Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises in Theaters Now

Despite paying an exorbitant amount for an exceptionally uncomfortable theater in which a quarter of the screen was blocked by the head in front of me and the seat next to me competed for attention with the sounds of explosions at every infinitesimal movement of its occupant...despite all that, I really enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises. Batman has become one of my favorite superheroes, ever since I watched Batman Begins, my favorite of the Batman movies. I love Batman's origin story, and I loved watching his progression from fearful kid to trained warrior in that first movie. The Dark Knight, contrary to public sentiment, was not my favorite of the two. The Joker was great, but there wasn't enough Batman, especially with the internal conflict I loved in the first movie.

The Dark Knight Rises brings us almost full circle to a broken shell of a man who must rise up once more and make his last stand. Although I think I still like the first movie of director Christopher Nolan's trilogy best, this last installment is a close second.

The Dark Knight Rises begins years after Harvey Dent's transformation and subsequent death by Batman's hand at the end of the second movie, but the plot picks up right where it left off. Batman is a ghost of the past, seemingly no longer needed, an outlaw, actually, in a world he helped create, a world where Harvey Dent is the hero of Gotham City. But a new enemy is surfacing, one from the League of Shadows with a chip on his shoulder and a vendetta to carry out. As Bruce Wayne's already crumbling world falls completely apart around him, he must find the will and strength to save his city one more time.

I don't think it's spoiling much to say that Bruce Wayne is far from on top of his game in this movie. He's no where near as fit as Batman should be (although you wouldn't guess that from looking at Christian Bale alone, as his arms remain as well-toned and muscled as ever); he needs a cane to even walk. He's pulled away from people and life, and once again, we get to see the tormented, internally conflicted Batman I love. It's not that I love his suffering. I love that while he's suffering, he still manages to become more than human with no special powers but a keen mind and a will for justice.

(SPOILERS ahead) I confess, I was a little disappointed at first when Bruce Wayne puts on the cape again. He's been hobbling around for years, and suddenly, with no brushing up on his training, he's Batman again? I didn't buy it, and fortunately, the movie doesn't make you. (SPOILER ALERT!) Batman fails, and that's when it gets good. I won't say more than that. It's a fine piece of storytelling that stands on its own two (or three, in this case, if you include the whole trilogy) feet. If you haven't seen the first two movies, that's where you should start.

There are some fun cameo appearances from the first two movies in this one, and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is brilliant, putting that wide smile to perfect use in a more believable role than some of hers I've seen since her princess days.

The villain, Bane, is more than one-dimensional, too. He has a story worth paying attention to, but it would be spoiling to say more. I love complex villains. In some ways, I think Bane is more complex than the Joker. (Minor SPOILER alert!) The Joker was mostly insane and completely heartless. Bane, as you will come to discover, does have some sort of a heart.

This movie runs long at 164 minutes but doesn't feel like it (the only indication being a crook in your neck when you walk out of aforementioned theater). It's rated PG-13, mostly for violence, of which there is quite a bit (though nothing justifying the censorship this movie has been getting). There's also an implication of a sex scene (with nothing shown), and Imdb.com says there's language, though I confess it didn't cross my radar enough for me to remember. And just an interesting piece of trivia: this movie reprises some key actors from Christopher Nolan's Inception, which I also loved.

Finally, if you haven't seen this movie yet, there's one thing you really want to know, right? What happens to Batman? I can't tell you, but it's worth finding out. And all the better on the big screen.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It didn't occur to me to think Bruce should brush up on his training. I figured it was one of those things he just doesn't forget, like riding a bike.

    What censorship has the movie gotten? I'm not aware of any.

    1. I don't have specifics to share about the censorship, but some people are saying it's too violent. The censorship is part of the reaction to the theater massacre, I believe. Here's what I think about censorship: don't take your kids to a movie you haven't seen first or aren't prepared to walk out of. Pay attention to ratings. Know your own limits and the limits of your children. Have a little self-control and censor things for yourself. But don't dump your censorship on me. It won't stop others from committing heinous crimes, granted, but people like that didn't get that way from watching Batman either.


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