The Dark Knight Rises, with Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine. Christopher Nolan, Director. Those who know of, or always followed the adventures of Batman will appreciate the tradition of the Caped Crusader, his wars with himself & intolerance of injustice. Those that grew up with Batman of the “comic books”, the great art & monthly adventures will understand the deep meanings of personal turmoil & unhappiness embodied in the character of Batman. This last interpretation of Nolan’s Dark Knight was an epic in memorial & could only satisfy those of us, with many decades under our belts, who wanted so much for the Director to succeed.
I know that Bale is known for his quick temper but he’s now famous for being a perfectionist. Reflecting the director’s intent & the inherited task of depicting the notorious superhero, his moods, failings – victories. What better actor could have played Batman? I can’t think of any; not when Bale has worked so hard at his craft to become our current penultimate action star. Yes, he’s a jackass, but that’s irrelevant because he is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Also, he’s not one to steal the show or hog the spotlight. Especially with a cast of numerous talents, each doing their “duty” & job to bring this series to a conclusion.
This last installment of the series picks up years after the episode, with Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, having spent many years as a recluse nursing his wounds from the previous traumas. Vintage Batman behavior, let me tell you. With this guy, it’s always something. I think we all know someone like him & (perhaps) that’s why he was originally created in the first place. In this age of diagnosis favoring bipolar disorder instead of heroism & human recklessness, we must remember that some (if not each of us separately) are capable of throwing themselves under a train in order to save that wayward child, who wandered onto the wrong track. Instead of calling nine one one & waiting for the police to save the day. You know that’s not the police duty, don’t you? They’re “enforcers” only. Anything else is extra curricular activity.
Hathaway’s performance as Catwoman was understated, something I was relieved to see. There was no place for an out of place, whip-wielding dominatrix as we’ve seen in many years gone by. A hard knocks gal, minus the Cleopatra effect & hips. It’s awfully nice living in a time when our costume designers go easy on the actors & let them shine through the outfits. Though no great beauty, Hathaway is very pretty & sinuous, as a cat truly is. Therefore; I dub her the best Catwoman ever to grace a Batman’s screen! Besides, she’s got depth in her character portrayals.
Caine & Oldman each back the story’s endeavor with solid performances. Whoever edited their filmed performances was careful to cut out the excess melodrama, if you know what I mean. Good actors, capable of overdoing it would need to rely on an editor to make them human. Whether they would admit it or not. What we see is believable, dramatic, supportive. Oldman is a favorite of mine, I don’t think I would have minded if he’d been allowed off his leash. But of course, that’s not my call. Just my criticism.
I’m safe in my review, because there’s no way I would be too critical of this film. I like Batman, the old comic books & science fiction in general. I’d heard that some reviewers got death threats & various broadcast hatred for whatever reviews (which I didn’t read) they made, which were none too pleasing to the obsessive-compulsive nerds that may be our neighbors, friends or family. So… I’m going to find something about this movie, that I didn’t like.
Perhaps the character, the film & the script would have been better served had it not done the traditional I’ve-got-it-rough-because-I’m-Batman introvert thing. After all, we’ve seen this time & time – & yes, time again. Let’s break that chamber pot & get a shallower dish! In the real world, if someone has every technological toy known to man, a billion dollars in the bank & beauteous courtiers falling all over them; they’re not going to be unhappy. Not really. It’s impossible! If they say so, then they’re liars. Being an orphan has it’s maudlin time limit & failing to protect someone or a distant betrayal of someone, somewhere along the line, is going to wear out & you really are going to go out for ice cream & a dance, moving forward. Over the top behavior is one thing, but we’ve seen our other superheroes show humanity on an average scale. Once in a while.
That said, I really do recommend this movie in all shapes & forms. The special effects were suitable, it seemed like there was a cast of thousands – plus the score of big names & it was able to conclude with surprises, bells & whistles. Closing the book on an story arc that was superb. Star Christian Bale is always something to see & there’s even a gorgeous Marion Cotillard to wet your appetite (for something or the other). Not to mention a great villain, which Hardy played with panache & no creepiness.
It’s really an enjoyable sit-down & one isn’t required to have seen the two previous episodes. These things are each self-contained movies in their own right.
As far as a moral, which these movies always contain: I saw that, however annoying, pathetic or obsessively introspective the Batman’s of our world are in their relationship to us & society – they have principles & a justice in them that just may set them apart from mere mortals. When they’re induced to pull their heads out of their shells of self-absorption. Some good in them is always ready to help in time of need.
I’m going to conclude here by noting that this trilogy started out with the first film losing the much anticipated actor Heath Ledger (who played the Joker), before it’s actual release. The trilogy has a history & it had a good run. Nothing lasts forever & even memories fade in time. Good entertainment cannot be soiled by the actions of the insane, bedeviled by their own stupidity & delusion. It’s all theater. A story that, in another age, would have been told around a fire or hearth, after a day of hunting & building.
Though there may be a moral to the story, in this day & age, fiction (for that is what this is) holds no role models. This is not myth (though some elevate it to that level) & it is definitely not non-fiction. Keep your perspectives straight & true.