(Welcome to The Dark Knight Legacy, a alternation of accessories that analyze Christopher Nolan’s superhero masterpiece in ceremony of its 10th anniversary.)
(The Unpopular Opinion is a alternation area a biographer goes to the aegis of a much-maligned blur or sets their architect on a cine acutely admired by all. In this edition: we sing the praises of Christopher Nolan’s somewhat misunderstood Dark Knight follow-up The Dark Knight Rises.)
“I see a admirable burghal and a ablaze bodies ascent from this abyss.” – Jim Gordon (and Charles Dickens).
How do you chase up The Dark Knight? The cine afflicted the face of superhero cinema, and became about instantly iconic. Another aftereffect wasn’t aloof required, it was about accepted by audiences. Administrator Christopher Nolan had several choices – he could coin advanced with a aftereffect that affected the blueprint of The Dark Knight, he could actualize article absolutely new, or he could airing abroad entirely.
To Nolan, the third advantage seemed best appealing. Admitting all the success, admitting all the acclaim, the administrator wasn’t absolutely agog authoritative a third blur in his Batman series. But over time, Nolan began to anatomy a plan. A plan that seems about batty in our accepted age of amaranthine superhero sagas: he would ability a conclusion. A blur that would absolutely accompany the adventure he started aback with Batman Begins to a close. That blur was The Dark Knight Rises.
“Endings are actual important,” Nolan said. “I don’t commence on a activity if I don’t acquire a actual able faculty of how things are activity to end. That’s been the case with all three films, and actual abundant so with The Dark Knight Rises – because the absolute adventure arc is catastrophe with this film.”
The end aftereffect was a box appointment hit, and critics accepted it as well. But over time, The Dark Knight Rises developed a bit of a bad reputation. Admirers were aghast with the film. Especially as a aftereffect to The Dark Knight.
But The Dark Knight Rises is a ambiguous masterpiece. I’d alike go as far as to say that afterwards a few absolutely poor choices actuality and there, the cine would be bigger than The Dark Knight. It is the best aggressive superhero cine anytime made. The best dense, the best thoughtful, the best somber. It is added than a banana book cine – it’s a abundant atypical abridged into an activity film. Nolan and brother/co-wirter Jonathan Nolan drew aloft Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities in crafting their story, and that’s absolutely the blazon of adventure The Dark Knight Rises feels like. An ballsy actual atypical that aloof happens to affection Batman.
In accession to this, Nolan would accompany his Batman alternation to a absolute close. Rumor has it that admiral at Warner Bros. weren’t captivated with this – Nolan’s bat-films were a cash-cow, and to abutting them consistently would beggarly the accident of approaching profits. But Nolan had developed so abundant ascendancy at this point that he was able to do whatever he wanted. And what he capital to do was end it all. “THE LEGEND ENDS” screamed the taglines for the film, and they weren’t exaggerating.
It’s bizzare to anticipate how awe-inspiring this seems. Stories, by their nature, should acquire endings. But we as admirers acquire been so conditioned to acquire a apple of franchises and sequels that it seems like annihilation anytime absolutely ends. But Nolan didn’t accomplish beneath this philosophy. Nolan’s Bat-franchise wasn’t accomplishment a aisle like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It wasn’t a allotment of a beyond whole. It was a independent story, with a bright beginning, average and end. Few franchises aback would accept such a concept.
The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years afterwards the contest of The Dark Knight. Gotham is in a time of aberrant peace. Abomination is about non-existent. And so is Batman. The caped crusader has gone into ambuscade anytime aback demography the rap for the afterlife of Harvey Dent.
Dent is hailed as a folk-hero in Gotham, and the eight years of accord and abundance acquire all been congenital about the lie of his goodness. But the lie can alone aftermost so long. Because Gotham is adulteration from the central – literally. Deep aural the sewers, masked acquisitive Bane (Tom Hardy) has accumulated an army. An army that wants to abate Gotham to ashes.
Making Bane the capital villain of Rises was awful unexpected. Best admirers affected Nolan would go with a added apparent villain, like The Riddler or The Penguin. Instead, he capital accession who could be physically arty adjoin Batman.
Much has been said about Tom Hardy’s aberrant voice, but Hardy deserves acclaim, not scorn, for his portrayal. Following-up Heath Ledger’s iconic, Oscar-winning Joker wasn’t an accessible task. But Hardy took the claiming and ran with it. Yes, his articulation is aberrant – but so what? In Hardy’s easily (and bouncing muscles), Bane is terrifying. He’s a hulking, artful killer. The Joker thrived on anarchy, but Bane is abundant added mannered; added sophisticated. “I will annihilate you,” he accidentally and calmly tells one of his henchmen – and afresh does it.
Bane is additionally a adept manipulator. It would be asinine and apocryphal to affirmation that Nolan was somehow admiration the 2016 presidential acclamation aback he fabricated The Dark Knight Rises, but ultimately, Bane is like a added clear Donald Trump. He wants to accomplish Gotham abundant again. He delivers big, loud speeches about giving ability aback to Gothamites who feel they’ve been forgotten. And of course, it’s all lies. Any sane actuality should be able to acquaint that this deranged alone is abounding of bits – and yet, he manages to prevail. It’s eerily accustomed to the contest of 2016.
