My Opinion on the Dark Knight Rises (because bagelstuck asked for it)
Spoiler Warning! and I’m putting this under a break because its really super long but that’s what bagelstuck wanted so whatcha gonna do.
The Dark Knight Rises was the first Batman film I saw in theaters. Yeah, yeah I know. I’m late to the party. I have my reasons for it. But really, it is a totally different experience than in your living room or basement, despite what my dad likes to say, particularly for someone like me with ADD who sometimes has trouble paying attention to really long movies. In the darkness, without household distractions, I could really pay attention to the movie in full.
That said, I can say this first about TDKR: I was never bored. And trust me, that is a credit to a movie this long.
Like Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 2, for me personally I felt that it was long because it needed to be long. There was a LOT that needed to be fit in here to close such a huge, hyped up series. New characters were introduced. There was the villain plot. The OTHER villain plot. The social commentary. The action. Batman needed to go through character development. And, in the end, a climax that blew our minds and was a worthy finish to Nolan’s Batman. And did it succeed?
Its been a few weeks since I’ve seen it, so I’m focusing on what I can really remember and what really stood out to me.
Let me start with Batman. Unfortunately, this is where I had the biggest problem with the movie. First of all, I, like many others, was thinking as I watched “Wow, there ain’t a whole lot of Batman in this Batman movie.” I really had to wonder why it took so long for Bruce Wayne to move on out of his Heroic BSOD and actually become Batman again. I know it was supposed to be a “rises from the ashes” storyline, but seemed really out-of-character for me for him to give up his life’s obsession to mope over Rachel Dawes for eight years.
Aiight, I’mma get this out. I really never liked Rachel Dawes. Maybe its because she wasn’t from the comics, maybe I thought there were characters from the comics that could have served the exact same purpose, maybe she interfered with my OTP (WHICHWONINTHEENDHA) because unfortunately I can be immature like that sometimes, maybe I just didn’t find her that dynamic, maybe I think “childhood true love” is overly sweet and cliche for Batman. Maybe its a mixture of all of these, but the bottom line is that I enjoyed the movie much more without her. It really bugged me that this OC to the movies was the one to convince friggin BATMAN to not use a gun. That is one of the most famous, important and strict tenants of his character adopted because of how his parents died, and little miss who-the-hell-is-this gets to be the one to shame him for wanting to kill a guy and making him change his outlook. /okrantover
However, after Bruce decided to be Batman again I started enjoying his character a lot more. Sure, his motivation for it is…questionable but hey I got what I wanted and that’s what matters. His ultimate arc was satisfying for me, especially the attention put on the spiritual as well as physical rebirth he experienced in the prison. And the ending with him and Selina and awww I CAN’T HANDLE THESE FEELS.
Catwoman…great. I loved her. Yes, I wish her cat motif was played up more. Yes, I would have preferred her costume looked something more along the lines of this:
Because as is her costume kept reminding me of this:
Right down to the impractical high heels and free hair!
But in the end I thought Ann Hathaway did a much better job than most people expected. I questioned her going along with Bane’s plan at first, but she switches sides in the end so its all good. Her cunning, ability to challenge Bruce but also interest him and dancing on both sides was spot on. Also, her “friend” was totally Holly Robinson, don’t bother pretending otherwise Nolan! Her romance with Bruce was satisfying as well, even if I didn’t really understand why Bruce kept trusting her, and well topped off with a classic BIG DAMN KISS. Still, I would have liked a little more attention on it. Of course, then there wouldn’t have been enough time for Totally-Not-Talia-Al-Ghul.
The secondary characters were good, too. LOVED John Blake. I am a Robin fangirl, and it pissed me off that people acted like he (they) could never be in the movies because he was “too camp.”
(Alright, this is Damien Wayne, who’s VERY unusual in his violent ways as Robin, but STILL)
But when John Blake revealed himself to be a Robin reference…oh, I died. His conclusion where he takes on Batman’s legacy (as many interpretations of Future!Robins have them do, and Dick Grayson has done twice) also fits so very well. As much as I would have liked to see a reference to our favorite circus orphan, this was unexpected and pretty genius. Also, he deduced Batman’s identity. Just like Tim Drake.
