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...

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By Tainted87 - 7/21/2012
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:
Tom Hardy!
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.


Continuity!
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.

1) Talia
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.


2) Editing
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...

3) Bane
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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13 Comments
rcapprotti - 7/21/2012, 7:34 PM
your a idiot whew! glad thats behind me
Name - 7/21/2012, 7:46 PM
I've just spent hours talking to my mates about the film and we all prefered tdk, dont get me wrong I really liked the film but i'd be lying if I said I wasnt bored for large chunks. Bane and batmans voices were comical. I rolled my eyes with regards to john blake at the end, thats not a nolan move. There were many positives though, banes physicality, the bat, action scenes, bruce locked up, batcave(not enough), acting.
rcapprotti - 7/21/2012, 8:10 PM
so then a flying aircraft carrier like in the avengers is not ridiculous i could buy batman learning to fly the bat so quickly then a flying aircraft carrier.TDK and TDKR are the 2 best CBM
MaskedMan - 7/21/2012, 8:32 PM

tainted87...I just came back from seeing Dark Knight rises. I have to agree with most of what you wrote...I wanted to like it, wanted to get into it and be lost in it...but could not. Mostly for the reasons you wrote.

I have to admit I did like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (though you mkae valid points about the character).

This was Nolan's interpretation of Batman...it was NOT the Batman of the comics.

Batman (in the comics) is a brilliant detective who always has a plan and who is usually 2 steps ahead of his opponents. Nolan's Batman is always behind his opponents, or said another way: they are ahead of him by 2 or 3 steps and he is always in reaction to them. Where is the brilliant mind, the brilliant detective work, the brilliant strategy?

For me a lot of this movie was predictable, very predictable. And what you said about Talia is true...this is not the Talia from the comics.

And the nod to "Robin" at the end...oy! They could have left that out!

Soory...wanted to like it, wanted to love it (I am a big Batman fan from way back)..but didn't

Oh...and I didn't like Spiderman an either.

But loved the Avengers (saw it twice...I rarely go to a mvie twice!)

Read more at http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/DanMiller/news/?a=64314#BwQxPUETPJJuGk6F.99
rcapprotti - 7/21/2012, 9:03 PM
TDKR was not going to make everybody happy but if you are going to pick it apart then you can do the same think with the avengers.first off no matter how much cgi they do to the hulk he still looks like a cartoon character like said before a flying aircraft carrier was ridiculous and the bad guys with all there future weapons the avengers had a guy with a bow and arrow.there are other thing i did not like in the avengers but that being said it was not a bad movie it just was not a great movie.this is how i would rate them.avengers 7.5 TDK 9.5 and TDKR 8.5 and one more thing when i went to the midnight showing in imax i would say that over 90% of the people where cheering at the end of the movie.so for nolan thats all he wants for most of the fans of batman to be happy at the end of the day.and lets all say a prayer for the people of aurora
crimsoncrusader - 7/21/2012, 9:45 PM
One of the more honest reviews I've seen. I agree with you on probably all your points. I wanted to like it, but the film is riddled with plot holes that I can't seem to forgive.

And I agree with MaskedMan's assessment of Batman in the comics vs Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Minotauro - 7/21/2012, 10:24 PM
@BattlinMurdock - It was probably half full because of the Tragedy that happened. Some people show their respect.
And it's his opinion on wither Avengers was good or not even if he picks on certain things. Avengers has it's flaws. Alot of them.
95 - 7/21/2012, 11:45 PM
I was mesmerized by the IMAX. It drowned all of the apparent editing, scripting, and character development problems. The actions scenes were overwhelming and made this a memorable experience for me. So, I can agree with your points because I recognize them, but gosh, this movie was hell lot of fun to watch.

Either this is Christopher Nolan's worst scripting or IMAX runtime limitations cut dialogue scenes down to their bare minimum, they hardly have any time to breathe before the next fast paced action sequence.
rcapprotti - 7/22/2012, 6:16 AM
what now battlinmurdock you said how ridiculous it was that batman learned to fly the bat so fast and i gave you a few things that i thought was ridiculous.and as for plot or story lines is what a lot of movie critics thought was a little weak and so did i.here is one at the beginning of avengers nick furry had a cube shaped device that if the bad guys had it could be the end of the world.well let me see what movie was like that transformers and aren't you tired of movies all they do is blow up a major city.and over 77 million for friday without 3d and what happened in aurora is pretty damn good
Tainted87 - 7/22/2012, 8:10 AM
@BattlinMurdock,
I agree, a Joker team-up would have been interesting, if not for the chronic back-stabbing disorder.

@Name,
It was like gargling marbles at the end - a contest to see which actor could sound the most unintelligible. When it comes out on DVD, I'll have to watch it with subtitles to understand.

