or, to be more precise, Batman is retired. Bruce Wayne is just a recluse, shut up inside his finally rebuilt manor. Eight years after the defeat of the Joker and the death of Harvey Dent, Batman is still being accused for Dent's death, which is part of a lie concocted by Commissioner James Gordon to keep Dent's name clear and to help pass the Dent Act, which cracks down on criminals in Gotham. In comes Bane, a terrorist whose actions and connection to the League of Shadows brings Batman out of retirement. In a climactic battle, Batman's back is broken by Bane, who then deposits him in a hole of a prison and returns to Gotham and basically takes it over. Threatening the city with a nuclear bomb, Bane builds up a totalitarian dictatorship, while Bruce regains his strength. Meanwhile, a small pocket of resistance strives to stand up to Bane. But can they do it on their own? That's all I'll say.
STORYLINES: Christopher Nolan has taken some stories from comics and woven them into his spectacular movie. "Knightfall" was the first comic story in which Bane appeared. Though he's a lot bigger in the comics version than in TDKR, Bane is a mercenary who uses acts of chaos to bring out Batman. Once he figures out Batman's secret identity, he breaks into the Batcave and breaks Batman's back. Unlike the comics, the movie Bane doesn't figure out Batman's true identity. Being a part of the League of Shadows (whose leader, Ra's al Ghul, tried to destroy Gotham in Batman Begins), Bane should have been told at one point who Batman really was. With this info in mind, he attacks Bruce's wallet. This is one reason which draws Batman out for the showdown that breaks Batman's back. Another story is "No Man's Land." Gotham has been separated from the rest of the United States after a devastating earthquake, cut off and left to fend for herself. In TDKR, Gotham is cut off, but by Bane's planted explosives. Bane rules the city from inside, whereas in the comics multiple criminals take control. A final story is "The Dark Knight Returns," by Frank Miller. Batman has been retired, very much like he has been in the film, only to rise again to stomp out a new gang of criminals called the Mutants. Batman is far older in the comic than he is in the movie, but both show how time has taken its toll on the hero...a toll that could be fatal.
CHARACTERS: Many characters show up in the Dark Knight and one could argue they all sort of detract from Batman's role. I think, for me, it has been kinda hard to remember that TDK and TDKR are about Batman, especially when so many background characters make their way into the story and when the villains are so prominent. However, Batman is the main hero, even though he has a great supporting cast.
Batman: The hero of the film, Batman has been retired for eight years, brought back into the game by the appearance of Bane. Beaten badly by his tougher adversary, Batman suffers an excruciating defeat at the hands of Bane and is forced to recover and prove he is still the symbol TDK made him out to be.
Bane: A masked terrorist, Bane has no qualms about getting his hands dirty. After breaking Batman's back, Bane cuts Gotham City off from the rest of the civilized world, threatening the populace with a nuclear bomb and, in a twisted Robin Hood style, "gives" the city back to the common man in his coup that brings down the high social community of the city.
Catwoman: A cat burglar, Selina Kyle will do anything to get her paws on technology that she believes will wipe her criminal record clear...even betray Batman to Bane. But when the time comes, she may have to decide whether to save her own skin and run away or stay and help fight for the city of Gotham.
Commissioner James Gordon: For eight years, Gordon's been living a lie. He's fooled everyone (but Batman) into believing the Dark Knight killed Harvey Dent. And he knows that, if it's ever found out he lied, his good name may be tarnished.
John Blake: A young cop on the GCPD, Blake possesses a desire to fight crime akin to Batman's. Having deduced Batman's secret identity, Blake will be a smart ally, one who will take part in the resistance against Bane when Batman's gone.
Miranda Tate: She's supposed to be helping Bruce Wayne with devising a new source of clean energy, but Bruce isn't that interested. But when this source of energy is used as a nuclear threat by Bane, she joins the resistance to help bring him down.
Alfred: After many long years of service, Alfred has finally had enough of seeing his master put his life on the line. So he leaves. Just like that. His role in the movie isn't that great, but he's still there. He blubbers a bit (okay, a lot really...), but we're supposed to remember that he helped Batman return to fight crime.
PROBLEMS: TDKR was great. Best movie of the year, I think. Avengers was funny, but there were a bunch of plot holes...actually, TDKR had a couple of plot things I could question. Since this isn't TDK and I can't make every word a word of praise, I've compiled a quick list of "little things," small issues. Maybe you viewers agree with me.
Here's my biggest. So, basically, we have about 1:30 before a NUCLEAR BOMB turns Gotham City into a pile of ashes and Batman and Catwoman decide to have a romantic moment. First off, eck. Second of all, why do heroes always wait until the world or the country or whatever is a minute away from destruction to express their feelings? I even turned to my dad in the theater and said something like "Really?"
Bane follows a stereotype tons of other villains follow. He doesn't kill Batman initially. He lets him suffer, watch Gotham as he tears it to pieces. Apparently, he doesn't read comics. The villain either mistakingly believes the hero is dead or lets the hero suffer so his victory is greater. Honestly, if I ever became a supervillain (I won't, don't worry; I'm not THAT mean), I'd just do my archnemesis in. Why wait? You know he's just gonna come back and beat you to a pulp. Which brings us to...
The death of Bane. Well, first off, Bane turns out to be a pawn. Not that it disappointed me; I'd heard the Talia rumors, but then they were quieted. To see them be true made me go, "Didn't see that coming...I mean, I once did, but then I didn't...nevermind." Though it was true and was pretty cool, Bane was still marked as the main villain. To have Catwoman come up and blast him with a motorcycle was kinda a lame way to go out. I guess you can't fuflill every fanboy's dreams 100% of the time.
You know how people think twins can just know certain things about the other? Like when they're in danger? Apparently, orphans do the same. Who else but an orphan would guess that another orphan was Batman by his eyes? I mean, the guy's only the best detective and fighter in the world!
Nothing huge. Just small bits and pieces. I thought TDKR was a very satisfying way to end Christopher Nolan's trilogy. Though there could have been things to make it better, and though it will never (for me, at least) reach the standard of TDK, I enjoyed it. Not perfect, but a well done flick.