The Dark Knight Trilogy -- Christopher Nolan's Third Acts
(SPOILERS) Christopher Nolan has delivered what is undoubtedly the best ComicBookMovie trilogy of all time and arguably one of the best sagas in movie history. Yet despite his near-excellence in each of his movies, his third acts always seem to attract most of the debate.
The Dark Knight Rises accomplished what has rarely been done in the movie industry: give a definite conclusion to a story's arc told through multiple installments. Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was a story that began with Bruce Wayne's motivations, continued through his difficult decisions and ended with his rebirth, retirement and passing of the legacy. Yet even though those final 5 minutes in The Dark Knight Rises where some of the finest and most compelling storytelling in recent movie history (and extremely satisfying in terms of these characters), the 3rd act had its missteps and minor disappointments. Personally, I have felt this way with most of Christopher Nolan's movies, even though I end up completely praising his work.
With Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is encountered in the third act with the repercussions of abandoning the League of Shadows, which with Rhas Al Ghul, travel to Gotham to complete their journey. Rhas crashes Wayne's birthday party, burn his house, set hell to Gotham and then fight with Batman till his inevitable defeat. In complete retrospect, this sound like a great ending and it is, yet it felt like the most disjointed segment of the film. When the narrows are taken hostage and the poison released up to when Batman fights Rhas, the film stumbles, not with the story, but with the elements in the direction and editing, in my opinion. The images of the fire breathing horse, the screams of the people, the inmates released, the train fight, all was great, but the whole scene composition feels unrigid, disjointed, trying to balance havoc, with mythology, themes and some comedy. Ultimately the ending of this movie is incredible (the Joker card), yet up to where Rachel tells Bruce her famous line, it just did not feel as excellent as what preceded (maybe, Katie Holme's horrible acting).
Now in The Dark Knight, which had flawless direction and editing throughout the entire movie, the final act, a glorious in-building fight sequence, with the Joker threatening to blow up two civilian boats, did not feel like the grand master ending to all of the Joker's plans. It felt a bit repetitious and anti-climactic, especially after the great middle, with The Joker's chase/imprisonment/interrogation/Two-face birth scenes. Again, the conclusion if absolutely fantastic, with the Joker dangling upside down midair and reciting some great lines to cement his mark: "Gravity like madness.... all it takes is a little push" is my favorite line of the whole movie. And the one-two emotional punch of Two-Face taking Gordon's family hostage and Batman taking the credit for the crimes is absolutely engrossing. But again, the scenes before, seem uneven.
Finally, in The Dark Knight Rises, I believe the climax presented is the best of the whole trilogy, since it practically is the climax to the WHOLE trilogy. The all out brawl between the people and the terrorists is epic, the feeling of dread and time elapsing rush is felt and the last 10 minutes or so deliver wonders. Yet, the problem here lies in the villain. The villain's role switches from Bane to Talia in a blink of an eye. Bane, a villain I truly felt could be greater than the Joker, in all aspects, did not meet Joker's grandeur, not because of the actor's performance, but because the writers did not finish him off properly. The "origin" was fantastic, but it ended up being Talia's and Bane was quickly finished off with one blow from the pod by Selina. Now, I believe TDKR was fantastic, yet if these errors where to be corrected, it would have TRULY had people saying "This beats TDK".
Just imagine if the origin in the prison where to have been Bane's, with Talia and Rhas adopting Bane after his escape, training with the LOS, falling for Talia, avenging Rha's death, etc., Bane would have had a much stronger and deeper motif for his actions and Talia's poor development would not have been felt that much. And now imagine if instead of being blown by Selina, Bane would have just been hurt and after Talia's death continued to fight Batman until his body gave up (you guys can fill in the details to your liking) giving him a deeper ending and death where HIS soul where broken.
THAT would have made this film truly superior to The Dark Knight, even though I still believe The Dark Knight Rises is greater in terms of direction, character development, emotion and overall focus to Bruce's character.
I think Christopher Nolan is a great and gifted director, who gives us great movies because he takes the time to develop and birth them with care. Yet, he has difficulty in bringing excellent climaxes (at least compared to the rest of the film's parts, which seem flawless). I even thought this in Inception, but I don't wan't to go into that one now.
Even though, he has brought to the table what very few have done before. And little flaws in his movies are flaws many other director's wish they had.
I AM INTERESTED IN HEARING WHAT YOU GUYS THINK ABOUT THESE SPECIFIC SCENES IN TDKR (BANE'S DEATH, TALIA'S REVEAL) IF YOU GUYS WANT TO COMMENT PLEASE DO SO, TO HAVE A GREAT DISCUSSION. BUT PLEASE FOCUS ON THESE SCENES SPECIFICALLY.
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