@MaskedMan,
Batman indeed, was not the Batman of the comics. Why on Earth would he be so ready to trust Selina each time? Why doesn't he have a contingency plan? But yes, it seemed like a lot of the characters were made to be less intelligent - some making downright idiotic choices for no apparent reason.

@crimsoncrusader
I got the feeling towards the end of the second act that this movie's script was rushed. There is the potential for greatness, but like Bane, it is cast away unceremoniously.

@95
The IMAX was good, but not great. I have only watched two wide-releases in IMAX, and those two were the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises - in the same theater. Each time I was going for the full experience (and I don't do 3D), and both times they really didn't do much of anything for me.

@rcapprotti,
Please leave my article's thread alone. You've already broken the peace by trying to defend Batman against the Avengers, something I SPECIFICALLY set out against at the beginning of the article. And for what reason? You're an impulsive hair trigger who is uncomfortable with his/her fandom that you just have to randomly make an Avengers vs TDKR retort.

Do that somewhere else, not here.

@Minotauro,
It is not showing a measure of respect to avoid going to the movies (regardless of the movie) because a tragic massacre transpired at a movie theater in Colorado. One does not stop flying by plane because three were hijacked on the same day in 2001.

To everyone,
Noting that the Avengers has flaws does not take away from TDKR flaws. Completely irrelevant.
rcapprotti - 7/22/2012, 9:13 AM
thats the great thing about a thread like your is that we give are opinion and that we can compare one movie to another seeing that they are CBM. don't think i was mean or nasty if seems that way to you or battlinMurdock i am sorry. let just say we agree to disagree
BeeMo - 8/13/2012, 8:30 AM
Totally agreed with this article also. I left the theater after seeing this movie both angry and depressed. It was definitely NOT the Batman I love from the comics but a severely handicapped (pun intended) wannabe version. In my opinion, Nolan made Batman into a big wuss, hiding out for EIGHT years because his girlfriend got killed???

When Jason Todd died in the comics, Bruce Wayne went on a rampage to get to the Joker. It would have been better if he'd had the fight with Bane and was laid up for eight years.

That would have made more sense -- and would have given Bane and company more time to fully throttle Gotham City.
Those who think this film was gold -- just don't know the Batman and are not true fans of the original comic version.
TheDarkKryptonian - 8/15/2012, 11:11 AM
I see that you have your own opinion, but I just cannot agree with this article. You say the Detective aspect of Batman was lacking, but in the comics he makes almost IMPOSSIBLE deductions with the most miniscule of clues, whereas in The Dark Knight, he was capable of finding a finger print on a bullet and find those cops before the Joker even struck. That was the World's Greatest Detective. Some of your reasonings I agree with, but others are a complete sidestep from the original view of the movie, tarting with...

3) I loved Selina's line, although I did because it was ridiculous. But, Bane was wonderful in this movie, completely from the source material. A lot of people complain about him being BINO (Bane In Name Only), but this statement makes no sense, because most of his backstory is intact, just translated into the Nolanverse. He was imprisoned by birth. He did find the League of Shadows and Talia. He did hunt down Batman and throw Gotham into total chaos.

4) John Blake deducing his identity was a so/so. A little credibility, but also somewhat misplaced in Nolan's realistic world. Alfred would have to know where his master goes from dusk till dawn every night. Rachel found out through his quote in Batman Begins. Selina found out when Bane repeatedly called him "Wayne" during their fight, with her watching, and finally, Gordon deserved to know throughout the entire movie, due to his support of Batman throughout the series. He's stood by Bruce since his parent's murder, and stood by him whenever Gotham was in danger, even if it meant making the tough choices. Although I do find it a little strange that Gordon remembered putting his coat around Bruce and "letting him know the world wasn't over" so many years ago, it was a nice touch that he finally granted Gordon his last request to the Batman.

5) Bruce uses the cane because of his many injuries during his time as Batman. He's a recluse because, in the public's eye, he was great friends with both Dent and Rachel, and having them both die was too much to take. And Gotham was that safe because of the Dent Act, which imprisoned all the major crime bosses.

Don't get me wrong, these are well thought out reasons, I think its just that you didn't look hard enough into the series. And if it wasn't for this, The Avengers would still be my favorite comic book movie.

@BeeMo, this Batman was probably more comic orientated than any other. In the original Batman, he killed, and in Batman and Robin, Bane was too stupid to say anything besides "Bane!" Bane's origin was spot on, just Nolanized. His escape from prison, his meeting with the League, everything. I thought the film was golden, and I've been reading Batman comics since I was 7. I know Batman, and this is as close as we've gotten so far.

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