Welcome to Part Two of my Review of The Dark Knight Rises. The original post was getting to be ridiculously long, so instead of having a text wall, I thought it would make sense to split the post into two. If you haven’t read Part One, click here. If you have, well lets pick it back up where we left off.
Spoilers from here on:
So we last left off finding out that Bane is none other than the son of Batman’s Old Buddy: Ra’s Al Ghul!
Yeah, you didn’t see THAT coming did you?
Well I kind of did and I wasn’t really happy.
You see Ra’s al Ghul did have a kid. He had a daughter. I would have loved to see her instead of Bane. With Bane being the son it just tied to the trilogy up way to neatly. Everything that happened with the Joker in the second movie became unneeded. He was just kind of there. While sitting in the theatre I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from screaming at the screen. “IT WAS A DAUGHTER NOLAN! HE HAD A DAUGHTER! SHE WAS A LOVE INTEREST TO BATMAN! GOD DAMN IT!”
So Wayne manages to climb out of the Prison, get back to Gotham using some super secret plot device and then it happens. The epic ride of a climax.
The Dark Knight Rises was a lot more thoughtful then The Dark Knight. There was action in the first three quarters of the film, but we spent more time with Bruce Wayne then we did with Batman. As we settle in for the last fourth, the action really starts. This format slows down the film and for a film that’s just under three hours, that can be a bit of a problem. Watching it for the first time I didn’t notice time passing but I feel on the second watch it might be a little harder to get through.
What’s A Nolan Movie Without a Twist?
Remember what I said just a few paragraphs ago, about Bane being the son of Ra’s Al Ghul? Well scrap that. Remember that nice environmentally active woman, Miranda Tate… SURPRISE! Her name is Talia, and she’s Ra’s’ daughter. HOLY PLOT TWIST BATMAN! It turns out that she was the child that Wayne thought was Bane, and Bane was her protector. When she escaped the Prison, Bane was beaten to a bloody pulp trying to protect her. She finds her Father and comes back for Bane but Daddy doesn’t like her friend… and excommunicates her from the League of Shadows.
All of a sudden the last 2 hours are made worth the climax. I’m serious. From this point forward, everything that has happened in the film is worth while all the lies, all the build up, all the dragging. The reversal is that good. Batman and Co. have to find the bomb and stop Talia from completing her Father’s work from the first movie. Everything comes full circle.
But that’s not the only twist, and the final one comes with a knife in the gut. Remember this is the man who gave us the ending to Inception. You see, the bomb wasn’t just going to go off by a trigger. It had a 5 month shelf life when it’s been removed from the reactor. No matter how hard our brave heroes try, they cannot stop the bomb, so Batman takes his plane and flies it out over the water out of range of the city and it blows.
Did you hear that? A million fans just screamed and went silent.
Nolan killed Batman. HE KILLED THE BATMAN!
Well not really, he just makes you believe he did FOR ABOUT 7+ MINUTES! You could feel it in the theatre, everyone trying to figure out if Batman was dead, he couldn’t be dead… but it just kept dragging out so he must be dead. Just when you give in and accept the passing of our favourite angsty superhero you get to see him, alive and well with Catwoman. END Scene
Screw you Mr. Nolan. Screw you for playing with my emotions.
Side Characters and Their Stories
I’ve already discussed Catwoman and Bane, but I feel like the other side characters need to be looked at.
Alfred doesn’t get that much screen time in this flick. His only real role in the movie is to give random backstory to set up some foreshadow for later. Alfred tells Bruce his deepest darkest secret: that he wished Bruce had never come back. He then tells him how every year he would go on a vacation and he’d have this little fantasy, that he would sit down at a cafe and order a drink, he would look across the cafe and see Bruce, with a woman and maybe some kids. He would then know then be able to die happy. Around 45 minutes into the film he and Wayne get into a fight. Alfred comes out and tells Wayne that he burnt the note that Rachel wrote in The Dark Knight. Wayne’s trust is broken and he sends Alfred away. Alfred’s heart is broken because he believes that Wayne’s return to Batman is because he wants it to kill him, he knows that he’s not as strong as he used to be.
