(Spoiler Alert – this post contains some spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises. If you don’t wish to be spoiled, please stop reading. While I’ve tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum — there isn’t a minute by minute plot analysis, honestly, proceed at your own risk)
I somehow got roped into going to see The Dark Knight Rises at the IMAX theater in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Waiting in line was a mess. Tickets from will call was a mess. Getting into the theater itself was a mess, and the show was delayed because a few people just would not sit down.
And then the movie.
So, Batman Begins was my favorite of the Nolan films. I thought it was just about a perfect Batman movie. I didn’t much care for The Dark Knight: I felt the movie depended less on a tightly scripted plot and more on action sequences and some psychic mind reading from the Joker.
So I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like The Dark Knight Rises. At the same time, there were a couple of things I really wanted to see, themes that had been in the previous films and that I felt deserved a pay off. Would Gordon learn Batman’s identity, and understand why the Bat trusted him all those years ago? Would Alfred get his wish for the man who was, basically, his son?
It’s been eight years since The Dark Knight. Batman hasn’t been seen since. The death of Harvey Dent at the hands of the Bat spurned Gotham into passing a series of laws which allowed the city to dismantle organized crime. “Soon we’re going to be running down overdue library books,” an earnest cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) complains to Gordon. But things are on the stir, the city needs the Bat, and there’s a sinister force after Bruce Wayne, a bearded recluse hobbling around an isolated wing of Wayne Manor.
About twenty or twenty-five minutes in we get our first really big action sequence. There’s a lot of gunfire. And as it ramped up, as you knew what was about to happen, because it was in all the news reports of the Aurora, Colorado massacre, that the gunman had waited until there’d been shooting on the screen, I won’t deny it: I felt my heart flutter.
The plot was not what I expected at all – Batman isn’t just defeated, he’s broken and cast aside and when finally he steps back into the shadows, always darkest just before the dawn, his return just SINGS. There were some surprises in the film – and I don’t mean like, “Oh, that’s Bunny Colvin from The Wire playing an Army captain” – and there was one that really took me by surprise. I saw someone on Twitter remark that she was “inceptioned” (and I’m assuming it was by this).
Also: it occurs to me that if Bain had watched the 1960s Batman TV show he would have known what not to do with Batman: when you’ve got him incapacitated, you don’t give him a chance to recover – you kill him. Your pride is your fall, Bain.
Hans Zimmer’s score is absolutely batdamn amazing.
And for fans of LOST and THE WIRE, lots of cameos: I recognized Aiden Gillen, Nestor Carbonell reprising his role as the mayor (still in office eight years later), Brett Cullen and Robert Wisdom (the aforementioned army captain). The end was, I felt, pretty appropriate: The Batman is dead. Long live the Batman.