EDITORIAL: In Defence Of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES; The Greatest Comic Book Movie Of All-Time
2012 was a great year for movies, but when it comes to the superhero genre, it seems as if it always comes down to The Avengers vs. The Dark Knight Rises. Well, I'm not here to argue about those two, but I will be defending the one I consider to be the greatest CBM of all-time....
The Dark Knight was an incredible movie, and is considered by the majority to be not only the best instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but also perhaps even the greatest comic book movie ever. It’s actually hard to argue with those who say this, especially after Heath Ledger’s powerful and unforgettable performance. In fact, until July 20th, 2012, I would have agreed with those people, but then The Dark Knight Rises came along. Many loved it, but equally as many simply could not forgive what they considered to be huge plot holes or an extremely controversial ending. I get it; I really do. How then can I say that the finale of this epic three part story is the best of not only the trilogy, but also the entire comic book genre? Well, it’s easy…because it is!
Firstly, let’s address some of the biggest complaints about the movie. Ones which, you know, people are STILL bringing up in arguments over a year later (hence why I’m addressing some of them here). For example, how did Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham City after escaping the pit? What, you don’t think travelling in poverty for all those years without a passport in Batman Begins didn’t teach him a few tricks? He couldn’t have an offshore account somewhere? There are actually perfectly reasonable explanations you could think up for this, not to mention stuff like Alfred’s whereabouts during Bane’s siege on Gotham or how Batman managed to paint his symbol on one of Gotham’s bridges. Admittedly, this could be countered with the argument that it’s up to the filmmakers to explain these sorts of plot developments, but are audiences truly so stupid that everything must be spelled out to them? We’re talking about a movie where the lead character dresses up as a Bat and fights crime. If you can accept that, you should be able to get over the fact that there was seemingly not enough time for Bruce to eject himself from The Bat before the bomb exploded. Also, we’re talking about a movie which was already over two and a half hours long. Why waste that time explaining this type of thing?!
Complaints and leaps in logic such as these can be found in almost every single comic book movie out there; even The Avengers! Oh, and those claims that the Talia reveal made Bane look weak are laughable. Was the flashback to the prison not enough to explain why the villain would be so devoted to her? And what’s the issue with how Bane was taken out by Catwoman? Batman had been stabbed and badly beaten. Someone had to save him and we had already seen two BIG fights between the Caped Crusader and Bane. The latter being taken out in yet another would have been nothing short of tedious by that point.
Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get to what it is that makes me view The Dark Knight Rises as my all-time favourite comic book movie. You see, there really aren’t all that many movies which leave you with a true sense of astonishment by the time the credits roll, but this is without a doubt one of them. It is simply incredible. I also find it difficult to think of other films which have as many chill inducing moments. Whether it was the first time Bruce suits up again as Batman and Hans Zimmer’s amazing score swells as the GCPD pursue him, or Jim Gordon finally realising who it is behind the mask, The Dark Knight Rises should send a chill down even a non-comic book fan’s spine. If, like me, you were lucky enough to head into this movie without having anything spoiled, the simple fact that Batman dies – or so we’re led to believe for a few minutes at least – the revelation the he survived or the “controversial” scene with John “Robin” Blake, you’ll agree that it’s a movie which takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Oh, and while we all speculated about it happening, if you didn’t audibly gasp when Bane “Broke The Bat”, you’re dead inside!
For me, there’s a lot to love about The Dark Knight Rises, and little to nothing to hate. It’s a film full of powerhouse performances, with the existing cast members (I’m obviously talking about the likes of Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman) all continuing to superbly develop their characters – simultaneously making it extremely difficult for anyone who follows to live up to them – and new additions such as Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway giving it their all and proving to be easily as impressive. This was no easy feat for the latter two after Heath Ledger’s Academy Award winning take on The Joker. It’s also a beautifully shot and scored film - thank you Wally Pfister and Hans Zimmer – which is of course just the icing on the perfectly written and directed Christopher Nolan cake. Bane’s speech outside of the prison packs an especially powerful punch, partly due to the fact it contains so many real life parallels. While Christopher Nolan has often been criticised for how he directs action, how can you fault any of the action in The Dark Knight Rises? The scene in the sewer (which is scored by the noise of fists hitting flesh and groans of pain instead of Zimmer) is a master class in filmmaking, and as many amazing fight sequences that there are in this genre, Batman and Bane’s battle easily ranks among the best.
Ultimately, it’s almost difficult to put into words just how great The Dark Knight Rises is in my eyes. Like The Empire Strikes back and The Avengers, it’s just one of those movies which has that “It” factor. Whether any future Batman or superhero movies will be able to top this remains to be seen, but for time being, I don’t see anyone being able to take Christopher Nolan’s crown.
What do you guys think?
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