The Disappointing Dark Knight Rises Review
I wanted to like it, but I wasn't invested. I wanted to be immersed in the experience and enjoy it, but it didn't grab me. SPOILERS await, my beloved...
I'm not going to mince words. I didn't like it at all. I may be lambasted for this, especially because I also really didn't like the Amazing Spider-man.
I am not a fan of Christopher Nolan. I think that if he hadn't made Batman Begins, then the films of his that followed would not be met with such critical acclaim. My favorite film of his is Memento.
I'm going to put in the disclaimer: I really LOVED the Avengers, and although I do admire Joss Whedon, the only other work of his that I have really liked was Firefly, Serenity, and Dr Horrible. Please do not complain, however, that I am comparing the Avengers to the Dark Knight Rises. I wanted both of them to succeed, as from MY viewpoint, only one of them has.
Onwards to the review!
Starting with what I liked:
Oh man, this guy is incredible. People who criticize his height and musculature should be rendered mute by his performance. It is his on-screen presence that shoves any of those two criticisms aside - he is a raw performer. My favorite part of the movie, which I had actually thought I wouldn't like... was when Bane brutalizes Batman in the end of the first act.
This is a serious double-edged sword, but I'm going to give credit where it is due. I like that this came full circle and closed everything off from Batman Begins. I'm not going to say it was the greatest thing in the world to hear lines calling back to the first movie, but it certainly helped. I laughed (in a good way) when Batman says: "so that's how it feels" when Selina disappears on him.
References to the Material!
In No Man's Land, the people of Gotham literally mark their territory with spray paint. I had to smile when John Blake drew a couple of bats on the street corners. In addition, the short scene where Selina takes a bite of the apple is a nice touch - in NML the Penguin does this, claiming it is his 10%. Then of course, there is the visual of Bane slamming Batman down on his knee. There are more, but I don't think they were done quite as well as those three.
And that's it.
As I said, I did not like this movie. If that bothers you, then I insist that you do not read beyond this point, because I am not going to hold back.
I completely take back what I said about how Nolan would have wasted a character from the comics by not naming Miranda, Talia. This is a character I really enjoy because of how conflicted she is, how she is stuck in the middle and is always forced to choose between love and madness, Bruce and her father. In No Man's Land Talia is the one who slaps some sense into Bruce, ordering him to straighten up and clean Gotham up, to quit feeling sorry for himself. Here, she is the mastermind behind Bane's terrorism. Her origin is completely redone with a red herring - and this takes away from Bane immensely. It is not Marion Cotillard that I do not like, but what they did with the character - she is unrecognizable.
I didn't mind the editing so much in The Dark Knight. A lot of people wanted to find fault with the movie and took aim at the ending, but it didn't bother me so much. My brain can handle the auto-correct function for some small mistakes that you'd only notice after multiple viewings. Here, it is HORRIBLE. I really hated how much Gotham turns into Manhattan at the drop of a hat, how Central Park is flashed across the screen briefly to show some of the cityscape during the day - it is distracting. I understand the need for stock imagery to be used, but landmarks are a no-go.
In addition - the sound... what was the deal? It wasn't my theater - I went to an IMAX, and my sister had attended a showing at a different theater and we found the same problem. Sounds were off - OFF off. The score is overbearing, and often gets in the way of the actual dialogue - I felt like I needed subtitles for the final act. And that takes me to the next one...
He started out with promise. For all of Nolan's claims that they wouldn't dub his voice, it is so painfully obvious that they did. I actually didn't mind the Darth Vader aspect, but again, the volume is incongruous with the other actors speaking in the scene. "SPEAK OF THE DEVIL!" I felt the movie also took a dump on Bane at the end. His death is spectacularly anti-climatic, and the "one-liner" Selina gives after dispatching him is incredibly weak. Outside of that, the fact that we still know virtually nothing about Bane when it is revealed that Talia was the child who escaped, not him... it was wholly unnecessary.
4) Bruce Wayne is Selling Batman to Get Out of Debt!
Batman's true identity is all out in the open for pretty much anyone who cares. The fact that John Blake is able to make the connection is just crazy. Lucius knows from the beginning, which is fine with me. Alfred obviously knows. Rachel knew. The League of Shadows knows, which makes sense. Selina knows, and now, Commissioner Gordon knows. He REALLY didn't give a damn about telling people who his alter-ego is, and that to me, is an unacceptable departure from the comics. The way Batman tells Gordon at the end was way too ambiguous. Are you telling me that Gordon, in his long-standing career, has only treated ONE kid in shock? I wish they had played off of Year One, where he can't tell Bruce is Batman because he didn't have his glasses, and then Bruce allows him to see him with his vision corrected.
5) Why is Bruce Wayne a Recluse?
Another unacceptable departure here, and to start the movie off with it, it sets the tone for the rest of the film. Bruce Wayne really has nothing else to do with his time but brood in his mansion? If I was a different audience type, I would have taken the Alfred route and walked out (and a few people did after the first half-hour). As Bane says: "your victory has defeated you". Sorry, but if this continuity's Gotham is so safe from crime that they don't need Batman, then it simply is not Gotham, and is not what we need to be seeing. I understand WHY they did it, but it was the wrong way to go.
6) Selina - the Artificial Intelligence
I don't even consider her Catwoman, so I'm not going to even bother making the comparison. I will say that her character IS in fact, "dumb", but I think there's something in the water - maybe a side-effect from Crane's fear toxin. She is after a "clean slate" program that will give her a new life, but if she is so well-equipped, why hasn't she found it? Certainly a new identity can't be THAT hard to acquire, and someone of her expertise should definitely be able to get away with it. At any rate, if you were to erase Bane and Talia from the movie, Selina wouldn't serve a purpose. She is there to help Batman against her judgement. Why does Batman even trust her? She not only betrays him, but points out that she betrayed him. I just think she was a pointless addition in an attempt to appease critics who complained that Nolan doesn't like writing women in his movies.
Whew! Glad that's behind me. 6/10
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