The Dark Knight Rises, 2012

In Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, Bruce-Batman has oscillated between seemingly opposite poles, even as he’s always come out a superhero. He is both savior and destroyer, as well as both human and beast.  The seemingly blunt story of good versus evil is certainly an old, familiar tale that Mr. Nolan, in between juggling the cool bat toys, and hard punches has layered alternately with open and barely veiled references to terrorism, the surveillance state and vengeance as a moral imperative. 

And so, despite the reclusive facade that Mr. Wayne has willingly taken on after taking the fall for a beloved mayor and being in mourning for the woman he loved, he is forced to rise up and go out again to battle the even more graver forces of evil and take an even greater fall.

For the dark knight rises indeed, but he does so very slowly and after much personal catharsis.  As one of the men says to another, “Dial it back, officer.  The situation is unprecedented.”  That is but a mere understatement as we soon find out.

Bale is brilliant in his role and gives as tight a performance as one might imagine.  Orphaned at a young age, this is a beast-man who still checks his scars every so often, and makes every attempt to ensure that his legacy for the poor and orphaned in the city of Gotham is perhaps his greatest legacy. 

The story is not without holes, however, the die-hard fans will tend to gloss over these questions and choose to focus instead on the other stellar elements of the movie:  the themes of sacrifice, selflessness, resilience, deceit, loyalty, and a change of heart for the better when all hope seems to be gone. 

A tip of the hat to Liam Neeson, the masterful teacher, Michael Caine, the affectionate uncle/butler, Marion Cottilard, the new love interest, and Anne Hathaway, the petty thief who thinks she’s a cat.

Thanks for the ride, Bruce/Batman.  You think Robin is up to taking up your mantle?


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