The Dark Knight Rises
Saw Batman Begins. Saw the Dark Knight. Then, finally, I saw the Dark Knight Rises – yes, I bought Marathon tickets. Thankfully, I had a very good crowd to watch the movies with. Now, you get my opinion.
Before I get to my review, I want to say one thing: My hearts and prayers go out to those that were killed and the people who were injured in the Colorado shooting, as well as their families.
It has been eight years since the Joker’s reign of terror and Harvey Dent’s mental breakdown. Cops have been chasing the Dark Knight, believing him to be Harvey’s killer. Bruce gives up the cape and cowl, becoming a recluse in his mansion, never seeing the light of day. One day, however, he comes out, to see that his company is going under, and a threat bigger than any before is coming to Gotham. And so, our lame vigilante puts on a leg brace, and goes out to confront his newest, deadliest foe: Bane.
Before I go too far, let me just say that my complaints don’t mean that I disliked the movie. I just want to say those first, okay? Calm down, breathe slowly….
But there were problems I had. Starting with…
Batman’s disappearance. I know this is a minor gripe, but it did bother me. I don’t like that the night of Harvey’s death is the last time the Batman is seen. I had images of him being hunted down by GCPD between the films. I would have liked to see that a bit, or have it hinted out.
The movie felt really, really fast for the first thirty minutes. I thought that too much was happening at too fast a pace. Not only was it hard for us to get to know these new characters, but hard for the characters to know each other. Just too fast.
This is probably my biggest problem: the bomb. It just annoyed me. I did not think that it was necessary. I would have liked to see Bane just take complete control of Gotham and its people, and tear it apart – No Man’s Land style. Which, yeah, we got. But the bomb just seemed to make the plot stop. It made almost everything Bane was doing completely pointless. It would have been better, for me, if the bomb wasn’t in the movie at all.
It also irritated me how many people knew he was Batman. There were just so many. Many of the others I could buy, but I didn’t like that Blake figured it out. But then again… well see my commentary on John Blake below.
I thought that the overall plot of the movie took too much from Batman Begins and Dark Knight. They did the whole Ra’s al Ghul thing already! Yes, fine, I know the literary concept of “my beginning if my end,” but I reject that idea. It is not necessary. Bane also took some of the pure chaos from Joker’s scheme – though in this case, it was more… controlled chaos, I suppose. But it took the idea of destroying Gotham’s soul.
The back breaking scene. Horrible.
Yes, I said it. I didn’t like the back breaking scene. It was extremely anti-climactic and poorly done. He kinda just picked him up and tossed him on his knee. I wanted to see Batman broken over his knee, not just casually tossed onto it. Not asking for slow-mo, but I wanted to see Bane savor the act – to hold him over his head in triumph, and break Bruce over his knee, holding him like that for a second to relish it. This, for me, was a real letdown.
The ending was rather nice. I liked the implication that Blake becomes the new vigilante of Gotham – whether a new Batman or as Nightwing-lite, I don’t know. But it did indeed live up to Nolan’s premise that the Batman is an idea. And I liked it that Alfred saw Bruce, happy, with Selina (… even though their relationship was extremely rushed. So subtle it happened before I even noticed…). I am okay with a happy ending.
Small comment: Scarecrow’s appearances were great. I laughed as soon as I saw him. He was great. Only wish we saw the mask; perhaps behind him or on the desk.
I hear a lot of people complain about Bane’s motives. “Oh but now he’s following Talia because he loves her, not Ra’s!” Well here’s my answer: What makes more sense – following the desires of a dead man who failed and exiled you, or following the wishes of someone who loves you and you have cared for throughout her childhood? I’m sorry but the former doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you boil it down. What I will say, however, is that Talia’s “relationship” with Bruce (a one-night stand isn’t a relationship, Brucey) was extremely forced. There was extremely little build up. It looked exactly like what I just implied it was.
Now the individual characters:
John Blake. The character grew on me, and I liked what happened to him. But I would have liked to see his name be Jason Todd. Why not Dick Grayson? I don’t know. I just feel like Jason would have worked, considering the orphan thing. But then again, he is kind of a combination of all the Robins: he has the loyalty and fervor of Dick Grayson, some of the backstory and a little bit of the fighting of Jason Todd, and the detective skills of Tim Drake. So, perhaps, it did make sense that he figured out who Bruce was.
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. This was my biggest fear. I was really uncertain; I honestly did not think she could do it. But she surprised me and surpassed my expectations. She was a great Selina Kyle – the bar scene was especially good. Would have been nice to see her wield a whip, but still well done, all things considered.
Tom Hardy as Bane. What did I like, and what didn’t I like? Honestly… eh… the voice kinda irritated me. It’s just not how I think Bane should be. Did he do the part well? Yes, definitely. But the voice didn’t sound right and seemed a bit loud, not merging well with the background scenes. He also wasn’t quite as physically imposing as I thought he should be. He had the skills, but not the brute strength. It came across as pure rage, not brawn. But it was done well.
Talia. I just want to say that I cheered for joy when they revealed her identity. I was hoping she was Talia, and I was nervous. I was nervous and downright annoyed that they were implying that Bane was Ra’s Al Ghul’s son. But Talia, the daughter of the Demon’s Head? Okay, I’m good with that. The revelation was timed and executed well. Worst part was her death… HA HA HA HA! That was hilarious… And there is that slight possibility that Damian is out there (had sex, five months later… hey, who knows?).
Special effects were, as per Nolan, very nice to look at. I find it rather odd, however, that they chose to use New York City as the backdrop, rather than Chicago, as they have for the previous movies. If it were NYC before, fine. But it looks completely different from before (… and it’s hard to think of it as “Gotham” when you see famous landmarks like the Empire State Building in the background). I also think that the Batwing was… eh… out of place. It shied away from the “realistic” world that Nolan has tried to set up. Did it feel like Batman of the comics? Yes, but not the Batman we have come to know in this series.
The acting was overall quite well done. This usually comes as no surprise for this series, but I was very happy with Anna Hathaway and I was okay with Bane. The worst part, however, was Talia’s death. That was laughably bad. Horrendous. They really should have shot that again. But aside from that, the acting was good.
All in all, I give this movie…
Originally, I was going to give it an 8. But I felt I wasn't being quite honest with myself.
Outstanding? I don’t think so. Bad? No. Quite better than the majority of conclusions and better than… other movies. It didn’t really disappoint. I left satisfied.
If you’re curious, these are my ratings for the other Nolan Batman movies for comparison (and I can justify this, since I saw them all in order that night):
Batman Begins – 8.5.
The Dark Knight – 9
Does this mean it was bad compared to the others? No, not at all. It's just how I feel about those movies all around. As for the trilogy as a whole, definite 9.