Sunday, February 23, 2014

"The Dark Knight Rises" (Christopher Nolan, 2012)

(NOTE: This Review/Reflection contains SPOILERS.)





Directed by Christopher Nolan
Story by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Based on the DC Comics Characters Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

Executive Produced by Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Thomas Tull and Kevin De La Noy
Produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, Jordan Goldberg, Dileep Singh Rathore and Christopher Nolan
Cinematography by Wally Pfister
Production Design by Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh
Costume Design by Lindy Hemming
Editing by Lee Smith

Original Motion Picture Score Composed by Hans Zimmer


Christian Bale ... Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tom Hardy ... Bane
Anne Hathaway ... Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Gary Oldman ... Commissioner James Gordon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Officer John Blake
Marion Cotillard ... Miranda Tate/Talia Al Ghul
Morgan Freeman ... Lucius Fox
Michael Caine ... Alfred Pennyworth
Matthew Modine ... Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley
Ben Mendelsohn ... John Daggett
Alon Moni Aboutboul ... Dr. Leonid Pavel
Nestor Carbonell ... Mayor Anthony Garcia
Burn Gorman ... Stryver
Josh Stewart ... Barsad
Tim Conti ... Friendly Prisoner
Uri Gavriel ... Blind Prisoner
Daniel Sunjata ... Captain Jones
Brett Cullen ... Congressman Byron Gilly
Juno Temple ... Jen
Rob Brown ... Officer Allen
Will Estes ... Officer Simon Jansen
John Nolan ... Douglas Fredericks
Cillian Murphy ... Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow 
Liam Neeson ... Ra’s Al Ghul
Chris Ellis ... Father Reilly
Tyler Dean Flores ... Mark
Josh Pence ... Young Ra’s Al Ghul
India Wadsworth ... Warlord’s Daughter
Tomas Arana ... Wayne Lawyer
Jillian Armenante ... Wayne Lawyer Clerk
Charles Jackson Coyne ... National Anthem Singer
Patrick Leahy ... Wayne Board Member #2
Wade Williams ... Blackgate Warden
William Devane ... US President
Courtney Munch ... Gotham Stock Exchange Female Security Guard
Joey King ... Older Prison Child
Rory Nolan ... Little Boy at Bridge


Eight years after the fall of Harvey Dent, a mercenary called Bane leads a newly formed League of Shadows to destroy Gotham City in the name of Ra’s Al Ghul with the indirect assistance of a jewel thief named Selina Kyle. Taking up the mantle once more, a previously exiled Bruce Wayne returns to defend the city as Batman.

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“You see only one end to your journey.”


How many times have third iterations of a film franchise truly succeeded?

All too often, it’s the same story. The costs escalate with ballooning budgets while studio executives grow nervous that the box office pull won’t generate the same returns and the result is a stumble in quality and narrative. The tone shifts away from its predecessors, gimmicks are enacted in a vain attempt to keep the property fresh and ultimately, it creates a polarizing experience that does its work sending a crack through audiences and splitting us into a divide between those who can either tolerate those imperfections or not.

 
To this day, no threequel has truly ever defied the odds.

 
And while it personally isn’t an exception, 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” achieves something else entirely; something that brings it closer than any other film of its kind before.

 
 

“Calm down, Doctor. Now’s not the time for fear. That comes later.”

 
 

It’s been eight years since the events of “The Dark Knight” and Gotham City is enjoying its longest running peace in history. Organized crime is nothing more than a memory and the streets have never been safer. This is a result of the effects of the Dent Act, a piece of legislation erected in honor of Gotham’s “White Knight” that they’d lost to the insanity of the Batman (Christian Bale), who hasn’t been seen since.

 
But a vicious evil has begun to rise through the depths of Batman and Jim Gordon’s (Gary Oldman) deception, led by a notoriously brutalist mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy) who seeks to have vengeance on both Wayne and Gotham in order to fulfill the dream of Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows.

 
Following a theft of his mother’s pearls by hired cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), Bruce decides to return to the streets as Batman and inadvertently stumbles upon Bane’s plot, triggering a chain of events that push him to a physical and spiritual breaking point. As Bane seizes control over Gotham City, Bruce learns the value of his own mortality again and leads a conflict to not only reclaim the city but leave it as the very paradise the Wayne family had always fought for.

