Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dark Knight Rises - as does my blog

Back to the blog.

This has been empty for a couple of years now, so maybe time for some thoughts?

As this is a return of sorts, how about writing about another return - Batman in Dark Knight Rises.

I loved this film. Like all films it had short comings, but overall I thought it was great. It was a superb end to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. There are reviews aplenty on the net and commentaries ad infinitum. One which I think is really useful is from Ted Turnau - Maintaining the Balance in "The Dark Knight Rises": Ra's Al Ghul, Yoda, and the Gospel

What I thought I'd do here was simply point out some observations that I thought were interesting. Beware, here be spoilers, so don't read on if you haven't seen it yet.

Who's your daddy? A tale of two fathers.
Being Bruce Wayne, there's a lot of references to orphans and fathers in all Batman stories. In Dark Knight Rises there are two strong fathers that affect the action, while present in the background.

A. Ra's al Ghul. He wants to bring destruction to Gotham, to bring about his concept of justice (see the link above for more on this) through the death of Gotham's citizens. He conceives a daughter, is unaware of her birth and she is left to rescue herself from a pit. He is left for dead by the Batman. His work is carried on by his daughter (more about her later).

B. Thomas Wayne. Wayne wants Gotham to live, at one point I think he's even called the father of the city, but I could be wrong. He promotes social justice in the city and the betterment of its people. He has a loving relationship with his only son, who he one day rescues  from a well (pit). He is killed by petty criminals in Gotham. His work is carried on by Bruce/Batman in different forms, but always the preservation and betterment of others' lives.

I'm a believer. A tale of two faiths.
There is a lot about belief and faith in the film.

A. Firstly there are the "brothers" or followers of Bane, for example the brother who is left to die in the plane in the opening scene. He dies for the cause, though it's never really clear how much they understand of this cause. They would have been called "goons" back in the day, but it's clear the motivation isn't money, but nor is it as simple as a better world or an afterlife, as they know they will die in the bomb blast, but there's never any mention of an afterlife. They believe and trust in what they can see - Bane (he is impressive), guns, concrete laced with explosive and death (as in, they know people can die). I think they're people to fear.

B. Secondly there are "believers". Blake is the most obvious of these. He believes in the Batman "even if you (Bruce Wayne) don't". Jim Gordan is also a believer. He's distrustful of anything he can see and acts on judgement, suspicion and all those things that good movie detectives need. I think also that ultimately the children are the best believers. None of these people have any certainty that Batman's coming back. Batman was something or someone they saw once, eight years ago, when they were kids, or heard about in the playground because they were too young to remember that crazy Joker guy, the ships in the harbour and the Dark Knight who saved the day but became the guilty outlaw. They believe, but it's belief based on what happened in the past, not on what they can see or what they can do. It's faith based on hope. They're people to admire... because Batman does rise.

You stole my heart. A tale of two lovers.
Good films need twists, and the two female leads, the love interests, provide them.

A Miranda Tate. She's a high class lady (rich and a daughter of a princess), born in poor beginnings who wants to achieve her version of the greater good, appears to want to save the world, but actually she wants to destroy it, as her father before her. She wins Bruce's heart, but then loses it, perhaps even breaks it. She's a seducer and a ruiner.

B Selina Kyle. A selfish, independent, highly competent but low-life thief with aspirations of greatness eventually realises she needs to start again. She wants the "clean slate". She wants redemption and eventually finds it as Batman 'steals' her heart. She saves Batman's life and turns out to be selfless, wins Bruce's heart and they all lived happily ever after. She's a no-hoper, but she finds her place alongside the hero in the service of the greater good.

For all that the Dark Knight trilogy presents a Batman who is an anti-hero, living in the dark, he is the most basic of heros. He's the good guy, fighting the bad guy. The good guy wins, life is preserved, people are changed, love is found, resolution is had. Reminds me of another story, an even better story where a father is building a city, a hero is inspiring faith and calling 'no-hopers' to find meaning, purpose and love alongside him. Our culture, cynical as it may be (and some of that does come across in the film and the media coverage around it) still longs for these things.

1 comment:

Gareth said...

Encourage the good eh? ;) Great insights :)