Judging The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the summer begins, so does the massive on-going debate over which comic book movie will reign supreme in 2012. Will it be Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie? Perhaps the return of Spider-Man to the big screen will win over fans and critics alike. Or will the final instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises prove to the best comic book movie yet?

While I’m a bigger Batman fan than I am Avengers, I feel as if The Dark Knight Rises isn’t offering audiences anything new than what we’ve seen before. Like so many comic book fans, I’m fairly critical of Christopher Nolan for waiting over three years before creating a sequel to arguably the greatest superhero film of all time. I understand reasons beyond his control may have caused him to change from his original script, but I felt as if he needed to strike while the iron was hot.

Now, four years later, The Dark Knight is going to be competing against the likes of Marvel’s Avengers, and the return to cinema of Spider-Man. If we take a look at what The Dark Knight Rises is offering us, there is the existing dilemma over whether Bruce Wayne is able to stay on as The Batman, Commissioner Gordan facing more criticism from his peers, and a new villain that will push Batman to his limits, wielding a potential weapon of mass destruction.

It all sounds a bit similar. Don’t get me wrong, I am greatly looking forward to what Anne Hathaway can bring to the Catwoman role, as we’ve yet to have a true breakout female character in the trilogy. Batman’s previous love interest, Rachel Dawes, was a bland character, who seemed to regress over the course of the two films before meeting her demise. I’m sure we’ll hear more revelations about who Marion Coltillard is really playing, but for now, there just isn’t enough to make me believe The Dark Knight Rises will be able to outclass The Avengers or Spider-Man for that matter.

Perhaps The Dark Knight has returned at a time where it faces much tougher opposition. New dark fantasy film, The Hunger Games has opened up with a weekend of sensational success, massively exceeding expectations by having the best opening weekend for a non-sequel, and third best opening weekend of all time. Not bad for a film that has had the misfortune of being labelled as the next Twilight. The Avengers is approaching in a month’s time, and in terms of scale and ambition, blows the Batman franchise out of the water.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly have its class, as Nolan has demonstrated how to perfectly mix superhero action and intimate drama, it’s not holding the same impression The Dark Knight had in 2008. Perhaps coming towards the end of the summer wasn’t the best idea for Warner Bros. The storyline seems good, borrowing from one of the most critically acclaimed Batman stories of all time, in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps this is another problem that might not work well for Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Returns is a brilliant story, that could easily be translated into a fresh trilogy of films. If this is to be the last we see of Christian Bale as Batman, a future trilogy based on Frank Miller’s story would have been an effective way for Warner Bros to keep the Batman franchise going. If Nolan has already covered the storyline of an aged, weakened Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement in The Dark Knight Rises, it doesn’t leave much for Warner Bros to able to continue developing the existing Batman franchise without resorting to a franchise reboot.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly earn a great deal of success, whether or not it will live long in the memory of film fans remains to be seen. In a cinematic year where we’ve already had a masterclass in dark fantasy, a group of Marvel’s best superheroes facing an alien army due, and the return of Marvel’s most beloved wall-crawler, 2012 may prove to be beyond Nolan.

 

 

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    • knudsens
    • March 26th, 2012

    I got to see that movie.

  1. May 30th, 2012

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