First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers to those who were unfortunate to be involved in the shooting on opening night.
Nolan’s Batman trilogy comes to a close. Christopher Nolan has given what I believe to be the greatest super hero trilogy of our generation. Batman Begins, originally released in 2005, was the start of something unseen for superhero movies. While Raimi’s Spider-man in 2002 brought about a level of quality to Superhero movies that had not been seen before, Nolan brought a level of depth that had never been seen before with a superhero movie.
Batman begins was the first Batman film to give us an origin story on screen. Burton’s movies take place in a universe where Bruce Wayne has already dawned the cape and cowl and no one likes to even think about the following two movies. Nolan breathed new life into the Dark Knight, and created a memorable adventure that rivals some of the best comic books. Batman was back, darker, angrier, and less nipple-y than ever.
The Dark Knight was a sequel that made us truly appreciate the villain. Heath Ledger’s masterful performance as The Joker sent chills down viewer’s spines. The movie accurately portrayed what the Joker in his modern essence, the way the more mature and gritty comics have chosen to portray him in recent years. A movie that really made 2008, Nolan had somehow taken the Batman franchise a step further.
The Dark Knight Rises concludes Nolan’s bat-trilogy spectacularly. Overall, the movie has to be the most enjoyable. The backstories are quick and we are thrown right into the action from the start. Tom Hardy’s transformation into this monster is awing. Just his sheer size is enough to intimidate the view. Bane is big. Bane is scary. Bane is dangerous. We know very little about the bad guy, but we, as Selina Kyle tells us, we should be afraid of him. er. Bane terrorizes Gotham City with a plan that is well thought out and well executed. His means of “motivating” the movie are a little skewed, trying to give Gotham back to its Gothamites with with the threat of a nuclear bomb. His voice is not always in sync with his motions, and sometimes just downright unintelligible. While you would think this would make take away from the movie, it is really nothing more than a minor nuisance. We had to get used to Bale’s Batman voice once, getting used to Bane’s is not all that different.
It is obvious how while Bruce Wayne has been sulking, the world around him has not stopped. It continues and the the decisions he made 10 years ago have consequences. Bale’s Bruce Wayne is not the best. He never has been. But his determination to the role is impressive. In the beginning, Bruce is thinned out, with a beard and mustache reminiscent to the comic The Dark Knight Returns. His gaunt face and calcified legs show us that Bruce has not taken care of himself. Locked away in his mansion, he chooses to let the world stay peaceful while holding onto the lie that Alfred has let him believe about Rachel Dawes. His return to the streets is enthralling, as we can only hope our hero has not lost his touch during his seclusion. Watching him break, watching him struggle to come back, and watching him give everything is inspiring.
The most astounding character was Selina Kyle, Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway. Her grasp of Catwoman was amazing. Her use of body language completely defined her character. Her facial expressions and overall demeanor are scary. Watching her pretend to be a timid maid and instantly flipping to a calm, cool, and level headed thief is spectacular. Again when she is screaming in panic as SWAT police run by and then sneaks out is another beautiful performance. Watching how well she switch from timid mouse to fierce tiger is one of the most entertaining parts of the movie.
The themes in The Dark Knight Rises are very relatable. The idea that the hope and fear that drive a person to survive is something many of us can relate to. Bruce Wayne being trapped in the pit is a tough scene. He is locked in there for almost 6 months. While we really see nothing of the pit besides the metaphor, the metaphor is really all we need. No description is made on the prisoners of the pit, but Nolan focuses mainly on the meaning behind seeing the hope. The rope that holds back those who try to climb out. The idea that to succeed, one must give one hundred percent, to forgo the use of a safety net and use the fear of failure to drive themselves forward. This universal theme lets us watch our hero grow. And that is one of the most important themes. Even after 10 years of being Batman, of saving Gotham, of taking the fall for Gotham, that Bruce still had something to learn.
The Dark Knight Rises is a great movie. While I sit and wonder “What if Heath Ledger was alive…” I feel Nolan has still done an amazing job with what he had and with the situation he was presented after Heath Ledger’s death. The twists kept coming, Talia appearing in the final moments of the movie really brings the first movie’s League of Shadows to a full circle. Nolan closes this telling of Batman by bringing it in full circle. The Dark Knight Rises is definitely one of the best movies of 2012. With Nolan moving on to help with the Man of Steel, I can only hope that he can help bring to the Superman franchise what he did for the Batman franchise.