Something for Valentine’s Day.
I always return to this scene. This idea/ideal/idyll.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. 2012.
I was critical of 2008’s THE DARK KNIGHT. I think it a bloated, pretentious, slow, meandering, overrated, adolescent pile of nonsense, saved by some great acting and a few well edited action pieces. BATMAN BEGINS set things up and has a literate, soulful arc.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES has both the worst and best of its preceding episodes. By no means perfect, the trilogy closer has clunky dialogue, campy scenes masking as dark and profound, gaping gaps in its own logic/continuity and an annoying insistence on going on about ‘Miranda Tate’.
But? At its heart and core; in its soul? The film is a soaring tribute to resurrection. To a second chance at living life. Embracing risk and its ups and downs, without willing bad things to happen, just being there when they do so and loving, anyway. THAT is the pit heroes must climb, as must we all, in real as well as ‘reel’ life.
The Chekhov’s Gun is set up at the start. Alfred (Michael Caine) speaks of a café in Florence and how he dreams of seeing Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) settled, there. No more Batman. No theatrics. No self destruction, delusion or indulgent brooding. Just a man, living life, as normal. The greatest challenge and adventure of all.
Sure enough? Spoiler alert. Alfred’s fantasy becomes reality. Bruce makes it. With Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Happily ever after. All demons abated. Battles won. Enemies (including the self destructive element of doubt?), defeated. Normality embraced but with a still romantic sense of limitless possibility, escape and discovery. Best of all worlds.
Would that last forever? No.
They would of course have further breakups, fights, time apart. There would be some new threat (some talked of Bale’s Batman leaving Florence to fight Cavill’s Superman, before Ben Affleck signed on in then new continuity?). Equally, Gotham would fall, again. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Robin /John Blake was never going to survive as Batman and could even have fallen to the dark side and become a new Joker? Of course, Bale’s Batman would return. Again. Could still happen but please NOT in a multiverse film ffs.
And yet. I have equal confidence that Bruce and Selina would ALWAYS reconcile. He would return, repeatedly, to her. To that Café, in Florence and the normal life with that, albeit catalysed and inspired by an extraordinary woman. His equal and counterpart in every way but also his opposite. Still Bruce’s own fight, life, quest etc.
She would not want him to make her ‘everything’. That’s a turn off to girls, btw. 😉 However, Selina would still want to be the one to whom Bruce/Batman always returned. His last. His best. His only true muse and they could both evade and embrace domesticity and a happily ever after, on their terms.
THAT is why I adore the film and yes, its rousing, romantic, rich final scenes. Beautiful. Happy Valentine’s Day. One and All. x
Dedicated to my own Selina Kyle. See you at the Café!