The Husband and I finally got around to seeing The Dark Knight Rises. Like most of the people in the country, the very utterance of that movie title made me feel uneasy. Like there was something now taboo about it. I had wanted to see it before the tragedy that will now, forever, be synonymous with the film. But after that tragedy, every time it was mentioned, I had this pit in my stomach. After all the stories of heroism, of loss, of sadness, of healing, it was hard to imagine myself sitting in a movie theater and actually being able to enjoy this film.
When the previews ended, I felt as though there should have been a moment of silence for those who never got to see the movie. Even though a lot of the country has moved on (the Olympics are currently being played non-stop and with nothing else on the competing networks if you didn’t notice that), I still find myself thinking about those who lost their lives simply because they were excited to see their favorite crime-fighting hero fight the very same type of pathological madman who brought so much grief and tragedy to so many.
That being said, I had my own moment of silence and tried then to focus on the film.
I love Batman. I’d have to say of all the comic characters of which I have some knowledge, Batman might be on top. I know he’s no Superman, but Batman could be anyone (even the film says that). It’s true. He is every man or woman who is tired of the injustice. He fights for those who are unable to fight and does it without hope of recognition. There’s something chivalrous in the way Batman takes on the crime and evil that corrupts Gotham. He does it because it is what is right. He realizes that the Police have laws but Batman is able to transcend them and yet abide by them. The laws are his moral compass. How he enforces them, well, that’s a gray area but in the end, justice is ultimately served.
The first of the Christopher Nolan movies, Batman Begins, was excellent. Bruce Wayne discovering that he can make a difference not just by being rich, but by using his riches to help develop tools to fight the crime that continues to grow worse each year in the city that his parents had worked so hard to build up. It was masterfully crafted and made this new version of the masked vigilante seem that much more realistic. The possibility that some socialite with too much time and too much money on their hands would decide to fight crime, somehow didn’t seem that unrealistic after this first film.
The second film, the film that also sadly caught press for some not so happy events, The Dark Knight, took Batman even deeper. He loses more in this film. He goes farther into his own pain in this film. We see familiar foes reinvented and possibly the most iconic of those villains played hauntingly by yet another actor gone too soon.
With this third and final installment of the Nolan Batman trilogy, the sense of ending for Bruce Wayne was perfect. It was time. Here was a man who had lost so much over his life. He gave selflessly to the city that he loved. So much that he was now beaten by it. The growing army, led by Bane, was enough to get him to consider fighting one last fight to save his beloved Gotham. He was devoted to fighting for the innocents who could not possibly stand up to such forces and that devotion came through clearly in this installment.
Despite the sometimes funny “Batman” voice, Bale’s portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne is probably my most favorite one. Yes, Adam West holds the title for the campy somewhat comedic version (sorry George Clooney – you are probably a close second for the campy version of Batman) and Michael Keaton came in a close second for favorite. There was just something about Christian Bale that, for me, captured that sadness of an orphaned boy who simply wanted happiness but because of the tragedy he faced as a child, saw nothing but tragedy everywhere he looked. There was an emptiness, a desire for something more that just oozed off the screen for me. In this last movie, in particular, that sense of anguish and despair just made it that much more real.
The loss of everything that Wayne had found in life that might have allowed him happiness was gone. Batman was now a villain. No allies, no love, nothing. The story that started with this emptiness and anguish, took those feelings and made the final film a story of one man’s triumph not only over the evil of the world around him, but also of the sadness within himself.
I left the film feeling quite satisfied. It ended as it should. There is still hope for the hopeless. There is still light for those in darkness. All one must do is face it and fight on.