TDKR Prep – Part III: Final Thoughts & Questions

This is the third part in our three part series leading up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises. In our final post, we ruminate on the previous two Bat films and pose questions about the upcoming film and the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. (Potential spoilers ahead for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight)

With our rewatches officially concluded and the release of The Dark Knight Rises only hours away, this post will serve as a direct launching pad into the final installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. While it’s been a fun ride rewatching the first two Batman films, it’s a little bittersweet as we know the end is in sight. In many ways the release of The Dark Knight Rises parallels the release of last year’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II–you’re excited to find out and reach the conclusion of the story, but may end up being sad afterward as you know the journey has come to an end.

This discussion will/may touch upon basic information from the upcoming film that has been shown in the first two trailers as well as general information found in the official plot synopsis of the film. NO spoilers will be presented. Having said all that, here are a few things to think about as you head to the theaters this weekend to check out The Dark Knight Rises.

How will the events of The Dark Knight affect The Dark Knight Rises?

The Joker, Batman, and Harvey Dent . . . what will the fallout from their actions be?

While we touched upon a lot this in our previous post, it needs to be brought up again here as seemingly The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are more closely connected in the series than Batman Begins is to The Dark Knight. One dead giveaway is the fact that the title of this third film adds a single word to the title of the second–the word “Rises”. It’s not Batman III, The Return of Batman, or anything like that. Sticking with Batman’s nickname instead of his actual name, the title seems to suggest a direct connection to the previous film.

Secondly, we know that in The Dark Knight a lot of stuff went down that deeply affected many of the characters that survived. Bruce lost Rachel, Gotham City lost their white knight Harvey Dent, and the Joker tested not only the limits of Batman, but rewrote the playbook on villainy in Gotham as well. Not to mention that as a way thwart the Joker’s “ace in the hole”, Batman takes the wrap for the things that Harvey did as Two-Face.

With all this in mind some of the more specific questions to find answers for in The Dark Knight Rises deal with these threads from the previous film. We know that Bruce loved Rachel so it’s not a matter of if her death affected him, but rather HOW it affected him and how this plays out in Rises. Another thing to think about is Harvey’s death. Both Commissioner Gordon (Gordon becomes commish in the second half of The Dark Knight) and Batman agree that Harvey’s death can’t be in vain so they agree to place blame on Batman. What, if any, are the consequences of this? In the closing scenes of The Dark Knight we see the police hunting Batman; how far does this go? Are there any lasting consequences for Gotham City?

These are the main story beats from The Dark Knight that I think will be carried over into The Dark Knight Rises.

What happened in the eight years since the events of The Dark Knight?

Some of the changes to expect in Gotham are the additions of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as hot shot cop John Blake and Marion Cotillard as Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate.

This question relates closely to the previous question. From press releases and from the official synopsis, we know that eight years has passed between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Why set the story of this film so far after the previous one? Why not set it only a year later like the break between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight? It isn’t so much a question about the specific amount of time as it is about the duration. What I mean is, I think we have to look at what are the possibilities of what can happen between a few short years (1-2) as opposed to what can (or maybe can’t) happen in eight. Two political cycles can happen in the course of eight years (two 4-year terms of politicians). Eight years is farther away from the tragedy of events that took place in The Dark Knight and so maybe old wounds have finally started to heal. In a small correlation, the United States has definitely progressed in the eleven years since the 9/11 attacks, so something similar could be going on here as well.

Definitely more to think about in terms of time and progression and how it relates to the current story in The Dark Knight Rises.

Who is Bane?

Tom Hardy as the masked villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

Now this is where we start to shift our focus from the previous films to the upcoming one. From the trailers we know that Bane is main bad guy of The Dark Knight Rises. Who is he? What are his motives? Why is he “Gotham’s reckoning” (trailer 2)? Obviously a lot of these questions will have to be answered in the film. From the scant knowledge that I have of the character himself from the comics, animated series, and previous movie franchise; Bane is a mercenary/assassin who sells his services to whoever can pay him.

