If Batman Begins is about Bruce Wayne becoming Batman, it might be fair to say that The Dark Knight Rises is about Batman becoming Bruce Wayne. As Christopher Nolan wraps up what might be the greatest film trilogy ever [take a deep breath LOTR fans, it’s going to be okay], he invites you to wonder which transformation is more difficult. Is it the bat suit or the business suit that hides his true identity? Can either forever go into the mothballs?
For your investment of 164 minutes and 10 bucks, Nolan will repay you with a story of death and resurrection, death and resurrection and…well, we won’t ruin the ending for you. But while he is knocking Bruce down again so that he can learn to get back up, Nolan is also making a sly play on our collective current reality through an ‘Occupy Gotham’ story gone very, very bad.
And herein lies one wonder-beckoning part of the story: While Bane’s [this installments requisite bad guy…and no, he’s not as good as Heath Ledger’s Joker, but that doesn’t make him a bad, bad guy] way of going about things is horrific, is there anything in your resonance with the 99% that makes you sympathetic to him? And, once again, who is fighting against Bane after all? Bruce-man the billionaire, member of the 1%? Or, Batman, the dark figure of the night who fights for the 99%? Can he be both? Can one person wear both suits at the same time?
While all that is wonderful to ponder, the most searing question of all around this film is this: Do you want to be lied to?
The Dark Knight Rises opens where The Dark Knight closed—a Gotham that has been told a lie about Harvey Dent in order to instill hope for their future. But as Batman takes the fall for Dent’s wrong doing, Gotham begins to live a lie—a lie that can’t be hidden forever.
While we’d all like to imagine ourselves as a caped crusader, swooping in to save the day [and that’s all Batman really ever saves isn’t it?…the day?], it’s the Gothamites story we’re all mostly likely living. We all want someone or something to believe in, something to give us hope. The question is, do we care whether the story we’re finding our hope in is a lie or not? Do we care if we are being lied to? Or, is ignorance bliss?