By Norman Stansfield (San Bernardino, California, USA)


(This review contains heavy spoilers.)

The Dark Knight Rises is one of the strangest sequels I’ve ever seen. I really loved everything about the film until the very end. Now I didn’t hate this film for the same reasons that other people do. Many people unjustly nitpick the movie. I’m not going to complain about minor nitpicks. How did Bruce get back into Gotham at the end? That is the main reason why people seem to hate the film. That isn’t too important. This is a very well made movie. It has a great thematic meaning to the rivalry between Bane and Batman. It has amazing action sequences. It is a fantastic follow up to The Dark Knight.

However the film shoots itself in the foot in the third act. The film starts out by showing Bruce Wayne feeling very depressed after the events of The Dark Knight. He walks around his mansion feeling weak. I loved this. It shows the aftermath of what the Joker has done. He needs to be the hero that Gotham needs. However he gets in over his head when Bane challenges him to a fight. He is easily defeated. Batman gets his back broken by Bane. Bane is clearly much stronger and more intimidating than Batman. In Batman Begins, Batman established himself as an intimidating force against all of crime in Gotham. In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane establishes himself as an even more intimidating force to Batman and the citizens of Gotham.

The film further emphasizes why Bane is much stronger when we see a flashback of a young child who is stuck in the same prison that Bruce is now stuck in. We see the young child escape the prison by climbing out of the pit. This child was in a horrible situation. At first we were lead to believe that this child is Bane. The world of this child was even worse than young Bruce Wayne’s. Bruce’s life was taken away from him when his parents were killed in front of him. Bruce of course becomes strengthened by this tragic experience. When we think Bane is the child, it makes a lot of sense. That young child probably never had a normal childhood at all. But that child took these horrible experiences and became strengthened even more than Batman and became the strong Bane.

The reason why Bane is physically stronger than Batman is because he is mentally stronger after being born in a horrible environment. Imagine being born in that prison. Imagine being there as a young child. You have two choices. Either you stay there and cry and get beat up by all of the other prisoners, or you take control of your life and get out of that pit. The child was motivated to get out of the pit by fear of the life of being stuck down there forever. Bruce must make the same decision. However he is older and stronger than that child was. He keeps failing at first. Bruce doesn’t understand why he isn’t strong enough to get out.

Then one of the prisoners tells him the story of the child who escaped. He said that the child was motivated by fear. He climbs back up again. As he is climbing, the chanting gets louder and louder. The thing that put fear into Bruce as a child were bats. Then suddenly bats fly out and startle him. He uses that fear and climbs out. This was the best scene of the film. However all of this is destroyed. Batman defeats Bane. Talia suddenly comes in and reveals that she was the child in the pit and that Bane was just a henchman.

The twist makes Bruce look like a moron for trusting her and it makes Bane look weak. The character of Talia was pointless and destroyed everything about the thematic meaning of Bane. The film would’ve been perfect if Bane was the young child who was toughened by his miserable life. Both him and Bruce having bad childhoods which made them stronger. But Bane looks weaker when she is actually behind all of it. Also Bruce trusted Talia enough to have her as part of his plan at the end. The only reason why Bruce trusted her is because she had sex with him. That is cheap, stupid and lazy writing. As Cinemasins would say: “The power of boners is stronger.”

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