Answers to my questions on The Dark Knight Rises (SPOILERS HERE)

On July 1st, in anticipation of watching TDKR, I had posed 5 questions (actually 4…I didn’t have a 5th!). Well, I watched the movie yesterday afternoon and I am pretty happy that the answers either matched my expectations or where they didn’t, it was a good outcome all the same.

  1. Will Bane break The Bat? Yes, Bane did break The Bat. But at a different point in the movie compared to what I was expecting. And the infamous, but iconic moment came and went rather quickly. I think he missed an opportunity to replicate the impact from the Knightfall story arc. And I thought it was a bit too easy for Bruce Wayne to recover in 3 months when it took him 8 years to recover from the Two-Face incident (he only started walking straight at the beginning of this movie, using the exo-skeleton for his left leg). Of course, one could argue that the impact of the combined losses of Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes made it tougher for Bruce Wayne to recover, whereas on this occasion he was motivated by the need to save Gotham.
  2. Can Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman outshine Michelle Pfeiffer and Julie Newmar? I have to admit, Anne Hathaway’s rendition of Catwoman was uniquely her own…and certainly the classiest one till date. All the others have been enjoyable and memorable, but keeping with the realistic tone of Nolan’s interpretation, Hathaway played it straight without any meows or purrs…choosing to portray the character as a cat burglar without any of the feline backstory or mythology.
  3. Will there be easter eggs or cameos? Well there were none, although a lot of people at the theater waited back in the hope of a post-credits scene. But my guess was right about the significance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake character. Although this particular turn of the story is unlikely to be accepted as ‘Batman canon’, Nolan has given Warner Bros. license to spin-off a Robin TV show or movie…although it is unlikely I think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will himself sign on to play Robin in the future.
  4. How much will the movie make at the box office? Well, when the movie finished, for perhaps the first time in my experience, the audience applauded. That’s a good sign! I personally don’t rate it as among my top superhero films…it was more of a high quality techno-thriller, but then that non-superhero-ness of the previous entry The Dark Knight is the reason it crossed over to such a wide audience and became a big hit. TDKR does the same and in fact demystifies and deconstructs the superhero even more, so it will similarly have a very wide audience. However, I believe the movies have progressively become more complex and the plots tougher to follow and this may show up in the word-of-mouth. Also, the reason The Avengers was such a big hit was the fun experience, which kept people coming back for a 2nd or 3d viewing. TDKR is a lot of things, but it is not fun…and that will limit repeat viewings. Overall, I think I will stick to my predictions of a USD 175 mn opening leading to a USD 500 mn (up to 550 mn) final gross in the US and a USD 1.25 bn global gross.
  5. Since I didn’t have a 5th question, I thought I would talk about that other Nolan product which came out this weekend…the first teaser trailer for the Nolan-produced, Zack Snyder-directed Superman reboot, Man of Steel, starring British actor Henry Cavill. First of all, what is it with British actors playing iconic American superheros? Christian Bale, Henry Cavill, Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man), Ian McKellan (Magneto), Michael Fassbender (young Magneto), Patrick Stewart (Prof. Xavier), James McAvoy (young Xavier), Hugh Jackman…ok he’s Australian, but you get the point! Anyway, getting back to the trailer, it is an interesting trailer, immediately bringing to mind the tone from the last scene of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator…very dreamlike, or from Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life…very ’60s American. Definitely, with a combination of Nolan and Snyder, both film makers with their unique styles, it promises to be something different. And the closing shot of the trailer is fantastic…I don’t think we have ever seen a sonic boom/ shock wave on Superman before. Got to wait till June 2013 for that one.

5 questions about The Dark Knight Rises…and the possible answers

  1. Will Bane break The Bat?
    1. Yes, I think he will. I remember the visceral shock from seeing the cover of the Knightfall comic series in 1993.
  2. Can Anne Hathaway as Catwoman outshine Michelle Pfeiffer and Julie Newmar?
    1. I don’t think so. Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances as Sukie Ridgemont in The Witches of Eastwick and Madame de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons made it clear that she could play twisted. Haven’t seen anything like that from Anne Hathaway…and I thought her performance in Rachel Getting Married was overhyped.
  3. Will there be easter eggs or cameos?
    1. Unlikely. Chris Nolan doesn’t strike me as the sort of director who ‘plays around’ with his material. And Warner Bros. has so far done a terrible job of connecting the dots of their DC Universe, even though they have the advantage of producing all the DC Comics movies, unlike the Marvel guys who have had to work through studios. It would be really nice to see a set up for Azrael or Robin. And, I wonder if there is more to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake character than just being a Gotham City cop.
  4. How much will it bring in at the box office compared to The Dark Knight and Batman Begins?
    1. Batman Begins made USD 372 million globally (USD 205 mn in the US) in 2005. The Dark Knight became a global phenomenon in 2008, grossing USD 1 billion globally (of which USD 533 million was in the US).  TDKR will probably open to about USD 175 mn in the US and will probably end its run with about USD 500 mn. It will make a bit more than that overseas, so will definitely end its run with the highest global gross in the series, probably USD 1.25 billion
  5. Ok, I don’t really have a 5th question!

Looking forward to the 19th of July.