I recently went out to see The Dark Knight Rises, as every obedient pop culture monkey has over the last two weeks. That reminds me - it's been two weeks. I've waited long enough. I'm going to spoil the shit out of this movie, and if you haven't seen it yet, leave now and come back later.
*tap tap tap*
Back? Good. Anyway, I loved the movie. I know lots of basement dwellers are complaining that the guy in the pit wasn't a licensed chiropractor, that Bruce Wayne couldn't have made his way back to Gotham from the subcontinent without an ID or money, that no police force would be stupid enough to flood the sewers with most of its manpower, and that Batman couldn't have survived ejecting from the Batplane at the end. I would like to remind those people that they are watching a movie about a billionaire who has hollowed out a cave under his house in order to store an armada of secret vehicles and weapons that are probably sufficient to conquer two-thirds of the nations on Earth, all in the service of dressing up in an immobilizing rubber bat suit to beat up criminals. Nerds, I'm sorry your superhero movie based on a comic book is not 100% rooted in scientific, medical, political, economic, psychological and temporal fact.
I'm so glad I got that off my chest. But seriously, that's not even the reason I'm writing this post. This post is about the similarities between The Dark Knight Rises and another huge summer movie from back in the 80s, when summer movies were awesome. I thought about this comparison all during the film, and the parallels just got more and more amazing. People, what I'm here to tell you is this:
The Dark Knight Rises is a shameless rip-off of Rocky III.
But why, you ask? Why would esteemed director Christopher Nolan dig into the 80s and choose to steal from Rocky III? Dear reader - have you seen Rocky III? IT. IS. AWESOME. It's by far the best of the Rocky movies. I pity the fool that does not recognize the greatness of Rocky III. If you don't believe me, let's just look at the similarities one by one, shall we?
1. Both Batman and Rocky face an enemy in a ridiculous outfit.
Look at Bane. He has that scary ass mask and body armor, then finishes the ensemble with a hipster jacket I can only surmise he found backstage at a Fleet Foxes concert. Then we have Thunderlips. His stylized pimp getup is clearly an influence on the fashion sensibilities of Kid Rock. 'Nuff said.
2. Batman and Rocky each face a dickhead who tries to break his back.
A little suspicious, no? Here again we have Bane and Thunderlips (who by the way should absolutely form a villanous tag-team in the WWE) up to no good. Thanks to the good folks at Warner Bros. and their team of copyright lawyers, scenes from The Dark Knight Rises will be represented by Lego re-enactments. While both Batman and Rocky were spared a wheelchair, Batman did seem to take the worst of it, considering Rocky did not have any vertebrae protruding from his skin.
3. Batman and Rocky each exhibit a rich man's sense of invincibility and take a beating from a hungrier up-and-comer.
Rocky gets soft by appearing in American Express ads, wearing sweaters, and knocking over a succession of tomato cans that make Boxcar Ira look like Mike Tyson. Clubber Lang is so desperate for a shot at the title that he is willing to proposition Adrian Balboa (and bravely follow through should she be into it) just to piss off Rocky enough to fight him. Lang predictably destroys both Rocky and 50 years of progress against racial stereotypes. Batman has the misfortune of facing a guy that's been sitting in a giant pit for years just getting madder and madder. So mad in fact, that according to this Lego depiction, he administers a literal ass-kicking.
4. Batman and Rocky both lose elderly father figures who are tired of putting up with their harebrained schemes.
Alfred leaves Bruce Wayne because he thinks Bruce's Batman act will get him killed. Possibly also because he's embezzled enough money from the Waynes to visit Italy every summer and he's tired of washing Bruce's underwear. Mickey leaves because he thinks that Clubber Lang will beat the shit out of Rocky, and because he's tired of holding his mouth that way during all his speeches.
5. Batman and Rocky both leave their plush homes to keep it real and prepare for a rematch.
Both heroes get out of their comfort zones in the hope that they can find the same motivation as their hungry opponents. Bruce Wayne literally tries to find the same motivation as Bane by sitting in the same stanky pit that made Bane who he is. Rocky moves to a place that has black people.
6. Ass-kicking time.
Predictably, our heroes rediscover what made them great in the first place and handily defeat their nemeses. Rocky employs the unusual strategy of letting Clubber Lang punch the shit out of him before kicking his ass. Batman...well...he's doing something to Bane's ass.