Dark Knight Rises Quick Review

Batman: an iconic superhero whose powers are r...

I’ve heard many people speak out that they didn’t like the recent Batman, and I get why that might be as I have a few comments about it too. That said, it is certainly worth seeing, it finishes the story of who Bruce Wayne is from the three films, and I think has a point to be made about the needs of men. Specifically that nobody is perfect, and everyone can be broken. It is a film worth seeing, so 8 out of 10 from me.

I am a Batman fan, and can’t help but appreciate and encourage any attempt to make a Batman trilogy, or any superhero movie. spoilers ahead.

In this film we see the breaking of Batman (somebody with photoshop skills needs created a Breaking Bad/Batman crossover), and how a hero can “rise” after being broken, but is changed by the experience. As a plot arc I really like this approach to the story, and it wasn’t until after leaving the cinema and driving home did the plot arc make sense.

This film is not stand alone, and was actually more about the character arc of Bruce Wayne than a Batman film; and if you view the films as a set makes more sense. Bruce begins dealing with his anger by becoming the Batman. To begin with he has to resolve the moral differences between himself and his mentors (League of Shadows) in the first film.

Then in the second Batman must defend Gotham which he has chosen as his goal, and also serves as the source of his downfall in the loss of Harvey and also his apparent fall from grace within the eyes of the city. Then in this film we see him hit rock bottom as a character having thrown away the Batman and also his drive to live (beard, cane, scowls all round). Then he rises again briefly to restore order and protect the city.

At the end of the film his goal has been achieved – that the city is safe, and that there will be a Batman if he is needed again. But not the same Batman, as Bruce is broken but another unbroken character has been found. The hero lives on, although the character of Bruce Wayne is resolved to a normal life.

It irked me that the setting (Gotham City) gets more screen time than Batman himself in the film; and that seems to be because the true story is in the cycle of a hero. This film could almost be an origins film for a new Batman. I was also a bit surprised that Bane and Batman only fight twice, and that batman spends a lot of time running away. Maybe that is part of him not really being the Bat anymore?

As a Batman fan, part of the lore of his character is that he never gives up. No matter how hard he is beaten, he will always rise again to fight. It is why he is so powerful as a character, he is a normal man who through determination is made into a super hero (take a look at the attitude in the pic above. Do you think that guy has time for coffee or dinner? No way.). In the comics Batman is the character, and Bruce Wayne is a mask that the Batman wears so that he can continue to fight crime. It is his all consuming passion. The film series is different, in this series of films the Batman is the mask and a tool to an end, and the Bruce Wayne character really does not know until his conversation with Alfred and his time in the nasty prison what his goal is. I didn’t really catch on that the series was taking a new approach until after seeing the third film. It was very well executed, but I’d prefer it different. Such is life. Still a great series.

However.

In the first film Bruce faces his rage and returns to Gotham and assumes the mantle of Batman as a method to revenge himself on corruption and crime. In this film an orphan child can suss who the Batman is just from his eyes, but no adult can see all the coincidental evidence which is brutally obvious in the story.

eg. In the first film Batman appears at the same time that Bruce returns to Gotham, which is obvious but ignorable. Bruce Wayne has the resources to have all the cool gear, but is also outwardly deliberately appearing as a rich buffoon by dating models and driving fast cars. Then at the end of the second movie Batman disappears at the same time Bruce goes into seclusion after the death of Harvey Dent. Then in the third film after eight years Bruce appears in public and the Batman appears too. At the same time again. C’mon folks, it is too blunt for every adult in the city not to start thinking. The cop character would have been better to say:

I always suspected you were not as happy as you appeared; I could see the rage behind your eyes and I know the same pain. I saw beneath your mask of happiness.  Then years later when Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham and the Batman took action I knew it was you. You had focus to your rage, a purpose that I understand.

It would have been far more plausible, and given a logic to the cop rather than just a magic ding! moment as a kid 25 years before. It would also have setup the end of the film in a far better way, giving a direct handover of passion and determination between the two characters.

Another gripe was the choice of Bane’s voice. He sounded like an old man. I didn’t mind that he was British, dignified, or odd; he just sounded like he was already 80+ years old. Perhaps that is a shameful part of having to wear the Bane mask. Also Bane could have been any misc character, henchman, baddie; therefore it was a bit of a waste to use the Bane lore when none of it was really used.

The Bat (or BatWing) was a contrivance. Nothing in the plot depended on having an aircraft in the film, and Catwoman could have easily just ridden a cool motorcycle instead of the BatBike. Meh.

Apart from that, its great.

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