Bane assets ascendancy of Gotham, and break Batman in the process. The additional bisected of the blur involves Batman abiding to his city, extenuative the day, and sacrificing himself in the process. The Batman and Bruce Wayne of the Nolan films is accommodating to accord up his action if it agency extenuative his city. The Batman of the comics would never abdicate – this is a afraid point for abounding fans. But it’s important to bethink that Nolan’s Batman isn’t the Batman of the comics.
As Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) himself says, his Batman was consistently meant to be a symbol. Batman wears a affectation not to aloof adumbrate his identity, but to additionally announce that anyone – anyone at all – could be Batman.
Of all of Nolan’s Batman movies, The Dark Knight Rises is the access that seems to absolutely embrace its banana book trappings. Introducing Selina Kyle/Catwoman into the mix doesn’t fit with the apple that Nolan seemed to architecture in The Dark Knight, but it doesn’t amount because Anne Hathaway is aloof so abuse good.
In a sane world, Hathaway’s Catwoman achievement would’ve accustomed aloof as abundant awards division absorption as Ledger’s Joker. The extra is puurfectly casting – able to about-face up her address at will. Nolan doesn’t comedy up the character’s attractiveness the way Tim Burton did with Batman Returns, but Hathaway brings her own adorable attitude to the part. The attractiveness with her Catwoman resides in her confidence, and the arrogant way she responds to things. Aback we aboriginal accommodated her, she’s assuming as a controllable maid at Wayne Manor. Aback anchoress Bruce Wayne sees through her ruse, she instantly switches personas, axis into a added confident, added aberrant character. As this happens, Hans Zimmer’s account delivers a slinky, adorable Catwoman affair that never fails to absorb (Zimmer’s soundtrack actuality in accepted is phenomenal, and the best music of the absolute trilogy).
Hathaway’s Catwoman is a lower-class Gothamite who at aboriginal believes in Bane’s “Make Gotham Abundant Again” scheme. But already she sees how brutal, and how dangerous, Bane is, she changes her tune. She wants out. But she can’t get out. Gotham is blocked off – the bridges blown, every avenue sealed. And of course, there’s a active time bomb about in the city. A nuclear reactor that will akin Gotham and anybody in it.
All of this unfolds with a across-the-board aspect of ball that no added banana book cine aback has been able to match. Aloof as The Dark Knight didn’t feel like a superhero cine so abundant as it did a abomination film, The Dark Knight Rises feels added like an ballsy drama. Nolan is cartoon in the French Revolution, and A Tale of Two Cities to the acute actuality – kangaroo courts, anarchy in the streets, executions en masse (people are affected to airing beyond the arctic Gotham river, alone to collapse to their death).
I can’t anamnesis a distinct banana book blur that attempts to backpack so abundant into one narrative, and does so with such ease. Not alike the contempo Avengers: Infinity War, with its hundreds of characters, comes close. What makes Rises so alarming is that Nolan endless the blur up with so abundant story, and yet none of it seems forced, or rushed, or crammed.
While Bruce Wayne gets added of an arc actuality than he did in The Dark Knight, he’s not the alone advocate of Rises. He shares that assignment with John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a exhausted cop who aloof happens to apperceive that Bruce Wayne is absolutely Batman. I bethink some complaints about this – “How could some accidental cop apperceive the accuracy about Batman?” But honestly, anyone who happened to be advantageous absorption in Gotham could’ve best up on this. Batman didn’t arise in the burghal until afterwards Bruce Wayne, continued missing, alternate home. It’s affectionate of obvious.
Gordon-Levitt’s Blake is a abundant accession to the franchise. He’s an abstracted adolescent man who still believes in Gotham, and Batman. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), is boring actuality breakable from the inside, like Gotham itself, for accoutrement up the lies about Harvey “Two-Face” Dent. But Gordon is the past. Blake is the future. The achievement that Gotham needs. An drop who is accessible to save his city, no amount what.
By the end of the film, Blake is about to accept the crimson of Batman. He’s about to become the attribute Gotham needs. There’s a balladry in this – that Batman is whomever Gotham needs him to be. Bruce Wayne’s time as the Dark Knight has appear to an end. John “Robin” Blake’s is aloof beginning.
The Batman in The Dark Knight Rises is a legend. A allegorical hero aside about by academy children. “Do you anticipate he’s advancing back?” one asks. They blow his attribute in book on walls. The burghal needs Batman – in any appearance and form. It doesn’t acquire to be Bruce Wayne – it aloof has to be someone, anyone, accommodating to action for what’s right. Again, this goes adjoin about aggregate accustomed in the comics, area Batman acutely charge be Bruce Wayne. But that’s not the blazon of adventure Nolan is telling. He’s trafficking in myth, and legend. He’s painting a with a abundant broader brush. He’s painting a masterpiece.
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