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The Dark Knight Rises - Summer 2012 - New Trailer Post #1230


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Riffing on the points about how Gotham's portrayed...

I think it's just part and parcel of the film's wider incoherence, but the way the movie builds up the tension with all the talk of class, economic injustice etc etc and then just drops it once it gets going is kinda bewildering but perhaps unintentionally provocative. For example, you've got:

- The way that Bane's men are set up as the dregs of society that couldn't find work elsewhere, but are eventually transformed into faceless mercenary goons to the extent that we're expected to cheer an army

of cops beating sense into them (in most peculiarly staged fight scene i've ever seen) in order to restore the status quo and save the day is really, really strange.

- There's the briefest 'Fuck Yeah!' moment when the fur-coating-wearing elites are out on the streets and the masses are breaking open their dusty magnums of Champagne. But five minutes later, Catwoman looking at the oh-so-symbolically shattered picture frame of the nuclear family living by Gotham's equivalent of central park is given more tragic gravitas than, say, the older brother expelled from the boys hostel who winds up bobbing face-down in the sewers. Well, it's one thing to have the poor driven underground to die working for murderous faux-revolutionaries, but it's quite another to disrespect property rights!

- Then you've got the fact that the boys hostel charity thing is the film's only real representation of poverty in a city that's supposed to be horifically indifferent, unjust and unequal. Once the poor have had some sense smacked into them by Gotham's finest, none of the elite that run the city think to say 'hey, maybe we should build a more just society so the next supervillian can't form a revolutionary milita in our sewers? Guys?' Instead you get multi-billionaire Bruce Wayne throwing a token bit of charity the way of an organisation that caters to the kids who are disadvantaged only because of some awfully bit of bad luck. Not even an organisation that works with, I dunno, the homeless or the urban poor that are the other side of the coin in the system that's worked so well for him. Nolan loves doing that duality kind of stuff and all the Nietzschian 'stare long enough into the void and it'll stare back at you!' stuff so I'm suprised he couldn't afford Wayne or the ruling elite a little more humanity after Gotham's brief flirtation with full revolution. Like, set up the Batman universe equivalent of the NHS or something rather than papering over the cracks with your nobillse oblige, Wayne, damn.

- Also, the final 'Why I Wear The Mask' speech that Batman gives before running off to throw the bomb in the ocean does another strange class-disappearing act. I'm paraphrasing but I remember it lifting off that usual 'Batman isn't me, it represents an idea, a spirit' and then, rather patronisingly expands that Batman spirit to Gordon's consoling of a him as a frightened boy whose parents had just been killed - aka Gordon doing his damn job. So it's like, 'Well gross inequality has been restored to Gotham, but as long as the shoeshiners and cleaners of the city bring that Batman spirit to their work they can be just like me, multi-billionaire eccentric recluse, private-defence-company-chairholding Bruce Wayne'.

The Dark Knight had deeply conservative politics, too, but I think this pips it.

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He is clearly injured when first facing off against Catwomen in his house, then the Doctor confirms his leg is knackered and then he gets a fancy new toy from Fox and, viola, his leg is back to normal again

I thought he was just pretending when he was with Catwoman too so as not to blow his story. Wasn;t sure what was going on at the Doctors. looked like his body was knackered, but nothing that actually mattered to the Batman. That's a constant thing in Frank Miller's DKR as well. Fox looked like he was fitting a weird exoskeleton. Like I said, I figured he was faking it.

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LittleJoe, you might find this essay on the film interesting:

http://wrongquestion...ight-rises.html

She has similar criticisms of the film's conservative politics as you. For example, here are her paragraphs on Catwoman:

So it was something of a surprise to discover that Hathaway's Selina Kyle, though she doesn't hold a candle to the scary intensity of Pfeiffer's performance, is one of the Nolans' best female characters (and my favorite part of the film), followed close behind by Marion Cotillard's Miranda Tate, the visionary who contracts with Bruce to build the fusion reactor. Both women have their own agenda and aspirations which are given their own space in the narrative, not just as they reflect on the hero's journey or his feelings--the first time this has been true of a woman in a Nolan film since Carrie-Ann Moss's character in Memento. Hathaway's Selina, in particular, has her own arc of growth over the course of the film, and she is also the one who gets to defeat Bane (though only after it's revealed that he is actually the film's secondary villain). At the film's end, she is the only character in the cast whose further adventures I'd like to learn about.

