Okay, hear me out on this one. Sure, The Dark Knight Rises isn’t as good as the film that came before it. But what other movie this year made you feel such intense hopelessness, tension and eventual triumph?

 

Part of what made The Dark Knight so good was that it could exist outside of its comic book mythology. The characters and their motivations were grounded and relatable. The Joker was messed up in a way we could understand. The Dark Knight Rises instead relies more on background story from the comic, which makes motivations less clear and the emotional impact less intense and universal. The tradeoff is that the film keeps your inner nerd happier than The Dark Knight ever could.

 

Among The Dark Knight Rises greatest accomplishments is how one individual is believably able to hold an entire city hostage. I can’t think of another movie where the villain is able to realistically keep the stakes so high. The Joker may be more intellectually interesting but Bane is satisfyingly scary through sheer brute force.

 

Brute force is actually how the film succeeds in a lot of ways. The Dark Knight Rises tries everything and achieves most of it. The dense plot packs so many twists that you might grow sick of them by the end, but at least the film is always interesting. Echoing the spirit of the Occupy movement, The Dark Knight Rises directly questions our apathy towards how unequal the world really is, blurring the line between good and evil. Bane’s methods are certainly evil but his goal might not be.

 

Even amidst all the grand action there are still great moments of subtlety. Joseph Gordon-Levitt keeps up his winning streak as the snappy and likeable John Blake. Anne Hathaway slowly comes into her role as a witty and conflicted Catwoman. And though the moments between characters Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) are clunky, they still manage to be oddly touching.

 

The ending of The Dark Knight Rises pulls a classic Hollywood punch by sacrificing a darker and more interesting conclusion for a crow-pleaser, but this is a film that just wants to give you everything. And any movie that involves the destruction of a massive sports arena is automatically awesome to me.

By: Nolan Matthews

You had a job pressing orange price stickers on discount bottles of shampoo, a nametag pinned to your shirt tucked in to your bellybutton-high pants. In your free time, you re-organized socks at home and read your mother’s copy of 50 Shades of Grey. And be honest, you liked it a little.

This is how you spent your summer.

But your friends don’t have to know that.

Successfully fool those around you into thinking you spent a rocking four months with these simple tips:

 

Work With It

Your mind-numbing job has left you with a glaze over your eyes - use this to your advantage. By nodding slowly when your friends talk about their summer adventures, your now-permanent look of boredom will make you appear blasé, nonchalant and other vaguely French words.

 

Waste Money

Buy something unnecessarily expensive to flaunt during your friendly reunions. The gaudy items will make it seem as though you’ve been living large all summer. Your old friends will assume you befriended celebrities in Silicon Valley, and you might make a few new ones, attracted by your shiny baubles. You can afford to splurge this one time, seeing as the only thing you spent money on this summer was clearance-shelf chocolate.

 

Fake It

Somehow, the flickering fluorescents and perpetually-closed blinds have left your skin pasty and white. This is a problem, because if there’s one thing that says “bikini babes and beach volleyball,” it’s a tan. Actually: tan lines. Take some self-tanner and apply it around your sleeve, shorts, and watch edges. It doesn’t have to be perfect, heck it doesn’t even have to be good. It just has to show everyone how much time you spent soaking in the rays. If you’re feeling real crafty, put self-tanner on your face, outlining those Ray-Bans you totally lost on that girl’s sailboat.

 

Lie Through Your Teeth - Literally

“Well Venice was alright, I found it rather droll compared to the rich culture of Malaysian villages.” “The yacht was at least as big as BSB, I swear, when you include the dolphin sanctuary out the back.” “Interestingly enough, it turns out the hot-tub could hold another three people.”

“It was great.”

All these lies and more are at the tip of your cortex. Just make sure you keep your stories straight: was the redhead the one you skydived or snorkelled with?

Remember: as you spew these tales, just keep smiling. It’ll guard their trust.

 

At the end of the day, you’ll have spent a productive, useful summer avoiding skin cancer, but your friends will think you’re pretty much Batman. Batman, who spent his summer fanning himself with hundos in the British Not-Quite-Virgin Islands.

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