Sunday, July 22, 2012

Plot free reviewlet of Dark Knight Rises

Institutions matter (whether it is the power of an idea, or the rule of law). If I had to articulate a theme for Nolan's Dark Knight. Though the third movie didn't voice it as coherently as the first two. The movie didn't make a compelling case (at least to me) of the reasonableness of Bane and his Occupy Gotham phiosophy even though the movie tried. Instead, the movie highlighted the goodness of institutions like the police and rule of law. This foci is consistent with Frank Miller's Batman, that mobs are nasty, short and brutish, and need powerful institutions (structures) and Batman's to keep them in line, but Miller did a better job giving the post modernists a voice: that these institutions we valorize and Batman defends may be inherently corrupt. The movies also grappled but diverged a bit from Miller's theme of Nietzche's ubermensch, that unlike Superman's vision of freedoms and individual liberties, only some have the Will to Power. Nolan's Batman believes a bit more in the inherent goodness and power of ordinary people. All in all, I just felt the movie was a bit too easy, a bit too Hollywood (especially the ending). Giving easy answers instead of leaving you with questions.

I wrote this before reading Manohol Dargis' NY Times review, and was amused that she hit on many of the same themes (maybe there is some validity to Lit Theory), though unlike Dargis, I didn't like the Tale of Two Cities quote, because while the evocation of the French Revolution makes sense, the context of the quote felt a bit off, though I suppose it fits if you don't think too much about it.

Anyway, still a great movie. Probably the most thoughtful of any Superhero movie franchise (including Watchmen), but for me, Avengers still wins for best superhero movie in recent memory due to sheer awesomeness.

Final Grade: A-

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