All that said, the cost of this compelling character arc is that Catwoman's rough edges are filed off, and with them her politics. Perhaps wisely given their track record with female characters, the Nolans choose to veer away from the angry feminist slant that Burton gave Catwoman, and instead make her a class warrior. A jewel thief, she justifies her crimes simply by the fact that she steals from those who have so much, and tells Bruce Wayne that "you're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us." Unlike Bane, Selina says things like this in earnest, and also unlike him, she is for the most part a sympathetic character, whose moments of villainy are usually the result of straitened circumstances rather than malice, and whose bitterness over having been dealt a bad hand that has forced her to make increasingly bad choices shines through her disaffected mask and lends moral authority to her views. Through her, then, the film could have given us another perspective on the class struggle that Bane sparks, one that could have suggested that he is playing on a legitimate grievance. Instead, the film uses the earnestness of Selina's convictions to dismantle them. When she sees the violence that has accompanied Bane's revolution, the suffering of the rich whom she had previously reviled, Selina repents of her desire for revolution, and by the end of the film she is fighting by Batman's side to defeat Bane. The message here is clear--capitalism, however predatory, is still better than the alternative--and it's Selina's own believability as an enemy of capitalism that helps to sell it. What's more, the fact that she's positioned as a love interest for Bruce Wayne--the very representative of everything she despises--helps to undercut Selina's convictions, which are overpowered by her affections for Bruce. One can't help but compare this turnaround to Pfeiffer's last scene in Batman Returns, in which she tells Batman "I would love to live with you in your castle ... I just couldn't live with myself." That Catwoman had the strength to give up what she wanted for the sake of her beliefs; the Nolans' Catwoman doesn't.

Also:

The Dark Knight managed to make comic book characters and plots seem organic to the real world because it injected a single irrational player--the Joker--into a system whose other participants, cops and criminals alike, were rational, and therefore had no idea how to approach a force whose choices and motivations they couldn't fathom. The Dark Knight Rises fills Gotham with these irrational players--not just Bane but an army of henchmen who seem to have no recognizably human reactions or emotions, and will gladly die at Bane's command--and has them do ridiculous, cartoonish things--Bane traps Gotham's entire police force in the city's sewers, and then instead of killing them he keeps them prisoner for months, at the end of which they march out, uniforms barely mussed, ready to fight Bane's forces--all while pretending that this is a meaningful political statement.
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Somehow I'd forgotten that Matthew Modine even existed and spent 3/4 of an hour thinking it was Lem from The Shield in weird aged make-up and a wig before I remembered him.

During the whole of Inception I had forgotten that Evil Picard existed and I thought he was Mads Mikkelsen.

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For the people who can't seem to quantify how he got back into the city all I'll say is think back to Begins. How does a guy living off of a finite trust fund get enough money to buy a majority of stock and buy his company back? Because he's BRUCE FUCKIN' WAYNE, a hyper intelligent billionaire who has lots and lots of hidden assets dotted around the world that he can call on in a short time frame. Deal with it.

This is pretty much how I saw it. How people honestly think a billionaire like Bruce Wayne has all his money tied up in one place is baffling to me.

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But I don't think that's necessarily what's bugging people. It doesn't explain how he got back into the city. It might explain how he bought an airline ticket, but this is a city where nobody can even sneak out, where the sum total of special forces the entire US can sneak over months and months is three men...Sure, he's a billionaire and Batman but some sort of explanation of how he managed to sneak back in doesn't seem that out of order... it seems more like a missed dramatic opportunity.

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The Goddamn Batman probably knows the secret routes and can handle precarious routes better than almost anyone. Certainly better than some military squad from who knows where. Is Batman being able to sneak around Gotham unseen really a new concept that needs explaining?

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For the people who can't seem to quantify how he got back into the city all I'll say is think back to Begins. How does a guy living off of a finite trust fund get enough money to buy a majority of stock and buy his company back? Because he's BRUCE FUCKIN' WAYNE, a hyper intelligent billionaire who has lots and lots of hidden assets dotted around the world that he can call on in a short time frame. Deal with it.

Yes but 'he's BUCE FUCKIN WAYNE' doesn't really make up for a lack of storytelling in a story. Why show him

disposing of a bomb or climbing out the well/hell-hole/Turkish bath

when we could just assume he did it easily because HE's THE FOOKIN BATMAN!

I mean they showed a bunch of irrelevant stuff, like Matthew Modine exposition dialogues at his front-door and entire sub-plots that could have been removed completely, yet they skipped out on what would have actually made the story more coherent and flow better.

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Re: The daylight fight scenes

I may be reading too much into this (in fact reading this back makes me sound a little mad) but, having watched the first two films again before going to watch the third (and discussing with a friend - it's not only me!), did anyone else notice that the films tend to get 'lighter' (in the literal sense) as they go along? Begins has most of its action take place in the dead of night (see Batman's first encounter with Falcone and The Scarecrow; also the finale with the hallucinogens escaping into the air in the slums and the fight with Ra's al Ghul), mirroring the appalling state that Gotham City itself seems to be in at the time - rampant, violent crime, a sprawling ghetto, mob kingpins abound and very much 'dark', hopeless conditions all round.

Batman's intervention fixes this somewhat by the time The Dark Knight takes place, having more daylight creep into the film (the Joker destroying the hospital and his bank robbery at the start taking place during the day, and the ferry conundrum at dusk), although Batman's final showdown with the Joker, and Two-Face, still take place at night, where Batman can still take comfort from the shadows that protect him. The city itself, as far as Nolan shows us, has lost much of the ghetto and the grafitti, becoming more suburban (seeing Gordon's family home for instance, and the hospital) and 'secure' (the restaurant, Wayne's penthouse, the courtroom, the DA's office).

