How did I rate The Dark Knight Rises? The same as most. I thought it was an excellent film and the ideal way to finish Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy. Featuring award-winning performances from the likes of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman & Joseph Gordon-Levitt - plus the deep, hard-hitting emotional story to resolve everything Batman Begins and The Dark Knight had established - The Dark Knight Rises ended the saga with the conclusion the films richly deserved, making Nolan's trilogy not only the greatest superhero film trilogy of all time, but one of the best film trilogies in the entire history of cinema.
Now as we all know...once a major blockbuster comes along and takes the world by storm - as The Dark Knight Rises did - tie-in merchandise is inevitable and natural to satiate fans until the movie comes out on home video. And a prime example of tie-in merchandise are novelizations of films.
This has always been a problematic marketing ploy. I mean, if you've already seen the film, why would you want to read a book that recaps the whole story word-for-word? If you HAVEN'T seen the film...why would you pay to read spoilers? It's something of a redundant scheme to make money.
So here I was opting to check out Greg Cox's novelization of The Dark Knight Rises. Probably because I was so itching to familiarize myself with the story again that I purchased the novel to satisfy myself until the film came out on DVD. It's a decision I've had absolutely no regrets about!
The story itself we have to thank Christopher Nolan for (along with Jonathan Nolan & David S. Goyer for co-writing the screenplay & story respectively). Like the plots in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the third film has many twists and turns. All the characters are colourful and develop beautifully along with the story, there are many shockers along the way, and the ending is so utterly satisfying.
The Dark Knight Rises transfers supremely well into the literary format, and it's all down to Greg Cox. Cox does Nolan's masterpiece justice with his writing style, making what's already an emotionally-invested epic into something even more engaging. Greg provides such a great insight into each of the characters' minds; their fears, guilt, thoughts and feelings regarding themselves, others and the situations they find themselves in. It's true understanding of character, and provides fans with a real opportunity to explore things that the film itself just couldn't portray.
Cox avoids the trap of most novelizations by expanding on Nolan's story. Instead of just replicating a film's events word-for-word (like most writers do when assigned this task), this writer presents the story as though it's actually an original novel that he's written himself. The attention to detail of the environments and appearances is excellent, as is the description of fight scenes & action sequences. The additional dialogue that Cox inserts is most refreshing, adding to the greatness of the original script instead of bogging events down.
Another positive boon with this novelization is the several notable references to the Joker. The only real criticism I had with The Dark Knight Rises when I saw it was that there were no references to the Joker or his ultimate fate after The Dark Knight (done out of respect for Heath Ledger, no doubt), which I felt was shunning such an important & integral element of Nolan's Batman Trilogy altogether. With this novelization, Cox raises the Joker issue and tackles the character's ambiguous whereabouts in a manner that's befitting, logical and ultimately satisfying. The writer also makes sure to stress how deeply the Joker's rampage affected both Batman, Commissioner Gordon & the people of Gotham, as they still have to deal with the deep, terrible scars.
Greg Cox deserves props for this one, most of all for his writing style and his perfect pacing. Like so many of its ilk, this novelization could've been a cheap, rushed cash-in. Instead it's a really surprising accompaniment to one of 2012's best films. To those who loved The Dark Knight Rises (and Batman fans in general), this is a novelization I would really recommend.