The Dark Knight Rises! The Good and The Bad (Spoilers)

Punching!

Punching!

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:

1. Fights!

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)

Hubba Hubba

Hubba Hubba

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?

3. Twists!

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!

batmandarkknightscarecrow-judge

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

It's all part of the plan...

It's all part of the plan...

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

"Don't worry Bruce, I'll invent everything you need for the final act of the film."

"Don't worry Bruce, I'll invent everything you need for the final act of the film."

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

batmandead

Superman holding the corpse of his lover.

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

Bane must have some weakness... if only I could figure it out!

Bane must have some weakness... if only I could figure it out!

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!

9. This:

batmandarkknightrisesdramatic-chipmunk

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:

batmancollection89small

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!

  • Ian

    I looked at my watch at 2 hours in and I think Batman was on screen for a grand total of about 10 minutes at that point. This movie could of used much more Batman.

    Bane’s voice was way too mumbled. There were many times I had no idea what the hell he was saying.

    I liked the movie, but I thought Dark Knight was much better. And if you are comparing it to other superhero movies from this summer, I thought the Avengers was way more enjoyable.

  • Mandy

    I agree with all your points but would like to mention that I thought Batman was able to survive the Batwing explosion situation because he had managed to program the auto-pilot. There’s an awkwardly crunched in scene at the end with Fox where random dude tells him the on-board computer log says Bruce Wayne got the auto pilot working… right? so he could have exited really at any time after getting it on course for 6 miles+ away.

  • Mandy, I guess he could have ejected when the bat was too small for us to see (that long shot as its going out to the ocean), but how the hell was Batman supposed to swim back with that knife wound? Remember, the one that looked pretty fatal?

  • Mandy

    do we actually see Batman in the bat when it flies by the bus? (sorry i can’t remember) If so, I’m going with radiation-resistant bat-sub with on-board doctor because what’s one more bit of implausibly available defense R&D?

    If not, I’m going with he ejected beforehand and Cat Woman licked his wounds. heh heh.

    the fact that the stabbing seemed to have little effect on batman’s fighting condition did make zero sense. option c) the cafe scene was an Alfred “dream sequence” inserted so mandy wouldn’t cry so much and because Nolan chickened out

  • Mandy, I like the way you think.

  • I think the Alfred’s last scene was a dream as well. It makes sense that this character didn’t want to let go of Bruce in his mind, so he goes to the cafe “sees his friend” and smiles. It’s a lot easier mentally then handling his death. Besides< I didn’t see if the top wobbled.

  • Oh! That makes sense too! Thanks Ryan. I’m glad I wrote this, I’m getting some really satisfying answers from you folks.

  • John “Ratty” Arbuckle

    (I posted this on another site, but think you should see it too)

    Batman didn’t give up the cowl because Rachel died. He gave it up because Rachel’s death showed him that Batman couldn’t be the hero Bruce wanted him to be. Instead he was better off as a symbol – a defunct symbol – for what “I’d have to become to stop men like him”. Didn’t you watch the end of The Dark Knight? Rachel’s death is the motivation – but not the reason – for his giving up his crusade. I think Nolan’s version of the character squares well with the comic book version, depending on what writer you are referencing. Nolan’s Batman is very similar to Alan Grant’s take on the character, for instance.

  • Good thing I didn’t list that as one of the things I didn’t like in the film!

  • Matt

    I think Nolan had Bane in the wrong movie. Originally, I believe he planned to use the Joker to move the plot forward- chaos, anarchy and turning out authority are all Joker mainstays. When Ledger died (RIP), Nolan ended up re-working his original plot to shoehorn in the Bane/Talia plot, so there would be a primary villain. I really liked Hardy as Bane and a “Bane breaks the Batman” plot, without the “anarchy” plotline would have been better then what we had. Bane comes to Gotham to break the Batman, then tries to blow up the city to finish the Ras Al Ghul’s work. Under that plotline, even the prison scenes make sense. Batman makes it out of the prison, showing he’s Bane’s physical equal and returns to stop Bane from blowing up the city. The anarchy plot would have been fine too, if the Joker remained the villain- he throws the city into chaos, has a bomb driving around that go off at any time, etc. Terror, chaos and anarchy! Its a shame Nolan couldn’t finish his trilogy the way he wanted with Ledger’s Joker, which I think would have made a better movie.