Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is unlike any others in the genre of “super hero.” The films are darker, grittier, and more foreboding than most films in that genre, but perhaps the thing that sets them most apart is the fact that they are intelligent. Fiercely intelligent, and deep. The conclusion to the trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises,” is by far the most promising in the series.
It’s a great “super hero” film, boasting of ninja fight scenes, some pretty awesome advanced technology, (cause who doesn’t love a good bat-mobile chase scene? … or three?) and a squeeze-your-dates-hand-in-the-popcorn-bucket level scary villain. (Played by the unequaled Tom Hardy, but more about him later.)
But more than that, it’s a film with a message. When asked why he wanted to make a third film, creator Christopher Nolan said “for lack of a better term, [to] go there.”
He went on to explain that in both of the installments that came before, the sanity of Gatham city was always threatened, but averted. In the third film, Nolan “goes there,” In all out pandemonium on the streets.
Imagine if the Wall Street Protests escalated to French Revolution level, and you have The Dark Knight Rises. The villain, Bane, is an intelligent revolutionary ( with an incredibly well written back story,) who seeks the downfall of Gotham for the betterment of mankind as a whole. (A member f the league of shadows, if you recall from the first movie.) But the way that he goes about that downfall is what is interesting to me. Bane seems only to wish to give power to the people, but he knows true democracy is only two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. And so un-harnessed democracy is his WMD of choice.
He tells the people of Gotham “We take Gotham from the corrupt, the rich, the oppressors of generations who kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you, the people. Gotham is yours. None shall interfere, do as you please... The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests and cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened, spoils will be enjoyed. Blood will be shed. The police will survive as they learn to survive true justice.” Bane releases felons from prison and convenes “people’s courts.” He tells the people he seeks true justice and equality, when in reality he only seeks their demise, and chaos is the most viable means of bringing it about.
The film’s message is incredibly conservative and capitalistic for a Hollywood block buster. The character cat-woman, a burglar of the highest degree (played surprisingly well, by Anne Hathaway,) tells Bruce Wayne, (the original billionaire, genius, playboy philanthropist.) "There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne, and when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."
When wealth is redistributed, no one comes out on top but Bane.
The Dark Knight Rises, has become one of my favorite movies. It has everything. A Christ like hero, a great villain, an intelligent and well written script, heart racing action sequences, a talented cast of actors, a twistful plot (yes, I did just make up that word) and a great message. It’s just an epic movie. But I believe it is the little things that make a movie great, as well as the big things. And a lot of super hero movies sacrifice the small moments of greatness on the altar of popcorn flicks. But the Dark Knight Rises doesn’t. You wouldn’t expect to get emotional when a policeman dons his dress blues, or when a butler decides to tell the truth, or when a detective chalks a symbol on the side of a building, but you will. And, much as anything else, those things are what make this a great movie.