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[personal profile] starlady
The Dark Knight Rises. Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2012.

Overall, I liked this movie. There were a lot of nice shout-outs to the comics and cartoons (and to at least one Batman novel that I read in high school), and it did a good job of tying the trilogy together and tying it off. Nothing will ever match the transcendent nihilism of the Joker tearing around Gotham in his purloined cop car, but this movie did have some good moments…as well as some things that made me laugh out loud inappropriately, and some things that just made me really angry.

The only post I read about this movie beforehand was Hello, tailor's Some hopes and dreams for The Dark Knight Rises, and surprisingly enough, as far as I'm concerned, Christopher Nolan and company came through on all four counts. Marion Cotillard was more than a pretty face, Joseph Gordon-Levitt did have a good and meaningful role, Catwoman was a fucking awesome BAMF, and I think we got the maximum possible amount of screentime out of Bane (who, let's remember, was whitewashed). Jim Gordon continues to be a stone-cold BAMF.

I think Christopher Nolan's fire was stolen, to some extent, by The Avengers--there were several points in the final action sequences in which I totally thought of that movie, and I do think people are right who say that the climax goes on too long. But, as my roommate N pointed out, the climax going on too long does allow them to draw out the Tale of Two Cities parallels.

The politics, though, were highly questionable. I really resented the way in which the "down with the 1%!" overtones from the first half were completely short-circuited by Bane's criminal dictatorship (although I really enjoyed the Scarecrow's kangaroo courts, since those are straight out of just about every Justice League cartoons ever). Justice for the 99% does not equal the leveling anarchy we saw in the film, as Catwoman realizes, just as Bruce Wayne loses his money so that they can be on the same level. This was helpfully underlined by the police assaulting said 99% at the end, and the cops blowing the bridge rather than letting Blake walk across. That said, though, there's something about that crowd fight between Bane and Batman on the steps of city hall in Gotham in the snow, with the sun rising on the city's last day, or its first. (That said, they weren't even trying to pretend it wasn't New York anymore, although I recognized those fight scenes as Newark.) The "cut Gotham off from the rest of the world" and the "Bane breaks Batman's back" things were drawing from that one novel (which I think was a novelization of the comics) and of the Knightfall sequence pretty heavily.

I enjoyed the way in which the rug was pulled out from under the Duel of the Man-Pain by Miranda Cane's Daddy Issues, although there was a point in the "true story of Talia and Bane" sequence in which I realized that this was all shaping up as a really weird Inception AU. And the less said about the weird exoticization of that whole prison sequence, the better. (I totally cottoned on to the fact that he had to not use the rope from the get-go. I can't decide whether predictability is a symptom of tighter storytelling, or of looser.)

As for the ending, I liked it. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle walked off into the Italian sunset and the audience clapped, because they deserve to be happy, and the comics have demonstrated that they are capable of being happy together, and Alfred got what he wanted and Lucius Fox and Jim Gordon and Robin all realized that Bruce Wayne is alive, and Batman is dead. (The Batman statue in City Hall was HILARIOUS, was it not?) And the Dent Act will be repealed and things will go back to the way they were, maybe, but maybe not.

ETA: Having read a lot of positive reviews that nevertheless accuse the movie of being fascist, and having gotten into an interesting discussion with people about whether it's objectivist or just aristocratically biased, I did want to revisit the question of the politics. So, this movie is not fascist, because there's no calls for unity, no appeals to the masses or celebration of action en masse. Most people don't understand what fascism really is, so "fascism" is just something that gets tossed around a lot. I still think the movie is remarkable objectivist-like, though my roommate N is right to point out that Bruce Wayne's totally non-capitalist outlook doesn't really match classic objectivism, though the movie's insistence on heroic individuals (and Wayne's arguable self-actualization in the pit) acting alone in defiance of the duped masses is remarkably objectivist. Ayn Rand would have liked this movie, I think. Nor is the movie monarchist, though I'm not quite comfortable saying that it's "aristocratic" and leaving it at that. It's certainly anti-popular and anti-democratic in a way I find reprehensible, although reviewers are right in pointing out that the movie also doesn't quite know what it's saying. i think the point of The Dark Knight was much more coherent and powerful.