His backstory is cloudy as well, but again, from what little I know, he came from a prison in South America or Africa where he was experimented on and as a result of that, nows wears a mask/rig which has enhanced his body and gives him an unbelievable amount of strength. How much of this back story will actually make up the background of the Bane in the film? Nolan and his screenwriters have pulled from a lot of different sources to craft their characters and stories in the first few films, so it’s really hard to say how much of this will be accurate.

One of the things I do think will be accurate though, as evidenced by the trailers, is that Bane will be a cold, calculating, and menacing character–which is the impression I have of him as a whole from other incarnations I’ve seen of him. I’ve also heard that in a few story arcs in the comics, Bane is pretty formidable, relentless, and at times has pushed Batman to his limit in terms of hand-to-hand combat.

Who is Selina Kyle?

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle out of, and in, her cat burglar attire.

Anne Hathaway plays Selina Kyle; (again from my standing knowledge of the character) a highly skilled cat burglar who is nicknamed Catwoman. Though her regular occupation and origin seem to shift with each incarnation; one of the constants of her character is that Batman and her seem to have a romantic chemistry together. However, due to the nature of their costume personas, they can’t fully act on this chemistry as sometimes they are allies when their goals align, or are adversaries when their motivations differ.

In the trailers for The Dark Knight Rises we see Selina whisper to Bruce, “There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne . . .” The quote goes on, but from this glimpse of her character we can already see she seems to stand in opposition to Bruce Wayne, and consequently Batman. However, in one of the first promotional images released for the film we see Kyle on the Batpod (seen above); and in the second full trailer for the film we she her in the Bat flier with Batman. All this seems to suggest that this incarnation of Selina Kyle will mirror others where her and Batman’s relationship changes as the film progresses.

Finally, I’ve been sticking to “Selina Kyle” and not Catwoman because even though Catwoman is Kyle’s alter ego, the use of that name hasn’t appeared anywhere when discussing the film. Yeah I know Catwoman is listed on IMDB.com, but Nolan has not once said that Catwoman is in the film . . . only the name Selina Kyle has been referenced.

How will Christopher Nolan conclude the trilogy?

Driving force and director Christopher Nolan behind the cinematic IMAX camera.

So . . . it all leads to this, the end of filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. A lot of thoughts go through your mind when you think about the ending of the series. Will he end it on a positive note? Will he end it on a downer? Will it be satisfying? Could he do the unthinkable and *gulp* . . . kill off Batman? These are all valid questions and all valid possibilities given Nolan’s track record. Though from the ominous tag-lines of the movie posters (“The Legend Ends”) and one-liner in the second trailer (“The Epic Conclusion To The Dark Knight Legend”) it does give you an uneasy sense of finality to the whole thing.

One thing that does puzzle me though is the title itself, The Dark Knight Rises. When you think about it, it’s kind of a funny name to have for the final installment in a series. By ‘rising’ it gives you a sense that “the dark knight” is coming back and isn’t finished yet . . . not something you associate when you end something.

Will the The Dark Knight Rises live up to expectations of being the most highly anticipated film of the year? Will it truly be a worthwhile conclusion to “the Dark Knight legend”? Will it be better than The Avengers? Higher grossing? Whatever the case may be, good or bad, positive or negative, what I am certain of is that Christopher Nolan will deliver a well made, well shot, and highly exciting film.

All that’s left now is to go out and see it.

Have you enjoyed our TDKR Prep series? Going out to see The Dark Knight Rises this weekend? We’d like to know your thoughts on the film and anything else in the comments below.

2 Responses to “TDKR Prep – Part III: Final Thoughts & Questions”

  1. July 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    After reading this I’m even more excited for the movie!

  2. July 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Loved the movie. Didn’t get a chance to rewatch the previous two though. Love the enormity of the film and the despair portrayed. Many twists and turns!

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