Originally posted on Extra Pine Tar  |  Last updated 7/24/12

 

It’s not easy to make a trilogy. Films that start out with such grand intentions of being “different” and “new” end up just like everything else – trying to appease an audience of the masses. Only at the end of a trilogy the audience of the masses is already built in and you end up with the seemingly 15 hour conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A conclusion that came across as more of a gay odyssey than a fantasy epic.

The same thing happened with The Matrix. It’s almost inevitable now with the pressure that comes from studios and the fact that it’s really hard to make a great movie – nevermind three in a row about the same general idea.

Luckily The Dark Knight series was made by Christopher Nolan.

We rejoin the story eight years after the last movie ended. Gotham is relatively crime free and the Batman is nothing but a fugitive – both of these perpetuated by the same lie. Bruce Wayne – after the death of his beloved Rachel – is nothing more than a hermit who walks with a cane. Gotham City is basically just your normal, run of the mill city.

Bane changes all of that.

Under the guise of unifying the classes, Bane overtakes the city in an absolutely breathtaking scene involving the Gotham football team (played by most of the Pittsburgh Steelers).

While I sat on the edge of my seat, one thing came to my mind – Roger Goodell would never allow this. The commisioner would not stand for one of his teams inability to take the field because not only are they never to leave Gotham, per Bane’s orders, but they don’t have a field to even practice on – because Bane blew it up.

Goodell knows the monetary ramifcations that would come down across the whole league if one of the teams was suddenly taken away by a terrorist – a terrorist who looks like he could play alongside the players he’s holding hostage – not to mention the fear mongering that would make people stay away from other stadiums for fear of attack.

Bane would be extremely bad for business, and Roger Goodell is certainly about his business. Even if the commish couldn’t get Bane to let people out to travel for games, he would definitely be able to convince the villain to let Gotham play home games. Even if most of their team is in the bottom of a huge crater where the field used to be. And if not he would just fine Bane until the NFL got back their lost revenue or Bane decided that he’d had enough of the way that Goodell runs the NFL and squished his head. In fact, Bane actually runs Gotham a lot like Goodell runs the NFL – complete and total autonomy.

His every move is pre-planned and mapped out.

The Joker, who was very proud of his lack of a plan, wreaked havoc on whoever he came across for  no other reason than that he liked to wreak havoc. Destruction was the only goal, mindless and horrifying destruction.

Bane is the opposite.

Everything he does is calculated and part of a bigger plan. Tom Hardy allows his gigantic (I’m talking unhealthily big traps) body and startling facial mask to draw you in and captivate you with what he’s saying. 20 minutes in to the movie I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to fully understand what Bane was saying, and then I found myself completely transfixed every time he was on the screen, hanging on his every muffled (but still oddly projected) word. Where the Joker had you wanting to listen to him from the very beginning, Bane muscled his way in and made you listen.

I don’t want to seem like I’m comparing the two because I’m not, because you can’t. It wouldn’t be fair to look at these three movies in a comparitive way. As a story arc they blend in a way that Batman movies never have before. Dark and tortured films that are remember more for their villains than the performance of the hero.

If you look at these movies separately, as their own entities, then they stand as testaments to the talent of Christopher Nolan and the individual actors and actresses that literally gave everything they had.

But to compare them to one another will only take away from the reason we go to see a Batman movie in the first place – to get lost in a comic book story. Oh, and to admire Anne Hatheway in a leather suit.

EPT Grade: A-

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