Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tripping hazard

While director, Chris Nolan, spins a ripping yarn about the downfall of the Bat at the hands the Bane of his life and is able to tie what seem like unconnected loose ends of this trilogy together, I can't help but get distracted by the awkwardness of the cowl and the cape, especially in the fight sequences.

The fact that everyone else is dressed more or less normally, even Bane and his oversized retainer (I bet he got that way because the kids in school kept picking on him), Batman with his literally over-the-top mask and unwieldy cape, far from making him look inconspicuous as it's supposed to, instead made him stick out like a sore thumb in company. What's the point, anyway, since anyone who can't figure out that Bruce Wayne is the fabled Dark Knight has to be the densest material on the planet?

At some point, I wish he'd lose the darned things and just fight in his armour. Since this movie seems to have been marketed as the most realistic of all the other superhero movies this season, there's little call for the protagonist doing his thing in a silly outfit. It looks impractical and gets in the way of the action. Even in the shot with the Batman standing on a perch overlooking the city, the cape just... drapes over his shoulders, adding nothing to the drama apart from a distraction. I was more worried about it being a tripping hazard than as an awe inspiring device that the comic book genre makes it out to be.

But perhaps Wayne's inner struggle is right there. While the Batman persona relies on theatricality, technology and training, Rises is Wayne's story about his arduous climb back from the dark into light; from losing everything to finding happiness against all odds. The two personas are irrevocably separate, yet together. And that's the odd thing: the Bat survives when times are tough -- nothing makes the Bat come out stronger than when he is suffering. Make him happy, though, and you just might see the end of the Bat. Who'd have thought?

Does the trilogy end on a happy note, as all good legends should? I can't really say. Though Nolan may have directed his third and final installment in this trilogy, the producers seem intent on keeping the Wayne legacy and the franchise alive.

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