We went to see The Dark Knight Rises this week, my comic-book-geek husband and I.
I had anticipated enjoying it, and I really did. It was a very-well-done conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. While you can certainly see The Dark Knight Rises as a stand-alone movie, it makes much more sense if you see the other two first, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
I was interested in this incarnation of Batman to begin with. Having been married to a DC Comics fan for 33 years, I am familiar with variations on the Batman theme, and the Dark Knight has always been, well, the darkest of these.
That’s not to say he isn’t still the Batman and a compelling figure, because he is. I think this particular version, which Christian Bale has played so well, is the most human interpretation of Batman. You don’t just thrill to see him coming to the rescue, you hurt with him and sometimes you want to shake him and tell him to stop being so much like the rest of humanity and be the hero you want him to be.
There’s plenty of action in the movie, of course, to make those of us who love action flicks interested. It has nail-biting tension and fantastic technology. But the heroes of the film are shown as human beings, with their feet of clay exposed for all the world to see. They have made and do make mistakes and poor choices, just like the rest of us. They do things they regret doing. And yet, they rise above that. They do what they can to make things right again.
None of the main characters, either good and bad, are simply comic-book, one-dimensional characters, despite their comic-book origins. They all have depth of character, and we get a glimpse into their motivations. We see how hardship can mold either heroes or villains, depending on how the individual involved chooses to react to those hardships. In many ways, the movie is about choices made, and the results of those choices.
I came away from the movie with one line in particular echoing in my thoughts, one that I hope will be remembered by everyone who sees the movie. It reminds us that not only are the huge, highly visible heroic acts important, the small everyday kindnesses are, too. Batman, the doer of the huge heroic deeds, states, “A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know the world hasn’t ended.” Something we all do well to remember.