Alfred is never seen until the end of the film where he attends Wayne’s funeral and begs Bruce’s dead parents for forgiveness for betraying them and letting their son die. Which of course was the most heartbreaking scene in the entire film for me. But thankfully, Alfred gets to fulfill his fantasy, and sees Bruce with a pretty girl (Catwoman) at cafe somewhere giving him the inner piece that the poor Butler deserves. I was a little disappointed with Alfred’s story arch, it seemed out of character for him to leave Bruce, I was expecting him to show up at some point in the climax to save Batman in someway that only Alfred could, but he didn’t. His entire arch felt just a bit forced.
Gordon also disappears for a decent chunk of the movie, only because he takes a beating from Bane’s men and has to be hospitalized. Gordon’s fall is a depressing one, as I mentioned earlier, his family has abandoned him, he’s a war hero but it’s no longer war time and he has to carry the secret of Harvey Dent alone. This is a lot for him to bare. When Gotham goes to hell he kicks into action, but it’s very clear that he’s tired and he just wants his time to end. Even though he is planing on retiring, during the epilogue like sequence, Gordon is shown on the roof of the police building looking at a new Bat signal holding a file.
The Dark Knight Rises gives Gordon a second chance, and lets him go back to being the clean cop he was when he was first introduced in Batman Begins. Throughout the three movies, as he rose through the ranks Gordon became corrupt like the cops not in the same way as the cops he used to hate. In his case it was the secret that was weighing him down. Gordon for lack of a better term is finally free.
John Blake is a new character introduced in Rises, and is played by a Nolan favourite: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Blake is a young copwho is willing to disobey orders to do the right thing. He was an orphan and looked up to Bruce Wayne when he was a kid, and knew Bruce’s secret: that it didn’t matter what happened Bruce was still “the angry kid” that no one understood. Blake also confronts Wayne early on in the film and knows that Wayne is Batman. I couldn’t help but wonder, how did he know? We’re just supposed to accept that he figured it out. Hell, this entire movie should have been called The Dark Knight’s Not So Secret Identity. Every important character in the story finds out that it was Wayne all along: Catwoman, Gordon, Blake, Talia and Bane.
During the epilogue it shows Blake recieving co-ordinates to the Bat Cave and informs us that he has quit the police force. But to the upmost shock, we find out that Blake’s been lying about his full name his name includes the one word that many Batman Fans were terrified to hear: Robin. Why didn’t they say Richard Grayson? I don’t know. But god damn it, does this mean that there is going to be a Robin movie? Or a Nightwing movie? I kind of hope not.
Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul I personally love the Scarecrow cameos that Nolan slipped into the last two movies of the trilogy. It’s nice to know that dear old Doctor Crane is still alive and kicking. His bits as the Judge in the Anarchic Gotham were probably the most hilarious scenes in the film. My favourite scene being between Gordon and Crane:
Crane: Death or Exile?
Gordon: We choose Death
Crane: It’s decided then! Death by Exile.
Seriously, he’s bonkers, but in a king of endearing way.
Ra’s Al Ghul has a minor cameo, in one of Wayne’s fever dreams. I remember reading that Laim Neeson had been lurking around the set of Rises but they managed to keep his appearance in the film completely under wraps. It was a nice surprise and it did manage to tie everything back to the first movie rather well without making it seem to cheesy.
Dark Knight Rises was a pretty solid film. It started out a little bit clunky but the finale makes up for everything. The chemistry between the cast was mind blowing and the little splashes of humour made the dark apocalyptic nature easier to swallow. Nolan’s Batman movies are in a league of their own, he managed to rescue a franchise and breathe new life into it, moving away from the comic goofy ness that surrounds the character of Batman
When you think about it, it must have been difficult to make all of us take a man dressed like a giant bat be taken seriously.
Which is exactly what he did.
Originally published to fictionlove