 
 

“The Batman has to come back.”

 
“The Dark Knight Rises” benefits from a number of aspects that, for me, does make it one of the strongest third sequels I’ve ever seen. For any faults there are, I did enjoy it and that needs to be made clear at the top.

 
The greatest success of the film is that if you’re a Batman fan and, frankly, have a soul that’s been influenced by the character to any degree, then it stands arguably as the single most emotional “Batman” movie produced to date.

 
I didn’t just bring in Nolan’s Batman or the history of his franchise alone with me but rather my entire lifetime of commitment and passion for the Batman character. And in doing so, plot points like Batman’s possible self-sacrifice relate and hit my heart that much more. In that way, it’s very much an anti-thesis of the end of “The Dark Knight.” Where one film ended with something I’d never seen before in a “Batman” movie, the other ended with something I’d never felt before in a “Batman” movie. “The Dark Knight” ended with Batman taking the blame for crime and murder as a means of maintaining a fragile hope and I’d never even considered that as a potential element of the character. “The Dark Knight Rises” strikes a deep nerve in the idea of Batman being shunned and betrayed and ridiculed and STILL making the choice to remain noble and true to his crusade once he makes the call to take up arms again, facing his own mortality in a way no previous film had examined before.

 
 

One of the best aspects of the “Dark Knight” trilogy as a whole cohesive piece is that each film seeks to observe and reflect Batman and his universe through the lens of entirely different genres and types of films to the point that while visually and texturally they all have a similar identity, they structurally feel very different from one another.


“Batman Begins” is very much a classically conceived action /adventure film and character study in the tradition of “Superman: The Movie” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and that word, “tradition,” really rings true. Though it stakes a new claim in the franchise, there’s still a lot of familiarity between it and the previous “Batman” films. It’s perhaps the most like a comic book movie.

 
“The Dark Knight” is an emotional epic and a huge sprawling crime drama, standing shoulder to shoulder with films like “The Godfather,” “Taxi Driver” and “Heat.” The character relationships and dynamics are complex and frenzied and at the same time calculated and measured and it elevates Batman’s world to an unprecedented level.

 

 
Following his two previous efforts, I felt that Christopher Nolan took a very (if I can word this appropriately) “physical” approach to Batman with “The Dark Knight Rises.” What I mean is that the film, even more so than “Batman Begins” or “The Dark Knight” feels physically intimidating and larger in its scale. It’s a disaster picture and a war epic more than anything else, inspired by titles such as “The Towering Inferno” and “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Isn’t it amazing how Batman, as a character, can warrant such a wide variety of realizations that can still be applied to the framework of the character’s universe?

 


 
 

Christian Bale returns to the role for his final performance as Bruce Wayne and it's remarkable to see him, especially in film's opening. A hollow shell of what he once was, Bale carries the burden of Batman and Gordon's secret very genuinely. While the idea of abandoning his crusade for eight years seems wholly out of character (if anything, Rachel's death should've fueled his war on crime that much more), Christian works well within the circumstances and the pain combined with his burgeoning desire to return is handled quite well. Once in costume, Batman is as vibrant as ever and though his voice might take a more forgiving ear yet again to get past, I appreciate how Bale handles himself as the character.
 
For “Rises,” this idea of scale and physicality all starts with our most physically imposing villain in the trilogy.





 

 
 
  

 

 
Tom Hardy’s presence as Bane isn’t a mere matter of physical dominance but more of an internal sense of ominous dread. Previous incarnations of the character in animation and obviously “Batman & Robin” rely on the superficiality of the concept, creating more or less just a drug-fueled monster. But for all his physicality, Hardy creates a character that feels more calm, more predatory. How would a jungle cat behave? He wouldn’t roar and chase after his prey so clumsily and obviously. He would take his time, patiently stalking and approaching with clear intentions that wouldn’t be clouded by poor judgment.

 
Bane feels the same way. From his more gentle voice to his walk and stature, his strength doesn’t reside on his sleeve out in the open. It’s there, buried and maintained. Bane doesn’t charge into a situation and scream to make his presence known. Hardy’s characterization understands his own power and never betrays that, trusting in it to overcome his enemies.

 
“Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you.”

