Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review of The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises, the final movie in Christopher Nolan's Batman saga, lies under the dark cloud of the tragedy that took place on opening night.  While it is appropriate to acknowledge that, that tragedy does not, and should not, reflect on the movie itself.

My wife and I saw The Dark Knight Rises  in Imax.  This can make for an intense experience, but I find it a lot less annoying than 3-D.  And really, when I watch a movie, it's more for the story than the "experience."  And I felt that the story of The Dark Knight Rises delivered. There was a lot of talk about the politics of The Dark Knight Rises even before it came out, about the political statements it might make and how it tied into the Occupy movement.  For all that it does echo some of those themes, it more closely parallels the French Revolution than anything in modern politics.  The themes of the French Revolution are always rich for mining, of how the quest for justice can turn into murderous revenge.  It is a line which the character of Batman has always walked, driven as he is by the murder of his parents.  The first movie in the series was, in essence, how Bruce Wayne turned from a revenge-seeking boy into the Batman, a vigilante for justice. And how that quest drove him to try to save Gotham, while others, also claiming to seek justice, sought to destroy it. The Dark Knight Rises revisits that theme, but this time asking whether the whole city of Gotham can make that same decision, choosing justice, with all its imperfections and flaws, over revenge.  It is a question that cannot be fully answered, because it is a personal question, one each individual must decide for themselves.  And in the end, the strength of those individuals who do what is right may win the day, but the challenge rises anew each day. That, at least, is how I read the theme of the movie.

In pursuing this theme, there are a lot of surprises, and violence, and explosions. Plus new toys for Batman.  There was one plot twist which I had some vague inklings of, but my wife didn't see coming at all.  Others more familiar with the Batman canon may catch it sooner.  Overall, I liked the movie a lot, and definitely recommend it.  And if you don't care much about the deeper themes, focus on the violence and the explosions.

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