While I procrastinate and make a decision on whether I should buy some adult underoos, I thought it would be nice to give some other
suckers fine upstanding friends of mine an opportunity to guest blog here. So without further ado and before the mental imagery of me in underoos sinks in too deep, I give you Mark Castillo’s wonderful take on his love/hate affair with The Dark Knight Rises….
Do witty status updates make for interesting blogging? I doubt it, but I invite you to be the judge. What follows is a Batman fan’s rant about the The Dark Knight Rises:
The Darkness fell on me during the summer of 1997. I was promised an all star spectacle of a Batman movie, one that would include the Man that broke the Bat. God, what was I thinking? You know that feeling you get when you’re about to make a bad decision? You know when you see that hot chick dancing by herself at the bar making eyes at you? You know the one that screams that something’s not right, but you go over and talk to her because she’s the only one making eye contact with you (geeks, this rarely happens so I had to take every chance to be with the female species! Well back in the day…lol.). Yeah my gut was screaming at me, but curiosity and a misplaced infatuation with Alicia Silverstone over rode my better judgement.
Geeks, nerds, fellow weirdos, you know what followed. It was one of the worst movies of that year, if not that decade. Clooney was terrible, Ahhh-nuld was super hammy and way overpaid, Uma was her normal un-sexy self playing a character that is supposed to ooze sexuality (chemically induced or not), and that guy that was supposed to be Bane, why would any writer take such a perfect character and reduce him….to that? Batm….no I shan’t even refer to it by name, because it hurts so much. That shitty movie killed my favorite comic movie franchise for eight long, dark years. Making me feel like I had awoken the morning after meeting a crazy hot chick, only to discover I was in a tub of ice and one kidney was missing.
Then there was hope, in ’05 Batman was reborn into the world and given a spin that only a great visionary could give him. I was happy, but depressed, because there was no way the Nolans could top that movie. Boy was I wrong, but I digress, this geek’s rant could go on for pages singing the praises of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. That’s not why I’m sitting here clicking keys on the work laptop pretending to be working on emails. I have a problem, and it bugs me because it has caused a rift in my geek nature. TDKR is that hot crazy chick all over again, because I love and hate The Dark Knight Rises.
The comic geek in me hates this movie. How in the blue hell do you go from being a recluse and sitting around the mansion sulking for eight years, and just jump back into being the most bad ass super hero on the planet? I mean there was no conditioning or training montage, so what the heck? One little high tech knee brace and you’re back in the game? “I think not!” says my inner geek. Yes, “He’s the God Damn Batman”, but the hook to Nolan’s Batman was that he was supposed to be more realistic, more grounded. That’s why he showed us all the details of becoming Batman in Begins. So that is and isn’t a valid argument here. Bruce Wayne just jumps back into being the Batman the way you or I would just go out for a walk in summer air. That just seems unrealistic.
Fine, so at its core it is supposed to be a comic book movie. You’re supposed to be able to allow some fantastic elements. So let’s fast forward past some of the movie, and get to the pit. Bruce is beaten and broken, and Bane just decides to take a couple of days to put him in the same hell hole he came from. Sigh….fine. So of course there just happens to be a bad ass chiropractor in jail with him, and patches up Mr. Wayne. *Grumble*. Sure, push ups and anger really gets one back in shape in what is supposed to be the passage of several months. I disliked the Dark Knight Rises for most of the same reasons that my best friend hated the movie. Conveniently leaving the cops alive, “Robin” John Blake just figuring out who Batman is, the list could go on and on. However, all of this in my mind was easily forgivable because of something my wife said.
The casting of Marion Collard screamed Talia, I knew that she would betray Batman, but my wife was caught off guard. “That was an awesome twist! Did you have any idea that she was the daughter, the child that escaped the prison!?”, she said as we left. “Well yeah, from the second she was cast…”, I muttered nonchalantly. “Wow, too bad you couldn’t have seen that through my eyes.”, she said and then I thought, “Yes, that is too bad..”
So then instead of letting my inner geek rant, I stopped and thought about what I loved. Bane was finally done justice and made into the master tactician and awesome villain that he is supposed to be. Sure his accent wasn’t quite right, but hey, when he squared off against Batman in the sewers, it was great. It was the brutal, heart stopping fight I had read over and over again. Taunting and toying with the man that had once thought himself the master of martial arts with no equal. He didn’t just beat Batman, he literally broke him. Nolan brought this to life beautifully on screen, so much so that I almost crushed my wife’s hand at the climax of the fight. When Batman is at his best, he entertains, and enthralls. I felt the boyhood satisfaction of seeing the Batman effortlessly take down thug after thug all with what I assume is the normal Bat-scowl that I’ve come to emulate when trying to intimidate my children at bedtime. Gordon dealing with the weight of the secret he knows, Alfred trying to stop Bruce from getting himself killed, and of course Mr. Freeman playing Lucius Fox just the way I’ve come to know and love. These were all the things that I liked and loved. What made the movie more than just good, but great.
The final conflict seemed busy, but then again, realistically I’m sure that an urban war would be much the same way, and when all was said and done I was entertained and enthralled for the last act of the movie, unrealistic parts and plot holes included. However, it is in that last act that I felt the most betrayed, because it was here that Nolan ended his saga, and with one mighty fusion driven blast the Batman became the everlasting symbol of truth and justice that Gotham needed and deserved. With one final act of heroism the Batman saves the day, at least until the cafe scene, anyway. There we see what we can argue is either Alfred seeing what he wants to believe or what he is actually seeing. Either way, it is something that a Batman fan would consider a slap in the face. Bruce is sitting there with Selena supposedly having escaped the blast by completing the missing autopilot programming and somehow escaping the blast radius. Yes, it makes for movie happy ending material, but when you’ve read the comics like I have, you just can’t accept a version of Batman that is okay with not being Batman any more. I mean, in the comics the guy practically if not actually refers to himself as Batman in his inner monologues. So really, Christopher Nolan, really? That’s how you bring your awesome saga to an end!? It’s, it’s…realistic. Despite the glaring plot hole of how he could have escaped it works. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t give me indigestion, but it works. No matter how much I would want to be the Batman until I’m dead. Realistically I know that not even the most capable man is able to support being the Batman for more than a few years, a decade at most. So even though I hate the ending, it makes sense.
So there you have it folks, I love and hate this movie. What more can I say? Was it the best of three movies? No, but that’s my opinion, and definitely not what my first blog entry is supposed to be about. My night with TDKR left me feeling whole and strangely satisfied the next day, and sure maybe my wallet was gone, but hey, the ride was worth it.
Ladies and gents, Mr. Castillo was the first guy I ever met that knew as much as I claimed to know about comics and nerd properties. We spent many an insufferable workday at Hell, I mean QVC, ranting about Star Wars, comics, chicks, and why our boss at the time had the grip strength of Robocop. So when I say he knows his shit, I mean it. Hope you enjoyed this! Up next, my new friend Kimberly Hall shares with us her take on what geek love is and how it differs from the regular person variety. As always, please visit us at The Geekvengers or Geekvengers.com and share with your brethren if you are so inclined!