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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)


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An ending that would have satisfied me is if the people of Gotham took upon themselves the identity of the Batman, and literally became the rising dark knight.

The closest the comics comes to that is in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, but with a heavy authoritarian streak, where Batman has an army of soldiers calling themselves Sons of the Batman and wearing his insignia, and directs them to save Gotham.

Does he not tell them to stop? (Or at least the one guy who asks "What gives you the right?" and he says, "I'm not wearing hockey pads...") Wondering if this is not an elitist strain as opposed to an authoritarian one...a belief that the hoi poloi is not capable (in any meaningful way) of confronting evil or solving problems. If so, this attitude is consistent with the response in Rises.

It is a cynical and egotistical ending to me, and an existential blow to the reason for the Batman's inception in the first place.

Yes, in retrospect, this makes the trilogy appear to be a wearing-down of Batman's initial crusade, at least as far as Batman-as-symbol goes. We get the initial burst of light in BEGINS, but then THE DARK KNIGHT *really* challenges that idea; what he inspires are more vigilantes, and so he grabs on to the notion of Harvey Dent as symbol, who he claims is "the symbol I can never be." He then begins to work in service of Harvey Dent as symbol, and takes on Dent's sins onto the name of Batman to preserve Dent as a perfect hero for Gotham. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES comes along, and there is talk about Batman once again being a shining symbol, and of course he does inspire the police to fight and ultimately wins the day, which is the closest we get to seeing the people of Gotham rise, but it does carry the sense of the hardened will of a few good people--Wayne, Gordon, Blake--carrying the day.

To the extent that Batman's ideology (or the film's representation of it and/or the film's own ideology) is incoherent, it is going to be hard (impossible?) for any resolution to be a satisfying reflection of it. There are going to be loose ends, nagging questions, self contradictions.

When I was in Inter-Varsity, lo many moons ago, I was taught that the first responsibility upon assuming a leadership role was to strive to make yourself dispensable: begin training your replacement so that the body is not dependent on you; work for the maturation of the body so that the pool from which new leaders can emerge enlarges; stay humble so that power and privilege is not something you end up grasping to hold on to.

So, okay, fine, I'm nuts to apply leadership principles extracted from The Master Plan of Evangelism to Batman, but it's worth saying that to the extent I take Batman's statements about what he wants for Gotham at face value, I find him totally lacking in any vision/plan for how those hopes might be realized. (Where there is no vision, the people perish.) The closest he comes to a strategy is: 1) the Dent mythologozing, which the films themselves recognize as an unsustainable fiction and which is the exact opposite of preparing for the day when you will no longer be around. ("I can do it; I am strong enough..."); and

2) telling Blake to take the kids out so that someone may survive to take up the fight if he loses.

Let's face it Batman (in these movies, especially) has always had a bit of a God complex. "You've given these people everything...Not everything, not yet....I can do it, I'm strong enough...." I, I, I, I, I, me, me, me, me, me. It's a very Romantic notion of the superhero, the martyr complex. The extra burden falls on me because I'm so f---king special the world would fall apart without me. For all the speechifying to the Joker about what the people are capable of, when push comes to shove, Batman doesn't really believe this. At best he waits around, providing time for someone to step up. At worst, while acknowledging that the elites are shouldering an unfair portion of the burden, he is (unconsciously?) doing things to keep them in an infantile, dependent state. It's not just the ferry that shows resistance in TDK, it is Dent AND Rachel AND the one judge that they say is still uncorrupt. Gordon seems willing to use Blake and a set of men that are faithful, available, teachable. Blake, even before assuming a mantle of leadership, goes to Modine's door. Some of this is tactical, yes...I need you for this battle...(as Batman says to Selina) but there actually seems more of the longitudinal strategy in it with Blake and Gordon than with Batman. I could buy that if Batman were a military type, saw himself as a grunt (just fighting the good fight and leaving the strategy and ideology to others), but he's not. This bugs me not just on an ideological/moral level but on a character level. Batman of the films not only has no coherent ideology, he has no coherent strategy. And I find that a shocking, disheartening change from the Batman I always knew and loved, who was not just a fighter (he had less power than metahumans) but was first and foremost a supreme thinker...an analytical genius. One never gets between Ras and Batman (in the films) the sense of the chess match that one gets between Sherlock Holmes and Moriartiy...the battle of great minds. That Batman's greatest power was his mind was what is supposed to make the Joker his most serious and problematic adversary...while there is trust in his rational powers to be greater than even the genius of Ras, no amount of rational genius can understand madness (see Alfred's speech in TDK).

