WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Director Christopher Nolan’s new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, was almost the best movie he could have made.
It would have been better with the Joker, but Heath Ledger’s death in 2008 after he played the star villain in the trilogy’s second film eliminated that option.
Nor was Two-Face – the district attorney who turned bad after his face was burned off – a possibility. The writers could have used Hush to make more of an emotional challenge for Batman, Hush being his childhood friend turned super villain. Though the problem with using Hush is that no one knows who he is and he’s an uninspiring villain, anyway.
The villain they did use, Bane, played by Tom Hardy, worked out pretty well since they thankfully gave him some intelligence.
In his performance as Batman, Christian Bale did a good job capturing the Caped Crusader’s character as he was in the three separate comic book series – No Man’s Land, Nightfall and The Dark Knight Returns – on which the film is based.
Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway, was better than the earlier film versions of the character, but that isn’t saying much. Rather than the complex character in the comic books, the onscreen Catwoman was sadly one-dimensional. At least the writers allowed her to keep her cool sidekick, Holly.
Besides developing the Catwoman character, I would change the movie in two other places. I would add the Penguin as a mob boss during the part where Gotham City becomes No Man’s Land and have more of No Man’s Land in the movie.
The movie doesn’t include almost any of the details of No Man’s Land. It has, at most, 10 to 15 minutes of civilian courts, but none of the mobs, organized crime or gang wars found in the comic books.
Though having mob bosses for No Man’s Land would be a challenge for the filmmakers given that Two-Face and the Joker are out of commission and all the former mob bosses are dead – no fewer than three killed by the Joker – it could be easily done. They could show a trial for the Penguin at the beginning of the movie and then have him be one of the prisoners released for the start of No Man’s Land.
Batman fans should give this movie a chance.
Spoiler alert: Spoilers conclude this review
after the image of the movie poster.
I would change the bit at the end where Batman doesn’t die. Adding that was just cowardice on the part of the movie makers. They just didn’t want to deal with the angry letters from upset Batman fans about how you can’t kill Batman.
And, isn’t it a bit silly that they claim to know exactly when the bomb will destabilize, down to the second? I mean, there is no way they could know even at what exact time Bane removed it from the core of the reactor or that they could destabilize it in a matter of minutes.
And I would not have made John Blake’s middle name Robin. Subtle symbolism much? I would have made it Tim because Tim Blake and Tim Drake are very close, but not enough to immediately give it away. Also, Robin is a terrible name for a boy.
I had mixed feelings about the shot near the end of Alfred standing in front of Wayne Manor after Batman ‘dies.’ This is an image borrowed from the The Dark Knight Returns comics, which isn’t particularly good, though the imagery is cool.
But as a rule, I don’t think movies should steal pictures from the comics – they might turn out like the failed Watchmen movie. Though I do like how Nolan used the screenshot of Bane beating Batman come exactly from the comics. It’s a famous picture and I’m glad he used it.
My favorite part of the movie was when all the concrete blew up. Filming it from above made it look like an earthquake, which was the comic book cause of No Man’s Land, and at the same time showed the thoroughness of Bane’s plan.
Mary Majerus-Collins is a Senior Reporter for Youth Journalism International in Connecticut.