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“The Dark Knight Rises” Is Spectacular
Posted by LaDale Anderson on Jul 18, 2012 - 4:39:34 PM

HOLLYWOOD—“The Dark Knight Rises” was the one movie that was a must-see on my list.  After the crowd-pleasing and stunning “The Dark Knight” it seemed almost impossible for a sequel to top its predecessor.  With a phenomenal performance by Heath Ledger as The Joker, and such a captivating story, it would be difficult to capitalize on that right?  Director Christopher Nolan takes the audience on another journey and its one that will have audiences glued to there seat for nearly 3 hours.  “Rises” does clock in at around 2 hours and 45 minutes to be exact, but it’s worth every single minute. 


What I’ve always found fascinating about Nolan as a director is that all of his films have a common theme: redemption.  “The Dark Knight” touched on that aspect of corruption and humanity taking a stand; even the nicest person can be corrupted with the right push, hence Harvey Dent.  “Rises” tackles the issue of economic inequality, terrorism and destruction to speak.  Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a billionaire; he’s not just wealthy, but very wealthy.  His wealth gives him the opportunity to suit up as Batman and have incredible toys at his disposal. 

Bane (Tom Hardy) and Batman (Christian Bale) go toe-to-toe in the battle for Gotham City.


The movie takes place eight years after the events of “The Dark Knight.”  It’s quite a space gap, but Nolan works that angle very well as a storyteller.  Batman has quietly disappeared from Gotham after being labeled public enemy #1 for taking credit for the crimes that Harvey Dent committed.  Bruce Wayne and his alter Batman are prime symbols of what Gotham should be; but he’s burnt out.   Mentally and physically, Batman has taken a beaten in the recent years and it’s obvious in this chapter.


His primary nemesis is the brute force beast known as Bane (Tom Hardy); he’s a polar opposite compared to The Joker; he’s physically intimidating, but not mentally unstable.  However, he is a real threat to Gotham and he means business.  The primary gripe I have with his character is it’s difficult to understand what he’s saying at times.  Without a doubt he is indeed Batman’s most difficult foe on a physical level.   He brings the citizens and the city of Gotham to its knees and as a spectator it becomes a realization that Batman must rise, but at what cost? 


There is lots of speculation of whether the picture is politically driven and to a degree I would say no.  However, political sub-texts do appear throughout.  Civility is a big issue prevalent in the picture.  As Americans, we’re sometimes so engulfed in our own personal lives we fail to see what is surrounding us even if it’s thrown into our face.  The movie addresses that spectacle as the city of Gotham falls.

Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) in "The Dark Knight Rises."


With the current state of the economy in 2012, one would only suspect that no sort of anarchy would be ignited from “Rises,” but it definitely sheds light on the inequality between the uber-rich and poor; hence the introduction to Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway).  Hathaway brings feistiness to this femme fatale.  She’s a cat burglar out for riches and very self-absorbed, but audiences will root for her.  While she’s never referred as the feline Catwoman in the picture, it’s very obvious through her mannerisms and outfit who she symbolizes.


Other returning players include Batman’s gadget guy, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and his loyal butler, Alfred (Michael Caine).  Caine brings so much wisdom to the movie as well honesty to Bruce Wayne; you may not want to hear what he has to say, but his perspective is head on most of the time.  New players in the installment include “Inception” star Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, a wealthy Wayne Enterprises board member who becomes a love interest for Mr. Wayne.  Fans of the comic book know just how important Tate is to the franchise, but her character is slightly underdeveloped in this entry; which is a bummer.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays rookie cop John Blake who brings an iconic symbol of hope to fighting Batman’s cause.  


Nolan who co-wrote the movie alongside his brother continues to further the conversation piece between good and evil; the irony is there is good in everyone, but there’s also evil in us as well.  It’s just a question of what does it take to cause that evil or heroism to emerge.  As The Joker stated in “The Dark Knight” when things get dire people reveal their true selves. 

Batman (Christian Bale) takes aim at criminals.


“Rises” delivers some incredible, eye-popping visuals and action sequences that place any other comic book movie before it to shame.  From that jaw-dropping opening involving a plane, to the stunning conclusion to this trilogy that will have audiences in debate for weeks, months, perhaps years to come, Nolan has placed the finishing touches on a successful trilogy with each chapter being an evolution in character development, complex themes and a reflection of humanity.


“The Dark Knight Rises” is not simply a fitting conclusion to the Batman saga, its concluding a legacy for a symbol of a hero.  Crime can be fought, but we can’t expect one person to do it alone.  Sacrifices have to be made; lives will be lost, but heroes will also be born.  I can only hope audiences realize the message that “Rises” is sending; we all have moral standards that we must uphold no matter how difficult or frustrating it may be to enact them.


Cliffside Malibu




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