Also, all this, and no reference to Jim Gordon’s daughter being Batgirl in the comics? For shame.
The villains? Ok, I’m going to get this out now: the marketing around Miranda Tate couldn’t have POSSIBLY made it more obvious that she was Talia Al Ghul outside just flat out telling us. There was an early promo that said, to paraphrase Nolan, “Marion Cotillard is playing a character who is related to Ra’s Al Ghul.”
AW GEE. I WONDER IF SHE’S TALIA. I MEAN, A NEW LOVE INTEREST RANDOMLY INTRODUCED? BEAUTIFUL, DARK HAIRED WITH AN ACCENT? SEEMS TOO NICE TO BE TRUE? RESOLVES HER ROMANCE WITH BRUCE EARLY AND THEN STARTS CHATTING ABOUT HER RICH FAMILY AND FATHER IN HER DARK PAST AND ALL THAT GOLLY SHUCKS NO WAY SHE’S TALIA.
YOU MEAN YOU’RE RA’S AL GHUL’S DAUGHTER??? DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING!
Seriously, who coulda guessed that?
Kidding aside, it was a good twist granted you didn’t know the Batman mythos outside of the movies, which I can guess is a decent chunk of the audience. Bane as her little lackey bothered me a tad, but I guess they needed some way to tie it all together. On his own, Bane was a cool villain but I didn’t feel that he really was as dynamic as, say, Johnathan Crane (who’s part in this was fantastic) or the Joker, whom I really wished they could have had in it. I actually liked his voice, and some of the things he did (like blow up the football stadium) were pretty dang impressive. And holy crap, we got to see him break Batman’s back.
Friggin epic as hell.
Okay, I probably wouldn’t be able to remember every nuance of the plot, so forgive me.
Overall, I thought it was interesting in terms of struggle, stakes and social commentary. All of the crap all of the characters go through to get their happy-ish ending really does put your heart through the runner. The struggle Gordon feels, for instance, between revealing the savior of Gotham to be a murderer or letting the people keep their idol that helped clean up the city so well is quite realistic and believable. Alfred, oh, he made me want to cry in just about every scene he was in, and the guilt this movie hangs him with is heartbreaking. I even found the rich douchebags to be pretty interesting. On one hand, they’re rich douchebags who think money is the ultimate path for power and it works for a while, but on the other hand once you take away the people’s willingness to follow them that money means nothing. They were fantastic quasi-villains, and ultimately sympathetic when even the innocents are torn apart for having wealth. And let me say this now, can we stop comparing this to the OWS people? The movie’s villains aren’t a reflection of them; the movie was written before they were really a thing. Also, the idea of the poor revolting against the oppressive rich with a result of violence and anarchy is not new.
See this? This is called the French Revolution.
But anyway, the bomb placed in Gotham gave a nice sense of suspense and a great momentous threat to top the threat of the last movie, even though I kinda felt like they shouldn’t have gone with the “bomb threat to Gotham” given that TDK also had a “bomb threat to Gotham” thing with a different but not too much different motivation. Personally, given that this movie ultimately gave the Joker what he wanted (all the “civilized people” will start to tear each other apart) I almost wondered if this movie was originally thought of with the Joker in mind and switched to Bane after Ledger’s death.
There were plot holes, of course, which others have already pointed out, like how the heck did Bruce get to Gotham from the prison with no money? I can forgive the prison not being guarded because no one was supposed to be able to escape it, though.
And the final twist?
I thought it was decent. I knew Batman was going to have to make some huge sacrifice to end the movies and I was really suspecting if they’d really kill him off. I guess it could be up to interpretation if he really survived or if that was just in Alfred’s head, but why would Alfred imagine him with Selina of all people? And while we’re on the subject
So, that’s my 2 cents. I really liked it, but it wasn’t by any means perfect. Long and detailed enough for ya, Emma?
Also how would flying the bomb out of the city save Gotham from the radiation? Plus, the effect of nuclear blasts can be felt for miles. Did Batman really get it that far out?