So I saw it.
I was worried. The outpour of reviews weren’t that favourable. So far Christopher Nolan had never let me down, and if this was going to be it, his last Batman Movie, I don’t know what I would done with myself.
Not to mention I’ve loved Batman since I was a little kid. I used to watch the cheesy live action television show on Space, I watched Batman the Animated Series and Batman Beyond, I watched all of the movies even the bad ones. I’ve dressed up as Batgirl for Halloween.
So as I went into The Dark Knight Rises it just wasn’t my inner critic that was afraid, it was my inner child too.
Spoilers from here down:
The Dark Knight Rises begins with a plane being hijacked by our new antagonist: Bane.
Nolan’s Batman Villains have all been memorable, or at least entertaining. His best of course being Heath Ledger’s Joker. I wouldn’t want to be an actor taking on the role of the Joker after Ledger’s powerhouse performance. It makes you wonder, if Ledger hadn’t passed, would the Joker have continued to appear in the Batman movies?
Heath Ledger, I miss you. You were taken from us too soon.
But back on topic:
Let’s think about this for a minute. What do we know about Bane? Other than this:
Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Bane was the dude who broke dear old Bat’s back in the Knightfall story arc (1993). If you were born in the 1990’s your image of Bane might have been coloured more by his appearance in the Joel Schumacher monster of a film Batman & Robin. In that film, Bane was no more than a glorified thug who spoke in grunts. Since that was my introduction to him, he became one of my least liked Batman villains, and when I learned that he was to be the main antagonist in the last film of the trilogy I was kind of let down. Only when I started doing research into his history did I finally make it past the stereotype of a grunting thug.
So what do we know about Bane?
We actually know a lot.
We know he grew up in a prison, we know he’s a pretty smart guy and we know he’s a thug.
According to wikipedia, he committed his first murder at the age of eight. Eventually Bane becomes the self proclaimed “King” of the Prison and the Prison Heads decide to use him as a test subject for experiments, specifically with a drug called Venom. Venom has killed everyone else they tested it on, and it almost kills Bane. Sadly for the rest of the world, he survives and just to make matters worse, he becomes physically stronger. There is a catch though, he needs to take the drug every 12 hours or else he gets hit by the side effects (or maybe withdrawal, I’m not exactly sure).
In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane is no longer a Venom Pumped Junkie, instead the story is changed slightly. Bane was in prison, and during his stay he is attacked and beaten to a bloody pulp. His mask pumps a constant stream of painkillers to keep the excruciating pain at bay. Since Nolan is trying to make his Gotham more realistic, it works. Bane becomes believable in that regard. But we’ll talk more on that later.
Back to the Story……
So Bane and some of his thugs hijack a plane and kidnap a Doctor. There is some weird blood transfusion thing that went down…. and well the entire sequence is kind of unsettling. This is also the clearest and most eloquently spoken moment with Bane…. and I had high hopes for him.
But then we’re rushed back to Gotham City, with the slight comfort that Bane has some kind of plan to screw with the city.
So meanwhile, in Gotham:
It has been eight years since the events of The Dark Knight. Gotham City has been cleaned completely of organized crime because of the Harvey Dent Act. Our dear Police Commisoner Gordon on the other hand is a train wreck, for the last eight years he has idolized the man who almost killed his family and because of that, his family left him. He carries around a speech in his jacket pocket, the speech that he wants to give, telling the truth. But he never can.
Wayne on the other hand has locked himself up in his Mansion, only having contact with his loyal butler Alfred. He hobbles around the rooms of his home leaning on a cane, with overgrown facial hair. This came as a shock to me. Nolan said that we were going to see another side of Batman and it would make us uncomfortable. But I never thought that I would see my hero as a frail useless old man.
I expect what Nolan was going for her, was a mirror to how the trilogy began. In Batman Begins, Wayne is missing for seven years. At the end of the seven years he appears new and improved ready to take on the underworld. Now Wayne has been a shut in, and needs to undergo the same kind of process to become the hero that Gotham needs.
We’re also introduced to Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway… who did a pretty fantastic job. I enjoyed her character and I enjoyed the chemistry between her and Batman. I know there was a lot of unhappiness around the casting of Anne Hathaway, and there was a lot of comparison to Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on the role. Like Bane, Nolan has changed Catwoman to fit her into his realist Gotham. Her costume and her characterization undergo some slight changes, but the basics are still there. She’s still a morally ambiguous woman who Batman can’t decide if he wants to lock her up or well… have crazy weird sex with her.
So What Happens in the Movie?
To make a long story short (and it is a looooong story). Bane shows up in Gotham City. He holes up with a city official who controls the building of the infrastructure. Bane is able to plant explosives and get all the groundwork in place. Including tunneling under Wayne Tower and getting his hands of all of Batman’s Toys. He also hacks into the stock market and bankrupts Wayne. He manages to frame Wayne for the bankruptcy, having acquired his fingerprints earlier in the film. This causes Wayne Enterprises to struggle to find a way to save itself, a young Do-Gooder Environmentalist seems to have all the answers, and Bruce puts his trust in her. He shows her his super secret clean power source that he has been hiding under the city under a construction site. Bane manages to get his hands on it and turns it into an atom bomb. He then blows up a football stadium (not with the atom bomb) and traps all of the police in the sewers. So in other words total anarchy. He explains to Gotham that someone (and it could be anyone) has the detonator and if someone tries to flee the island, or restore order the bomb will explode. He also blows the lid off of the secret of Harvey Dent and frees a bunch of criminals.
Like I said, total anarchy.
So where is the Caped Crusader during all of this?
Well this is where it gets interesting.
You see, the first show down between Batman and Bane happens pretty fast. Batman enters the sewers and is trapped by Bane and well to put it lightly: Bane kicks his ass. He then proceeds to break his back and throw him in the prison that he had been trapped in.
Poor Batman is stuck in this prison with a giant television screen showing him everything that is happening in Gotham. Eventually, after a lot of pouting he begins to train again. You see, this is a special prison. It’s underground and there is no ceiling. Prisnors are allowed to try and escape by making the climb through the well-like opening at the top. Get it? Well-like? Symbolism! Remember how young Bruce fell down the well and was rescued by his Dad. Well now, her needs to climb out of that symbolic well and make the journey from hell to freedom. On his own. BAM!
Only one other person has been able to make this climb before. A child, that Batman assumes was Bane. WHO IS ALSO THE SON OF RA’S AL GHUL!!!
Shit just got real fast.
Continued in Part Two……
Originally posted to Fictionlove