MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Warner Brother's Pictures
Directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway
A few years ago writer-director Christopher Nolan (with the help of David S. Goyer) recreated a dark and challenging version of Batman, a celebrated comic book character that has been around since 1939. Batman is the alter-ego of millionaire Bruce Wayne, orphaned after seeing his parents killed in cold blood as a child, raised by Albert (Michael Caine), his guardian, and trained in martial arts and dedicated to fighting corruption in his home town of Gotham (a very much New York-like urban landscape). Batman has a friend in Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), who is unaware that he is actually Bruce Wayne.
2005’s Batman Begins told the origin story, ending with a brutal battle against political corruption in Gotham. The Dark Knight (2008) continued the saga, with The Joker (the late Heath Ledger), an embodiment of senseless evil, upping the ante for Batman. In that chapter, Batman took the fall for the death of politico Harvey Dent / Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart) while grieving the brutal death of his girlfriend. A disgraced hero, willing to sacrifice his life for others, Batman was beginning to move into Jesus territory. Not to worry – this movie dials everything down
The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after the last film, with Bruce Wayne an out-of-shape recluse and the economy in the dumpster. Obviously, we’ve got to get this guy in shape, back on the job, with a good reason to combat evil again
The villain in this film is Bane (Tom Hardy), a provocateur of the masses who is intent on creating an uprising of the people. Somehow, he just shows up and has thousands of followers. A bit of back-story of his rise to power would have helped, especially since there are a lot of flashbacks and exposition about other things.
Overall, the story telling is choppy and unsatisfying, the two fight scenes between Batman and Bane are boring, the pace is slow (the film is 2 hours 45 minutes long), new gadgets are introduced and underused, and Cat Woman (the enjoyable Anne Hathaway) seems to exist in a funnier, sunnier movie altogether.
The film does seem to bring the Dark Knight story full-circle, including some nice links to the first movie and some touching final chapter moments with Alfred and Gordon, but everything seems generic and watered-down. It’s a passable long distance run that gets better in the last hour, once the endorphins kick in. If you’ve seen the first two films, you should see the third film and take your medicine. But, like medicine, it’s necessary but not altogether that enjoyable.
Three halos: A stylish, overlong and somewhat bland conclusion to the Dark Knight Trilogy, it still has a moral heart at its core.
Two pitchforks For a violent, negative villain; brief swearing; a James Bond-ish scene of implied hanky panky.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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