Brandon's Review of The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises(2012)
I never feel so alone in my movie opinions as when I talk to other people about Christopher's Nolan's Batman movies, movies that garner the most extreme of opinions both for and against it. For whatever reason everyone either loves apologetically or not these films and will irrationally defend them to the bitter end or else they think they're a bloated overrated scourge on the world of summer blockbusters but frankly I land somewhere in the middle. A lot of that has to do with I like Superhero stories being on the surface fairly silly, these movies despite what some fans think could NOT have happened and I don't see why than there's any need to make them so dark and drab. You can do dark and make it still fun and well comic bookish, take Alan Moore's The Killing Joke or better yet the popular Batman: Arkham series of video games. If you're unfamiliar with them these properties are DARK resting firmly in the realm of adult entertainment the Arkham series re imagining Batman's foes as various psychopaths but they're still vibrant even with a mostly dark color scheme and not afraid to fly their comic book flags with colorful characters and huge overblown stories. Even the beloved best of the series The Dark Knight is only really saved by Heath Ledger's performance from being a middle of the road Batman footnote. So just where does its highly anticipated sequel fall on the scales? Let's take a reckoning look.
Our movie takes its opening beats from the Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller by having Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) be at the beginning of the story a recluse, he has injured himself since the events of The Dark Knight and now walks with a cane rarely leaving the Manor. That changes when he is robbed one night by cat-burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway)disguising herself as part of the maid staff causing him to leap back into action to track her down and get back a jewel of his mothers she took. Things take a turn for the worst though when he discovers she's part of an underground sect of The Black Hand led by the mysterious Bane (Tom Hardy), who are operating in the sewers and growing more bold in their plan to take down Gotham even kidnapping Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). To face the greatest threat to Gotham yet Bruce will have to choose to forfeit his body and possibly his life in the fight to come.
I think it'd be easier to focus on what I liked in this movie more than what I didn't and that's Bane. Tom Hardy is a LOT of fun as Bane, that swiftly becoming iconic voice making the character extremely funny and entertaining to watch I don't know if we're supposed to be laughing at him but it WORKS and not even in an unintentionally bad way so I'm going to say that's one thing the movie does right. On the Bane front its story also feels the most comic book related of the three an extremely large scale overblown almost war between Bane and the rest of the world is arresting and feels bigger than anything he's ever done with the series. It also takes and appropriate number of beats from the comics with moments ripped straight out of them including the infamous back breaking sequence. As always it features unique visuals, and a great cast as well I don't love Christian Bale as Batman but the movie also wisely focuses on Bruce Wayne and he's decent at that, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are awesome as usual, Joseph Gordon Levitt's a bad ass, Marion Cotillard's a welcome addition to the group and Anne Hathaway is not incredible as so many others have said but doesn't really fuck it up either so kudos. But a lot of this is undone by where the movie fails, first and foremost with its at this point predictably awful fight sequences which feel extremely choreographed which throws off the movie but not really very well choreographed either reminding me in some ways of a Joss Whedon TV Show. Also the movie is just riddled with an embarrassing amount of plot holes and is easily the most sloppily written movie of the series I'm willing to forgive plot holes in a Blockbuster but the overwhelming amount in this one is a serious detriment to enjoying it. And lastly not that the plot is one really grounded in reality to begin with which I'm pretty alright with but the ending twist that it was Talia al'Ghul the whole time is SO fucking stupid, Even Shayamalan knows twists only work if they change the nature of the story in the slightest and the least you could have done to make the twist work is made us give a shit about the character...at all.
I'd recommend the Dark Knight Rises its an immensely watchable though also painfully frustrating end to a series I feel much the same way about as a whole. It tries really hard and succeeds just enough I'm willing to forgive it for its failings. Does it make sense that we should sit through thirty minutes of Bruce Wayne overcoming his handicap to fight Bane only to see him get crippled and have to overcome it again? Not at all. Was it awesome to see Bruce Wayne climbing that prison wall with the monks chanting down below? Of course it was that shit was bad ass. These movies are action movies, and not even especially good one nothing more and I guess it's best to try not to view them as anything more than that.