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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
Movie review by David Blackwell

165 minutes, rated PG-13
STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Legendary Pictures/ DC Comics/ Syncopy Films
Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  7-20-2012

STARRING Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/ Batman), Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Commissioner James Gordon), Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle), Tom Hardy (Bane), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake), Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate), Morgan Freeman (Fox), Cillian Murphy (Jonathan Crane)

STORY by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
SCREENPLAY by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
based on the Batman comic book series (by DC Comics)
DIRECTED by Christopher Nolan

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”


Batman and James Gordon created a lie to protect Gotham city and to make sure the Joker didn’t win by corrupting Harvey Dent.   The three Batman films (directed by Christopher Nolan) feature bad guys who want to watch Gotham burn to the ground.  The Joker wants to create chaos while the League of Shadows wants to show the world why Gotham should burn (punish the citizens for their greed and corruption).  The trilogy maps out a full character arc while providing a commentary on society and justice.   Batman and Gordon are pushed to their limits as they struggle with how far they can go without becoming the monsters they fight to stop.


“Why do we fall?  So we learn to pick ourselves up again.”


The Batman series is the journey of a character that fails and learns to pick himself up again to overcome his failures.   In the darkest moments, Batman rises and saves Gotham.   He doesn’t have the luxury to have pain and loss beat him down.  He has to stand up again and endure being the outcast and the villain.   Batman makes the hard choices and sometimes even those choices are thrust upon him.  He decides to save Rachel in THE DARK KNIGHT only to find that the Joker (or the local mafia) has switched the locations of where Dent and Rachel would be.   Alfred burns the letter from Rachel saying she picked Harvey over Bruce because he wanted to spare Bruce the pain and have him rise to stop the Joker (but Alfred finally admits the truth of what he does in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES only to have hate thrown back at him).


“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”


THE DARK KNIGHT RISES begins eight years after THE DRAK KNIGHT.  Batman has disappeared and he is branded the bad guy by the police while Bruce Wayne has let himself go (and secluded himself in his mansion).   He is drawn out of his retirement when Selina Kyle steals the pearl necklace of Bruce’s mother (and Bruce’s fingerprints) only to get drawn into the coming storm put into action by Bane and the delicate state of Wayne Enterprises (due to the fact that Bruce invested in a fusion reactor project and pull the plug due to the fear that it could be turned into a weapon).   Gordon ends up in the hospital after encountering Bane in the sewers as Bruce (and detective John Blake) pursues investigations into what is happening in the sewers.   Batman is brought back into action to chase after Bane and his men after a break-in at the stock exchange.   


“Know your limits.”


THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and the two films before (BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT) are all about what points will a person break.  The death of Rachel causes Harvey to go mad and become Two Face while it caused Batman to retire after stopping the Joker.   James Gordon is at his limits after wanting to admit the lie to protect all the good Dent had done.   THE DARK KNIGHT RISES sees Batman face someone who can break him and the movie chronicles the struggle of Bruce to find his way back more than once in what may be his final battle.   Bruce always wanted to stop being Batman (according to Nolan’s take on the character) and Alfred wants Bruce to find happiness away from being Batman.   Bane knows no limits because he just wants to watch Gotham burn for its perceived sins while Batman and Gordon always believed the city can be saved.   The films are a message that anyone can be Batman while anyone can also be the bad guy who can bring it all down.


THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a fitting conclusion to the story with plenty of foreshadowing and faith being rewarded in its own ways.   It is the story of Batman and a city told on an epic scale which probably will never be told in this way again.  The final film builds on story elements and themes from the first two films while bring the whole story full circle.   I don’t agree that Batman can stop because I think he would always feel the need to stop evil no matter how much he wants to quit.   He is the hero who can make the ultimate sacrifice which will always be a lonely journey with people getting hurt on the way.   Anne Hathaway is sublime as Selina Kyle (and I did notice how they never called her Catwoman in the movie) while Tom Hardy pulls off Bain as a menacing and intelligent monster (unlike the stupid parody of Bain in BATMAN AND ROBIN).   If you want to explore the various stories that the final movie pulls from, you should track down the Batman stories that involve Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia, KNIGHTFALL, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and NO MAN’S LAND.  


 The final chapter in Nolan’s film saga is more rewarding when you watch it back to back with the first two films.   Even though it started out as a new take on Batman, Nolan has been able to weave a three act story in each film and as a trilogy as a whole.   I do have a couple of minor nitpicks with how the climax played out, but it doesn’t detract from a movie that focuses more on a  city that struggles to survive and a man’s journey to rise again.   It isn’t ultimately about Batman because it is more of a story about the price we pay to keep safe and how far we will go to maintain order in addition to what happens when that law and order is torn down.   I wonder how Batman will be interpreted in the next movies as the character has been interpreted and reinterpreted several times over the decades in the comic books.     I just don’t think the next film will rise to the depth of Nolan’s Batman films.   They will remain to be the one of the best or the ultimate take on Batman.


This movie review is (c)7-20-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com