Eight years later and Gotham City has cleansed itself to such an extent that Nolan isn't afraid to show Batman having the audacity to fight the big bad in broad daylight with all to see and goggle at. Escaping the Lazarus Pit sees Bruce staring into blinding sunshine, 'Robin' seems to conduct most of his goody-two-shoes business during the day and even despite the martial law, Gotham seems to be a brighter, lighter place all round, perhaps a not so subtle metaphor for Batman's struggle (and its effect on Gotham and the trilogy as a whole) demonstrably having an impact on his surroundings.

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He did have a gammy leg, get his back broken by a big goon and fail several times to jump a long distance, so I'm not sure why the film makers would suddenly ask us to unquestioningly have blind faith in his infallibility and resources? Looked like they just made a bunch of dodgy editing decisions.

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Yes but 'he's BUCE FUCKIN WAYNE' doesn't really make up for a lack of storytelling in a story. Why show him

disposing of a bomb or climbing out the well/hell-hole/Turkish bath

when we could just assume he did it easily because HE's THE FOOKIN BATMAN!

I mean they showed a bunch of irrelevant stuff, like Matthew Modine exposition dialogues at his front-door and entire sub-plots that could have been removed completely, yet they skipped out on what would have actually made the story more coherent and flow better.

It's BRUCE not BUCE.

But regardless, from a storytelling point of view showing how he got back into the city is unnecessary as he is THE BATMAN, a hyper intelligent crime fighting detective with a seemingly endless resource of gadgets and tech whose hunting ground is Gotham, and who would know how to get into the city if it was encased in the crystals that made the Fortress of Solitude.

And it'd be pointless to show how he got back to the US because he's BRUCE WAYNE who, as I said before is a hyper intelligent billionaire with hidden assets that can be called on at a moments notice. It's very simple to determine this if you use your imagination.

Oh, and those scenes you describe are totally INTEGRAL to the plot and flow of the storyline so don't be silly. But please point me a subplot that didn't tie into the storytellers vision of the film and I'll happily engage with you about it.

But then I guess crediting your audience, most of whom should be familiar with the characters, settings, previous films etc. with imagination seems to be a crime in these days of entitled cinemagoers with a seeming lack of attention or a want to criticise everything that's not exactly as they want it.

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Or out it this way: who actually believed the setup with the bridges et al was going to keep The Batman out of Gotham. Anyone doubt it from the second it was shown?

Plus special forces got in, so he was hardly the only one. There are flaws in the film, but this isn't one.

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But regardless, from a storytelling point of view showing how he got back into the city is unnecessary as he is THE BATMAN, a hyper intelligent crime fighting detective with a seemingly endless resource of gadgets and tech whose hunting ground is Gotham, and who would know how to get into the city if it was encased in the crystals that made the Fortress of Solitude.

And it'd be pointless to show how he got back to the US because he's BRUCE WAYNE who, as I said before is a hyper intelligent billionaire with hidden assets that can be called on at a moments notice. It's very simple to determine this if you use your imagination.

If you follow this logic there's not much point showing anything, just assume everything gets sorted out due to awesomeness. But as I pointed out earlier his unstoppable awesomeness is brought into question by the film makers 'vision' themselves, who've chosen to have him be a fallible, defeated individual who doesn't even do proper background checks on the staff.

Oh, and those scenes you describe are totally INTEGRAL to the plot and flow of the storyline so don't be silly.

Talking heads yapping away are integral but showing Batman stealth into a city under siege is unnecessary as we can all imagine it? It would help if the film makers had an imagination as well I think rather than relying on verbal exposition.

But please point me a subplot that didn't tie into the storytellers vision of the film and I'll happily engage with you about it.

There is no development of the McGuffin that is the magic USB stick. And it's a USB stick.

Catwoman seems to be a lesbian. Then she isn't.

There is no development in the relationship between Talia and Wayne before they have sex.

There is no development in the relationship between Robin and Wayne before he reveals he knows he's Batman.

The is plenty of development of Matthew Modine that is dull and would look better on the cutting room floor while you flesh out the rest of the characters.

There are two ways one could go about fixing this movie; Make it a mini-series so it all gets the time it needs, or make it an hour shorter, tighten up the editing and drop the dead-weight.

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Re: The daylight fight scenes

I may be reading too much into this (in fact reading this back makes me sound a little mad) but, having watched the first two films again before going to watch the third (and discussing with a friend - it's not only me!), did anyone else notice that the films tend to get 'lighter' (in the literal sense) as they go along?

Yes, it works thematically in the way you describe (I don't think you're reading too much into it!), but there's also a more practical reason. The increasing brightness reflects the filmmakers' increasing confidence in both the audience and in the Batsuit they designed: at the time of Batman Begins, they did everything they could to banish all memories of Batman & Robin, so they emphasised the "ninja hiding in shadows" stuff. But now they know that viewers won't laugh at seeing him in broad daylight.

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Well, a lot of it was nonsensical, but a spectacular film nonetheless.

The plot was very Arkham City, I thought- although with a less plausible sense of scale. Totally didn't call Talia coming out of the woodwork- I was surprised they didn't leave her alive and/or hint she was pregnant, though.

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