What to Expect from The Dark Knight Rises

I’m not usually one to place too much faith in a film. I usually go with the idea that while I want it to be good, I stay with reality in case it turns out to be terrible. Then there’s everything in between. Last year’s Drive was great, while Captain America wasn’t too bad, and then Tekken: Blood Vengeance was a miserable disappointment to me as a Tekken fan. Man, I was really looking forward to that one too. With that in mind, I’d like to feel some sense of cautiousness toward this Friday’s Dark Knight Rises…but I just can’t. I was one of the naysayers who didn’t care for the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker, but look what we got. I expected it to be a decent film, but the end result was a little better than “decent.” I wasn’t sure what to think of the Inception trailers, but dang it, I love that movie now.

So now with Dark Knight Rises on the way, I feel it’s not only safe to this is going to be a great movie, but possibly Christopher Nolan’s best. This, along with the fact I believe Nolan to be one of the best directors of all time, we could be getting a classic with DKR. I honestly don’t think that’s expecting too much. Nolan himself has been quoted as saying that DKR is the “biggest [film] anyone’s done since the silent era.”

Here are some things to look forward to.

1. Batman won’t be in much of the movie, and won’t always be doing awesome things when he is.

Often times with sequels, we see the return of the main character as a triumphant return, be it still beating up criminals with stylized ease as is the case in many comic book films, or maybe just doing something that’s just a part of their trademark list of traits (Pirates of the Caribbean II: Jack escaping from prison in a weird, yet clever way. The Two Towers: Frodo and Sam, still just a-walkin’). Even in the sequel to Begins, Batman introduces himself by busting in on a drug deal of sorts headed by Scarecrow. He takes out everybody, including poser Batmen.

From what little the trailers show, Bruce Wayne isn’t Batman anymore, or is at least tired of it. There don’t seem to be parades in his honor, as Spider-Man was thrown in the horrendous Spider-Man 3. Expect things to take time before Wayne finally gets “the fire” in him. I was disappointed with sequels that didn’t have the exact same elements in them as the first when I was a kid. The Lost World not having Dr. Grant seemed crazy to me as a kid, but now, differentiation from predecessors is something I beg for. That’s right, beg. I can hardly tell the difference between Clash and Wrath of the Titans. Then again, who cares, they suck. What it looks like Nolan plans to do is to really show the difference between what happens when a guy has super powers, and when a guy has the resources and mindset to dress up and fight crime in a corrupt city. The latter being much darker, much more violent, thematic, and above all else- entertaining.

2. Fights will be good, the psychological warfare better.

Ra’s al Ghul, Joker, Two-face all had their day in the sun, and now it’s Bane’s turn. Does anybody really remember the one-on-ones Batman has gotten into in these past two installments? Sure, they’re not too bad. But it’s not the fistfights Nolan focuses on, it’s the mindgames and one upmanship the hero and villain play in order to come out on top. Most of the rivalry we see doesn’t take place with the characters facing each other as much as it does Batman trying to clean up behind the antagonist’s mess. Heck, Joker even has the quote toward the end of Dark Knight, “You didn’t think I’d risk losing the battle for Gotham’s soul in a fistfight with you? No. You need an ace in the hole. Mine’s Harvey.

Even though he’s been beaten physically, the prisoners and civilians are alive, the Joker still has his way to keep Batman from getting out clean and it’s done in a way that not many other stories could allow. In this case, it’s by creating another villain out of a former hero of sorts, Harvey Dent. It’s especially funny that Joker mocks the idea of the climax coming down to a fight since, in most films, that’s what it would be. I fully expect Bane to not only beat Batman physically (as seen in the trailer anyway, Bane casually tossing Batman’s broken helmet to the side), but to make him question himself in a way not seen in previous films. Sure, the other films also toss the idea around Batman shouldn’t exist, but this would be done more on a cathartic level rather than food-for-thought or hesitancy and possible regret at ever donning the suit.

3. The story feeling complete, unlike most franchises these days.

Didn’t seem too long ago, there were trilogies if a story continued, a single sequel for comedies or movies that just didn’t fare too well. These days, we’re getting our fourth, fifth, sixth, and whatever else Hollywood wants to put in our faces. “Well that third one made more money than the first two; why not make another?” says the brilliant producer. It seemed the reason the third film in a successful franchise would often make the most is that people wanted to know how the story ended. What happens to Indiana Jones by the end of his last epic adventure? Will Ash be able to make it back to his own time (hehe)?? DOES FRODO DESTROY THIS RING OR WHAT? While Indiana still had it’s last terrible sequel, LOTR is getting it’s prequel, and Evil Dead, a remake, we still thought at least at the time, this is it, and we can make up the characters’ lives for ourselves, no need to spell everything out.

Then Hollywood realized people’s curiosity could still be piqued if you showed them exactly what Jack Sparrow does when he gets his own story. John McClane will always have more terrorists to fight and Spider-Man can always be rebooted. So while Warner Bros has already talked about potential sequels and reboots to Nolan’s franchise, we can rest assured knowing that he wants the movies (on his part) to end. This being made most obvious by the first poster stating “The Legend Ends.” Nolan doesn’t want to do these movies forever, regardless of how profitable they are or how much fun they are. Any filmmaker worth his salt wants to try new things. So while it may be sad for those of us really appreciating his involvement in the Batman movies, it’s good to know that we won’t have to suffer through the “to be continued” style ending. Heck, for all we know, Nolan might actually kill Batman. We know Ratner had no problem killing Jean, Professor X, and Cyclops in X-Men 3. But once again, that movie sucked, so who cares?

In the end, we can all go home happy, knowing that at least we have a decent trilogy for this generation to enjoy. It will be it’s own series in light of the previous films and regardless of how many more sequels or reboots they decide to make. Then again, there’s always the chance this one sucks and we’ve got just another so-so trilogy on our hands…but I don’t think so. I think Nolan knows what he’s got and is just as interested as telling a great story as he is creating a finished series. Hopefully, this is just as good as Dark Knight if not better and Nolan will have one more stroke of brilliance under his belt.

Buddies? Buddies.



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