2012 Prophesies: The Dark Knight Rises - Part 1
An analysis of the growing hype of the Dark Knight Rises and its likelihood of success.
With so many movies coming out this year and with the economy still in the tank, we are probably all wondering which films will be worth our time and which films will be a waste of both time and money.
I'd like to take a moment and break down future films of 2012 and analyze them for your benefit. What are the signs of a big hit, and what are things to be wary of? I'll try to be as fair as unbiased as possible. If I have opinions seeping in, I'll say so.
So what film will I start off with? Well, people have accused me of being a Nolanite so I'll start there.
For those of you who may have been in your bomb shelters for the last couple of years waiting for the Earth’s expiration date in December, you might have missed the hype of a film called the Dark Knight Rises. Also, if you’ve been under a rock since the last scare of Y2K, you might have never heard of a guy called Christopher Nolan. Well, for those doomsday enthusiasts out there, this brief history is for you.
In order to understand the debates over whether The Dark Knight Rises will be a good film or not, we need to understand the man that started this trilogy.
Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan created a big hit back in 2000, about ten months after the first end of the world was proven to be false. This movie was known as Memento starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano. It follows a story of a man who has his memories leading up to the murder of his wife but is unable to retain any new memories. “Everything just fades.” It was a unique experience in telling a story backwards. Each colored scene is a “prequel” scene to the last colored scene that you just watched, while the black and white scenes are moving forward as usual. Nolan instantly showed some talent with this film that launched his career. This was his first wide release feature film mind you.
He then did a remake called Insomnia. We start to see a trend in Nolan’s films of love for moral ambiguities, cerebral plots and twists, and a “film noir” tone to everything he does.
His third movie is of more interest here: Batman Begins. With the dismal film called Batman and Robin, there has not been a film before or since that had more cheese than this campy slap in the face to Batman.
In 2005, Nolan changed the way the elitists in Hollywood viewed comic book movies. A revolution was beginning to take place. Batman Begins was aggressively “grounded in realism.” It was also the first big reboots to begin the trend of rebooting. With a talented cast of brits, the dingy, corrupt Gotham felt more real than ever before. It made a decent but not a riotous success in the box office with about 371 million to its name. It also ended with a hint to a sequel whose fame none of us could have foreseen.
In my personal opinion, I think Batman Begins changed a lot for the genre of super hero movies. Since then,the comic book movies that treated their source with respect and less campiness were successful, like Iron Man, Thor, Incredible Hulk, X-Men First Class and The Dark Knight. Those that were still adhering to the old way of treating comic books like a B movie low brow cheese ball slug fest, like Green Lantern, were absolute failures. Batman Begins set a new standard of maturity for Hollywood saying "Comic books are not just cash cows you can whore away. They deserve more respect." For that, we all owe Nolan some thanks.
In this interlude between the modest success of Batman Begins and the second installment of “The Dark Knight Legend,” we got The Prestige Out of all of the Nolan films, this one is my personal favorite. It had more emotional depth than any other movie that he has made. The twists and turns keep you invested all the way through this well crafted tale of rivalry, obsession, and art. The film is filled with layers upon layers of intrigue and meanings that I still am discovering. With the success of the next two films, I still think this was Nolan’s best so far.
Finally we come to the biggest comic book movie of all time. Is that too much? Well, with the success of a billion dollars, it’s hard to argue. The Dark Knight took the world by storm. That summer was already getting big due to the hit of Iron Man. So what made this film so successful?
First of all, Heath Ledger’s performance and death sparked a lot of “free publicity” for this film. His performance was haunting, creepy, and so damn good, some have even thought he was possessed. When I first heard that Ledger was the Joker, I scratched my head and asked, “You mean that guy from A Knight’s Tale and Brokeback Mountain? Okay?” Boy was he good. This film hit a much darker tone than its predecessor with parallels of 9/11 in there and a villain that was nigh unstoppable. The buzz grew, and one billion dollars later, Nolan was no longer a small time player.
At last but not least there was another billion dollar success called Inception If anything, this showed that The Dark Knight’s success was more than a fluke. It was more than just Ledger’s performance. This showed that Nolan repeated his success in Gotham with a film that was widely successful. Up to this point, none of Nolan’s films have been failures. And of the last two films, he’s made over two billion dollars for Warner Brothers.
Now, based on this lengthy backstory, is it safe to say that this new film, The Dark Knight Rises a guaranteed success? We’ll go over that in my next article.
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