By JAMES EIK
Going to the movies is an interesting part of life.
They have the power to inspire, to influence change but most of all, the power to entertain. A movie has the ability to provide escape from difficult situations, even if it's for only an hour or two.
While many are just run-of-the-mill productions, churned out by the Hollywood elite, an occasional few stand the test of time. Even rarer, a trilogy of films help define a generation.
This last weekend, “The Dark Knight Rises” completed one of those trilogies.
Although marred by the heart-breaking shooting event in Aurora, Colo., the movie, and the two preceding it in the Batman trilogy, has reshaped the landscape of the entertainment industry. At the trilogy's helm, director Christopher Nolan's vision has been one in line with the great epic films produced in the 1940s and ‘50s.
For as long as I can remember, well-written movies have stood out better than those that merely invite the popcorn-eating crowd. “The Illusionist,” “Dan in Real Life,” and “Stranger Than Fiction,” are those that didn't perform terribly well at the box office, but have memorable scenes that capture the essence of life. They're really big budget art projects, if you think about it.
I guess that would make “The Dark Knight Rises” a super budget art project, with its estimated total coming in at a whopping $250 million. In my view, it's worth every cent of the studio's investment.
The latest Batman movie is something that manages to attract the thrill-seekers, the people looking for messages in a movie and those simply looking for a good story. More importantly, the messages explored in the nearly three-hour film apply directly to the current events of the world. Everything from green energy to subtle hints on Occupy Wall Street, from poverty to humanity are explored with great depth. Politics are at the heart of the movie, but so buried beneath an entertaining masterpiece that it takes days before you realize a connection.
Sure, there are plenty of other movies that evoke emotions in people. But none do it as well as “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Nolan's trilogy is great to watch for sheer entertainment and it's also great to watch for moral reasons. For those reasons alone, it's a must-see. These films fly in the face of everything that most big franchises aim for like marketability, 3D post-processing and some inflammatory remark made by the director.
Instead, we have the pinnacle of filmmaking for the Dark Knight trilogy.
While the ‘80s saw the original Star Wars trilogy (the second set of movies never existed, in my opinion) come to life, I argue there hasn't been a defining set of films since then. Sure, you have The Matrix, Rush Hour, Men in Black and the Oceans trilogies, but none really recreates the legacy that Nolan's films have earned. Perhaps the trilogy's success stems from the failure of Batman's previous films, those directed by Joel Schumacher. Perhaps this particular trilogy is so great because what came before, even taking into account Tim Burton's two contributions with Michael Keaton, fall short.
A comic book character isn't real, of course. But after hours of watching this interpretation of Batman on the screen, he's more realistic than ever. This take on Bruce Wayne/Batman has inspired a new generation of filmmakers who hopefully take the lessons from each movie and apply them for years to come.
While it's still impossible to see these films come to a close, their legacy will continue to live on. Whoever attempts another series with the caped crusader has their work cut out for them.