 


 
 

As a polar opposite of Bane, the inclusion of Catwoman into the trilogy is as refreshing as any choice for sheer fact that we were finally seeing Bale’s dark knight be confronted with a female villainess. Well, villainess/anti-hero really. Even more than Michelle Pfeiffer’s characterization, perhaps way more, this interpretation of Selina Kyle very clearly rides the line between good and evil and certainly approaches given scenarios with one or the other in mind. You could believe that if she was in the company of antagonists, she would play off that in order to keep herself safe and vice versa once the heroes started gaining the upper hand. Though she ultimately comes to the aid of Batman, that ambiguity is handled very expertly.

 
Anne Hathaway has a very wry charm as Selina and, very much like Bane, her asset of exuding eroticism and sensuality isn’t played up in an artificial sense but is still absolutely present. It isn’t a childish sexuality but a more mature, more alluring romanticism and Hathaway captures that element of Selina quite well.

 
“Keep pressure on that, sweetheart.”

 
The cast is once again given a level of pedigree with the returning citizens of Nolan’s Gotham.

 

 
 
 
 
Michael Caine gives perhaps the most nuanced and emotional of his performances as Alfred. I love how he plays against Bruce with this more reality based angle of outright refusing to see Bruce throw his life down into this pit of loss and tragedy all over again.

 
“I won’t bury you. I’ve buried enough members of the Wayne family.”

 
It’s admittedly somewhat out of character, not just from the Alfred I’ve always known but even from the Alfred that had been created in “Begins” with his dutiful statement of “Never” giving up on Bruce. But it’s an approach that makes these characters feel more flesh and blood and if that’s the drastic measure Alfred needed to take then so be it. Caine's emotional weight, both in leaving Bruce and his moment at the Wayne graves at the end, is the definition of powerful and it's just excellent.

 
 
 

Gary Oldman once again reigns and provides a commanding and layered performance as my favorite character in the trilogy beyond Batman himself. I love the idea of making Gordon just as youthful and energetic as he was in the previous films. They don’t fall back on the passage of time to make him more elderly and soft. In a way, it’s a statement on and testament to both his character and his relationship with Batman and the idea that if Batman has chosen to give up on Gotham City for the greater good then Gordon must have the strength and will to continue the crusade for the both of them.

 
“And yet here you are, like we’re still at war.”

 


 
 

The cast is given fresh faces with both Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Gotham police officer John Blake and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, whom is later revealed to actually be Talia, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul from the comic books.

 
At first I wasn’t the biggest fan of Blake as a character and felt that an unnecessary amount of time was spent with him, time that could’ve gone towards developing Batman or Catwoman or Bane that much more. But I can at least respect his presence and its representation of the overall theme that anyone can be a hero and crusader for what’s right so long as they’re not afraid to stand up for their convictions and beliefs. In retrospect I’m somewhat charmed by his impulsive nature and eagerness to act on instinct, whether it was his finding of Gordon after Jim’s  escape from the sewers or his steadfast devotion to the Batman symbol even in the face of opposition.

 
 

And how great is it to finally have Talia as a character in the films, however brief? Marion perfectly captures the exotic attraction of the character and, while it’s actually very obvious who she is even leading up to her reveal by the end of the film, I still loved her interplay with Bruce and their relationship under the disguise of Miranda Tate. It’s a minor thing but for Bruce to actually have sex in a film for the first time since “Mask of the Phantasm” was interesting. I know that’s not too big a deal but I found that smile-worthy.

 
Though it’s not as star-crossed a romance as Rachel, I loved the aspect that Talia brings of everyone surrounding Bruce noticing that chemistry and just wanting him to have that connection with someone, preferably a woman. It’s another element of humanization and after 70 years of history, that’s something you really need.

 
 

The rest of the cast plays their parts to form, including Morgan Freeman as the ever helpful Lucius Fox, Stanley Kubrick alumni Matthew Modine as Gotham officer Peter Foley (it’s Dan Foley in the comics but hey, we got a “Foley” just the same. Too bad we couldn’t get Bullock) and Ben Mendelsohn as white collar criminal John Daggett (again, like Foley, it’s a “Daggett.” Not quite Roland Daggett from the animated series, but the thought is there).

 
 

And how could anyone not help but cheer at the reappearance of both Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul and the ever loyal Cillian Murphy, taking up the judge’s gavel as Jonathan Crane?

 
“The choice is yours. Exile or death?!”

