Midtown Bloggerinos! Raph here, and I’ve been saving this review, for those of you who couldn’t see Dark Knight Rises last weekend. The time is here, to review the final movie of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Be warned, there are TONS of spoilers. Review follows after the break!
There are a couple of words that come to mind when I think of this movie, and each one is very poignant in describing how I feel about it:
CULMINATION: This IS the final movie of the trilogy, but it’s not just the culmination of the trilogy. It’s the culmination of the League of Shadows story from the first movie. It’s the culmination of a career of fighting crime for Bruce Wayne. It’s the culmination of a legacy left on a city, and on us, the movie going public. The sense of finality is heavy throughout the movie, especially in Bruce Wayne’s death wish moments, where every character seems to recognize his need to end everything.
REINTEGRATION: This goes two-fold. In the story sense, Bruce Wayne hasn’t been Batman in eight years. He needed to reintroduce his body to the tortures and rigors of being Batman. It goes fairly well at first, until he meets Bane in combat. In the sense of the overall trilogy, it fits much better thematically with Batman Begins than Dark Knight. Like I said in “Culmination”, this movie wraps up the League of Shadows arc, but it doesn’t really do much with the Dark Knight threads. Part of this has to do with the death of Heath Ledger, but even still, it seems more like a story of Bruce getting his comeuppance for his acts in Batman Begins, than a direct sequel to the Dark Knight.
RESURRECTION: In the movie, Bane breaks Batman’s back and leaves him in a hellish prison to watch as he destroys Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has to rebuild his body, his mind and his spirit to save Gotham. Even though he’s just a man, Bruce Wayne rises like a phoenix from the ashes. On a smaller level, Anne Hathaway resurrects Catwoman from the ashes of Halle Berry’s flop of a movie, and does so with a very strong performance. The League of Shadows returns, a perverse, twisted version of it, led by Bane and Talia Al Ghul. And in the end, there’s Detective John Blake, who hates guns, and is frustrated by the shackles of the system, claiming his inheritance from Bruce Wayne: The Bat Cave!
CATHARSIS: The overall sense of the movie, especially it’s end, is that of a cleansing. All the plotlines of the characters wrap up. We get a satisfying ending, the one we deserve. Every character gets what they want, and we get to see Bruce Wayne do something we hadn’t previously: be happy. Call me sentimental, but as I watch the epilogue scenes, my eyes have welled up. Yes, there are some hokey bits (Gotham still has to worry about nuclear fallout among many other things), but I love seeing the very end, with Bruce’s desire for Batman come true. To quote from Batman Begins: “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne, as a man I’m flesh and blood I can be ignored I can be destroyed but as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.” And so Batman is: everlasting, eternal, a symbol of hope.
I’ve seen Dark Knight Rises twice already, and while I think The Dark Knight is the better movie, The Dark Knight Rises is the best conclusion to a trilogy, period.
Is Christopher Nolan’s trilogy the best trilogy ever? Maybe not, but it is easily the best superhero trilogy… until Joss Whedon produces three Avengers movies for us, then we can have this discussion again. My advice is to watch the first two movies at some point before you see Rises, as I did the marathon and all the little hints, clues and easter eggs are more poignant and immediately absorbed. That’s all for this time, until next time –
BE A HEROIC, READ A COMIC!