Nolan redesigns Batman’s costume in the final The Dark Knight Rises to near perfection, thankfully and skillfully brings in all the best gear, toys and even fixes the BatLisp! I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Yet when the scope of your film attempts to encompass Marxism theory and the process in which the individual must learn to be responsible for how their actions effect their society and their friends lives, but limit the main protagonist to solve issues with brawling and self destructive masculine fears, you fail inevitably because what is needed in The Dark Knight Rises is Batman the Detective.
Detective Comics #27 was the first appearance of Batman. And now in the third installation of the series, Batman has yet once again failed to be true to the origins of his creation.
He brawls his way through problems that would be far too easily overcome with brains. Now I can accept this in the second Batman film, he was brash, still over confident and over emotional at the thought of losing the love of his life. So he breaks down as the Joker cons him into losing his cool. So Batman becomes brutal and slams the Joker around in a small interrogation room. This immature mistake comes at a dear cost and the lives of Batman’s girlfriend and best friend.
Standing back from the Nolan’s trilogy and seeing the maturity of the thesis of political and personal theories of intra and inter ( how we interact with ourselves and others) personal development in conflict is wondrous. The Joker thrills to devolve the noble minded into violent apes by deconstructing their pretenses of society and relationships, was a powerful theme. That’s why he was always grinning.
Bane’s gorilla swaying through his communistic obedience to his secret yet obvious mistress who serves the ghost of Ra’s a Ghul, who once declared Gotham as irredeemable. Ignoring Gothams peaceful reign of the last years, she incites the age old political contrivance of who should rule and create society, the upper epsilon or the common man.
Yet these concepts must be evolved and resolved within the story or why bring them to the table. Who better than the Batman to take on the worlds present days issues still resonating from decades ago.
Robin as a young cop stands as an objective voice in a vicegrip of cops, baddies and Batman, representing the hope and the need for heroes or the need to idealize and seek to emulate a masculine figure willing to sacrifice itself. What almost every orphan yearns for, a father figure that will pave the way to a glorious way to die.
Now eight years later, Batman has hopefully grown more mature and calmer in the face of violence or emotionally threatening situations. Yet still he pits himself against Bane (Tom Hardy) physically not in the intellectual manner that the conflict and situation demands. Despite his painful injuries and his awkward cane swaggering often leading him to the floor, a simple leg brace solves these issues?
Hathaway’s performance steals the movie away from her male actors aside from Caine’s heartfelt truths torn from pure experience. The men fall like wobbly dominoes around her.
Catwoman (Hathaway) deals with her opponents with quiet intellectual reserve far more refined than Batman, she is familiar with the inferior qualities of men and betters Wayne by stealing his finger prints from inside his own home, when he is distracted by her feminine charm, which is the catalyst for the potential destruction of Gotham and the Wayne foundation. Wayne stays on his knees way too long in this scene and it speaks volumes of his desire to succumb.
Yet another overwhelming example that Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) still isn’t the Detective he should be and still isn’t smart enough to out think or at least make the attempt to keep up with his opponents that he has trained himself for.
Catwoman prances around the wounded Bat, exiting a window, leaving him slightly bewildered and scapegoating Alfred. What is needed here are Batman’s uncanny powers of deduction!
Take your mothers pearls and your stolen finger prints from her like a father pry’s candy from a child’s grasping hands. Earn her respect as she demands it to be earned as Catwoman topples every male ego confronting her with disdain and eyes filled with judgement.
Batman the Detective wouldn’t go toe to toe with the brute Bane, who feeds on pain, merely to prove he’s still man enough to beat down the biggest gorilla. He would survey the terrain, take in data, return to the BatCave and after examining Bane’s facial mechanism, simply creates a solution and resolves the problem, eliminating Bane from the equation.
Much like Catwoman did when she shot Bane from the Bat Pod, or Bike. Simple solutions within your means to obvious problems. Yes, I know Batman doesnt use guns, but he can use sprays, bombs, chemicals, nano-particles or even a simple set of Bat Knuckles to punch that face breather, voice muffler off Banes face, would have resolved the battle.
Brains over brawn, is the entire issue of the trilogy. To not allow the violence of others destroy our lives and that we resort to violence only when we must and even then, we restrain ourselves, use our intellect and detective skills to evade what our violent opponents are attempting to draw us or Batman into. A brawl we cannot win, because when we become them, our own opponent, we will always lose.
Aside from the theories that create such brilliant supporting backstory and ideology.
Batman looks heroic, broad shouldered, strong and carved. The costume didn’t looked pieced together anymore, something that gnawed at me in the previous versions. It didn’t distract me, it inspired. I believed it, in it, in the gear, the tech, the persona. I could identify, I could see it happening, working.
The film is shot brilliantly, the Blu-Ray version is impeccable and often shocked me with the technical expertise of the DP, Walter Pfister. It’s a pleasure to watch and certainly shows the potential of how grand film still is, in this digital age.
I realize that Batman has become exhausted in The Dark Knight Rises and his cane and doctors opinion prove it. Wayne looks tired, and it’s obvious he wants death, he is self destructive and desires to end the guilt of his parents death that will never be soothed.
The fight scenes with Bane are plodding and unbelievable, Batman breathes hunched over, more than he fights and that should be a simple enough deduction of either the scenes were shot badly or that Wayne wants death in a brutal way because it’s impossible for him to ever give up willingly.
Bane teases Wayne with death, cripples him easily, and sends him to waste away in a carved prison to either commit suicide spiritually by succumbing to his wounds or to miraculously recover from a broken back. And Wayne proves once again that he will never give up until he is forced to. Even finding a psychological method to fool himself into caring about his own life once again, by facing death, by once again looking into the abyss.
It’s one of the highlights of the film.
Yet when the scope of the film returns the Gotham’s millions and the hoards of police and gangs of crooks, the film returns to the previous installment of The Dark Knight and sadly devolves into boring marching Policemen and roving criminals within a brittle Gotham background.
Rises should have stayed focused on the more personal aspects of Batman’s growth, maturity and intellectual skills, making it a tour de force between all the main characters in a far more intimate and fresher attempt to resolve the ills of our society and our places in it as individuals in a constantly evolving cultural landscape that is really threatening to devolve our humanity.
There’s good reason for these ideologies to be examined and good reason to present novel inspiring solutions.
I would love to have seen them, instead of almost liking them.