Dark Knight Rises and the Cumulative Villain

July 27th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Like many people, I checked out Dark Knight Rises last weekend. I won’t go into a full review of it, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. A discussion led to me realizing that while I think Dark Knight is a better film, I’d probably find more replay value in Dark Knight Rises. It immediately brought to mind some similar feelings on Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Yeah, I know that Empire is the best, but nine times out of ten, I’d rather check out the optimistic conclusion.

After all, Dark Knight is the biggest downer in superhero movies. Three good people are ruined over the course of 2+ hours by a villain whose comeuppance doesn’t even fit the crime. It’s awesome and everyone’s great in it, but God, imagine if there wasn’t a sequel after that.

It’s not the only comparison I can make between the Batman and Star Wars movies. I mean, I’ve been describing Bane’s majestic villain voice as “Gentleman Darth Vader”. But it’s with Darth Vader that Bane shares a neat little similarity outside of the obvious.

It’s well agreed that the Star Wars prequels are garbage. There’s four hours of footage from Red Letter Media that explain it better than I ever could. Still, there are little aspects that work. One of them is something somebody pointed out to me years ago that I’m unsure of whether it was intended or not. The idea is that Darth Vader is the cumulative villain.

The prequels are famous for having ruined one of the most iconic and badass movie villains of all time and retconning him into a mopey loser with issues… and not even cool issues. Well, except for that time he went on a killing spree. That was pretty rad. While the three movies were set on deconstructing him and ruining his mystique, there was an unrelated building of him going on all along.

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