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

If I really wanted to push/tease out these thoughts (and, hey, in for a penny...), I'd say, if anything, the culmination of the trilogy evokes for me a sort of works-righteousness. What is it about this encounter, this battle [highlight=spoiler] that frees him to, finally, leave? I don't think it is that Gotham has shown itself ready and capable of living without him (Blake's ascension is shown more as suggesting that people step up when there is a vacuum as opposed to Batman recognizing there is someone to pick up the mantle), nor that his ultimate strategy has played out (he has none), nor that Gotham is in a place where it will not need him, either as a philanthropist or hero. The only meaningful answers I can give to that question are: 1) he's faced his fear(s); and/or 2) "not everything, not yet." In the film, Batman's singularity is his willingness to give everything, to be "all-in." As sloganeering, this is fine, but what does "everything" mean anyway? He's won the battle(s), but is there any meaningful sense in which (sorry to keep using the religious language) he has "finished the race"? Gotham, if it ever really was about Gotham, could still use his philanthropy, his training, his mind. He has plenty to offer Gotham. But the "everything" sloganeering suggests that he, himself, sees the things he might still offer as of being no value, no worth. We've already talked about how the statue is simply a repetition of the Dent mythologizing/the well intentioned lie. He has left Gotham free of Bane, but...and so help me, I ask this as a serious question...statue/inspiration and all, has he left Gotham in any better state than he found it? Is it any better equipped to deal with problems, threats, etc.? Or does he (and the movie) ultimately just feel as though the most a hero can accomplish is to put fingers in the dam to try to hold back the tide? Is there no rebuilding or rethinking the dam, or is there just a succession of elite heroes/martyrs who lay down their lives to prop up a broken/faulty system. (Cue Harry Chapin singing "The Rock.")( http://www.lyricsdep...n/the-rock.html)

Alright, I'll stop now, thanks for indulging my crankiness.I can't repeat enough that I didn't hate this movie, even if it is a mess. I've come to realize that philosophically and morally, the world we live in is an ideological mess, so why should its art not reflect that?

Edit: I suppose there are some rudimentary stabs at strategy in the incorporation of Lucius and

creating an "off the books" arsenal. How quickly and easily this strategy fails is in part a reflection of the ideological smorgasborg that is the movie ("Hey, let's throw in an arms race metaphor!"), but that it is defeated so easily and quickly is an indication of just what a shadow of itself the greatest mind the comics have ever produced (due respect to Reed Richards) is reduced to in Nolan's iteration.

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Does he not tell them to stop? (Or at least the one guy who asks "What gives you the right?" and he says, "I'm not wearing hockey pads...") Wondering if this is not an elitist strain as opposed to an authoritarian one...a belief that the hoi poloi is not capable (in any meaningful way) of confronting evil or solving problems. If so, this attitude is consistent with the response in Rises.

I don't think his problem is their belief that they can solve problems, but they lack equipment and training to solve them the same way he does (clearly) and would be a danger to themselves as well as others (as is dreadfully evident later in that film). Again, a town of vigilantes running around was never what he had in mind for inspiring the people of Gotham. His problem is methodology. Rational or not, he may have some problem along these lines, too:

batman-noguns.jpg

Edited by bloop
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An ending that would have satisfied me is if the people of Gotham took upon themselves the identity of the Batman, and literally became the rising dark knight.

The closest the comics comes to that is in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, but with a heavy authoritarian streak, where Batman has an army of soldiers calling themselves Sons of the Batman and wearing his insignia, and directs them to save Gotham.

Does he not tell them to stop? (Or at least the one guy who asks "What gives you the right?" and he says, "I'm not wearing hockey pads...") Wondering if this is not an elitist strain as opposed to an authoritarian one...a belief that the hoi poloi is not capable (in any meaningful way) of confronting evil or solving problems. If so, this attitude is consistent with the response in Rises.

Oh, sorry Joel, didn't read closely...see you are referring to the later army (in the Miller comic/graphic novel), not the incident in the second Nolan film.

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I'm using the picture to illustrate the character's general attitude toward guns and killing, in both the comics and the film - understandable considering his parents were gunned down. He uses gun technology to disable vehicles and destroy objects, but has a problem with carrying one on his person. Note that the first time you see him in this scene, he bends a gun, effectively disabling it. The latest film makes this attitude explicit.

