The following is an opinion piece by Joseph Akeley
I once asked my dad what is the best original Star Wars movie. I expected to him tell me it is Return of the Jedi. He told me that it’s The Empire Strikes Back by a landslide. And he’s right.
“Luke, I am your father” is one of the greatest lines in movie history. From Luke’s training with Yoda to Lando’s betrayal to Luke’s narrow escape from Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back was the decade’s defining movie. It blew A New Hope out of the water, and Return of the Jedi never really had a chance.
Enter The Dark Knight Rises.
It was an action-packed, 164-minute emotional roller-coaster ride. It had a spontaneous, sexy performance from Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman and a superb villain in Bane.
Yet it wasn’t enough.
Just as nothing could replace the first one-on-one encounter between Luke and Vader, nothing was going to replace Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker. No script was going to live up to one of the best movies in the last decade.
Christopher Nolan tried. He linked us back to Batman Begins with Ra’s Al Ghul and The League of Shadows. He threw us a twist with Miranda Tate. He even made Batman miraculously save 12 million people.
But the holes and James Bond-like escapes were a bit too much for me.
Just as one example, Bruce Wayne should have died from the bomb save. The bomb had a 6-mile blast radius! I like happy endings too, but let’s not mistake giddiness with good moviemaking.
Instead of wondering what could have been, I’m ready to give Nolan a hand. He was the mastermind behind one of the best trilogies of our generation. After all, Return of the Jedi had its faults (Ewoks taking down a massive imperial ground attack for one), but when we look back on the original Star Wars series, we grade the series as a whole. We marvel at Lucas’ foresight, not the patched-together conclusion.
Batman Begins: great movie.
The Dark Knight: incredible movie.
The Dark Knight Rises: great movie.
The Dark Knight Trilogy: One of the best series since Star Wars.
I’m sure Nolan would take that.