Caution: There may be spoilers.
This year, is a truly epic year for summer spectacle movies. This is the aftermath of the Hollywood writers strike from a few years ago, which provided us with such gems as "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen".. projects which were rushed into production with half finished scripts or re-purposed scripts from unrelated projects in an effort to not have to work out a deal with the screen writers guild, and an effort not to delay releases. TV suffered, Movies Suffered, it all suffered..and it's effected lingered.
Now though, that's far enough behind us that we are back to where we were before, except, now, with a bigger budget. A much bigger budget.
I'm writing now after having just viewed a screening of the entire Nolan-Verse Batman Trilogy, and with this 3rd installment there is no second guessing that nomenclature. It is a trilogy, parts 1 and 3 feed of of each other as much as part two fed off part 1 and part 3 fed off part 2. If it weren't for the 8 year time gap between 2 & 3, I'd almost say they could be 3 acts of a single film. A truly epic Batman going from Das Rheingold to Gotterdammerung.
In reality it still feels that way. The Dark Knight rises is so bleak, so disheartening, so soul crushing in so many scenes, that it begins to wear the audience down and make you wish for the psychopathic Joker since at least he did all these things to try and make a point about humanity.. Bane just does it, well he does it for a different reason but if I told you the reason it would be a spoiler...but at the end.. you feel a little beaten down. Making the Dark Knight Rises something of a great counterpoint to the summers other big comic book movie, The Avengers.
This comparison is unavoidable, rival comic book companies competing for decades not withstanding, the penultimate action of both films billionaire playboy philanthropists with fancy toys practically mirror each other. Both films finale involves these characters trying to get rid of a nuclear weapon and nearly being killed in the process. Where as Tony Stark/ Iron Man survives, with a little assistance from the Hulk's vocal chords.. Bruce Wayne/Batman doesn't. In a way the two characters are already something of a mirror verse version of each other. Both are brilliantly minded, insanely wealthy, ostentatious and don't always manage to do the right thing. The key difference is, Iron Man is always subordinate to Tony Stark.. as he asserts multiple times "I am Iron Man", But Batman.. is the obverse of that. Bruce Wayne is a mask which Batman wears.
The other difference is, where as Batman relentlessly beats you down, taking a perverse glee in letting you know that everything could in fact be a lot worse than it is.. Avengers spends its entire length trying to build you up. Even when things look the most hopeless, the characters never throw their hands up and hide inside. I wonder if maybe Mathew Modine's character in the TDKR didn't watch the Avengers before putting on his dress blues and going back out into the face of uncertainty. In other words, TDKR is a film which explains why films such as the Avengers need to exist.
They aren't in opposition to one another. They are actually complimentary. The Avengers uhh.. whatever it is.. , The Dark Knight Trilogy.. They compliment each other. Batman shows us how a hero is created, crafted, built, falls, is redeemed, and is eventually killed. The Avengers shows us why Heros are so important.
After having written this post last night and set it up to autopost today, I thought I needed to come back and at least touch on the events which occurred at a theater in Colorado. 200+ people calmly watching the Dark Knight Rises were violently attacked by a deranged man. 12 died and 70 were wounded. I'll leave the pontificating on what caused this or the shooters motivations to other more interested parties, all I want to say is that he has yet again shown how badly the world needs heroes, how badly the world needs good people who are not willing to be silent and allow bad things to happen. But he's also proven how fragile our society is, how easy it is to manipulate, and bring to great harm. He is a coward for attacking a theatre full of people just trying to enjoy their movie, and I hope the state of Colorado swiftly finds him guilty of these heinous crimes.