Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The debate over whether violent movies inspire real-life violence rages on in the wake of the mass murders last week at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. It's important to remember that the suspect had not actually seen the film. Still, it can't help but color one's view of the way movies in general package violent action as mass entertainment.

Nolan is a master of violent action. Long, chaotic vehicle chases, extreme shootouts, and massive explosions (often all part of the same sequence) are the main reasons Nolan's Batman films bloat up to well past two hours in length (The Dark Knight Rises, clocking in at two hours and 44 minutes, contains all of the above). There are also queasy-making scenes when the villain and his paramilitary thugs bust into crowded public places like the Stock Exchange or a football stadium. But at least in the movie the body count accrues mostly from lawmen and villains fighting each other, not innocent bystanders.

As usual, what's best about this final installment of Nolan's brooding trilogy is the evolution of Batman's personal story. Corrupt officials in Gotham City are trying to defang the anti-crime Dent Law, that's been in effect for the eight years since the events of the previous film, The Dark Knight. Meanwhile, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) sulks in his mansion with a bum knee and a bad attitude; he's given up the batsuit now that everyone believes Batman is a murdering psycho. (A ruse he concocted to preserve the heroic image of secretly corrupted DA Harvey Dent in the last film.)

But trouble is brewing in the person of Bane (Tom Hardy), heir to the terrorist empire of Ra's al Ghul, who was Bruce Wayne's martial arts mentor, nemesis, and victim back in the first film, Batman Begins. (There's a great density of backstory in this movie, so you have to keep up.) (Read more)

Btw, here's an observation there wasn't room for in my GT review (in print tomorrow and online soon). Yes, I loved Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman (a cat burglar by trade, so her alter-ego makes a bit more sense); she brings much-needed zip and humor to the otherwise dark, troubling atmosphere of Nolan's Bat films.

But notice how they package sexy Selina for the fanboy public. When Batman rides his souped-up Bat Cycle (or whatever the heck it's called), his cape billows out from his shoulders and swirls over the back of the machine like a moody black cloud. But no cape for Selina; when she's stretched prone over the roaring engine, her pert black-leather derriere is visible to all, aiming for the sky.

I'm just sayin'...

1 comment:

  1. LOL, Lisa - we all know that comic book heroes tales usually pander first to single guys. This is why Wonder Woman and other female superheroes seem to think it's a good idea to fight without armor (or much else on, for that matter). I generally don't mind as long as the skin tight socks can also be on the other foot. The Avengers, for example, had plenty of good stuff to look at.