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Spoiler-Free:The Dark Knight Rises Post-Game a.k.a. The Greatest Trilogy of All Time

The Dark Knight Rises seals the deal for Nick Mendola.

blog by Nick Mendola  • 

The last 48 hours were a time of relative unease, at least on a Batman-nerd scale. I avoided the Internet like the plague, worried that some lucky sneak-preview punk would ruin the plot promise of Friday’s comic Christmas: my 11:40 a.m. IMAX screening of The Dark Knight Rises.


What I hoped to find was a reviewer who wouldn’t give away major plot points, someone who could get slightly more specific than “you’ll love/hate it” yet stay vague enough that I wouldn’t know if Bane broke Batman’s back, a la the comics.

Here’s what I can undoubtedly tell you: Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is not only this age’s Star Wars, it’s the finest, most clear-cut trilogy ever produced. It doesn’t have a weak movement like the Godfather trilogy and it will stand the test of time better than Star Wars (which, I should point out, is more technology’s fault than George Lucas’).

Nolan’s trilogy isn’t front-heavy like Indiana Jones (which only featured one masterpiece). It doesn’t lag in multiple spots like Lord of the Rings and none of the installments feature a flying Irish automobile in the Old West.

The question that comes up immediately after—and sometimes during—The Dark Knight Rises is whether it’s better than its almost-peerless predecessor, The Dark Knight. On a standalone scale, I don’t think TDKR can top the spell-binding story that accompanied The Joker’s attempts to slaughter any remaining civility in Gotham City, but in terms of emotional fulfillment it’s TDKR in a landslide.

In Batman Begins, we found Bruce Wayne finding himself as the rich kid looking for meaning after witnessing his parents’ murder, coming to terms with his need for anonymity while battling the emotional betrayal felt when Wayne finds out his mentor (Ra’s Al Ghul) has different designs for the employment of the League of Shadows’ masterful combat techniques. The Dark Knight laid out the extreme depravity of Gotham and laid bare the fragility of not only Bruce Wayne’s Batman but the paramount importance of the Dark Knight remaining anonymous.

*Side note: TDKR succeeds at something I did not think possible—making Anne Hathaway appear above-average to me. Never got her lure, but she’s got moves for dudes (and dudettes) in this one.

So what is The Dark Knight Rises? It’s a story that runs the plot gamut with signature pace and fury. If the billionaire Bruce Wayne ever needed to entrench himself as one with the underdog and those blessed with great power, he leaves no question as to with whom his allegiances lie: Gotham.

Nolan takes nearly three hours to give Batman every hero trait in the book. From historical to religious — Nolan’s Bruce Wayne has more Christ issues than Bono—this Dark Knight is unquestionably cinema’s greatest fictional hero. Like the NFL surging past baseball during the MLB strike, Nolan thrusts Batman once—and maybe for all—past Superman. Thank installments III, IV & Returns for that one.

Then again, Nolan and David S. Goyer—both of Dark Knight fame—are behind the Superman Man of Steel reboot due in 2013 (and whose trailer prefaces TDKR). It’s being written by Zack Snyder, who took care of 300 and The Watchmen. It has a great chance of being, well, great… but it’ll take more than one great film to top TDK trilogy.

Probably three.

Read more from Nick Mendola at www.nickmendola.com. You can also listen to Nick’s Audio Buffalo podcasts at www.buffalo.com/audio.

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TAGGED: batman, christian bale, g.o.a.t, movies, nick mendola, the dark knight rises, trilogies

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