*edit* oh shoot - you aren't the only one guilty of misreading. I thought you were referring to my comments.

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Just for the record, once again, :: LOTS OF SPOILERS. ::

The closest the comics comes to that is in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, but with a heavy authoritarian streak, where Batman has an army of soldiers calling themselves Sons of the Batman and wearing his insignia, and directs them to save Gotham.

Well, that would have been just a bit heavy-handed. I was thinking more along the lines of simply resisting Bane in such a way that it is clear they are doing so because they are morally elevated by the Batman's example. I kept thinking of the two incidents in the first two Spiderman films, where the people of New York either defend or uphold Spiderman in his cause.

Perhaps that makes me too much of a moralist, but Batman Begins did clearly set that precedent for the next two films, and The Dark Knight really only seemed to delay it for a while.

Yes, in retrospect, this makes the trilogy appear to be a wearing-down of Batman's initial crusade, at least as far as Batman-as-symbol goes. We get the initial burst of light in BEGINS, but then THE DARK KNIGHT *really* challenges that idea; what he inspires are more vigilantes, and so he grabs on to the notion of Harvey Dent as symbol, who he claims is "the symbol I can never be." He then begins to work in service of Harvey Dent as symbol, and takes on Dent's sins onto the name of Batman to preserve Dent as a perfect hero for Gotham.

Yes, but isn't this what middle-trilogy stories do? Cause you to question the legitimacy of the initial ideal upon which the entirety of the story is based? Luke has his hand cut off and finds his father is Darth Vader. Frodo and Sam join forces with Gollum, and an erosion of both Frodo and Sam's friendship—not to mention the moral high ground—begins to take place. This is what the second movie in a trilogy is meant to do; make you question whether or not protagonist(s) can fulfill their mission in the manner they have set out to do, and while remaining faithful to their ideals.

The Dark Knight was so effective in evoking doubt and introspection that I assumed Nolan had a good answer. Usually in a film trilogy you honor your viewer's trust in the persistence of the protagonist's goodness by infusing "a future with a hope" into the final chapter. On the contrary, as I said before, I found the ending very cynical and a total cop-out of answering any of the questions Nolan raised in TDK or BB in any effective way.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES comes along, and there is talk about Batman once again being a shining symbol, and of course he does inspire the police to fight and ultimately wins the day, which is the closest we get to seeing the people of Gotham rise, but it does carry the sense of the hardened will of a few good people--Wayne, Gordon, Blake--carrying the day.

Well, I don't think he necessarily inspires the "people" to fight. The people are those who are holding false court under the rule of the Scarecrow. They actually give in to their worst indulgences as Gothamites. The police simply do what police do AFTER they have been freed from a prison beneath the city. If that was supposed to be Nolan's answer, it just doesn't fly for me.

But perhaps that is the inspiration which Nolan is after here. THE DARK KNIGHT's answer to the Joker's question--that the ferries not being blown up shows that there are still people ready to believe in good--is a sort of partial, somewhat muted answer. It is apparently enough for Batman, but it if we are looking for an answer that the soul of Gotham can ever be fully restored, then it does feel insufficient. Nolan does not seem to have a very optimistic view of the populace on the whole; his sense of good in human communities lies with individuals who work with less-sterling people and spur the arc of the city toward good. Perhaps the positive mark of Batman's crusade throughout these films is that he has enabled other good, driven, repressed people to work for the good of the city, people like Gordon and Blake.

Hence my sense of cynicism at the ending. I wasn't expecting Gotham to be "fully restored", or even for any lasting social effect. I simply wanted to see the people have a single collective victory of elevated moral consensus. And I don't necessarily buy the idea that the Batman was the sole reason why people like Gordon and Blake became heroes. Gordon was already a "good man", by Batman's accounting, in the first film. Blake certainly was inspired by the Batman and related to his anger, but was prone to vigilanteism for the same reason that Wayne was prone to it in the beginning.

The idea set forth in BB is that the city is worth saving if the Batman can give the people a reason to rise up and become their own heros in the spirit of Batman, following the symbol he represents. Instead, we see that such an approach is an utter failure, that the people are basically a mob-like crowd following the direction of the wind, and that the individuals you're talking about can really only abate the situation temporarily. How sad. How cynical!

