Author’s Note: I have decided to write this review/critique/discussion of The Dark Knight Rises with the only mention of the tragedy in Colorado being this note. I do not want the monster who committed that atrocity of being the subject of my or any readers of this blogs discussion except to condemn it, voice an opinion that I believe he should suffer the fullest extent of the law, and be afforded pity for his inability to cope with reality. I don’t believe he should control the cultural discussion the way he has, and I believe that allowing him to stop me from writing this would be tantamount to giving the brand of terrorism he perpetrated. Much of my prayer and meditations will be with the family of those who were affected by this tragedy, and if any of them are reading this, I am very sorry for your loss. I want to discuss this movie in a sometimes comedic way, and I hope that you do not take it as disrespectful or irreverent, because that is not the intention. With that said, I hope all of you enjoy this article.
Let inaugurate this column with this: The Dark Knight Rises is an AMAZING film, and I will get to my gushing, love-filled review of it in a second. But I need to say something, and I want to preface my next statement by saying I’m a huge Batman fan. Not the biggest (I’m sure there’s someone out there who carved the bat-symbol into their chest and prances around all Silence of the Lambs-style), but I did wear a Batman costume to school at least once a week from Pre-Kindergarten-1st grade, and to this day I get the urge to growl “I’m Batman” whenever I’m asked for a name at a coffee shop. That being said, I have a confession to make: I’m no longer impressed by The Dark Knight.
When it first came out, I was thrilled. I thoroughly loved The Dark Knight, feeling (obliviously) that it was indeed the Batman movie I so richly deserved after the awesome set-up of Batman Begins. I have no idea when the honeymoon ended; maybe it was a growing ennui brought on from repeated viewings, or from me picking every tasty morsel of bat-goodness from the bat-carcass (I promise, I’m working on my bat-hyphen problem) of the film, but it happened and I felt my love for The Dark Knight grow tepid. I’ve gone over in my head (over and over until I get the bat-spins) all the problems with The Dark Knight: the Joker’s almost omniscient ability to read the future right up to the very end of the film; the fact that the only choice Batman is allowed to make in the movie is to not kill the Joker (because the Joker makes every other decision for him); or the fact that Christopher Nolan, despite his groundbreaking cinematic achievements, decides to follow the trend of killing off/never bringing back a villain for a sequel (except for Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow, the only villain-skein that runs throughout this trilogy). Heath Ledger is the shining bat-light in The Dark Knight, and I might feel differently had Heath Ledger been able to come back for a sequel, but alas his tragic death left a pair of clown-shoes no one could fill.
But my digression done, let me open up the flood gates: The Dark Knight Rises is amazing. Truly amazing. More amazing than The Amazing Spider-Man by far, and I feel a worthy competitor for the title of best comic movie ever, right next to The Avengers (they are both amazing in different ways). What sets The Dark Knight Rises apart from The Avengers is that while they are both excellent comic book movies, The Dark Knight Rises is an excellent FILM. It is a piece of art, and while it lacks spandex-ed super heroes CGI-ing bad guys through buildings and running amok through awesome set-pieces, it succeeds in concluding a Trilogy in a way that George Lucas could only hope to hire someone to imagine for him.
THE REST OF THIS IS CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS! DO NOT READ AFTER THE JUMP IF YOU A) HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE AND/OR B) DON’T LIKE PEOPLE DISCUSSING FACTS (IF IT’S A, GO OUT AND WATCH THE MOVIE. DON’T WORRY. I’LL WAIT. IF IT’S B, I’M PRETTY SURE YOU HAVE ROCK TO GO HIDE UNDER).