The Dark Knight Teaches

I have seen The Dark Knight Rises three times now and each time, I am struck by how much this film has to say.Since I have already written my review and pointed out some of the things that struck me while watching the film,  I wanted to share some of the posts from around the web that I have read. Each of these is very good and I hope it will help you continue to think through this film. Christopher Nolan has does us a great service in Batman and given us much to wrestle with. Click on each part to read the full article.

A Path Through Three Prisons: Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s Batman Trilogy:


Part One:However strong and intelligent and wealthy and resourceful Bruce Wayne may be, his journey is one continually marked by failure. In fact, in each of Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films our protagonist’s path takes him into a different prison where he is confronted with his own guilt and weakness. In the first prison, a lost Bruce is invited to walk the road that will make him a legend. In the second, he is manipulated into a game that ends in tragedy and infamy. Bruce is sent, bleeding and broken, to die in the third prison, and yet it is from this final incarceration that he emerges to become the savior of his beloved city, a city that many don’t believe is worth saving. While Batman may be a persona created to battle injustice and symbolize the hope of freedom from the oppression of crime and fear, his identity is forged in imprisonment. Moreover, it is there, in prison, that we are shown glimpses of what Bruce Wayne scarcely realizes he is struggling to be free from.

Part Two:The Dark Knight opens with a swift and violent bank robbery masterminded by the Joker. We watch as a group of masked men execute an intricately planned heist and then double-cross each other (to death) until, finally, the Joker kills the last hired thug and makes off with millions of the mob’s money. It would appear that a new breed of criminal has emerged in Gotham–and Bruce Wayne will discover that even the training and tools of the Batman are inadequate to contain him.

Part Three:When the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Bat trilogy opens, eight years have passed since the events ofThe Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne has been physically and emotionally battered by his campaign against crime as Batman, and has gone into seclusion and self-imposed exile. He pines for his lost Rachel, believing that she was going to wait for him, not realizing she had in fact chosen Harvey Dent. Bruce has upheld his end of the plan to exonerate Dent by allowing Batman to shoulder responsibility for Two-Face’s crimes. As a result, the Dent Act is given the public momentum it needs to pass, and Gordon receives the power he needs to dismantle organized crime for good. But as an increasingly frustrated Alfred tells Bruce Wayne, “Maybe it’s time to stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day.”

The Dark Knight Rises: 5 Characters

Alfred:I think Christopher Nolan’s direction for Michael Caine was “make James Harleman cry every time you’re on screen” because from the first moment he realizes Bruce is in the cave again, descending in the elevator with a hovering tear in his eye that won’t quite fall, my “guys-don’t-cry” throat-clearing reflex kicked in. One of the things that truly stood out in this film was the loving relationship between Bruce and Alfred, and the reality that in many ways, he really is Bruce’s father, having raised him for more years than Thomas and shepherding him through adult years as well. It’s not a well-meaning butler admonishing Bruce for trying to be Batman again, or spurring him to move on: it’s an imperfect father desperately trying to seek the best for his son, prodding and yet realizing that the younger man must make and OWN that decision.

Bruce:While most of us aren’t billionaires suffering the loss of a dead loved one as well as our “superhero” identity, many of us have been at this place in life where we don’t know who we are, or what we have to live for. Whatever earthly activities or people we’ve built our life and meaning upon have faded or failed and we’re left adrift, lost in a confusion of identity. Bruce is also stuck because he’s been deceived about Rachel’s last conclusions and decisions,  and so out of something akin to “Catholic guilt” he’s placed himself in his own form of purgatory and assumes it’s a permanent condition from which he’ll never emerge.

Gordon:Jim Gordon had already made other mistakes in The Dark Knight, errors one might say contributed to Harvey Dent’s downfall. The District Attorney warned Jim some of his men weren’t reputable, but Gordon blows this off because he sees no alternatives. Trusting in a few of these officers leads to abductions and death. This isn’t to suggest you or I would have handled it better, but these times when Gordon settles or compromises truly come back to haunt him and have tortured his soul for eight years as the movie begins.

Blake:How many of us have idealized a person, or an institution, filled with hope and naiveté as we dive in like a “hothead” and find lethargy, lack of wisdom, compromise, corruption and even lies that have built the system? We’ve all had these moments of dismay when we see behind the curtain and really meet the wizard. John Blake obviously became a cop in light of events and heroism on the heels of good cops like Gordon and the actions in The Dark Knight. As the third film begins, we see he’s becoming burdened by the way people, and details, don’t add up like he thought. In light of this, what kind of man is he going to become? The question reflects back on the viewer as we often wonder what kind of person we’ll turn out to be in the topsy turvy cities we live in.

Selina:Although I remained uncertain she was the right choice, Anne Hathaway nails the role of “Catwoman” from the moment she burgles Wayne Manor and demonstrates her character’s ability to shift disposition and personality to best fit the occasion. One minute she’s a house pet, the next feral and deadly. As the movie progresses we see her as a virtual chameleon, showing people what they want to see in the way that best forwards her unfettered advance. Adding a touch of film noir and necessary levity to the otherwise heavy narrative – adept and deceptive and opportunist – she may not seem like the character most viewers would identify with. In some ways, though, both who she is and who she becomes are great representations of our nature and need.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

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