The Dark Knight Rises
I was not that big of a fan of The Dark Knight. It was a little too dark for me. I thought the story was really well done and I liked the first two hours, but the last hour with the introduction of Two-Face didn’t work for me. And in the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises, the continuation of the Harvey Dent story still didn’t work.
Eight years later, Gotham City has reduced its crime rate under the Dent Act. It never was completely detailed in my mind, but it seemed to be very Patriot Act-like. It was something that the leaders said was important and necessary, but that individuals feared. At least there was some discussion in the real world about the pros and cons of the Patriot Act. Nolan failed to fully develop why someone or anyone would be upset by this act.
But this just starts the story. Batman has been out of the picture for eight years since he took the fall for the death of Harvey Dent. Commissioner Gordon continued this lie, which becomes an issue later on.
However, as we all know, Batman always comes out of hiding. Something will always make Bruce Wayne put on the cape and cowl again. This time it was Bane, a large fellow who in the 1990s broke his back in the comics. Today, he just is trying to break the Bat. And he succeeds. It’s pretty sad to watch. But it is empowering as he builds himself back up.
Batman, in Nolan’s world, is about symbolism. It isn’t the mask or the man that makes Batman important. It is what he brings to the people. In the first movie, Batman Begins, when the Scarecrow gases the poorer communities in Gotham, it is seeing the Batman and believing that he will save them that made everyone happy. Batman beat back the Scarecrow and Ra’s Al-Ghul and the city puts up the Bat signal as a sign to the populace of its own strength. But this is broken in The Dark Knight, which may be why the movie was not my favorite. The symbol of Batman starts strong but is destroyed. The new face of crime fighting and justice in Gotham is Harvey Dent, but to hide the atrocities that a disfigured Dent does to the Gordon family, Batman takes the fall and the symbol of his vigilantism ends. Nolan had built up the legend and then destroyed it. Therefore, it was going to be this third movie that would show its sustainability.
This character was John Blake. A Gotham City cop who figured out who Batman was after seeing both Bruce and Batman at different points as a local orphan never lost faith in the Batman. Selina Kyle, a cat burglar who enters Wayne Manor to steal from his legendary safe as the elusive billionaire stayed hidden in his castle, has no faith but sees what Batman brings to the city. Together, they make the movie for me.
Catwoman is my favorite femme fatale. But in most instances, she is written as a sex pot with a bosom large enough to sustain four people sinking on a ship. I read Catwoman for years because she was written as a cat burglar who was protecting her community – just like in this movie.
Spoilers…John Blake ends up having the same name as my favorite character in all of comics, Robin. He acts through the entire movie with one motive: to bring back Batman as the protector of Gotham. He went out of his way to put himself at risk to defeat Bane and his disciples. And that is why I read comics – to watch regular people step up to the plate to protect their heroes and their community. And The Dark Knight Rises did just that.
Nonetheless, there were moments that were very uncomfortable. When Bane enters the stock market and guns down some innocent stock brokers, it was hard. But Nolan got one part right about firearms and Batman: when Catwoman readies a gun to go after Bane and his people, Batman says, “No guns.” I wish more people could see the world that way.
My biggest complaint is that Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective. Yet, here he is again…getting fooled by everyone. He has the playboy role down. But when Talia and him sleep together and the scar on her back became apparent, that was when I knew what was going on. How did Batman not figure it out? I’m much more of a Scooby Doo detective than Batman. It would be nice if just once, Batman solved the crime and didn’t just stop it!