If there is one thing I learned from DKR, its the life long lesson that everyone must let go of the past and move on or be consumed by it. For me, personally, this theme resonates strongly as I’m sure it does with many of you.
It’s time to get back in the game.
The Dark Knight Rises concludes perhaps the most well rounded non-adapted screenplay trilogy of all-time. Christopher Nolan tackles the huge expectations set forth by The Dark Knight head on. He boldly changes directions from the get go and constantly reminds us that we’re not in it to replicate Heath Ledger’s performance or the direction of the Dark Knight. Nolan does have a different story to tell and at 2 hours and 45 minutes long.. does he tell it.
Aside from Heath Ledger, DKR has the best acting of the entire series. New additons Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Joseph-Gordon Levitt fit into Nolans Gotham flawlessly and do most of the heavy lifting to further this epic story to its conclusion. Nolan finally takes advantage of having an actor like Christian Bale as his hero, maybe taking a queue from Bales immaculate performance in The Fighter. Bale, portrays a completely different side of Bruce Wayne, much different than we’ve ever seen in a movie and he does so superbly. Michael Caine is at his best Alfred, again acting as the moral correcting compasses for Bruce Wayne, even resorting to a heart breaking method to finally pull Bruce back from his inevitable destruction. Gary Oldman’s performance is much different to his previous two turns as Commissioner/Lieutenant Gordon, he’s no longer the strictly optimistic good doing cop. The events at the end of the DK have eaten away at him for 8 years.
In this film we find Bruce, who for all his years of training and purging Gotham of evil, has not progressed from his young tragedy. He’s fragile and almost broken by the loss of his parents, Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent despite saving Gotham. The themes of the prior movies “Why do we fall?” “There may never come a time when Bruce doesn’t need Batman” are poetically answered in this film.
Tom Hardy’s Bane is the perfect villian to follow Heath’s Joker. He’s the complete opposite. Physically dominate, metciulous in his planning and goal oriented.
I do have to touch base on the up-roar over Banes voice. Many fans complained of Banes muffled speech, I however need to complain about the new clear voice. Its noticably too loud and ironically too clear to be coming from Bane. I, like Nolan, enjoyed the difficulty in decoding Banes dialect. Like any thick accent it only takes a matter of time to get use to, instead we’ve convinced Nolan to dumb the voice down, which to me is a shame and almost takes away from the character of Bane if not for Hardys excellent and brute acting. The story he tells with his eyes alone is worth the price of admission.
During the film, I duely noted how Nolan chose not to seperate Gotham from New York. Wall St is quiet obvious as is the Manhattan skyline full with the Empire State building. The street signs including “7th Ave” are also easily recognizable. So, why did Nolan choose not to disguise NYC as Gotham? There are two reasons I believe he did this. The first, is to relate Gothams predicament of the wealthy enjoying life while the rest of society hangs on by a hinge, as so eloquently alluded to by Miss Selina Kyle, to our own current economic situation. Further proof can be found in a scene where Bane steamrolls into what is clearly the NYSE, hi-jacks it and accuses the elites of stealing money. He also puts together a sham court to convict the prominent individuals of society without a fair trial (the opposite of what we feel is happening today). Wayne Enterprise is tettering on bankruptcy with Bruces own finances being brought into question. All drawing very strong parallels to our world today.
To read more on the class war within The Dark Knight Rises I suggest this BLOG. I don’t 100% agree with it, I think its a little extreme in its assessment but it raises valid points.
The second reason he may have chosen to directly relate Gotham to NYC and the one the fan in me wants to believe is in order to kick start the Justice League initiative. Nolan also has chosen for Gotham to have more interaction with the “real world” with the presence of the army and a reference to the President in this film. By relating Gotham directly to our world, Nolan may have laid the foundation to expand his DC Universe to include… The Man of Steel (which from the trailer looks like a grounded story of a guy who is alone at land, sea and air) and If you’ve seen the Dark Knight Rises its not far fetched to picture that new guy playing the caped crusader.
My final thought rests on how this movie accomplished its ending. This was less of a Batman movie than any before it. In fact, Bruce Wayne is the main character NOT Batman. This was all done by design and is quiet fitting. Bruce needed to step away from Batman, it was the only way he could achieve any sense of permanent fulfillment. Also, Batman didn’t save the day on his own. In fact, it was the courage of many throughout Gotham that eventually turned the tied and allowed Batman the extra time to pull the ultimate sacrifice.
Nolan’s final 5 minutes play out in similar fashion to Inception with Hans Zimmer’s captivating score resonating throughout the audience. There is limited but poignant dialogue and is carried largely by the actions of the characters we’ve grown to love until the final scene draws to a close.. poetry in motion.
Out of respect for the individuals who lost their lives in that senseless act in Colorado. I will follow Warners Brothers lead and won’t discuss the box office performance of The Dark Knight Rises.
Lastly, I want to say Christian Bale did a very humane act in visiting with the survivors of the shooting and going to memorial sites. He did it on his own accord without assistance from Nolan, WB or his publicist and if he’s to be condemned for cursing on a movie set he too should be applauded for his selfless act.
"A hero can be anyone"