 
 


The action and pacing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” from my perspective, is as grandiose and bold an effort in filmmaking as one could find these days. It echoes similarly epic productions like “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Spartacus,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Gone with the Wind.” There’s tangibility to the scale of the film that flies right in the face of contemporary visual effects extravaganzas like the “Transformers” films or even the Marvel Studios releases.





 

 
 
 




We open with a mammoth prologue sequence as Bane escapes his CIA captors in a stunning aerial extraction. Shot over the vibrant greenery of Scotland, the scene is an exquisite example of combining practical and visual effects to birth a sequence that has an honest sense of weight. The prologue, along with a number of subsequent set pieces, is elevated by being shot in IMAX and as with “The Dark Knight,” seeing those gigantic images of Batman battling Bane and the Bat flying through the streets of Gotham will stay with me forever.
 

“Rises” takes several elements from iconic stories throughout the lore of the comics and Batman’s first full-fledged appearance in the film following an attack by Bane on the Gotham Stock Exchange is a terrific example.





 

 
 
   



 
“You are in for a show tonight, son.”

 
Batman returning to the main stage after years of being in hiding and subsequently being chased by the Gotham Police echoes similar plot points and scenes from Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Year One.” That moment of Batman being surrounded by what I can only assume is the entire police force is a fantastic image and a great beat on the theme that even with all that muscle and all those guns, the GCPD still can’t hope to bring in the caped crusader and the fanboy in me just smiles at the thought.





 

  
 
 




One of the strongest scenes in the film, by far, is the first battle between Batman and Bane. The technique of pulling the music out of the scene is the definition of creatively inspired, allowing the sound design to play a vital role in creating a wave of suspense and tension over the conflict. Even from the onset of Selina’s betrayal and Batman’s brashness getting the better of him, you immediately sense and fear for the fight to come.

  

Fans have complained that Batman would never be defeated so easily, which I never understood given that this is clearly a Batman distanced from his physical prime. To have Wayne go from a nearly decade-long exile to confronting the most physically challenging member of the rogue’s gallery makes his defeat more than plausible, but imminent. While it’s somewhat disheartening to think that Batman ever went soft, it makes perfect sense once those circumstances are set in motion.

 


“You fight like a young man, with nothing held back. Admirable, but mistaken.”


And what can you say about the pinnacle moment of comic book iconography where Bane takes Batman over his head and performs the unthinkable, breaking his back just as the character had done in the “Knightfall” saga. My jaw was on the floor the first time, spectacularly stunned.

 
 

“Ah yes, I was wondering what would break first. Your spirit or your body.”

 


 
 

There’s also Bane’s siege and occupation of Gotham. From his blowing the bridges and cutting the city off from the mainland to Blake’s constant marking of a crude Bat emblem in chalk, those elements are taken right from the pages of the landmark “No Man’s Land” storyline in the comics of the 90s and if you’re a fan of that story, it’s incredibly worthwhile to see a “Batman” film go down that path in certain cases.

 


The art direction, cinematography and production design are simultaneously inspired and inventive yet maintain a strong commitment to the visual through-line set up from the previous installments. Wally Pfister creates a light scape for Gotham City that feels more lush and warm in scenes such as the Harvey Dent day celebration at Wayne Manor and Miranda Tate’s masquerade ball, which marvelously parallels the hedonism and complacency that the city has fallen prey to. Specifically in the masquerade scene, I love the art direction that feeds into this hedonistic footnote of party staffers raining rose pedals on the proceedings.

 


“There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.”

 
This peace is shattered with harsh, merciless sequences of light including Batman’s first confrontation with Bane in the sewers and the dwindling flickers of hope in the prison pit.

 
It was also interesting to see Batman in daylight. Typically fans find that sacrilegious but it's a great comment on how being a hero means stepping forth into the light. For Batman to become a true champion for the people, the symbol can't be withheld in the shadows by Bruce alone and bringing his heroics into the day with a rising sun (get it?) is fitting in this instance.

 
 

The production design heightens the scale of Nolan’s Gotham and Crowley creates a number of environments that are not only monstrously ambitious but decorated with wonderful old world touches.

