Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Valley Review of Dark Knight Rises!

[Spoilers ahead! -- HERE THERE BE DRAGONS!] 

[If you wish to skip the storyline and go straight to the Review, go to SPOILERS END and keep reading]

Characters of Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight ended in a story of falling and redemption for Harvey Dent.  Gotham City was saved, but Batman took the fall for Two-Face.  

Gotham City's top cop, Commissioner Gordon worked between the movies (8 years in film time) with the Mayor (and the absent from the story, Gotham City Council -- I'm in politics, I can't help knowing how laws are made!) to create the Dent Act. 

Organized crime is absent from Gotham City as is reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne.  Batman, still wanted by Gotham City Police Department [GCPD] is also gone, hidden by the lie.

The movie starts with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) acknowledging Dent.  Meanwhile, across the world, Bane is stealing a scientist from the CIA.  Bane's people are so loyal, they are willing to die for him.  The plane scene is incredibly done and Bane, played by Tom Hardy (of Inception) follows the mood of the comic book. 

In the First Act a missing Congressman plays a role in the audience meeting Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), GCPD Cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Gordon's first meeting with Bane (with enormous consequences for the rest of the movie). In the sewers, there is a story that is hidden. The new Deputy Commissioner (who still wants to be the man who got Batman) is uninterested what is below.  Meanwhile, above the city, John Dagget, a man building the underground, is trying to take over Wayne Enterprises. 

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is still smarting over being unable to bring Fusion Power as "Smart Energy," for Gotham City. The Fusion Reactor plays a big role in Act Three.  Keep following this story.

All the pieces are in place, then Catwoman tries to steal something from Wayne's home and the story begins.  A chase between two characters, which continues throughout the story, leads to two character arcs.

Act Two begins with Bane attacking Gotham Stock Exchange. Batman finally returns to Gotham going after Bane, but in a twist, Batman, is chased by the GCPD. 

Catwoman helps Batman find Bane in the sewers. Secrets are learned and backs are broken.

Bane exiles Batman to a prison underground; Then he leads the GCPD on a merry chase into the sewers and then the story turns Dark.

At Gotham Stadium, Bane destroys Gotham using underground bombs and destroys the bridges too, just like in No Man's land. 

"Let the games begin!" says Bane, as Gotham City is destroyed from underground. 

Here the plot ends, the review begins.


I enjoyed it.  

What makes Nolan's Batman movies worthwhile, is just like in the comics, there is something to refer back to an earlier issue (movie).   That's getting the comic book geek.  

Most comic book movies try to make the comic stuff more silly, instead Nolan brought the characters to a reality not unlike our own.  People are flawed, things don't work, and others have different goals. Even in the dark second and Third Acts, with all Gotham City loses, we human beings have a capability of bouncing back.  

The theme of Hope is carried throughout.  Bane, upends society to make [SPOILERS AGAIN] a People's Republic of Gotham i.e Occupy [wherever].  It is run by terror and fear, not by Hope. [SPOILERS END].  If, a super hero movie can show that theoretical ideas don't work (waving "Hi!" to you Occupy folk), then it is more then a movie, it is a movie that will last long. 

Bane and Catwoman (and a third unmentioned enemy) aren't just Straw People for Batman to battle, but flesh and bone people who represent different goals, and in the end, different futures.

GCPD John Blake was a welcome edition to the franchise.  His role in the denouement even more so.  Again, through him the story of Wayne/Batman moves because of a shared history.  Nolan shows that Even the Common Man can do Great Things (my philosophy too!) 

Nolan has set the standards for Comic book movies:
1)  Don't make the world the hero and others live unreal, make them close to reality and build on character and story.  

2) The comics have the Story Foundation, but adapt it to Real World settings and watch the audiences come in.  

And Nolan does something even more striking, he expects his audiences to be intelligent.  Not a bad thing to ask.  

My only questions for Christopher Nolan (should I ever meet him here in the Southland) is: How did you do the bridges? And would he do a Marvel Comic movie? 

I rate the movie Five out of Five Stars. 

Go see and enjoy.  Let me know what you think of the movie in the comments. 

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