The Dark Knight Rises: No Holy Smokes, Batman!

Don’t expect to hear Robin spouting any “Holy Armadillo”  in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.  Don’t expect to see any comic book onomatopoeic action words like “POW!” or “BAM!” accentuating every punch and kick.   Don’t expect to watch villains that are characters, like The Riddler, The Penguin, or Mr. Freeze. Instead, expect lots of violence, lots of new techno-toys, and eviler than ever bad guys determined to destroy Gotham entirely.

I grew up watching the Batman television series and remember loving it.  The campy costumes, dialogue and plots of each episode provided pure entertainment. And yes, while there was some fighting, it seemed Batman used more brains than brawn to apprehend the no-goodniks, who in themselves were clever and amusing.

Not so the last movie in the trilogy produced by Christopher Nolan.  Admittedly, I was already a bit uncomfortable watching a movie that inspired a real life madman to take innocent lives.  When the ticket taker appeared before the movie began and asked anyone if they had any concerns or questions, I squirmed. This isn’t how a movie going experience should begin.

Then there’s Batman. Disabled in body and crushed in spirit, he’s a shadow of his former self. I wondered if he’d actually be able to get himself together. But Christian Bale is, well, Christian Bale.

I loved seeing Michael Caine, providing a sentimental yet reassuring presence as Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth.  And Morgan Freeman as the financial and technological brains behind Wayne Enterprises. And Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Anne Hathaway, sultry and slinky as Catwoman, who turns from foe to ally, from abetting criminals to aiding Batman.

What’s really disturbing is our unquenchable thirst for violence. The Dark Knight Rises topped box office sales for the second straight weekend, grossing just more than $64 million, news reports said.  With each remake of a comic book classic, the destruction becomes more rabid, the villains more vile, the weapons more powerful, the deaths more numerous, and the sense of hope less apparent.


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23 Responses to The Dark Knight Rises: No Holy Smokes, Batman!

  1. Thanks for writing this post. I’ve been on the fence about TDKR, especially after the events of Aurora. I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t support ultra-violent movies when there are so many other things I could spend $10 on (historical sites, the zoo, the science museum, etc.)


  2. Great points Lisa. I too miss the Batman of old, no matter how good Christian Bales looks or acts. All that darkness and violence is troubling and I like what Heather (above) says… if I could stick to my guns. Um, I mean values.


  3. But did you like it…? 😉


  4. Thanks for such a great review. I really want to see this. My son has a birthday on Sunday. Since he was a little guy we saw all the Batman movies. This includes the animated Batman series and the movie in 1993. The series was from 1992-1995. It had the same dark theme. We watched it together. I like the Nolan version. Sometimes our heroes have to overcome tragedies in order to become better. This is such a great cast. The shooting was a tragedy and really it now seems once again a psychiatric disorder was not diagnosed and proper intervention not taken.


  5. adinparadise says:

    Interesting post. I must say this movie doesn’t appeal to me at all.


  6. Karen Winkler says:

    Re: “What’s really disturbing is our unquenchable thirst for violence” Well put. Over the past few years Nathan and I have been trying to slowly cut back on the violent/ explicit content that we watch. Both of us have wanted to cut out TV/ movies entirely since we got married but we keep getting drawn to watching. We have slowly been making progress (now we basically don’t watch anything other than an occasional “little house on the prairie” or “The Cosby show” rerun but it has taken three years of really battling ourselves to not want to watch action packed thrillers and romantic comedies (mostly me on the last one – I think Nathan could have gone without those from the beginning haha).


  7. Barbara Klein says:

    Dose Batman go to the bathroom?


  8. Liza V. says:

    I don’t know if it is a thirst for violence or quench for hope…or an outlet at least in the mind of someone rising..I found the movie to be inspirational…as far as the person who went and shot people in real life (no scripts only consequences and fatalities) – that person needed attention and to see how he can make an affect on the world…who knows? I think people need to keep their media in perspective as well as acknowledging that we are drawn to shows that ignite fantasy and admire the creativity behind the production.


  9. It’s not just the violence that bothers me. It’s the hyper-masculinization of the male characters and the parallel sexual commodification of female characters (when there are any).


  10. Great post. I wanted to watch Batman after seeing its preview but decided to wait a bit longer after hearing about the tragic event in Colorado. Yes, I agree that it’s alarming how most of us find violent movies fascinating. I’m guilty as well . I remember how Batman seemed to be cartoon-like growing up and now, evolved into a totally different level.


  11. Barbara Klein says:

    Addendum to my original comment which needs explanation. I used to know a young man who didn’t have time to use the bathroom and would think of amazing excuses; the most ingenious excuse was that he was “Bat-man” on a particular day and since Batman didn’t go to the bathroom he didn’t have to go either. His brother scolded him; “Everyone goes to the bathroom and you have to go too”. Now it’s fun watching them toilet train their children. Love mom.


  12. zannyro says:

    Well said….what I will add, is that I’m very concerned about the children who are taken to these movies…how do they process the violence they see?? I fear that we are headed for a much more violent, callus, future.


  13. I found the last Batman movie so gratuitously and disturbingly violent that I decided I didn’t need to see this one. I think it desensitizes people to violence, and it takes more and more graphic violence to titillate or scare people. I don’t need or want that kind of artificial stimulation.


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