Revising My Hopes For The Dark Knight Rises

*Note from the Editor*

While reading through the vast mailbox of The Daily Rotation I came across one particular email. The email was written by a man who goes by the name of Shamus Mandingo. In this email Shamus went on to discuss his thoughts and ideas on Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film, The Dark Knight Rises, which leads me to this editorial. Shamus sent this piece and it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the release of the Selina Kyle pictures, Bane pictures, rumors of a character dying and even several videos of Batman and Bane brawling, which is why I have chosen to share this with you all. Shamus has a strong voice on the matter and I think its best that it be heard! Who knows, maybe more of Shamus’ stuff will run. Here at The Daily Rotation we are all about getting our voices out there. We don’t censor our content or make you write what we want you to cover. You write what you want and how you want. I hope Shamus continues to send over good work like this as I’d love to continue to share it with the readers!

“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.”

One of the final lines from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. One of my favorite lines of all time. A parting gift from the last film, I can’t help but wonder if Nolan is taking those very same words and applying it to his final entry: The Dark Knight Rises.

Whatever your preconceived notions are, you can’t argue that this is not the Batman film you nor I envisioned. With every press release, set pic and rumor I’ve read, I can’t help but keep revising my pre-conceived notions regarding Nolan’s next Bat-opus.

Forget everything you know about Nolan’s body of work and consider the fact that the law of averages is working against him. Whether we all care to admit it or not, the man’s not a hyper-kinetic filmic super-machine. And no director has ever taken on three Bat-films in one stretch. Whether you’re looking at the Batman-franchise or his filmography as a whole, dude’s due for a bad film. Outside of Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings, how many filmmakers can you think of that have nailed an entire trilogy? Lucas didn’t, he had Irvin Kershner to bail his melodramatic ass out.

Tom Hardy’s casting as Bane took everyone by surprise. Bane’s a shitty ‘90s villain. More than that, he sits alongside Doomsday in the much-loathed pantheon of event-villains: not there because they serve as particularly dramatic foils. Rather, they were there to move volume and serve their respective, press-grabbing events. For Doomsday, that was The Death of Superman. For Bane, Batman’s back-breaking Knightfall.

The point being, if Nolan’s going with Bane then he’s throwing complete caution to the wind. I can guarantee that Bane won’t break the Bat’s back like he did in the comics. There isn’t a place for it, even in Nolan’s 150-minute plus running time. Nolan’s casting the comic books aside for what he feels are the best characters to end his storyline. Now that the set pictures are out there for interpretation, it’s more than clear that Nolan’s taking a revisionist approach with them. Catwoman’s Ultraviolet-like presentation in particular…

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But consider this, for as much as the Joker’s look differentiated from the comics, Nolan’s take was the Joker. Moreso than the Animated Series, Nolan and Ledger’s Joker was definitive. Even Mask of the Phantasm tried to explain Joker’s origins. People forget that the Joker has no real origin; he’s better without it. The Joker was always an absolute, the obverse of our notion of Batman- whose rich, white identity was always comfortable and accommodating to readers. Nolan recognized that Joker’s anonymity worked to the character’s power, and it’s to The Dark Knight’s credit. The look might not be there, but we owe it to writer David Goyer and the Brothers Nolan to trust that they understand these characters.

It would reek of Spider-man 3 storytelling if only we didn’t know better of Nolan and his crew. He wouldn’t shoehorn characters in, right? He wouldn’t bend to the whims of the studio if they demanded a Bane or Catwoman.

The fact of the matter is this: not a single set pic, not a single press release; nothing will let us know of the quality of Nolan’s final submission to the Batman pathos until frame one rolls on July 20, 2012. Everything before that is merely speculation. Given what we know however, we have no more reason to believe it’s a masterpiece than it could be a disaster.

And then I go back to that great line from The Dark Knight and remember how far we’ve come. That line, that very line, could not be attributed more perfectly than to another Bat-film: Batman & Robin.

Batman & Robin was most certainly not the film that we as fans deserved. But it was precisely the film we needed. For without it, we would not have been afforded Christopher Nolan, the savior of Batman on film. Instead, we’d have no choice but to embrace whatever director Joel Schumacher’s next entry would have ultimately been.

So while I have my reservations, and those reservations continue to grow, I’ll reserve my final judgment until opening day. As we learned the last time around, there’s always a young, visionary director waiting for his own Batman to take center stage. We exist in a world of revisionism and reboots. We live in a day and age where no matter what your idea of Batman, you have a good chance of seeing it in this lifetime. For me, that’s enough right now.

The Dark Knight Rises might not be the film we deserve, but it could very well be the film we need right now.

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