Christopher Nolan’s superior genius has done
it again. The Dark Knight Rises combines intellect
with action to make a film that is certainly worth watching again and again.
This is not your typical superhero movieit reaches beyond the comic-book
character and dives deep into the wounded human condition. While The Avengers was entertaining and certainly left me
satisfied, The Dark Knight is much darker and goes
a few steps further. With an impressive cast including Christian Bale, Michael
Caine, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, and Tom
Hardy, this is a film to be reckoned with. (However, it is definitely not kid-friendly; parents, you have been warned.) While
there is not much gore, the violence ranks an eight out of ten, and the
terrorist villain, Bane, is terrifying. But through the darkness, it is a movie
The Batman has not shown his face for nearly
eight years after taking the blame for Harvey Dent’s actions in the previous
movie, The Dark Knight. Incidentally,
billionaire Bruce Wayne has also been in hiding. After Rachel Dawes’ death and
saving Gotham City, Bruce doesn’t seem to have anything to live for anymore.
That is, until a new terrorist, Bane, reportedly born and raised in a dreaded
prison known only as The Pit, appears in Gotham. Much of the peace and control
of organized crime has been due to the death of former District Attorney Harvey
Dent, whom everyone believes to have died a hero. But Commissioner Gordon and
Batman are the only people that know the truth. Harvey Dent died a corrupted
man and a murdererand Batman took the blame for his actions. Now Bane and his
army must reveal the truth in order to sow discord among the people and set
them against the corrupt aristocracy as well as the police force, which appears
to be built on a lie.
Alfred, played by Michael Caine, is one of the
most important characters in all three films; he delivers what I think is the
best performance in the entire film. Alfred is the only person who truly
understood the motivation behind the infamous Joker in The Dark
Knight, and he’s the only one who truly understands Bane and what he
stands for. Alfred also believes the truth is meant to be shared. But Bruce, as
always, does not listen. So, Alfred does the unthinkablehe decides to leave
Bruce. After explaining to Bruce that all he ever wanted was for him to be
happy and continue living, he says, “Maybe it’s time we stop trying to avoid
the truth and let it have its day.”
As Alfred rightly suspected, deception and
withholding the truth leads to many of the disasters that infiltrate Gotham
City. The current police force is based around the lie that Harvey Dent died a
hero. And the political system is still full of deceptive and greedy
aristocrats. Bane uses this to create animosity within the populace of the
city. If Gotham City is divided against itself, it cannot stand. Bane convinces
the people to take control of their cityhe gives them false hopea fact he
wishes to make very clear to Bruce Wayne.
Bane wishes for Bruce to suffer as he
sufferedhe throws him into the same Pit where he spent so many years. Bane
explains to him:
Home, where I learned the truth about despair, as will you.
There’s a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth…Hope. Every man who
has ventured here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined
climbing to freedom. So easy… So simple… Many have died trying. I learned here
that there can be no true despair without hope. So, as I terrorize Gotham, I
will feed its people hope to poison their souls. I will let them believe they
can survive so that you can watch them clamoring over each other to “stay in
the sun.” You can watch me torture an entire city and when you have truly
understood the depth of your failure…then you have my permission to die.
Bruce must suffer greatly, and through this
suffering he learns to let go of his grief for his parents and Rachel. Just as
he must learn to let go of the rope he thinks will save him while climbing out
of The Pit, he must also let go of the grief that tied him down for so long in
order to be truly set free and live his life. What Bane can never
understandand what Bruce finally understands fullyis that through failure we
can learn to pick ourselves back up. And that hope can also save us.
Catwoman, played surprisingly well by Anne
Hathaway, is a fallen girl trying to turn her life around. As Batman says,
“Gotham is not beyond saving.” Neither is any one man or woman. Catwoman is a
very clear example of this truth. She hopes to clear her record as a thief and
begin life anew. At first seen as very selfish and crafty, Catwoman’s dynamic
character blossoms amidst her unusual friendship with Batman. He shows her that
she can be better than a thiefshe can help herself and others and earn
reconciliation. Hope is not lost for Catwoman, and she indeed proves herself.
Batman also redeems himself as he saves the
city of Gotham. The end of the film is riddled with war, self-sacrifice, and
reconciliationhope does not lead to despair, as Bane wanted, but rather to new
beginnings. Life will go one for Gotham
City, and so too for Batmanjust maybe not as expected.
Dark Knight Rises
is a compelling film for both comic-book
readers and serious film critics. It poses many questions surrounding hope and
truth, while telling a story of true heroism. The film seems to echo many of
the current political issues, as well as address many issues of the human soul.
Its length may seem daunting, but for me, it was the only way to do justice to
a film such as this. I hope that many of you will appreciate the gravity of
this movie as much as I did.