 
 

Following the plans for reconstruction at the end of “Begins,” we’re finally given a new Batcave. We can charmingly refer to this rendition as the Batcave cubed. Pulling elements from the Bat-Bunker in “The Dark Knight,” Batman’s crime fighting sanctuary is given a minimalist, utilitarian approach centered on giant stone cubes that lift out of the natural springs via hydraulics. This technique continues in a trickle-down effect as both the Bat Computer and Batsuit vault similarly rise from the cubes, feeding into this broad and overall theme of “Rising” through the film, hence the title of course.

 


Standing in stark contrast to the organic stone and cavernous space of the cave, there’s the inner sanctum of Bane dwelling within the bowels of the Gotham City sewers. It’s an oppressive industrial space, webbed with catwalks of rusted metal. Ironically, both spaces are given a sense of kinetics and life through the simultaneous use of water and I just love how the water interacts with Batman’s costume during his fight with Bane, making the suit a reflective surface. It’s kind of a stretch, but one could say that this approach is a visual representation of Batman no longer being what he was but only a simple reflection.

 

 
Acting as two more cornerstones to create a subterranean four-point between the Batcave and the Gotham sewer, we’re also given the underground containment station for Bruce Wayne’s abandoned Nuclear Reactor as well as the infamous pit-based prison that saw the birth of Bane’s legend.

 
 

The Nuclear Reactor is a great bit of science fiction flavor, echoing previous high concept story points in the trilogy like the microwave emitter or the sonar machine. It’s a tremendously vast industrial space but a different kind of industry from the sewers and it’s a great bit of fun seeing Fox bring Miranda down into it.

 


The pit is a colossal backdrop that effectively, and clearly, parallels Bruce’s fall from grace and promise as well as his grueling reconstruction, lifting himself up from the depths of his own self-pity to once again rightfully claim his place as Gotham’s hero. It’s a charming metaphor for the fabled Lazarus Pits utilized by Ra’s Al Ghul in the comics with the idea of resurrection and something coming out of the pit even stronger than what it was when it went in. The base of the pit circled with prison cells and geometric staircases creates a visual metaphor for oppression, almost like an ancient tomb fit for Bruce Wayne’s burial. He however defies those odds and the moment of symbolism as bats erupt from the pit wall as he makes the jump is fantastic.

 


 
 

“What does that mean?”

 
“Rise”

 


The film’s costume design is a wonderful tribute to previous Batman incarnations while also making its own statements, specifically on both Catwoman and Bane since, this time around and for the very first time in franchise history, Batman himself isn’t really given much of a design overhaul which is natural. If he gave up the mantle after “The Dark Knight,” there’d be no point in modifying or updating the Batsuit and so they don’t, which is refreshing.

 


Catwoman is given a beautiful rendering that is influenced mostly by the 1966 “Batman” television series and I welcomed that with open arms while a lot of fans seemed, for whatever reason, to hate the idea, questioning why she wasn’t being given a more contemporary approach like the Jim Lee design from the comics. To take a costume in the tradition of Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether and pull it through a high-tech funnel is a terrific method of honoring what came before while moving forward. It’s a simple thing but I love that we can see Selina’s hair and the idea of these high-end googles that conveniently flip up into accidental cat-ears with the classic domino mask gives the character a sense of elegance, romanticizing the idea of the cat burglar to great effect. The rest of Hathaway’s wardrobe feels very old Hollywood glamour along the lines of Elizabeth Taylor or Vivian Leigh and that’s a great fit for Selina.

 
 

Bane and his revolutionary roots are dramatized through a costume that chooses to base itself on plausibility rather than the iconography of the comics. Do I miss the Mexican wrestler mask? Going a step further, do I miss the inclusion of Venom? I’m not so precious and, for the circumstances of the film and the portrait Nolan and Hardy are creating, I think Bane is given a fresh appearance that still mirrors familiar ground. He’s given a mask that still manages to have an ominous effect as it does on the page and I love the additions made by Lindy Hemming, especially his French revolutionary-inspired coat with its silhouette-creating high collar and certain pieces like his forearm brace and vest with its straps and buckles. It’s a set of costumes that don’t wear Hardy, don’t overshadow his physique and they give the character an almost Napoleonic presence.





 

 
 

 



The entire final sequence of the film is just staggering as hundreds of Gotham police officers and mercenaries charge each other in the streets outside city hall. It’s surreal to consider that kind of scale following previous installments like “Batman Returns” that feel microscopic by comparison. The image of Batman stalking through smoke and he and Bane incapacitating obstructions while en route to one other is graphic and amazing.

