Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises – Early Thoughts

Well the Nolan Batman trilogy has official wrapped up and I’m very satisfied with the conclusion on first viewing.  This review has spoilers you have been warned.

This review will likely be very short as this film, likes its predecessors is one that requires multiple viewings to unpack all the thematic elements and the subtle nods to continuity both in its own universe and those from the comics.  For its own continuity I love that this film has brought everything full circle with the League of Shadows coming back into play.  It really gives the whole thing the feeling of being a trilogy as opposed to films that just take place in the same franchise.

With that I love the reveal of Talia, and I was so engrossed in the film that I totally bought hallucination Ra’s’ explanation that Bane was his kid and entirely forgot the fact that in regular continuity Ra’s has a daughter.  I love the use of other comic call backs too like Bane blowing up the bridges around Gotham and having them be cut off from the rest of the country like in ‘Batman No Man’s Land’.  Also Bane picking up Batman over his head and throwing him down, pretty much breaking his back, was another great comic reference.

I loved Selina’s outfit and the cat ear style goggles.  She herself is an interesting and fun character, but on a really nitpicky note would it have been so much to ask to have some variety in Bruce’s love interests?  Specifically letting them have a hair colour other than brown?  I also think the whole semi-love triangle was kind of interesting, but I’ll have to watch it again to see if I can figure out when Talia knows Bruce is Batman and if that changes things.  On first glance it seems she is kissing Bruce in the manor just so we can have a love triangle, but if she knew he was Batman at that point it could be a point of emotional manipulation.

Love the use of the pit in the prison, and of rising out of it both literally and figuratively.  At first I thought of course Batman is going to get out of the pit he’s Batman, but it wasn’t physical strength that was the issue.  I liked that getting out of the pit required being in that proper mental space of fearing death again.  Where Bruce has to become a child again and connect with the fear and feelings that led him to be Batman in the first place before he can the hero the city really needs.  Because the first time he went out again he was certainly not what Gotham needed when he took the cops off Bane and didn’t even stop the plan with the stock exchange anyway.  He also didn’t seem really ready to do battle with Bane because he didn’t take him seriously as a threat, just like the Joker before this.  He really didn’t have his head in the game and he failed because of that.  

I don’t have much to say on the music except that the use of the dark knight theme is well placed along with the choir chanting rise as the police go up against Bane.  With the rise of the police though I felt there go have been a bit more going on with that.  Like having regular people join them in taking back the city.  I also would have liked to have seen a bit more on what the regular people of Gotham thought of Bane’s takeover, of the reveal of Harvey Dent’s actions and that Gordon covered them up.  Why do many people, like Selina and her friend, want to bring the rich in Gotham down to the ‘people’s’ level?  Sure it can be seen as a commentary on a modern problem, but I wish we had more in universe reasons for why Gotham accepts this.  Also what is the Dent Act?  How does it work?  What kinds of things are in it that might make it worth repealing?  Maybe these are things that do have a full explanation and I just missed them, but they are questions I had on the first viewing. 

Overall I like that they used they own continuity to wrap up everything up and really gave the whole thing a great feeling of closure.  Letting Alfred see Bruce after the climax and yet letting the audience know that Gotham will never really be without its protector, with the any man can be Batman idea which is really nice nod to the hero who inspired Batman in a way: Zorro.  This film is really a great capstone to the trilogy and it really has a great ending on its own that I will not dare to fully spoil here.   I highly recommended that it be seen and then seen again.

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