I love to read. I don’t have near as much time to read as I would like, but such is life. It is nice to read a completely new story, one with which I’m not familiar, and create images in my mind from the words. However, it can also be nice to read a well written novelization of a film that I enjoyed watching. When done properly, such a book can allow the reader to return to the theater in our minds, with the words on the page helping us to recall the scenes as they played out on the screen. The novelization of “The Dark Knight Rises” does an excellent job of this, reminding me why I loved seeing the film in the first place.
Author Greg Cox took on this challenge, and succeeded in giving us a book that is extremely faithful to the film. Cox is no stranger to film novelizations, having previously written “Ghost Rider,” “Daredevil,” and three from the “Underworld” series of films. He has also done several comic book novelizations, as well as many novels in the worlds of Star Trek and the Marvel Universe, just to name a few. It can be tricky doing what Cox does, as he is playing in someone else’s sandbox so to speak, but he has earned a reputation of staying true to the characters and their worlds.
In “The Dark Knight Rises” Cox had several primary characters and secondary characters to bring to life, and they all simply felt right. Often basic dialogue is the same from film to novelization, but it is other aspects that some authors struggle to do well. The writer must use words to convey mannerisms, expressions, and give us the characters thoughts, and these must all be appropriate for the character. For example, in a movie, we rarely hear what the character is thinking, but in a book, that is a crucial aspect, and those thoughts must still “sound” like the character. Some good writers cannot accomplish this, but Cox excels at it.
All of the characters were perfect, and well rounded, from the familiar Batman and Commissioner Gordon to the new character of Blake, and even through minor characters. Little nuisances, like the thoughts going through the mind of the Special Forces Captain Mark Jones (the character who lead the team that infiltrated Gotham City but was killed), were wonderfully written. Indeed that whole scene, being written from Jones’ point of view, is just one example of how Cox chose to enhance each character at just the right time. That scene would have been much different it written from another vantage point, and not nearly as meaningful. Part of the job of a novelization is to help the reader see inside the minds of the characters in more depth and detail than a film can, and Cox did this very well.