27 July 2012

DARK KNIGHT LEGEND: 5 Fantastic Scenes in The Dark Knight Rises


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Hello all, and thanks for continuing to check out our coverage of the Batman movies! Today is, as the title clearly says, a list of five fantastic scenes from The Dark Knight Rises, officially out a week ago. And tomorrow concludes a look at the movies with my ranking of all seven flicks, best to worse (I bet you think you know what the worse is! Eh, yeah, you're probably right). Following that, reviews will be forthcoming of the newly released re-imagining of the Batman mythos, Batman: Earth One, followed by the critically acclaimed The Dark Knight Returns.

I hate that I even have to say this, but in this day 'n age where people bitch and complain a lot about spoilers, I'm forced to emphasize this duhness: the following post contains explicit SPOILERS, both visually and in writing. So, ignore this if you haven't seen the movie, and then feel bad that you haven't seen the bloody movie.


5. The long-rumored return of Jonathan Crane (aka Scarecow) was proven (delightfully) true as Cillian Murphy reprised the role for a third and final time for about five minutes of absolute splendid screentime. As Bane takes control of the city, he institutes a courtroom to sentence the powerful and elite of Gotham City, with Crane operating as judge, jury and sentencer. Sporting a frizzled suit jacket breaking at the seams and messy hair, Crane is full on wacko; there simply isn't a better person out there to be in charge of the courts in Gotham - well, if Two-Face was still alive, he would be #1 choice, no doubt, but Crane, and Murphy, own this. For those five minutes, even as he sentences death on a handful of our leads, Cillian Murphy becomes the highlight of The Dark Knight Rises. Sad to see his character done with, but it's been fantastic having him around as a consistent figure.

Key Quote: "Death. By exile."

4. The Betrayal and the Undefeatable Foe. The first hour features several interactions with Bruce/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and each of them are brilliantly written and electrically charged. These two actors/characters play off each other far too well - making the movie's ending all the more satisfying. But then Selina, always looking to keep herself out of trouble, makes a deal with Bane to deliver the Batman, and she cages him in with Bane to find defeat. Ever since the announcement of Bane in this flick, there has been huge amounts of anticipation for this scene. Will Bane break Batman's back? was the frequent question, but I was simply more interested in seeing just how beat to shit Batman would be.

Sadly, this is hardly a fair fight, thanks to Bruce's self-imposed eight-year retirement and lack of genuine physical strength, but it's a great, brutal fight, one of the harshest probably in cinema history. Bane monologues as he punches, kicks, and smashes Batman into every bar and pillar. The Bat's screwed. And the absence of Hans Zimmer's score makes it all the more difficult to watch, as we are subjected to Bruce's growls and grunts as he lands punches that do absolutely nothing. As completely eerie as the scene is, it's made all the more tragic and horrifying by the expressions conveyed by a guilt-ridden Selina Kyle, beautifully performed by Hathaway, as the Batman's identity is revealed to her by Bane and she watches from the other side of the bars, as if glued to the spot, stricken by fear and regret.

What a exhilarating eight minutes. The brute force of Bane, the futile punches and defeat of Batman, and the betrayal and guilt of Selina Kyle. Amazing.

Key Quote: "Oh, you think darkness is your ally. You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then, it was nothing to me but blinding! The shadows betray you because they belong to me!"

3. One of the more controversial and much-talked about bits of the script by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan is a monologue given by John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to a cane-wielding, beard-wearing recluse Bruce Wayne, where he spells out the truth Wayne has kept hidden for ten years: Bruce Wayne is the Batman. Blake knows Wayne's identity as the vigilante, and it's the reasoning behind this knowledge that has fans and audiences kinda peeved. It all comes down to a simple look, one freakin' look is what I generally hear to be a lot of folks problems. Overall, I'm not hugely in love with it, I would have liked one more event or dialogue or interaction with the two characters that would solidify Blake's conclusion, but in the end, it works.

Because it's not just about a look, it's about a shared emotion: anger. In Batman Begins, a distraught Bruce confesses his anger to Ra's Al Ghul in the mountains, and even in Dark Knight Rises Bruce's anger outweighs his fear. The anger of a good person is understandable, considering the trauma and guilt that came from the events in the alley that night - Bruce is always angry, always trying to keep that in check. And it took someone just like him, a young boy full of that same rage, to identity that inner demon, even under the guise of a normal(ish) billionaire orphan. It has nothing to do with the fact they're both orphans, it has to do with the bubbling anger inside them and the mask they show to the world. The emotional connection these share, the similarities, it's just enough to make me believe, make me okay with it. But still, all that said, I do wish there was a little more, but this is what we have, and it's one hell of a powerful scenes between a mostly non-emotive Bruce and a earnest young cop.