At any rate, the film is a bit more optimistic than the comics, which often tend to see Batman's crusade as a grim, hardened slog through never-ending battle; Batman initially perceives his mission as a finite endeavor, and then finds that it has no ending. Gotham can never really be saved, and so Batman becomes its perpetual Dark Knight. Your comment that "Bruce Wayne simply becomes a man who, when unable to engender courage and a higher morality in the people of his city, manages only to avert impending doom, waylaying it until a time presumedly yet to come when the people of Gotham once again wallow in the mire" is very in-line with the current comic book run.

I suppose given that Nolan did set out his own distinct moral imperatives at the beginning of this series, that I expected him to buck the comic book trend at least a little. To me, the "unable to engender courage and a higher morality in the people of his city" is the reason the films final film is an utter failure to me. Batman is existentially a failure (though Nolan pretends to turn a blind eye to this fact). The people are a failure (though Nolan pretends that a statue of Batman that the people put up somehow assuages this truth). Even Alfred is a failure!

Ken, I wasn't sure what to quote from your post, but basically, yes to all of it, especially the bit about Batman's egotism, and the spoiler'd paragraph at the end. This is why I say that the ending is egotistical. It props up Batman as some great, enduring moral figure beyond all likelihood or believability. At least TDK was truthful in this sense, that we got a taste of the possible wavering in Wayne's mind after the bomb in the prison.

Edited by Joel C

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Oh, sorry Joel, didn't read closely...see you are referring to the later army (in the Miller comic/graphic novel), not the incident in the second Nolan film.

Thanks for clarifying Ken, but actually, I've never read the comics and was referring simply to what I wish had happened.

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The answer to the tragedy in Colorado is for Lefties to find Jesus. According to you know who.

The villains and the killers in the movie are the ‘socialist left-wing Occupy Wall Street power to the people’ villain Bane and his compatriots, who are clearly shown to be wrong, evil and bad, and who get their comeuppance. ...

People will look at every possible reason – maybe some will ponder the fact that Holmes was a Democrat and hated the anti-socialist message of the movie.

Actually, none of these reasons answer the question ‘Why.’ The fact is that this is an evil act committed by an evil person, who did not know the truth of Jesus Christ that would set him free from such wickedness. The answer is not more laws, the answer is not to banish movies, nor neuroscience programs, nor weapons that can be used to protect, but rather to get the Word of God out. Because ‘faith comes through hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17).’

I used to be on the radical left, but Jesus Christ got hold of me, and I’ve tried to live my life every day by enjoying Him, using the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Edited by Overstreet

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In passing: Amid the senseless violence in Colorado, ordinary civilians did exhibit true heroism under fire. Reportedly as many as three of the fatalities were men who died shielding their girlfriends with their bodies. (One of the three was ex-military, but a civilian at the time.) And who knows, probably a number of other individuals there exhibited similar selflessness, but happened not to be shot.

Edited by SDG

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Blake's ascension is shown more as suggesting that people step up when there is a vacuum as opposed to Batman recognizing there is someone to pick up the mantle

Really? You're gonna have to tease that out for me, because I think the film very strongly suggests that Batman passes the mantle to him because he sees Blake as a worthy successor, as a man who wants to be more than what he is.

Perhaps that makes me too much of a moralist, but Batman Begins did clearly set that precedent for the next two films, and The Dark Knight really only seemed to delay it for a while.

I think THE DARK KNIGHT does more than delay it, it thoroughly challenges it, even undermines it. Even before the Joker really starts getting under his skin, Batman has already changed his plan of approach, having been disillusioned by the fruits of his crusade, and Batman's critical choice at the end of that film is such a game-changer for Batman's crusade that it effectively destroys his original plan.

The people are those who are holding false court under the rule of the Scarecrow.

FWIW, it appears to me that the people of the court are primarily Blackgate prisoners, not average Gothamites.

Gordon was already a "good man", by Batman's accounting, in the first film.

True, but he is ineffective in BEGINS, sitting on the sidelines watching the corruption with detached dismay. Batman enables him to act.

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Blake's ascension is shown more as suggesting that people step up when there is a vacuum as opposed to Batman recognizing there is someone to pick up the mantle

Really? You're gonna have to tease that out for me, because I think the film very strongly suggests that Batman passes the mantle to him because he sees Blake as a worthy successor, as a man who wants to be more than what he is.

Exactly. Blake found the bat cave because of the instructions he got in that duffel bag from Bruce's will.

