It’s always sad when a movie is crushed under the sheer weight of itself. The Dark Knight Rises tries to do fans a service by making tons of nods at them throughout, only for those nods to be the unraveling of the first two movies and what Nolan tried to create.
The worst thing is that there are long strides of this movie that are boring. There is no middle ground. The movie is either brilliant (anytime Bane is destroying things) or boring (anytime Bruce Wayne is in the movie and he isn’t dressed as Batman).
The movie begins with Bruce sulking around for 8 years because Rachel died (lolwut?). Seriously, Batman is just depressed. This is where Selina Kyle (Catwoman) makes her first appearance, and then disappears while Batman gets back into the swing of things. Catwoman is one of the best parts of the movie, but she’s only in MAYBE 30 minutes of the film total. They give her a romance side plot, as well as the romance side plot with Miranda Tate (a.k.a the most obvious Talia Al Ghul ever). There’s just too much going on.
Let’s look at the new characters. Bane, Catwoman, Talia Al Ghul, Jonathan Blake (Robin… seriously), and Deputy Commissioner Foley. These new characters have to mean something w/in 2 hours and 50 minutes, as well as balance with Bruce Wayne, Batman, Lucius Fox, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon. The movie is jammed to the rafters with characters you need to learn about and that have to matter in some degree.
Bane is the best thing about this movie. He’s huge, menacing, and ridiculously smart. Every time that he hits the screen you know something is about to go down. Tom Hardy played him amazingly. The sad part though, is that you never really feel the punches and fights because they’re all filmed in a way that looks super choreographed (which it is, but good fight scenes don’t look like it) and those interactions are probably the least Batman moments of all time. Also, when Bane “breaks the bat” it’s a kick to his side that dislocates a vertebrae. Bane didn’t break the bat, as much as he inconvenienced him. The moment was so boring, and in Knightfall, was so huge! It was a missed opportunity. Batman is a super intelligent stealth guy and he fights Bane hand-to-hand every time. RIDICULOUS. Batman has cool gadgets for a reason. He rarely uses them in this movie. He also succumbs to a small knife in the side when Talia stabs him. Spider-Man’s weakness might not be small knives, but Batman’s sure is. *facepalm*
The Bat was a cool gadget (the plane), but it was something that drug the movie away from the grounding in reality that the other two movies offered. Also, Batman leaves it on a low skyscraper under a tarp and nobody finds it for months. REALLY?
Let’s move on to the last act of the film. Batman has to disarm a nuke in Gotham. Everything goes wrong and they won’t be able to disarm it at all. Batman takes his plane, picks up the nuke, is still in the cockpit with less than 5 seconds left, and then it explodes, killing him. Batman sacrificed himself for the city, to save it. Good right? Less than 5 minutes later he’s alive again in Paris with Catwoman. WITH NO EXPLANATION. I got blown to bits, but I’m alive. And then we find out he left Robin all of his information and technology and the keys to the Bat Cave. Everything is rainbows and unicorns wrapped in a bow.
(After another viewing, the above point doesn’t stand. Bruce Wayne apparently patched the problem months ago and they addressed it in the last moments of the film.)
It really felt like they said, “Fuck it!” and threw in every fan nod possible because they knew about the reboot happening after this movie. Anything they did would have no consequence at all. They built this whole world, and in the last 5 minutes, scrapped it all to make fans smile. The purpose of film is to tell a story in an engaging way that makes sense. They had that, up until they decided to wrap everything up in a nice bow.
This movie is not as good as The Dark Knight, and nowhere near as good as The Avengers. Nobody in this film did a better acting job than Heath Ledger in TDK, so I don’t think we’ll see many oscar nods for the film.
The last shot of the movie should’ve been Christopher Nolan winking at the audience.
2/5 for this movie. It’s the worst of the three films.