 
“So you came back to die with your city.”

 

 
 
 
 
The scene literally takes off with the Bat, a new aerial vehicle in Batman’s employ. As with the different genres incorporated from film to film, I love that Nolan decides to examine various aspects of Batman’s arsenal. “Batman Begins” focused on the Tumbler and Batman’s ability to get through Gotham on four wheels, “The Dark Knight” transitioned to the Bat-Pod, taking the wheels down to two and making Batman’s transportation more efficient, more modest. “The Dark Knight Rises” observes Batman as a crime fighter in flight, just as he’s been in the comics and it’s a dynamic choice that once again pays dividends to the theme of rising; rising to the occasion, rising up from despair, rising like a Phoenix and taking wing.

 
 

 

 
 
 





The film is given its emotional strength through the driving rhythms of Hans Zimmer’s score. He creates a poetic theme for Catwoman that I absolutely fell in love with as it slinks around with its gracefully tinkering piano work and the now famous Bane chant is arguably as iconic and recognizable as the two-note motif Hans had composed for the Joker.

 
The Batman material is given a new elevation and Zimmer’s work with tracks such as “Risen from Darkness” and “Imagine the Fire” is breathtaking, approaching the foundations constructed for “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” and building upon them with heightened bombasity and the inclusion of chorus. The “Rises” score gets the blood pumping big time.

 


“Tell me where the trigger is. Then…you have my permission to die.”

 
How many times have third iterations of a film franchise truly succeeded?

 
The film has a number of plot holes to be sure and there are certain elements that feel as though the film is purposefully and inappropriately self-aware, trying to raise the stakes and have lightning strike as with “The Dark Knight” instead of focusing on being its own entity without unnecessary regard for what came before.

 
You’ve probably heard them all.

 

 
How’d Bruce make it back to Gotham? How’d his back heal up from nothing more than being strung up by a rope? Robin? I was fine with that one to be honest. And man, who were they fooling with that whole “Miranda Tate” disguise?

 
But while the film might not be a full-fledged success in exactly the same way as its predecessor, I still find it a success for one reason above all others.





 

 
 






“The Dark Knight Rises” is the one Batman film that has ever made me cry.

 
I’ve felt that way about my own life from time to time, the way Batman does.

 
There have been points where I’ve felt disenfranchised, lonely, abandoned and left behind as an afterthought while all I’ve ever done is my own thing, living my life the way I’ve always lived it.

In my observation, there are these bizarre and dramatic swings I go through where family and friends seem more interested and invested and supportive of my goals and ambitions in one instance and then in another, I feel alone but all for naught because I stay committed to my path in life.

 
 

That’s a big part in why I relate to Batman so much and you see it not just in “Rises” but in other works such as “The Dark Knight Returns” book.


All Batman is (I’m) doing is being true to his motivations and his goals while the media and those surrounding him (my family and friends) speculate or ignore or loathe or support, whatever…but that’s not the point. The point is that he and I continue and endure regardless of what everyone else is saying or thinking about us.

 

 
“You don’t owe these people anymore. You’ve given them everything.”

 
“Not everything. Not yet.”

 
To reach that zenith by film’s end of seeing my hero, my idol, still enduring as I feel I do and coming to terms with the possible outcome of his inevitable death…without recognition, without reward but because he needed to save everyone…made me shed tears of pure adoration and solidified my connection with Batman even more than what it had already been. My mom will testify to this; I blubbered throughout the entire ending.

 
  

“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders…to let him know the world hadn’t ended.”

 
From there the emotion just ascends with poignant scenes such as Gordon figuring out Batman’s true identity to Alfred weeping at the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne, declaring his failure of their son and Lucius Fox driven to figure out what he could’ve done to change things. It’s humanizing and really goes to great lengths to portray these characters not as characters but as people. Because to me and to fans around the world for 75 years strong, they ARE people, as real and meaningful as anyone in our lives. Bruce, Jim, Alfred, Lucius; they reside in our hearts just as the eulogy at the end declares.

 
And in the end, we’re given a glimpse of Batman that touched my heart.

 

Bruce Wayne survived. Alive and happy, we’re given a moment however brief to realize that our hero has been given a chance to lead a life free from tragedy and bloodshed because he rose to show the people of Gotham and the world that they can take responsibility and power for themselves.

