The Dark Knight Rises – Spoileriffic
I wasn’t able to see The Dark Knight Rises until Tuesday. I’ve managed to stay almost completely free of spoilers for the film, which is rare for me.
If I don’t see a movie early in the run, I don’t care about spoilers. I’ve enjoyed movies when I’ve known “too much” as much as movies when I’ve gone in with a blank slate. A good movie is a good movie.
Sure, Cabin in the Woods is a better film if you go in completely blind. But it’s a good movie anyway. There’s an additional layer of enjoyment if you don’t know anything going into the film but I still look forward to watching it again.
Let’s face it. Every viewing after the first is filled with spoilers.
I’m getting seriously off track.
I didn’t need to be spoiler free to see The Dark Knight Rises but I’m glad I was. If you haven’t seen it yet and would prefer to avoid spoilers, read no further. Yeah, I just spent all that time warning you to stop reading this post if you haven’t seen the film.
Sorry about that.
The Dark Knight Rises is not a perfect film but I’m not interested in focusing on its flaws because what it did right is so important to me.
This film marks the seventh time modern filmmakers have tackled Batman (not counting animated films). There have been good attempts (Batman), great attempts (The Dark Knight), and horrible attempts (Batman & Robin). Up until now, I don’t think there has been a single Batman film that was actually about Batman.
I mean, he’s the central character, right? Batman is the guy we came to watch, isn’t he?
Yet the only thing we talk about in The Dark Knight is The Joker. Heath Ledger knocked it out of the park, yes. But he was working with a script that gave him the opportunity to do so.
Tim Burton’s Batman was even more shamelessly focused on The Joker. I suppose if I had Jack Nicholson chewing up scenery with that level of skill, I’d forget about Batman as well. Still, where is the love for the guy the movie is supposed to be about?
As good a job as Nolan had done creating the world in which Batman and Bruce Wayne operate, he still hadn’t created the characters of Batman and Bruce Wayne.
Perhaps Nolan had planned it all along. He wanted to keep Batman/Bruce Wayne something of an enigma for a while.
Whatever Nolan’s reasons for waiting (if indeed he was waiting), he finally gave us a story about the Batman. Bane is not the central character in this film. Batman is the central character. It’s about time.
At the end of Kill Bill, Volume 2, Bill has a speech about how Bruce Wayne isn’t batman but Superman isn’t Clark Kent. I love the speech but it is completely wrong.
Bruce Wayne is Batman. Whether he has the mask on or not, his identity is completely wound up with Batman. If you are telling a story about Bruce Wayne, you are telling a story about Batman.
The Dark Knight Rises is about that simple truth. When Batman is forced to go into hiding, Bruce Wayne goes into hiding as well. Is that a coincidence? No – because Wayne’s psyche is tied to being Batman. If Batman is laying low, so is he.
Because Bruce Wayne is Batman.
This film is all about that fact. Alfred can’t handle the fact that Wayne will never break free from that identity. Blake recognizes Wayne is the Batman because he feels the same anger inside himself and is looking for a similar way to turn that anger into something positive.
Bruce Wayne can’t hide from Batman because he is Batman.
Isn’t it about time we see a Batman film that deals with the reality of the Batman/Bruce Wayne character? A film that is truly about him?
We love this character so much that he has ended up on screen over and over again. We shovel money into producers’ pockets because we want to see a movie about Batman.
Instead we get movies about Catwoman or The Joker or even Gotham City (because Batman Begins was really about Gotham City). We don’t get movies about Batman.
We finally have that movie and while it has some flaws, I loved it simply because someone finally realized that the story a lot of us wanted to see was a story about the title character.
Thanks Mr. Nolan. And bravo.