When I was a young girl, my three favorite movies were: Batman, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and The Princess Bride. Those three movies shaped the way I looked at life and showed me that there was more to life than, well, what most advertisements and movies want us to think.
I’ve always stood by Batman as my favorite superhero. Number one, because he doesn’t have super powers. He’s a man. He’s a rich man with gadgets, but he’s a man none the less. He isn’t genetically altered to fight crime in any way (that I know of, I’m not a big comic buff, I’ll admit), he just fights. He wasn’t bitten by a spider, or created in a lab, and his powers aren’t enhanced by earth’s yellow sun. He’s just a man. But he’s a man who stands for something: Hope.
Even at his darkest times, Batman stood for the people of Gotham, who were for the most part, completely unworthy of his loyalty. But he stood for them, and he bled for them, and he fought unyieldingly for them, so that they could continue to live their lives freely.
Having recently just left the theater and finally seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I am so overcome with emotion that it’s really difficult for me to write this. I feel so many things right now, and they’re all bubbling at the surface, waiting for a crack to come gushing out. I’m not kidding you – I was weeping when I left the theater. I’m not going to ruin anything here in case people haven’t seen it, but I can definitely recommend it, from a completely biased point of view.
Christopher Nolan accomplished everything I thought would never be possible with our previous Batmans (Batmen?). Just considering films, Michael Keeton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale all had different characters to work with, but I think most people will agree that Christian Bale’s was the most successful. Even with the
almost insufferable annoying Bat-voice throughout the second installment (The Dark Knight).
Nolan’s Batman is suffering. The billionaire playboy orphan with more money than most of us can even dream was a wreck. And why shouldn’t he be? I know two people in my life that have lost both of their parents, and I honestly don’t know how they do it either. (But if they were to become caped crusaders, I believe I would support them, and possibly petition to become Batgirl.) But to lose both of your parents at such a young age, and to have all of that wealth and opportunity – what do you do? How do you go on believing that everything will be okay when you know that all the money in the world didn’t help your parents? It didn’t protect them from the people that they tried to help, so where do you go from here?
To watch Nolan’s film, as it all comes together, with the amazing cinematography and the absolutely breathtaking soundtrack, is an experience. And I don’t think that anyone could have delivered the performances as well as the actors cast in these roles. Christian Bale and Gary Oldman aside, Michael Caine is the best friggin actor in this movie. There was more than one occasion, where I would start tearing up just listening to the heartwrenching truths he delivered to Master Wayne. A man who’s entire life is dedicated to caring for a person who risks his life on a daily basis – you don’t quite grasp the depths of Alfred’s devotion until this film, but it’s unquestionable. I absolutely believe that this is the best movie I’ve ever seen, and he is one of the reasons for it.
Batman’s message of hope and mercy makes it all the more tragic when we think about and remember the lives that were lost that night in Colorado. I’m not going to go in depth about it, but I know that those movie goers, whether they be boys, girls, men, women or children, all loved Batman for his message, or at the very least his really cool toys. Many people have said better things about remembering those that were lost, but I do wish that someone was there to stand up for them. And even though superheroes aren’t real, we do need to hope for something better, because we can’t keep going in this direction in our society.
Nolan’s series isn’t about cheap gimmicks and quippy one liners (although there are a couple, but hey – it’s an action flick!), it’s about showing the people of Gotham that their masked menace, the man that they crucified for countless crimes, was in fact their Dark Knight. There’s no flashes of Bat-butts or random rorschach tests, no army of cats for Catwoman and a creepy Christopher Walken to push her out a window. Bane is not Uma Thurman’s henchman with a three word vocabulary, and even his sing-songy voice was never amusing when not intended. Batman is Gotham’s hope in the dark, he is their saving grace, even when it is the people of Gotham who condem him.
The thing that really makes the movie though, as I already mentioned, is the soundtrack. It. Is. EPIC. I’m probably going to add some songs to my running playlist (I’ll let you know which ones they are). You feel what every person in the movie feels because the soundtrack tells you to. I’m not kidding. This music will move you, and every fiber of your being. It’s glorious. There’s really no other way to describe it, and I’m getting chills just thinking about it now.
I’m glad that Christopher Nolan has started to form this crew of actors, I mean, who would have ever thought that the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun could have turned out these amazing performances?
Do yourself a favor if you haven’t seen this yet and go take a look. You don’t even need to see the other two, although there is a familiar face at the sentencing hearings,and I would definitely recommend them anyway. Maybe you’ll meet the Batman I met long ago. The man who could save anyone, because he’s a man who fights for hope and light, even if they are undeserving of service. A man who fights to avenge his parents, who died at the hands of those they so wished to save. A man who fights to restore his home, but even as he does it continues to crumble and decay around him. Or maybe he’s just a man who fights to find his own light, his own hope that one day he won’t have to fight anymore. Either way – he’s my superhero, my Dark Knight, my beacon of hope, and I hope you get to meet him, too.