The Dark Night Rises

I was a huge fan of The Dark Knight and looked forward to The Dark Knight Rises. Others, more eloquent than I have begun to speak about the killings in Aurora. I can only add my prayers. I also hope  meaningful limits on automatic weapons can be enacted. It won’t stop every mad person but it might stop some. For me, that is enough.

I found Rises disappointing. I liked but didn’t love it as I’d hoped to. The performances are solid enough, although Marion Cotillard (Miranda) must stop playing crazies. Those goo goo eyes are capable, to paraphrase Batman, of much more than that, no matter how artful (PiafInception).  Tom Hardy does a great job with the inherent limitations of Bane but in the end he is undone by the narrative, itself.  He really has no agency. He is Miranda’s tool, a ferociously underdeveloped and uninteresting character.  The hold that she has on him is inexplicable. What is Matthew Modine playing at?

Anne Hathaway’s Selena Kyle is never referred to as Catwoman. Smart move. The filmmakers wisely avoid comparisons to Halle Berry’s misadventure and to the respective triumphs of Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Michelle Pfeiffer. She is an attractive woman but lacks the sexual charge of Newmar, Kitt or Pfeiffer. Like Natalie Portman, she is perfect for the fan boy age.

The film has too many loose ends.  The revelations about Harvey Dent come to nothing. Likewise, the corruption of Commissioner Gordon. At some point, the flashbacks, Macguffins, and analogies – however unintentional, the script had to predate OWS – started to overwhelm me.  What’s going to happen with Bruce Wayne’s impoverishment?  And why didn’t it occur to them to have Batman tow out the bomb earlier?

I loved the effects, gloriously moody cinematography and scale of the thing. There was a lot of skill in how the previous films were weaved into the film. It makes it difficult to evaluate the film on its own but that is probably beside the point for such a pop culture juggernaut.

In the end, I wish the film were more subversive.  The hinted at big ideas are only a chimera.  When you see Alfred’s character realize his dream of domestic tranquility for Bruce Wayne and Selena have her chance at a fresh start, and Robin – younger, more energetic, more earnest – begin his ascent, you understand what it’s all about.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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