I didn’t know what to expect going into the Dark Knight Rises. In my mind the series peaked at the second entry; the performance given by Heath Ledger and the manner in which the Joker character was so elegantly captured was, in my mind, the best which could be offered. So upon hearing about all the mixed messages in this third entry I was skeptical as to how entertaining this movie would be. By the end of the movie, however, I am glad to say I was enjoying myself; I would be hesitant to say more than the second, but still heartily nonetheless.
The plot follows arch-criminal Bane as he attempts to detonate a nuclear warhead and wipe out Gotham city. During the course of this adventure we see daring heists, unbelievable martial arts, high-tech gadgets, and the most phenomenal acts of heroism, the kind which one would only witness in a Hollywood blockbuster.
Typical popcorn summer movie flare, in other words. Indeed while the film is enjoyable there is much hyperbole as well. The ending is predictable, actually given away about 20 minutes into the film, the characters are able to leap to stunning conclusions with very little evidence, plot points are absurdly convenient for the protagonists, all while the narrative travels at such a breakneck speed that unless you have the attention span of a hawk and not miss a thing, you are likely to be left wondering why the cast are where they are and what on earth is happening.
Still, these are common movie-making errors. I dub them forgivable. Still, not everyone would think so. Some people, in especially regards to Bane’s takeover of Gotham, have been busily making hurried accusations of political subterfuge. I will not attempt to rebuke their claims nor give an essay length article on my own thoughts on the matter. However, I will give a brief lowdown on what my position is on Bane’s apparent radical stance.
In short I could only read Bane’s arc and conflict with the Gotham city police as an inter-bourgeois conflict between him (the mercenary) and them (the police). His backstory is full of moments in which he helped powerful business men gain leverage over the competition (such as his foray into Africa to help secure oil contracts). Ignoring this you then have a plot which functions as lumpen-proletariart populism: Bane frees all the prisoners in Blackgate prison and then they go on a looting spree attacking their legitimized rivals; mock trials and reactionary police militias aside, never once did the audience see anything of this so-called Peoples Government which was indicative of revolutionary socialism (there is, in fact, a scene where a little boy was about to be killed for stealing an apple, so hardly a communal setting). Some cheap rhetoric thrown in which harkens back to Occupy Wall-Street but other than that there is precious little to go on for any revolutionary alludes. The uniting factor for this stance is what I see as just an elaborate sideshow: in the end Bane’s goal is stereotypical- he wants to destroy the city and so he unleashes a mock-revolution to buy time. Beyond that, beyond the writer’s possible intentions, there is nothing to really talk about.
In conclusion, while I thoroughly enjoyed the film and was impressed with the villain, my favorite Batman movie thus far is still The Dark Knight. “Rises” was good, but not great. Filled with vague half-thoughts and over-the-top action scenes it is a decent experience for anyone wanting to have more of the epic-action formula.