Very rarely do I rush out of the theaters after a movie. Usually I casually clean up my trash or I stay to the very end (though usually this is reserved for Marvel movies). Tonight, after seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I practically skipped out of the theater for two reasons. One, I didn’t want to hear what anyone else in the audience thought of the movie. Their comments might be disillusioned and could jade my opinion of the movie. And two, because I wanted to get home as soon as possible to write down everything I saw. I didn’t actually wait until I got home though. A poor Target receipt took a beating throughout the movie as I jotted down my favorite moments and ideas that came up throughout. When the receipt was covered with jotted notes, my hand was next to be covered by ink. I want to state here that I will spend the rest of this post praising The Dark Knight Rises and if you haven’t seen it, I will spoil the movie. Very rarely do I discourage people to read my writing, but this is a one time exception. I was very careful to cover my eyes and ears from reviews and critiques of the movie before I saw it and I hope you do the same. I’d hate it if my ideas and thoughts tainted the movie in it’s purest form for you. So I beg you, if you haven’t seen the movie, please stop reading.
Still with me? Good! The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t just a movie for me… it was a masterpiece. It was a true art. I can’t think of one single detail that I might’ve changed. And I’m oddly protective of the movie. Even while I was watching the movie in the theaters a man yawned… loudly. I had to resist the urge to punch him very hard.
The first and most obvious critique would be to compare this movie to its predecessors. I’m can’t be the only one that couldn’t help but smile when they brought Scarecrow back. What I found most unique about The Dark Knight Rises compared to the other films is the use of color. What a difference of lightness and brightness this film is when compared to the dreary, noir look of the first installment. Each shot was choreographed and framed with a careful eye and there was such a sharp, crisp look to each scene. Audiences didn’t need 3D glasses to see the slightest furrow of a brow or a crinkle of a police officers suit. These details were displayed in a way that was beautiful to the eye. Finally, what I especially love is the political stance that’s taken by Chris Nolan and the creators of these films. The idea of “putting power back into the hands of the people” and then flipping the idea that the people really don’t have any control. And that there are the select few that rule everything else anyway. This point was obviously made in The Dark Knight boat/bomb scene and even more so now in The Dark Knight Rises bomb detonator scene. The point of helplessness and ignorance is heavily pronounced with the idea that a symbol becomes more important than what the symbol actually does. I think it’s a definite stab at our current political climate in many ways.
Chris Nolan is the king of what does and doesn’t need to be seen. It’s why people continue to talk about the final scene Inception. I mean, Inception is a great movie, but without that ending it could’ve become quickly forgettable. In The Dark Knight Rises, I found the scene that he most creatively used this technique was in the very beginning, when Bane takes over the plane as a hostage. After a long and confusing struggle, Bane is lifted out of the plane… just as the plane plummets to the ground. But Nolan doesn’t waste any time showing the plane crash to the ground. He knows that’s what the audience expects to see. And therefore, we’re more shocked when the next scene has nothing to do with Bane at all. Though I found the end of TDKR to be one of the most satisfactory endings I’ve ever seen, I do wonder why when Alfred is sitting in the Florence cafe that Chris Nolan decided to show Bruce and Selina. Perhaps he wanted audiences to be sure that the two become a couple, but (and this is the only detail I had issue with in the entire movie) I might’ve preferred to see the simple look of recognition on Alfred’s face. I didn’t need to see what Bruce was alive… I knew that already. And honestly, I’m not sure if I cared that Selina and Bruce ended up together. But it did make me feel warm and fuzzy inside to have the clarification… so maybe that’s what Nolan wanted. Maybe he thought audiences deserved that warm and fuzzy moment as a reward for all the neck breaking and gun shots that they had endured for the past 2 1/2 hours.
This also brings me to the point of the Batman women. For so long they’ve been interchangeable and forgettable. Did audiences really care about Katie Holmes or Maggie Gyllenhaal? I know I forgot about them! (Though I must admit, I like that Nolan only chooses brunettes!) But this time around the creators finally got the women right. Not only do they provide the largest plot turn and surprises, but they’re strong willed, independent women. For the second time in her career Anne Hathaway made me forget that she’s Anne Hathaway. No longer the awkward princess, she epitomized feline sensuality and abilities. I believed her stunts, I believed her tender moments and for the first time ever, I found her incredibly sexy. I admit, after I left the theater I felt myself walking in her powerful, demanding and cat-like pace. I don’t want to just dress up as Catwoman for Halloween… I want to be her everyday. Also, I appreciated that they didn’t just place silly cat ears on her. Those ears served a purpose! They became eyewear!
The most obvious twist and turn was the introduction of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character. I am so infatuated with that man! The slightest twist of his expression is so defined and so adorable! I found it odd that he became such a huge part of the cohesion in the movie until the very end, when his purpose was revealed. And I must say… I’m overjoyed. He’s a great actor and though it never honestly occurred to me, I think he will perform the role as Robin incredibly well. Why have I always had a bigger crush on the Robin’s than the Batman’s?
Other, less concise thoughts:
Bane’s voice was kind of silly and somewhat hard to understand (was that just me?). It was as if Sean Connery’s voice was shouting from underwater. But I did love that he had a signature stance… an almost classy, tugging at your suspenders kind of stance. And I loved that leather aviator-looking jacket. I’m not sure if there was any significance to that… but I enjoyed his styling all the same. Also… Bane was played by Tom Hardy? What?? I couldn’t even see an ounce of Tom Hardy-ness in that role. He’s a fantastic actor.
I felt cheated that I already knew so much about the gadgets in this movie. I’d already seen all the online sneak peaks throughout the years. The flying car/airplane thing? AMAZING. The new motorcycle with amazing breaks and turns? Kill me now! They didn’t hold back when it came to outstanding effects and technologies in this film.
Watching The Dark Knight Rises made me feel more than a little nostalgic. I remember when I saw The Dark Knight at a drive in movie theater with a cute boy 4 summers ago. And it feels like a lifetime ago. I’d been waiting so long for this movie that I felt that it was very likely that I could leave the theater feeling disappointed, but I can honestly say that this movie was worth the wait and more. To me, it was perfect in every way. There’s a lot to take in, but I didn’t feel that any story line was left unattended… it’s my belief that the creators truly wanted audiences to be happy with the outcome. I know I was.