Saturday, July 21, 2012
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
by Reymundo Salao
Christopher Nolan has revolutionized superhero/comic book movies and elevated it from the status of merely just great movies, and into prestigiously high-end respectable cinema. The Dark Knight, which is the second movie (in what is now considered a trilogy), was considered a milestone in cinema history; with the idea that one of the greatest movies ever made is based on a comic book superhero. Now, the third becomes the conclusion to what is now one of the greatest trilogies in cinema.
I had already surrendered to the idea that Nolan would never ever come close to achieving what he had ever done in The Dark Knight. Inasmuch as Nolan is a great director, I felt he'd have already used his "lightning in a bottle". And I knew that when I walked into the final chapter, my expectations should not be merely bent on comparing it with the previous movie.
Speaking of expectations, I should also wash my mind off of trying to anticipate what the movie is all about or what characters they will be playing. That is how I actually judge movies; I walk in as an audience, who merely tries to enjoy the movie--- and not as a critic trying to consciously nitpick and outwit the essence of the movie (or base it on the hype that surrounds it).
From a geek fanatics' point of view, it would be surmised that this would have been mildly based on the graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns or the Knightfall storyline. But this really is its own creature. Although it has some few elements that are mildly familiar with many Batman storylines, this has its own story, its own surprises, its own conflicts, and its own twists. This is the culmination of a storyline that is a continuation of the first two movies.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES begins eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, with a psychological journey of Bruce Wayne from living in self-haunted misery, still grieving over the death of Rachel, and retired from being the Batman. Gotham has been living in peace, and living with the lie about Harvey Dent. Elsewhere, the thief known as Selina Kyle is becoming a tool that will lead to events that will eventually lead to the rise of the mysterious terrorist known as Bane; the man who will bring Anarchy into Gotham.
I was extremely impressed how Nolan has created a movie that is as epic and as grand as The Dark Knight. It's mind-blowing for me how I felt that Nolan has made lightning strike twice, and has managed to conclude his Batman trilogy with a truly magnificent movie chapter. Director Christopher Nolan has completed his trilogy; his trilogy joins the ranks of the very very few movie trilogies in cinema history that are flawlessly magnificent (I count only 2- The Godfather & Lord of the Rings... on the other hand many argue that Godfather 3 was bad, but I still respected it). THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a must-see movie. This could potentially be the best movie of the year for me. (From this point, this article could contain very mild spoilers)
Unlike, movies like say Avengers, which is an extremely spectacular movie that is purely entertaining (my example is my other favorite movie of the year so far), The Dark Knight Rises is serious cinema that tells a very serious story. It's something that does not promise cheers and howls; but can promise an ovation (which is not common here in Iloilo), or at least the urge to talk about it afterwards. It is heavily dramatic; Almost all of it's characters are at a certain point of emotional desperation. And its script are as powerful as the actors and actresses that are equally powerful in their acting. There are several emotional scenes that are even tear-jerking. The reason why Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy works is that at its core is real human drama; real people with real emotions and real pain.
The movie goes to really really dark places. Batman Begins may have been a wake-up call that Batman is not for kids, and its sequel (The Dark Knight) may have pondered on the concept of viewing crime, violence, and death with a demented sense of humor, but in this final chapter, we're way, waaaaay past telling jokes. In this movie, the good dies, the heroes get broken, the helpless are left to suffer, and there is always that air of both desperation and futility that fills the tension of the storyline; in this movie, anarchy does reign. Although it does not cross the line of gore, and is not explicitly visual, there is an unseen, but overlooming presence of violence. As Bane grabs someone's throat, or someone's face, then cuts away immediately; or as Bane explains how order crumbles down; Although these may not be vivid; but all the same, its terrifying.
The movie is tense and thrilling in such a grim manner. There are moments when our heroes are in situations which leaves you thinking 'how the hell are they going to resolve this?' It plays with audience emotions and expectations. Many of the twists are clever and are brilliantly thought of. On the other hand, there are some others that were easy to guess because fans have been anticipating too much what roles some characters are playing long before the movie even got released (that's why I wash my mind of anticipations; to feel the thrill of the movie's surprises).