Like just about every geek in the nation I saw The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. In fact I was at a midnight screening on Thursday. I am not going to get into the tragedy that was happening at the same time, it is being covered enough elsewhere.
I am also not going to give a review of the movie itself other than to say I loved it.
What I want to do instead is look at it in how it represented the characters in it.
The story of The Dark Knight Rises is a mash-up of the comic book storylines Knightfall and No Man’s Land. This was a good choice for the final part of the trilogy. Both storylines represented loss and Batman being brought to his lowest and still prevailing. They gave Christopher Nolan the chance to up the odds from the previous movies and end the series on a high note.
The Batman in this movie could well have been the Batman from Dark Knight Returns. He is beaten down both mentally and physically. It takes a massive threat to bring him out of retirement.
Catwoman in this movie is hands down the best representation I have seen of the character outside of the comics. She is a thief, end of story. Not out for revenge, not a campaigning environmentalist, not a hooker looking for redemption. She is a master thief looking for a big score, who finds she might actually care for something.
Bane is a little trickier. This is a better portrayal than he got in “Batman and Robin” where he was a mindless brute. Here they remember that he is a brilliant strategist and deadly fighter. In the comics his whole goal is to show he is better than Batman and take over Gotham’s underworld. Here they give a more idealistic motivation. It works but it is a deviation for the character.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character of John Blake is an interesting take as he is really an amalgam of several characters. He is filling roles in this story that in the comics were filled by Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Jean-Paul Valley and Mackenzie “Hardback” Bock. On one hand it is a good move to have all that action condensed down to one character as the storylines themselves are condensed and Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job with the role. I understand why they made him a new character, but I feel it was a missed opportunity to make him a known character. Spoiler here in Invisotext: it would have been best to have just made him Dick Grayson.
Commissioner Gordon has done well through the whole series. He is taken directly from his comic book counterpart as a man of action.
In the end what I will say about The Dark Knight Rises is this. It is a great movie, but really the entire trilogy is best if you look at it as one whole story told in three parts.