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Blake's ascension is shown more as suggesting that people step up when there is a vacuum as opposed to Batman recognizing there is someone to pick up the mantle

Really? You're gonna have to tease that out for me, because I think the film very strongly suggests that Batman passes the mantle to him because he sees Blake as a worthy successor, as a man who wants to be more than what he is.

Exactly. Blake found the bat cave because of the instructions he got in that duffel bag from Bruce's will.

Shrug. That this is an afterthought (or necessitated more by the franchise's need to set up a sequel than anything consistent or planned on Bruce's part) seems self-evident to me, but it's not something I care passionately enough to get into a debate/argument about. At best (for me), Bruce recognizes the most equipped person to take up the mantle when he knows he is leaving (i.e. creating a vacuum). I don't see any evidence that he gave much/any strategic thought to how to keep whatever societal progress was achieved by his work as the Batman going until he quit.

As an aside...when exactly was Blake written into the will? Did Bruce do this after the crash...or was there some time between when he met Blake (in the movie) and when he decided to give the keys to Blake (which would almost have to be right away) that he stopped to revise his will (while the city was under siege....). Still, I guess he had time to redo the autopilot, so perhaps in between crawling out of the pit, reentering Gotham, and the point where time was reduced to a day or so before the bomb went off, I guess he could have spent precious atom bomb clock is ticking time to lay the ground work for his eventual faked death....

Aside number two. My colleague wrote: "did we not see Batman watching the countdown reach 5 seconds? He must be 6 miles away to survive the blast. To cover 6 miles in 5 seconds, assuming that he ejected at that moment, the Bat-Copter would have had to be traveling 4,320 mph. I don't think so." I can't confirm that we actually saw Batman looking at the 5 seconds...but maybe Alfred really was hallucinating and Batman's last thought was, "Damn, wish I hadn't wasted that half a day rewriting my will and fixing the bat light...."

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In response, I would offer that one of the reasons Batman feels like he can leave the role of Batman behind is that he perceives John Blake to be a worthy successor.

Regarding the will, it was my guess that he, after "dying," goes and alters it. Regarding the autopilot, the movie tells us that Wayne had fixed that prior to his back-breaking (the tech guy states it was fixed "six months ago").

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Regarding the will, it was my guess that he, after "dying," goes and alters it.

Ryan, sure, but

it's kind of hard to change your will (these things having to be witnessed and notorized) after you are presumed dead (or want everyone to presume you are missing, or have clean slated yourself). That change, unlike the bat light, would have to definitively tip his hand to Alfred, at least, that he was not dead, since the legal filing would be after the explosion, thus rendering the glimpse in Paris totally a non-surprise. That aside, it seems clear to me that the film's intent is to imply that he faked his own death as Batman and disappeared as Bruce Wayne and that the will is a continuity error. If we want to assume that Alfred was faking his sobs at the funeral or conjecture a reveal to him in between the funeral and the glimpse in Paris, I'm okay with that, but it strikes me as a sort of retrofitted explanation akin to "what I said was true, from a certain point of view."

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That change, unlike the bat light, would have to definitively tip his hand to Alfred, at least, that he was not dead, since the legal filing would be after the explosion, thus rendering the glimpse in Paris totally a non-surprise.

I assume a little forgery/trickery was in order.

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Michael Sicinski turns in a piece on TDKR and Nolan's repertoire that I'll be reading several times.

And here's a discussion between Mike D'Angelo and Keith Uhlich, and I'm encouraged to find that I'm not the only one increasingly disillusioned with Nolan as a filmmaker.

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Finally caught up with this tonight.

In a word: disappointing.

I simply didn't feel the emotional connection to this film that I felt at several points during Batman Begins or at the very end of The Dark Knight. (Indeed, the way The Dark Knight Rises recycles key moments from Batman Begins, hoping to plug back into some of those old emotions, felt a little off-putting to me. Like the new movie hadn't earned the right to "go there" or something.)

And some plot holes were simply too much. (Really, please, tell me how Bruce Wayne got back from the other side of the world to North America so quickly, despite having *no money*, and tell me how he got inside Gotham City despite the fact that both Bane and the U.S. government were preventing anyone from getting in or out of the city.)

And I kept thinking, afterwards, that the "hell-on-earth" prison really wasn't a hell-on-earth any more. Might have been in Bane's today, but in Bruce's day? It was actually a decent place to recuperate. I mean, the other prisoners were practically *supporting* Bruce in his attempts to climb out of the pit; they sure weren't ganging up on anyone like we see in the Bane flashbacks.

