Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

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There's only one word I could think of to describe the Dark Knight Rises (Nolan, 2012) to anyone who hasn't seen it, and it's "epic." The film struts loudly and looks like it's made out of Phoenix tears and diamonds. It's a thrilling conclusion to a very sombre Batman series, the mother of all reboots so far. However, in addition to lacking a striking villain of the same caliber as the Joker, it shares the same problem that plagues the other two installments in the series: it is an utterly silly philosophical musing sold with a straight face.

Watching the latest exaggerated "moral" battle is the equivalent of having a nice dinner at an expensive restaurant with a newly aware 18 year old on a date. The discourse is, of course, topical and interesting. Yet, a closer examination of the ideas presented reveals very little meat on the bones. People in Gothamverse are divided cleanly into "good guy authority figures" and "everyone else." The idea that without a vigilant order enforcer, a society will give in to chaos and death because it is people's nature to steer ourselves that way, really disservices our complex human nature and provides a lazy argument for a police state.

Philosophical immaturity aside, the story of the Batman/Bruce Wayne struggle continues to grow as the soul of the film, and despite some odd provisions here and there about his physical ability, it is quite touching and well thought out. The acting is classy all around, making some awkwardly drawn situations momentarily a bit more palatable (especially concerning Marion Cotillard's character, and that bus load of orphans). The little twist towards the end is predictable, and unfortunately cheapens the already overshadowed villains involved. The Dark Knight Rises is neither fun nor funny. It is a serious ride at the amusement park that you go on for the thrills. It really delivers that way. Just don't expect it to change your life (unless you were in Aurora :(  ).

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