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In Toonari Post’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ review, the plot, actors, and their characters were examined. All of these elements were able to come together through careful writing and masterful directing that brings honor to filmmaking as well as storytelling. Another aspect that makes ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ so amazing is how it integrates comic book and graphic novel storylines in a way that pays homage to past writers of Batman and takes its own creative spin on their work.
One of the most excellent things about ‘Rises’ is that it incorporates storylines from the Batman comics. “Knightfall,” a comic series written in 1993, is an intense story in which Bane learns Batman’s identity and breaks his spine, leaving him paralyzed for an extended period of time. ‘Rises’ also includes elements of anarchy from the 1999 comic “No Man’s Land” where an earthquake leaves Gotham cut off from the mainland and the city erupts into chaos.
Another aspect the film adapts is that Bane and Ra’s al Ghul are connected because in the comics “Bane of the Demon,” after Batman refuses to marry Talia, Ra’s daughter, Ra’s seeks out Bane instead to continue his quest to dominate the world in order to save it. Ra’s recognizes the same power and discipline in Bane that he formerly saw in Bruce, but he notices Bane is willing to kill and sacrifice innocent lives in order to achieve the League of Shadows’ ultimate goal of world peace. ‘Rises’ cleverly plays on the dynamic between Ra’s and Bane as well as Ra’s and Bruce to make them foils of each other.
Additionally, Selina Kyle is accompanied by a young woman who may or may not be her best friend from the “Batman: Year One” comics, Holly Robinson. The small references to these comics and characters show that Christopher Nolan understands the mythos that helps make Batman one of the most notable and incredible heroes to date.
‘Rises’ also draws inspiration from Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” because of its character arc for Bruce Wayne. In ‘Rises’, Bruce has to overcome the physical limits of his body as well as the psychological problems he has developed after the death of Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent, both of whom were dear friends.
As Alfred points out, Bruce never returned to being himself after Rachel died because he thought she never got a chance to move on and so he felt that he had no future without her. After Alfred reveals that Rachel had chosen Harvey over him before she died, Bruce is motivated to come out of retirement and pick up the cape and cowl once again, thus forcing him to rise above his own limitations as well as the obstacles presented by Gotham’s criminal underbelly.
In fact, the rise theme is woven into the story with all of the characters as they are forced to become even better than they ever thought they could be in order to save Gotham City. For instance, Detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) becomes an unofficial apprentice to Bruce not long after he returns to being Batman.
As the film progresses, he begins to see that the path of a Gotham City detective may not be right for him because of the limited power they have when it comes to saving the city. The decision to imply that Det. Blake would take his place as Gotham’s new savior is even more surprising as Nolan has stated before that he did not have any interest in including Dick Grayson, aka Robin, in his movies.
He even gives a clever nod to the name while still creating a unique character who has bits and pieces of Dick Grayson, the original Robin, in him. Blake’s involvement in the story has a similar tone to a recent run in the Batman comics where Nightwing takes up the cape and cowl as Bruce Wayne has gone missing.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ shows that it is possible to create a deeply moving story with respect to the comic books as well as original creative vision. Everyone involved in this film, from start to finish, has outdone themselves. ‘Rises’ is a worthy ending to an incredible trilogy that will never be forgotten.
Image Courtesy of The Dark Knight Rises