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Batman, Bale, Bane, Nolan, Dark, Night, Rises, Gotham, Gordon, Trilogy, Catwoman. Let’s. Get. It. On.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
The Dark Knight Rises
I don’t presume to offer too much more insight on this movie that hasn’t already been floating around Cinema Blend for the last few weeks. There’s so much quality material like revisiting the entire Batman movie franchise, debating CB’s predictions for TDKR, or just whetting your whistle on some extended scenes here and here. It’s all great stuff.
What I will say is, “Thank you Christopher Nolan.” See, I love Batman. Not in a literal sense, though never having met him in person I can’t say for sure. But in a figurative, representation-of-justice sense, I believe Batman is the most culturally relevant and “believable” character in terms of viability, mission, scope and history. That he dually represents both the economic elite and a progressive (kind of violent-ish) form of human empowerment, to me, puts him well beyond characters like Spider-Man and Superman who, after being gifted superpowers, are basically by-day geeks and by-night crime fighters. Those two represent a certain nerdy ideal of rising above and combatting a bully-laden world. Batman is different in the sense that he is a man with extraordinary means choosing to become something more than money can buy (so to speak).
And that’s what makes Christopher Nolan’s treatment of Bruce Wayne and Batman such a masterpiece and much needed after the travesty that was pretty much the entire Batman franchise (outside of the 1989 original), because Batman had become camp, when that character is anything but. Christian Bale’s take on the Caped Crusader (outside of the annoying growl) is so far removed from the Michael Keaton (though he was probably closest), Val Kilmer and George Clooney (ugh) representations, that he is in a class of his own.
And yes Adam West kicked off Batman’s early media roots in the television “Pow” “Bam” “Holy color scheme!” universe that I watched on reruns as a kid. But for the most part, the comic book world is a dark one, inhabited by hero-fantasy juxtaposed against great suffering and pain. It’s what makes the best comic books and graphic novels significant parts of our literary and pop culture landscape and a medium so important in understanding our world and what we want it to be. Nolan has put that on the big screen in such epic fashion that I doubt we’ll see anything like it for quite sometime. He created the ultimate crossover film, rejuvenating the franchise * appealing to everyone from basement-dwelling comic book lovers to folks who think Bane is a private equity firm run by Mitt Romney. He truly has brought the graphic novel and everything awesome about the Batman story to life.
* In many ways I feel the quote from Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins “And why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” is Nolan’s assurance that his version of Batman has learned from every mistake along the way.
Having not seen The Dark Knight Rises it’s tough to be completely definitive on its place in the pantheon of superhero movies; we’ll know soon enough. But I think at the very worst it’s merely really good and at best its transcendent, taking the Batman trilogy and the “hero story” to places we really haven’t seen in movies, much less comic book ones, lifting up the first two films (85% and 94% respectively) to even greater heights, making them even stronger in retrospect.
There may be other Batman movies, almost certainly we will see a reboot sooner than later. But these new versions will come with a disclaimer, an asterisk hanging above all things Wayne Manor and Bat Cave. Because they will come in the wake of comic book perfection, built on the back of greatness and for that I say again, Thank you Christopher Nolan. The Rotten Watch for The Dark Knight Rises is
Recapping last week:
A clear win for the Rotten Watch last week with Ice Age: Continental Drift (Predicted: 49% Actual: 40%). I have a record of whiffing on animated fare so this was a nice pull. It helped that the previous Ice Age movies had set the Tomatometer market to some degree, but still a quality prediction.
Next time around we get dancing and go on patrol with the neighborhood watch. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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