Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Above Expectations

Or I just saw The Dark Knight Rises and I really liked it.

The Dark Knight Rises lives up to the potential of the previous two movies and is a fitting finale to Christopher Nolan's take on Batman, which is cartoonishly high praise. I try to check my expectations for things-I-am-very-much-looking-forward-to, but despite myself I had a very high set of expectations about the Dark Knight Rises... and the movie exceeded them. I think I liked The Dark Knight more (Heath Ledger's take on the Joker was epic)... but the fact I even have to think about it speaks to the quality of The Dark Knight Rises. It's a VERY GOOD movie. It's VERY GOOD Batman.

A few things occurred to me while watching the movie, and while I am sure that the majority of them have already been written about elsewhere, I *just* saw the movie and am excited enough to ramble them off anyway. My thoughts after the cut.


On Lazarus Pits: That underground pit prison has to be Nolan's take on the Lazarus Pit (the mythic well of chemicals that is a source of healing and resurrection and which is an integral part of Ra's Al Ghul's comics storylines). While the underground prison clearly harkens back to the well Bruce Wayne falls down in Batman Begins and is consistent with the prison origins of Bane, it also fits the Lazarus Pit narrative far too much to be coincidence. Ra's Al Ghul gets "a kind of immortality" from it through his child Talia who is born there in captivity. Batman, who has been broken by Bane, is remade in the pit and ressurected as a man capable of defeating Bane. The damn thing is even in the desert! Totally a Lazarus Pit.

On Bane: Is it just me, or is The Dark Knight Rises Bane, Gail Simone's Secret Six Bane? He is motivated by a weird paternal love for the cast off daughter of an ageless supervillain. In the film Bane is motivated by his love for Talia daughter of Ra's Al Ghul. In Secret Six, Bane is motivated by his paternal love for Scandal Savage, daughter of Vandal Savage. Also, is it just me or is Tom Hardy's Bane kind of channeling an undubbed-over Darth Vader crossed with Sean Connery?

On Catwoman: What a delightfully well realized take on Catwoman. Thief, anti-heroine, love interest/foil for Batman. Sexy without being exploitative. Just dandy.

On Talia: Man, I had this one spoiled because 1: Cotillard was born to play Talia and 2: I accidentally saw the pictures of her in Talia drag despite trying to avoid spoilers. Still, the moment of the switch and the fact it was Takia and not Bane born in the Pitt prison caught me somewhat by surprise. Nolan is such an effective story teller. I can't imagine how great a moment that must have been for non-comics people.

On Scarecrow/Joker: The cameo scenes were Dr. Crane holds judgement over the people of Gotham was good fun. I can't help but think that had Heath Ledger still been with us, the Joker may have presided over this court. Maybe?

On Robin: That subplot was fun. Although, the idea of him taking over as Batman without Bruce's League of Assassin's training or resources stretches belief a little... Also, Robin and Bane in the same movie? Is Nolan calling out Joel Schumacher deliberately?

On Fusion Technology: Okay, Fusion reactions need super high temperatures, constant influx of new fusionable material, and super strong magnetic containment which would necessitate hardwired power sources and liquid helium coolant. Interruption of any of these would stop the fusion reaction. So..... the magguffin of this plot was kind of not very believable. But whatever, it was exciting!

On The Batman Voice: Still kind of silly.

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