Brief Examination: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)


I greatly admire the Dark Knight Rises, the third, and final part of writer/director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy on the Caped Crusader. It attempts to do what few films in the comic book movie genre have tried to do. This is to dream of being a comic book movie epic, and be in the same company as Superman The Movie, Superman II and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Unfortunately like Icarus it flies too close to the sun and ends up crashing and burning, albeit in a fascinating and emotional way. Its major problem is its screenplay; reports had surfaced before the film came out that the Nolan brothers, Jonathan, and Christopher, had penned a 400-page script and that it had to be cut in half. Watching the film, this certainly feels like this is the case. At its heart, the film wants to be about how the 1% have been lazy, apathetic and ultimately deceitful and how they get up their comeuppance and society breaks down because of this intrinsic fact. But it unites in the ashes of the death of a man and his dramatic example of how one man can make a difference.

However, the film loses track of this idea. It instead veers of in another direction in the form of a plot point that while poetic and the lynchpin of the title, just serves to undermine the film with one too many twist and installment ties. What would have improved these two seemingly disparate elements is if the pit, were centralised in Gotham, and it contained a good number of the city’s elite class. They bear witness to Bruce Wayne rising as Batman again and, as a result, their resolve and apathy are diametrically opposed to what it used to be. As a result of this, they are inspired and fight for Gotham once they are freed from the prison.

The biggest problem with The Dark Knight Rises and its portrait of its central theme is that there is no one to speak for the disillusioned. The people who do represent these positions are not enough to carry the plight of millions, and when Nolan does try to portray the people’s revolution. It is done in montage and never referred to again in the writing. It is a shame that this is so, as in the fabric of the narrative resides some great ideas that continue the implications of the ending of The Dark Knight. The picture is too ambitious for its own good and, as a result, it remains an interesting, massive and emotional mess, that does try.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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