 
Batman can be anyone.

 
That’s the strength of his symbol. The mark of his legend.

 
That’s how you make yourself more than just a man.

 

 
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done. It is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

 
“The Dark Knight Rises” is as fitting a conclusion to the Batman legend as any.

A poignant, operatic, sweeping conclusion to a vibrant interpretation, Christopher Nolan and his casts and crews should be, and most certainly are, very proud of the work they’ve done. These films are a testament to both Batman’s longevity and his intimacy; how the character can be so larger than life and yet so personal and identifiable and their influence on both Batman and filmmaking at large will certainly be felt for years to come.

 
“No one’s ever going to know who saved an entire city.”

 
“They know. It was the Batman.”

 


 
 

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bat-Computer Database: The Essential Batman Web Supplemental (Bibliography Part 3 of 3)


 
 
With the dawn of digital age, web masters, podcast hosts and bloggers have taken to the frontier of the internet in order to stake a claim with some incredible independent content. While it’s arguable that a majority of the web has fallen prey to mediocrity and ignorance at large with sweeping devotions to crude and poorly produced materials and nonsense, there are diamonds in the rough to be discovered once it becomes clear that the internet is a blank canvas waiting to become what you make of it.
 
And when it comes to a subject as fascinating and beloved as Batman, there’s no shortage of incredible and entertaining outlets spanning the depths of the internet.
 
So plug in and log on with these 5 incredible Batman related web sources, followed by a list of 10 more resources:
 
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A wonderful podcast that’s both parts entertaining and informative, “Fatman on Batman” is a weekly Smodco show hosted by filmmaker, comic book writer and hardcore Batman fanatic Kevin Smith. Through his geek cred and contacts, Kevin brings on a host of guests all on the basis of speaking with those who’ve either been directly responsible for aiding in the legacy of the character or have had their lives forever touched by the dark knight detective and, very often, it’s a combination of both. Ranging from legendary comic book creators including Neal Adams, Jeph Loeb, Scott Snyder and Jim Lee to Batman media guests like Paul Dini, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Adam West, “Fatman on Batman” is an excellent insight into Batman through the lens, reverence and humor of a fellow Bat-Fan from the Jersey Burgs.

 

2: “Batman News” - http://batman-news.com/
 
 

 

From casting announcements to comic reviews, “Batman News” is a premiere website for staying up to date with all things Batman in comics and all subsequent media.

 

3: “Legions of Gotham” - http://www.legionsofgotham.org/

 
 
 

 

Sub-titled as “The Premiere Batman Resource,” “Legions of Gotham” provides everything from an online timeline of Batman’s complete history to Message Boards for connecting to fellow Batman fans and stands as one of the strongest Batman fansites on the web.

 

4: “DC Comics – Batman” - http://www.dccomics.com/characters/batman

 
 

 
 

The official DC Comics page devoted to Batman. As good a place to start as any to get your online Batman fix under the watchful eye of DC’s current custodians.

 

5: “Batman-On-Film” - http://www.batman-on-film.com/

 
 

 

Created by fellow Texan and Batman fan Bill “Jett” Ramey, “Batman-On-Film” was one of the first fansites devoted to Batman in non-comic media. While the website has since adopted discussion of the comics (you can find a link to www.Batman-In-Comics.com on the home page), the page continues to focus on film and television efforts past, present and future.

 

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6: “1966 Batfan” - http://www.1966batfan.com/

 
 

 

7: “66 Batman Message Board” - http://www.66batman.com/

 
  

 

8: “1989 Batman.com” - http://www.1989batman.com/

 
 

 

9: “Bat-Blog” - http://tomztoyz.blogspot.com/

 
 

 

10: “Batman Fan Films.com” - http://www.batmanfanfilms.com/

 
 

 

11: “The Batman Universe” - http://thebatmanuniverse.com/

 
 

 

12: “The Bat Squad.net” - http://thebatsquad.net

 
 

 

13: “Brotherhood of the Bat” - http://bbrotherhoodofthebat.runboard.com/

 
 

 

14: “Steve and Andy Meet Batman” - http://steveandandy.blogspot.com/

 
 

 

15: “The World’s Finest Online” - http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/
 
 

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