There are currently four hundred and twenty-five different reviews for The Dark Knight Rises on IMDb’s external reviews section. That does not include a myriad of sites that are too small or too snooty to have membership on IMDb. Message boards, comment sections, and fan websites are bogged down with comments on The Dark Knight Rises. To cement its place in history, there was even a famous shooting in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight showing of the Dark Knight Rises. So to say the least this film is a cultural phenomenon. So why should I lend my voice to the myriad of smart pithy critics yelling at the top of their lungs on the internet to assert whether the film is good or not? What do I have to say that is at all different and unique? I have been contemplating this for a week now and I have not come up with anything. But I am going to try anyway.
I just want to say before you go any further, please be aware that I cannot discuss this film without discussing spoilers. So proceed with caution you two people in the world who have yet to actually see The Dark Knight Rises.
The best moments in the Dark Knight Rises were when the film was commenting on the times we currently are living in. At one point in the film Bane addresses a football stadium full of people wanting nothing more than a distraction from their lives and challenges them to wake up. A new dawn is coming for the people of Gotham and hopefully for the rest of the world. The people who are the worst off, orphans of the financial system, are going to rise up and take what they want. The people who essentially have their thumb on these down and out people are going to suffer the consequences for their shady actions. Little pieces of Bane’s rhetoric in this speech and several others where he gathers the masses and pumps them up show their roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Miranda’s obsession with alternative fuels gives her excuse to explore the possibilities of advanced and dangerous future technology that Wayne Industries are exploring. Both of these characters stand for a liberal ideal, and yet they use these ideals to fuel their own selfish designs. They don’t want the world to be a better place. They just want the world to cease to exist. Why would Nolan decide to co-opt liberal ideals and place them not on the heroes but on the villains? I think that he is trying to say that anyone could follow so blindly an ideal that we get lost on what is practical and what isn’t. For instance the Westboro Baptist Church thinks what they are doing is right and just. It’s just like getting addicted to drugs. You get so consumed by an ideal that it overcomes you and you do things that you normally would think insane. But it isn’t just the villains that are handicapped by these motives and ideals. Bruce Wayne is constantly driven by a selfish need to save Gotham by himself. He forgets all the pain it has caused or the damage or anything else when he is blindly pursuing a villain as evil as Bane.
The Dark Knight Rises has problems and I think it won’t hold up upon repeated viewings like the Dark Knight has, but I also think that there is enough fertile subject matter in this film to have a fruitful discussion on the current state of humanity among the many cool action sequences and the reveals of who is actually who. By the way if Nolan does not make a film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin I will hate him forever. Be prepared to incur the wrath of Maria Mr. Nolan. You are warned.