The Dark Knight Rises is a film that a lot of people had been creaming their jeans over, but at the same time there’s a bit more blow back than there was on Dark Knight. Personally, I never was all that crazy about the first two Nolan Batman films, so I didn’t go into The Dark Knight Rises with very high expectations.
My first thoughts as I watched the film was, “Hey, this is a lot better than I thought it would be!” and then an hour and half later and Batman still wasn’t on the screen and I thought, “uh oh.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t by any means think that a film should be judged good or bad by the number of minutes a certain character apears on screen. It’s just that there’s so much no-Batman that it’s really noticible. I think that about halfway through the film I could have gone with it, if the problems didn’t keep building up from there. This also leads me to point out that while a lot of my problems seem to be nitpicky, the big issues here is that this movie is attempting to be a serious “Film” and discuss BIG ISSUES, so when their are stupid things they really bother me much more than a film that is made simply to entertain.
Anyway, I decided to bullet point my thoughts instead of doing a full on review, because I think both you and I have short attention spans. Be warned, spoilers aplenty!
What I Liked:
Wow that first fist fight with Bane is freaking great. There’s so many stakes raised and you are figuring that Batman will lose. It was even filmed where you could actually see all the fighting! Now if they could only make a movie about giant transforming robots where you can see what’s going on during the fight scenes…
2. Catwoman is the Cat’s Meow (Sorry, had to do it)
Catwoman was awesome, though I did have some problems with her motivations (more on that later). And while her character was slightly pointless and could easily have been cut out, I enjoyed every moment she was on screen. I especially loved when she killed Bane. I did say spoilers, didn’t I?
I enjoyed the twist with Talia at the end, even though a fan of Batman could see it coming. I admit I was surprised, but only because I thought Nolan had changed things around and eliminated her from the story.
4. Bane Voice
I ended up liking Bane’s voice a lot more than I thought I would. I think this is mostly because I like imitating it. I need to watch more clips of him to get it down, because I really need to ask my girlfriend to make me a sandwich in that weird psydo-Scottish accent.
5. The Scarecrow!
Scarecrow showing up as the judge in the kangaroo court was sweet, but couldn’t he have worn the mask? Or is that too unrealistic for Mr. Nolan? Hell, he could have been normal, and then put the mask on for judgement. I dunno, I guess it’s too crazy to expect comic book like things in a comic book movie. Regardless, Scarecrow is one of my favorite things about this movie and The Dark Knight.
What I Didn’t Like:
1. Batman is Stupid
Batman certainly seems dumbed down from the comics version. Before his first fight Batman knows that Bane is a more able fighter and that he’s past his prime. So what’s batman’s solution for taking down bane? PUNCH HIM INTO SUBMISSION! And when that doesn’t work and he has to come back for a rematch, what’s his new plan? MOAR PUNCHING! What the fuck, this isn’t Batman! Batman is smart.
One thing I really don’t like about Batman fanboys is they think he can beat anyone ever. Well, I’ll agree that Batman can go toe to toe with nearly any powerful villiain or hero in the comics and while I don’t think he should always win, he certainly should be a contender. In The Dark Knight Rises, he features almost none of his intellegence. His plan is to beat up Bane with his fists. Twice. He doesn’t even seem to try to detect weak points in his enemy, he accidently punches Bane’s mask before he realizes that’s how he can win. That’s pure amateur hour!
2. Gotham City = Lametown
Gotham City has just as much much personality as it did in The Dark Knight, which is about zero. After Bane takes over the city and the snow falls, man do the streets look clean and dead. I realize that this is a visual choice… but it doesn’t do much to show the suffering that the people of Gotham must be going through.
3. Lucius Fox is a Handy Plot Device
Lucius Fox certainly helps make more sense of where Batman would get this stuff, but he’s also a crutch. How does Batman get his new Batwing (I mean, The Bat)? Oh, Fox just made it for him. UNREQUESTED. It certainly came in handy since it was the only way to get rid of the bomb at the end…
4. Very Able Bodied Cops
So almost the entire Gotham City Police force has been living in the sewers for months and as soon as they are released they’re able to walk and run? Why don’t they all have beards? Were they shaving down there? And their clothes aren’t disgusting? Sure they were getting food, but come on!
5. Batman Should Have Died
Having Bruce Wayne live at the end was such a cop out. It felt like the entire movie was building for that moment for him to die and would have been extremely ballsy to pull off. It would have had a ton of meaning and emotional payoff, as opposed to the character deaths of say Proffessor X and Cyclops in X-Men III. But nope! He lives somehow. I don’t know how he had time to hit the eject button and have The Bat fly the bomb before it went off, but I guess it had to happen at some point.
Also, it’s incredibly unbelievable that he could live anywhere in the world, especially in a populated city without anyone recognizing him. You’re telling me that some French version of TMZ wouldn’t somehow find him?
6. A Punch in the Back Cures What Ails You
The Nolan Batman films are supposed to be grounded in reality, that’s why it really pulls me out of it when something completely unbelievable happens. For example: Why don’t they hang everyone up that has a broken back and then punch them in the spine and hang them from a rope? Makes perfect sense to me! Its surgery… Mortal Kombat style!
7. Bane’s Plan was… Confusing at Best
I’ve been trying to type out what his plan was, but it’s eluding me. Bane wants to give the city false hope, I suppose. But what is there to hope for in a city where criminals run loose in the streets and a kangaroo court kills anyone? And why go through all that just to blow it up anyway? I guess to make Batman suffer, but it seems like a lot of pointless work. I think Bane’s plan would have been more effective if he tried to make his own worker’s utopia with the constant threat of the bomb looming over everyone’s head. Wouldn’t it have been crazy if he had succeeded and Gotham city did become a better place for the poor and desperate in the months after Bane’s uprising? What the fuck would Batman have done then? That would have been the ultimate defeat, if Bane would have been able to accomplish what Batman couldn’t.
And speaking of Bane’s bomb, it always bothers me when they know down to the minute when a bomb is going to blow up. And this isn’t even a bomb, its a fusion reactor that’s going critical. How do they know EXACTLY when it will blow up? Because DRAMA!
8. Catwoman Wants to Do What?
Catwoman’s motivation for her actions was to get a magical program that would erase her past. It reminds me of the episode of Sherlock where Moriarty claims to have a computer code to bypass all security. It’s such a ridiculous technological MacGuffin that it feels completely made up for the purposes of a film. It’s not like she couldn’t have used her extreme intelligence and skills to start a new life without such a ridiculous program. That’s what a fake ID is for!
Haters Please Note: I’m not a Marvel fanboy. I prefer DC comics, but I enjoy both companies. If I didn’t like Batman, I wouldn’t have purchased an over 200 dollar doll and set up this shrine:
The image of the dramatic rodent idea was taken from Rick Marshall’s post about why he didn’t like The Dark Knight Rises. If you’re not angry enough at my rant, be sure to check his out!
And if you’re in the mood for even more controversial Dark Knight Rises thoughts, be sure to check out William Bruce West’s thoughts!