Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises review

There's a major problem in the entertainment industry that comes with success, besides the inevitable decline in morality and drug abuse. The problem comes that when someone does something that's hugely successful and popular, there expected to then do it again next time. That's the problem which haunts The Dark Knight Rises, besides the fact that the script writer presumably is a magpie and can't focus long enough to get a coherent thought on paper.
Now let me clarify one thing: I liked Rises. Overall it's a pretty decent movie with a great cast, some really solid acting and impressive visuals. Even though I'm fundamentally a Superman fan, I got a kick out of the portrayal of Batman, Bane, and especially Catwoman. I'm particularly impressed that Nolan didn't turn Hathaway into some sort of Playboy Kitty, but instead made her the best representation of the character I've ever seen. Despite what I'm about to say, go see it, it's definitely worth the time and money.

As I said before though, it's fundamental problem comes with the artist's previous work, namely The Dark Knight. The film was brilliant, not only for a Batman movie but for anything else you want to talk about. It took characters and a world that had been across the map in regards to sillyness and stupid and made them feel real, which is no small feat. Ledger deserved his Oscar, and I hope he feels his work is appreciated now in the next life. The problem at this point was that Rises now had to somehow surpass it's older brother, but without Leger's brilliance to even be referenced to, the film took on more than it could chew and sadly just doesn't live up to its older brother.   
The first issue here is the plot. Without spoiling anything, it's nearly impossible to explain what Rises is really about. Basically Batman has retired since the incident with Two-Face and friends down by the dock, leaving Bruce Wayne to be a shut-in billionaire pining after his lost Rachel, that Kirsten Dunst looking girl from the other films. Then events transpire that require the return of Batman and Wayne jumps to the call to stop the evil Bane from.... doing stuff... Even if you see the whole thing the main villain's motivation is pretty confusing, it being a convoluted mess trying to tie all the films together, which is pretty sad considering the last villains only reason to exist was basically just to mess with Batman and he got an Oscar for it. It feels like Nolan was trying too hard to impress us again, and ended up just creating an avalanche of motivations, sub-plots and secrets that sort of pay off but not really in the end. It's not a bad idea before heading into the theater sitting down with the first two films and review them then checking the finale out. 
Another really sad part about this Batman movie was that there wasn't a whole lot of Batman. We get some nice material of Wayne dealing with his tortured soul and whatnot but he doesn't throw on the suit and kick butt as much as he did in the last two. The film should have been named Batman And All His Angry Friends Go On An Adventure Through Imaginary Chicago. We also don't get a lot of Alfred time, which considering he's the film's comic relief the film get's pretty heavy pretty fast. Hathaway is left to make the sarcastic comments, but she's already pulling the psuedo-love-interest-action-girl routine she just doesn't have time to also be the C3PO of the film. 
I know that I've thrown a lot of negativity about the film, but despite its issues it's still a decent film. If it wasn't sitting in the shadow of the wonders and delights that is Dark Knight I would probably like it more, but we know what Nolan is capable of and this just falls a bit below the bar. Still go see it. If nothing else, I can promise that it's very ending is at least original and moving enough to conclude Batman in the way he as a character diserves, once and for all. 


  1. I realize that the URL says Returns and that it'll say Dark Knight Returns if it gets shared. Sorry, I was proofreading while half awake.

  2. Rough review but as someone who is primarily a Batman fan, I'm super biased. I definitely appreciate your thoughts on Hathaway though.

  3. I respectfully disagree. I thought the plot was easy enough to follow and made sense. It just happened to basically be the same plot from the first movie.

    I also loved how this was more a movie about Gotham City then Batman. I also really liked the theme of what symbols mean to people, especially to a city like Gotham. So yeah, I thought it was awesome though maybe not *quite* living up to the Dark Knight.

    I do of course agree that everyone should see it. Especially in IMAX. :D

  4. Joe! First off, I encourage you to see it again. Bane's motivations were much clearer the second time around, likely because I wasn't watching it at 2 in the morning. Secondly, how DARE you compare Maggie Gyllengall to Kirsten Dunst!

    Thank you. That is all.