And, SDG, while I haven't read your review yet, I get the impression that you think this movie doesn't do enough to establish that the people of Gotham deserve to be saved. I agree. Nolan's vision here practically *requires* the people of Gotham -- the 99%, if you will -- to become a murderous, French-Revolution-style rabble. But at the end, he tries to suggest that most of the people of Gotham were actual decent sorts who were just hiding in their homes the whole time while the tiny *minority* of villains did all the bad stuff. Well, okay, maybe the people of Gotham really *were* just cowards rather than villains, but still... yeah. They don't do anything here that compares to that potentially inspiring incident with the boats at the end of The Dark Knight.

Just in case anyone's wondering, I haven't read any of the posts in this thread for the past three days, so I might be repeating things that other people have said already. But I'll be catching up soon.

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Oh, yeah, seeing the comments about the score from a few days ago reminds me: I think the basic problem with this film -- or one of them, anyway -- can be summed up by the fact that the score here was all Zimmer and no Newton Howard. I liked the *combination* of the two on the previous films, and I liked the emotional element that Newton Howard brought to the films (especially the first film). So when I say that this film didn't work for me on an emotional level, I think that may be related to the loss of Newton Howard (not that the loss of Newton Howard per se is why I didn't connect to this film, necessarily, but the loss of Newton Howard may indicate something about Nolan's priorities on this film which, in turn, failed to connect with me emotionally).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
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Aside: On my iPhone, which I've been using all weekend at the shore with my family, I can expand and read all the expandable spoiler text comments, but the blacked-out spoiler text is currently inaccessible to me. I still think the blacked-out text is useful for short phrases, but for long passages the spoiler tag is probably better.

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Aside: On my iPhone, which I've been using all weekend at the shore with my family, I can expand and read all the expandable spoiler text comments, but the blacked-out spoiler text is currently inaccessible to me. I still think the blacked-out text is useful for short phrases, but for long passages the spoiler tag is probably better.

This would definitely be an inelegant solution, but does pressing "quote" work to read them? I use the spoiler tag with anything I want to say like that myself.

I have a friend that's similarly bothered by Chattaway's blacked-out text. I think it's just one of those things that I can see it being a point of contention, but it just isn't one of mine. He's a resourceful guy

even when he doesn't have much. Didn't appear to have much on him in the Himalayas in Begins either

.

As to the problem with the 99%, I can agree, but not to the extent that it did much to ruin the film for me, mostly because I can accept the boys in blue as the hope for the unarmed cowering masses (with the legislation mentioned early in the film, it would seem that law enforcement is the basket where they put all their eggs). Would've been nice to see some subterfuge on their part, but I'm not sure about the action sequence visually if it was a random array of people on both sides. You thought Nolan's previous action sequences were confusing!

Maybe they could be out throwing bricks or something while the cops are front-line infantry during that scene, idk.

One thing I really didn't like was

the deceptive cutting going on when Batman's taking the bomb out over water. There's no good explanation I've seen for clearing 6 miles in 5 seconds

.

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Aside: On my iPhone, which I've been using all weekend at the shore with my family, I can expand and read all the expandable spoiler text comments, but the blacked-out spoiler text is currently inaccessible to me. I still think the blacked-out text is useful for short phrases, but for long passages the spoiler tag is probably better.

Since you ask so nicely, and you are a board moderator and all...and we don't want you to spend any more time away from the beach and family trying to work around the computer.....

done!

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And here's a discussion between Mike D'Angelo and Keith Uhlich, and I'm encouraged to find that I'm not the only one increasingly disillusioned with Nolan as a filmmaker.

Among critics, are you really that much in the minority? Since I've written a bit, academically, about Nolan, I can tell you I've received a lot of push back. Were you ever caught up in his "illusions" to begin with though? Reading back even to THE PRESTIGE thread (which might be Nolan's finest film, or at least the clearest distillation of what he's about) you were left cold by it. That's fine. I can see how given what you have written about what (and how) you love about film he may not be on your wavelength.

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So, does this film really undermine the whole "noble lie" thing of the previous film? Or does it just replace one "noble lie" with another?

Also, the *elaborate* lengths these people go to get Bruce Wayne's thumbprint at the beginning of the film -- especially once we find out who's *really* in charge -- is giving me flashbacks to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where Voldemort's minions created a ridiculously elaborate months-long plan to make sure that Harry would... touch a certain magic object. Because clearly there was no way to get him to touch that object the entire rest of the year.

