Jul 23 2012
I’ve written my official review of The Dark Knight Rises, and if you want to check it out, you can do so here where it was published an hour ago. Like most reviews, I tried to steer clear of major plot details, and in this case, I barely mentioned the story at all to not ruin anything for anyone in the highly anticipated feature.
But that’s not how I wish reviews were. I think reading reviews BEFORE seeing a movie is stupid, as it forces you to form judgments before giving something a shot on your own. Rather, I see reviews as a mechanism for discussion once you’ve already seen the film. At least in theory, as I rarely put this into practice. Today, however, I can’t resist wanting to discuss the specifics of The Dark Knight Rises which is why I’m creating a separate post where we can talk about the film openly.
If you’ve seen the film and want to chat, we can do so below. I have some thoughts of my own I’ll share, and feel free to add in your own viewpoints in the comments. Spoilers start below.
I’ll kick things off by talking about the two big “reveals” of the film, that Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate was Talia al Ghul, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake became Robin.
To me, neither of these were terribly shocking. I write for movie fansites, so the moment these two roles were announced, it was IMMEDIATELY guessed by a number of fans that this is who these characters truly were. There was no proof beforehand, but as soon as you started watching the film, you felt both of these theories were correct. And they were.
If you watch the film and already suspect something, the little clues seem to scream the answers at you. Miranda’s story about not coming from money, and the scar on her back indicated she clearly had secrets. The tipping point for me came far before that when Bruce Wayne said that they “must give control of the company to Miranda” which was clearly part of some master plan greater than the singular douche who wanted to take over Wayne Enterprises.
With JGL’s Blake, it was less of a moment of epiphany and more of just a feeling that he simply *felt* like he would be a perfect Robin, and his role in the film was building toward that from the moment he stepped foot into Wayne Manor and told his own story about being an orphan. If that wasn’t enough of a clue, when Bruce tells him about being a symbol, working outside the system, and wearing a mask should have probably clue you in.
But even though neither of these were surprises to me, I still felt like they were expertly threaded throughout the film and made for a fantastic plot and thrilling conclusion. I was actually faked out for a minute when it was “revealed” that Bane was Ras al Ghul’s son. I thought Nolan had played up on the Talia al Ghul rumors and pulled a last minute switch that went against the comics.
If you were paying attention however, the film essentially told you that the child in the legend was not Bane. The prisoner tells Bruce that Bane suffered an attack by the other inmates and was disfigured and in constant pain. When the little kid escapes out of the pit, he has no such injury which clearly points to the fact that he (she) isn’t Bane. And once you listen to the lines about the “protector” it almost seems obvious, though I did not catch it the first time through the movie.
Other topics of discussion:
Bane vs. Joker?
Did they really need to not mention The Joker once? I get that it was “out of respect for Ledger,” but It made it seem like the events of The Dark Knight seem were sort of irrelevant to the overall trilogy story.
Did you like or dislike the large stretch of time Bruce/Batman was gone during the film? (I loved the prison scenes personally).
Did Catwoman seem tacked on, or was she relevant enough to the plot?
Why did Bruce Wayne need to fake his own death? Is he continuing to do so after the events of the film? It’s not like he’s in disguise. Would it have been more impactful to kill him? A thought I had during the film was that possibly he would really die, and Thomas Blake would become the new Batman rather than Robin. Comic sacrilege sure, but I think that could have worked as well.
Did Batman hang up his cowl in the end to turn things over to Robin entirely, or do you imagine the two of them returning to work together?
Is this better than The Dark Knight? Why or why not? I lean toward yes, after watching both over the weekend. Overlooking Ledger’s Joker performance which casts a shadow over everything else, this is simply a better structured, scored, shot and executed film in my eyes.
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