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Opinion – The Dark Knight Rises (Beyond the Fictional)

Since the beginning of Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot, I have been a huge fan of both him and his work; and though I have loved Batman as a character ever since I was an odd excuse for a child, this fresh, revamped and more realistic concept of The Bat gave me more of a reason to return to the character at an older age. But boy was I wrong when I thought this was all it had to offer to me as a person.

Nolan’s trilogy, comprising of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, not only made an irreversibly brilliant mark on the film industry, but also set the mark for future films of all genres to come. But out of all things, one aspect which I truly found to stand out more vividly than in other films was the trilogy’s remarkable musical score. I mean, sure, there are a range of other aspects that can be considered about a film. For example, there is much, deep political meaning to Nolan’s Batman films. But I can’t say this is an area that deeply concerns me, though it is an interesting area nonetheless. This isn’t to say the notion of other meanings in film, such as politics, should be ignored. Not at all. In fact, I enjoy informing myself on such aspects. But one of the best ways to truly connect with a film is through such deeper dispositions. I feel there is a much more meaningful aspect to it; perhaps something a bit more personal. Motivation.

For me, all three of these films are much more than just films. The entire trilogy and its concept as a whole has deep, philosophical meanings on life embedded into it. I find motivation to be a huge factor throughout the trilogy. Of course, this is shown through a range of scenes and dialogue, of which a key, as well as a favorite, piece of dialogue highlighting this is the phrase initially said by Bruce’s father: “Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” This on its own, is a powerful enough central motivational quote to the entire trilogy; but combined with its gracefully crumbling, yet soul-lifting musical score, it provides a whole new dimension of appreciation of meaning, which is relevant not only during the film, but also after. I find myself listening to the soundtrack and, although remembering parts of the film, finding myself motivated for anything in life.

Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s musical scores completely and beautifully amplify these notions on life and motivation, building a huge-scaled, emotional and very fitting musical score for all three films: Zimmer, for the energetic and more concrete parts of the film, and Howard, for the slower, melancholic-to-hopeful tones of the film; though both composers can and do seamlessly, though exceptionally, cross over to either side of the spectrum. I feel the combination of both provides for a brilliant soundtrack, and a key companion to the theme of motivation seen throughout this trilogy.

In particular, out of the entire trilogy, a key moment for the story, and me, was in The Dark Knight Rises, where the musical score entitled, “Why Do We Fall?” by Hans Zimmer was used. The feeling it gives, combined with the scene, was one that hit me in the face like a brick made of transcendence; and even to this day, when listening to this score alone, I feel the same feeling I got when I watched this pivotal moment in the film I had been waiting seven years for. I feel like I can achieve anything. I feel motivated.

Within these three films, there is such a varied range of scores that I feel they can accommodate almost any mood, and as a result, build up motivation when there is none. The films provide a framework in which the musical scores can work, but are produced so greatly, that they can be taken beyond the film. Ultimately, I feel the music has such power, that it can better me as a person, motivating me to be more meaningful and strive to do something worthwhile with my life. And that’s something I am truly thankful for.

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