Metaphysical Monday: The Aftermath *SPOILER ALERT*

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Well, now that some of us have seen The Dark Knight Rises, let’s look at what we’ve viewed.

I have to say up front that the movie didn’t deliver like I expected it to. I hate to admit that some people were correct in having mediocre expectations. After 4 straight Christopher Nolan films that exceeded my absurd expectations, I just couldn’t imagine a scenario where I was let down. I had tempered my expectations and I knew from the beginning that this movie wouldn’t be as good as The Dark Knight. But despite that, I still felt unsatisfied with the movie.

So let’s begin with what I thought was lacking so we can end on a positive note. There are gospel implications to be seen in both the positive and negative aspects of this film, so let’s dive in.

First and foremost, I have a big problem with Bruce Wayne being alive at the end. Aside from the physical odds against his survival and ability to avoid death, I think the failure of Nolan’s ability to kill Bruce Wayne ruins what could have been an story of sacrifice. Any great hero story has a protagonist that makes The Sacrifice. It’s a reflection of the sacrifice we all trust in to reconcile us with our Creator. And as this movie started releasing previews a year ago, I had several discussions about how I felt that the second Sherlock Holmes movie lost a lot of its power by the fact that Holmes is alive at the end of the movie. It frustrated me that Hollywood didn’t have the guts to end a story in a seemingly harsh but ultimately more meaningful way. Then we saw the same thing with The Avengers (oddly enough, with Robert Downey Jr’s character again) as Tony Stark seems to be giving his life to save the earth and then fails to die. So I thought maybe Christopher Nolan had the resolve to get right what other directors kept getting wrong.

And it turns out, I was wrong.

Aside from that ruining ending, I felt the movie lacked character development, it lacked a signature Christopher Nolan plot twist (and really any plot complexity that is a hallmark of his movies), and it contained a lot of cliche action movie elements. The ending was a timebomb, for crying out loud! Can it get any cheesier than that?

And yet, the movie wasn’t awful. It was still well-acted, well-shot and contained some great dialogue and insights into the human condition. For example, the conversation between Bruce Wayne and the doctor in the prison contained a few viewpoints on hope and the fear of death that are fresh and interesting. To hear that hope can be a negative thing that keeps you from moving on is insightful. To hear that Bruce’s lack of a fear of death kept him mired in failure was almost startling. Those views are the opposite of what people are supposed to say and think, yet after you think about it, those views are true in a sense.

So yeah, those are the basics of my thoughts on the movie. Anyone care to point out anything I missed or got wrong?