I’ve already written 1000 words on this picture, so it’s a little ridiculous that we find ourselves here again. Ah, well, I have a lot more thoughts and reactions to the movie as a whole, which will now take the form of bullet points as I am all essayed out. This probably goes without saying but, just in case it doesn’t, SPOILERS.
- I must be the only person alive who loves Hans Zimmer’s score. I love the tribal beat of Bane’s theme and the way it goes crashing up against Batman’s bombastic horns. I love the sneaky switcheroo when you realize that Bane’s theme is like Bane himself — not at all who you (or even he) thought but something entirely different. Above all, I love that when Bane and Batman come head to head for the first time, there is no score whatsoever. Just bone crunching and breathless anticipation in one of the most knock-down, drag-out fights I have ever seen on screen.
- My best friend’s already made remarks to the extent that she is over Christian Bale, but I think he’s my mafia: just when I think I’m out, he pulls me back in. It’s not just the streaks of grey hair, the hollows under his eyes, or the fact that he is visibly thinner and more fragile than previous incarnations that break my heart to realize that he may have “aged-out” of the role he defined for himself. It’s the way his voice softens when he’s speaking with Alfred about Rachel. There’s not only sorrow in that voice but innocence, like Alfred is a time machine that brings Bruce back to a moment when he was truly himself. It’s the way you can tell, even at first blush, that there’s no way Bruce/Batman could ever be more interested in Miranda Tate (though Marion Cotillard has never been more luminous) than he is in the Cat/Selina Kyle. It’s not just the challenge that thrills him but the possibility of finding a single human being who may also understand.
- Speaking of Anne Hathaway, could she be any more killer in this movie? Sure, her first scene with Bruce when she flips from ingenue to seductress to criminal and right on out that window is gangbusters, but so is the moment in that scene when she hikes her skirt from just under her knee to just over her knee so she can climb (no one would wear those tights or the shoes to cater a party). Her dancing body can go from purring to ready to pounce in nanoseconds, but it’s never campy. Above all, she gets to go through Harvey Dent’s arc in reverse — from apathetic to finally having some skin in the game. It was never really a matter of which side she would chose. It was just a question of how long it would take her to get there.
- If it weren’t for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I think I would have fainted right out of my seat when Blake told Bruce he knew Bruce’s secret identity ’cause he is also Batman (essentially). Mind you, it highlights the essential difference between them and further makes my point that you have to be a fuckin’ weirdo to not become a cop or a prosecutor or the world’s most dedicated lobbyist, but it also really smartly sets up the whole structures becoming shackles stuff and the way the movie lets you imagine that Blake just knew Bruce would leave him a little something special in his will. Of course, what I would really like to see is the “Becoming Batman” journal that would go along with it, full of handy tips like Lucius Fox’s direct line, the best way to appear out of a shadow, and a guide to better growling.
- Actually, I’m also probably the only person who doesn’t hate the Batman growl. On PCHH Glen Weldon posited that the movies could be a solid 10% better if it weren’t for that growl, but whatever. He’s got to disguise his voice somehow. Maybe Wayne Enterprises should have sunk some money into thoseMission: Impossible voice patches.
- For that matter, I don’t mind Tom Hardy’s lilting based-on-an-Irish-Romani-’cause-he’s-that-guy voice either. It took me right out of the movie the first time, I started to groove on it the second go ’round. It’sjust on border of being too silly, but, when you introduce a voice like that and follow it up with an impossibly menacing* hostile plane takeover, you start to see the character behind it. You see it in Bane’s strut. You hear it in lines like, “What a lovely, lovely voice,” followed immediately by mass murder and destruction. In fact, when you hear his voice for the first time, it’s overwhelming loud – not just coming from behind you but in front of you and below you and in the seat next to you. Unnerving.
- I don’t really get Talia’s point — she hates her dad for disowning her protector but decided to follow through on his plan to destroy Gotham because his murder liberated her from her hate? That’s pretty much what she said, I know, but I just don’t understand. Why not enjoy the freedom to make your own decisions or reform the League of Shadows or use philanthropy to save the world like you’ve been pretending to anyway?
- To the nit-pickers who want to know how Bruce gets from the unspecified prison location and back to a secured Gotham in an unspecified amount of time, I say, “Did you not watch Batman Begins?” He spent 7 years figuring out how to get from A to B without any money or notice. I’m sure he had it in the bag.
- How weird is it to see Batman in the daylight, though, right? It’s a testament to both how broken the city is yet how accustomed they are to his presence that there are no double takes during that climactic showdown at City Hall. Gotham’s just like Bruce in that regard — they take Batman for granted.
- The song/video that inspired my article title.
- Besides the above, I think this is my favourite image that I came across in my research:
It was a touch too long and perhaps over-reliant on Michael Caine’s moist eyes to carry it through the emotional beats, but it’s still a near masterpiece.
*I was going to say “badass” here but decided against it in part because I think the term is overused, in part because I don’t want to associate any positive connotations of the term with the character, and in part because I heard a very convincing argument against the very character of Bane (in that he is a less product of storytelling needs and more of a need in the 80s and 90s for more “badasses” in comics).