And there's an entire subplot here that reminds me of one of my bigger complaints about J.J. Abrams' Star Trek: supposedly Nero really, really wants Spock to watch the destruction of his world. But apparently Nero does not want to *watch* Spock watching the destruction of his world; apparently Nero does not want to guarantee that Spock is, in fact, even looking in the same general direction as the destruction of his world when it happens. He would simply rather leave Spock alone on a planet full of predators and trust that Spock is looking in the right direction (and not, y'know, running or hiding for his life or something) when the destruction of his world happens. Granted, what Bane does here is not a one-shot deal like the implosion of Vulcan -- it stretches out over months -- but still.

And why was Bruce walking around with a cane and everything, anyway? He didn't seem all *that* banged up at the end of the previous movie, and he hasn't done anything all that physically challenging in the eight years since, right? I also can't help thinking that the whole Bane-breaks-Batman's-back thing was a lot more impactful in the comics, where Bane struck Batman at the relative peak of his powers, whereas here... it doesn't make Bane seem all that powerful, really, it just confirms that Bruce has turned into a bit of a wuss.

I haven't thought seriously along this theme...my own responses run in another direction...but maybe Sodom and Gomorrah is a better type than Jerusalem if people are inclined to read the film typologically rather than allegorically? (That may just be nonsense or not resonate with you...not an argument just off-the-cuff reflective listening.)

Sodom and Gomorrah is *precisely* the analogy I made when the first movie came out seven years ago:

There is a scene where Bruce begs the League of Shadows to put off its plan to destroy Gotham (“Gotham isn’t beyond saving. Give me more time. There are good people here”) and it brought to mind, of all things,
to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And then there is the scene where Batman catches and questions a corrupt cop who ends one of his sentences by saying, “I swear to God,” which prompts Batman to growl, “Swear to
me
!” Is Batman meant to be some sort of heroic, Satanic figure who challenges the judgment of an Old Testament God figure? Or is it possible to read him as more of a Christ figure, a member of Gotham’s social elite who has gone through some sort of
kenosis
and emptied himself to the point of identifying with the underclass, and who is now worthy, in some way, to impart judgment of his own? Christian Bale has talked about Bruce Wayne’s “Christ-like journey” and about how much he enjoyed playing a “demonic” superhero, and I think that sort of ambiguity is there throughout the film.

This is not to mention the policeman—in a sense momentarily representing the people of Gotham—who, when given the opportunity to show a little heroism, blows the bridge in front of a group of children, giving into fear, rejecting the spirit of the dark knight, and basically shows all the villains to be correct about the core of the people of Gotham.

The policeman you're referring to there, though, is not from Gotham but from the outside world. Although this raises other issues, for me: would the United States really just let a city the size and importance of New York go to hell for several months without doing *anything*? (Chicago, where they filmed the last two movies, maybe. But New York?)

This would definitely be an inelegant solution, but does pressing "quote" work to read them?

I believe it does. I find the spoiler tags inelegant, myself, because of the way they interrupt paragraph structure etc.

I have a friend that's similarly bothered by Chattaway's blacked-out text. I think it's just one of those things that I can see it being a point of contention, but it just isn't one of mine. He's a resourceful guy even when he doesn't have much. Didn't appear to have much on him in the Himalayas in Begins either.

That was totally different. There was no clock ticking, for one thing. And Alfred was always ready to come pick him up in the private jet. And there was no one blocking anyone's access to Gotham City when he came back (although, come to think of it, I'm not sure that Wayne Manor is in Gotham City *itself*).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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BTW, did anyone else notice the Avengers parallels here? Both films revolve around a villain stealing a rich superhero's clean-energy project and adapting it for their evil plans, yes? And then, the ending...?

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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(although, come to think of it, I'm not sure that Wayne Manor is in Gotham City *itself*).

This may be critical to how he got back into the city. I just didn't find the question all that important to answer, but I understand if others did.

I don't remember the precise wording, but I think the army's orders was to keep people in the city. I wonder if they would have allowed someone in, after advising him that he probably really shouldn't. Even if he made a break for it, I somehow doubt they'd shoot Bruce if he just went into the city on one of its bridges. They'd probably just think he's crazy.

Something else that came to mind: given what the city has already gone through, they would call their football team "the Rogues"?

Edited by bloop
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