THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Editor's note: The following contains The Dark Night Rises spoilers.

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The Dark Knight Rises is a useful film in Nolan’s filmography because it shows that he needs some kind of thematic through line lớn carry his picture. Even a remake like Insomnia benefits from an exploration of characters relying on lies in order lớn get through the day, & this exploration of self-deception remains a recurring theme in Nolan’s work. But when you get khổng lồ The Dark Knight Rises, you have a bizarre mishmash of ideas that never cohere into any larger point. Nolan’s second-longest film to date after Interstellar, The Dark Knight Rises is a lot of movie, but it always feels kind of small in scope despite its pyrotechnics. Unlike Batman Begins, which uses fear as a central part of Batman’s origin story or The Dark Knight which is able lớn meld a story about the war-on-terror into a larger concept about the lies we use to lớn keep society pacified, The Dark Knight Rises never seems particularly certain about its ideologies.


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the-dark-knight-rises-cillian-murphy Image via Warner Bros.
Take Bane (Tom Hardy) for example. What does Bane want beyond destroying Gotham? Even Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) said that he felt destroying Gotham was as a cleansing fire. His aspiration was to lớn restore Gotham because the đô thị had become too corrupt. This provided a good conflict with Batman (Christian Bale), who believed that his home wasn’t beyond saving. Bane, on the other hand, simply wants khổng lồ create chaos but give Gothamites a false sense of hope. He’s a faux populist at best, but populism manifests in the relationship between demagogue & audience. It’s not enough to lớn talk about giving Gotham back khổng lồ the people when the same person is blowing up bridges & taking the thành phố hostage. Setting aside that Bane’s true plan is to lớn new nuke Gotham, he’s a largely uninteresting antagonist because he has no real dichotomy with Batman. The only reason we remember Bane is that Hardy gave him a goofy voice.


The film’s faux populism serves as a more of distraction than a concrete theme. All it adds up to is, “Class conflict is a thing!” but since blockbuster movies typically don’t portray economic inequality or poverty in any remotely real way, we basically have Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) as a stand-in for the anger of the 99% and there’s no follow through. Hathaway gives a great performance, but the film is largely at a loss with what to vì chưng with her other than have her be snarky, sneaky, & sexy. Like with Hardy, the performance is memorable, but the character doesn’t serve much of a thematic purpose other than moving the plot along (not khổng lồ mention the long stretches where the character’s relevance evaporates because there’s no longer anything for her lớn do).

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These frustrations coat the entirety of The Dark Knight Rises because it doesn’t seem lớn know how to lớn close out Batman’s story. It starts from an interesting place about what vì warriors bởi during peacetime và showing that Batman is rusty from despair and loneliness, but they never amount khổng lồ anything. The crackling dynamic between Bruce & Alfred (Michael Caine) is gone và replaced with a series of lectures until Alfred disappears from the movie at the halfway point và isn’t seen again until the end. The movie sticks Gordon (Gary Oldman) in a hospital bed for over an hour và then has him team up with plot lubricant Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is also forced lớn serve as the film’s conscience since the movie also doesn’t know what to bởi with Batman.


Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Even when the film tries lớn draw a line from Batman Begins to lớn The Dark Knight Rises with the return of the League of Shadows and the twist that Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) is Talia al Ghul, The Dark Knight Rises falters by trying to reinvent Batman as an egalitarian notion. The more you try và impress upon the notion that Batman could be anyone, the less sense it makes. Mix aside that not everyone has access to lớn their own fighter jet, Batman Begins shows the rigorous training Bruce Wayne undergoes in order to lớn become Batman. This isn’t lượt thích Spider-Man where a spider bites you, và suddenly you have powers, so you have khổng lồ decide if you’re going lớn be a nhân vật or not. If anyone can be Batman, then why was it necessary for Bruce khổng lồ train with the League of Shadows in the first place? và if that was necessary isn’t Blake going khổng lồ die within five minutes of becoming the new Batman?


The Dark Knight Rises remains Christopher Nolan’s worst movie because it isn’t about anything. It tries lớn be about a lot of things, but none of them địa chỉ up. The best thing you can say about the movie is that it doesn’t feel like a phoned-in contractual obligation as much as hefty text that got away from its author. The film is guilty of overreach in terms of its plotting and themes, so it comes off as bombastic and bloated. It’s not even a bad movie in comparison khổng lồ The Dark Knight. It’s a bad movie, period, that doesn’t seem to lớn understand its protagonist, its antagonist, or what they’re fighting about.


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I’ve now seen The Dark Knight Rises three times. That’s almost 9 hours watching this one movie, và I could not tell you what it’s about or why it matters. Obviously, ending a trilogy is difficult, và it would have been nice if The Dark Knight Rises had the courage of its convictions to lớn kill off Batman instead of being like “Nope! He fixed the autopilot và got away from a nuclear blast! That’s our Batman!” But that’s really the whole movie—setting up something interesting và then failing to lớn deliver on it.