Key Quote: "Not a lot of people know what it feels like. To be angry. In your bones. I mean, they understand, the foster parents. Everybody understands for a while. But then they want something the angry little boy can't do: move on."

2. Often people say that how one feels about the movie when all is said and done depends entirely on the ending. Luckily, these last five minutes of The Dark Knight Rises are visually and musically superb. From a story standpoint, we're presented loads of things in a very short period of time, in typical Nolan style. Wayne's assets and estate being cataloged and donated, a reference to Martha's pearls that just so happen to have a tracking device in them, Lucius being told that the autopilot on a prior version of The Bat had been fixed six months earlier by Bruce Wayne, John Blake picking up a package left to him by Bruce under his legal name 'Robin', Alfred sitting at the table in France he told Bruce about earlier, Gordon finding the broken bat signal repaired, Blake being brought to the Batcave by Bruce's coordinates and already visited by a few loose bats, Alfred looking across his table, Bruce and Selina seated nearby, a nod exchanged, Blake walking through the water, and a platform begins to rise.

Bruce's story is over. He ends up happy. He's "made it", as Alfred had hoped. And with Selina Kyle. Lucky guy. The final seconds with Bruce are fleeting, but they are emotionally gut-wrenchingly spectacular. He has truly hung up the cape and cowl, and embraced a new life. And with Alfred's nod - God, it's freakin' beautiful. With Blake, Bruce directs him to the batcave and to a choice. If Blake chooses to work outside rules and structures, then the tools necessary to do service Gotham would be available to him. Gordon finds that he's not alone like he thought, and Lucius begins to understand Bruce's long con. Blake trudges through the Batcave, walking on top of the platform that housed Bruce's (now broken) Batman costume. The platform rises. Cue title card.

What a whirlwind of emotions and plain awesomeness. We're given Nolan's definitive ending to Bruce Wayne, a man who is able to put Batman and Gotham behind and move on with his life and find happiness. Yet there is hope in John Blake, who is given the resources by Bruce, and allowed a decision to pursue justice or not. And Alfred's final shots - fantastic. The movie as a whole may not appease me as much as I would like, but I can't find any fault in these final minutes.

Key Quote: "You should use your full name. I like that name. Robin."

1. No matter my quibbles with the majority of The Dark Knight Rises, there is one plot point that I'm completely 100% behind because it's so damn powerful, so damn brilliant in its conceit and execution, and that plot is everything having to do with Bruce Wayne stuck inside Bane's prison in the middle of nowhere (but let's say India, because that's where the exteriors were filmed). A lot of the movie, for me, doesn't do enough justice to the themes and ideas of the previous two movies, but here, in this single span of forty or fifty minutes, the story does absolute justice to everything that came before it.

I wrote a bit about this in my quick review of the movie the other day, and I'm sure my thoughts will sound a small amount more intelligent there, but I will try my best here: Bruce Wayne is beaten, in mind, body and soul. Like the other inmates, he looks up to the sky and he has hope of escape, but this is folly. Only one has ever risen from the darkness, where everyone else had failed year after year. It's the ultimate form of despair. But this story is more than that, it's the most personal arc for Wayne since his training with Ra's al Ghul and coming to terms with his anger and fear, this is Wayne having to fix his body, control himself and his anger, reacquaint himself with his old friend fear, and push himself further than he ever had before. This is a Hero personified, this act of climbing up the prison and facing the one thing you don't want to face, and rising above it to greatness. It's Bruce Wayne fighting himself, and winning. It's rising to the occasion. It's being something more than a hero, a symbol. A freakin' Power Ranger!

This is epic, this is intimate, this is harrowing, tense, and musical. With the chants of 'deshi deshi basara basara' ('Rise up, rise up') echoing throughout the prison as a rope-less Wayne climbs to his destiny - it's chilling and absolutely spectacular. The perfect companion piece to Batman Begins, and the perfect representation of perhaps the best hero the world has ever produced.

Key Quote: "You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. Makes you weak. How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible, without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death?"

How about y'all? I reckon a good majority, if not all reading this, have seen it, so what are some of your favorite scenes/quotes from the movie? 


Dominic Preston said...

For me, the best scene has got to be Bane breaking the bat. The lack of any score, the dingy lighting, Bane's henchmen watching without any concern at all. And, best of all, Batman's growing frustration, screaming out as he tried to even make Bane break a sweat. I wrote my own review of the film, and I mention in it that I really think it might even be the best scene in the whole franchise.

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