Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

"Mmmph blrrg grug Batman glogg freedom raaar!"
-Bane, The Dark Knight Rises


The movie's gimp mask-wearing, MMA fighter-like villain no doubt has many profound things to say. But he talks like he's got an Egg McMuffin lodged in his trachia, so you're left to guess as to his motives for destroying a city, trapping every single police officer in a sewer, beating up Batman and rocking a smelly tanktop.


Bane stands as a symbol for his movie, which may as well be called The Dark Knight Bloats. Christopher Nolan followed up his two Caped Crusader masterpieces with a dud of a finale that, like Bane, is giant, slow-moving, talks too much and doesn't have a heck of a lot of reason to exist.


The movie runs a little long at nearly three hours, but I recommend taking a nap for an hour or so in the middle to make it pass quicker. Nolan helps you out with that by making the mid-section into a sort of cinematic lullaby that rocks you to sleep with board meetings, emo conversations and many, many, many scenes that do not show Batman being Batman.


This is not a movie to watch if you'd care to see Batman in action, doing Batman-like things like catching crooks or swooping down and punching people in the back of the head. The first act is mostly a poetry slam of one character after another reciting expositional monologues about how and why Batman has been away for eight years, and why that's a good thing or a bad thing. 


Bruce Wayne is holed up in his stately manor, which really should be called Wayne's World, limping around with a cane like Willy Wonka when he first appears in his 1970s movie. Bruce Wayne has made some questionable business decisions, such as hiring Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) as a maid and spent all his money on a nuclear fusion bomb that could either provide the world an eternity of free energy or explode the city, depending on who's got it at the time.


You know how Bruce Wayne always kept it a deep, dark, double secret that he was Batman? Well, he's pretty much done with that now, willing to have a heart to heart about it with a cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) he's just met. Bane also knows, probably because he's -- as Rush Limbaugh has cleverly deduced -- a stand-in for Mitt Romney, and figured it out because he's best pals with many billionaires. Also, I'm pretty sure Catwoman figures it out, unless Batman has a special Bat-kiss that differentiates his Bruce Wayne smooching experience.


It doesn't really matter that people know Bruce Wayne is Batman because he doesn't want to be Batman anymore. It takes a heck of a lot of boringness to get him back in his suit, and shortly thereafter something bad happens and he's no longer Batman again until just in time at the very end.


If I'm being a little hard on the movie, it's because I expected so much more from it, and because it does a great job of reminding you how good the other two were by flashing back to scenes from those films again and again. The point of the flashbacks is to restate profound philosophical points from those movies, I guess to avoid having to come up with any new ones of its own.


The Dark Knight Rises isn't awful and is perfectly watchable, but just doesn't make much sense or build upon the groundwork laid by the earlier movies. It's this series' version of The Matrix Revolutions, The Godfather Part III or Caddyshack 2. Nolan's other Batman movies were stylish, deep, exciting and shocking. This one is just content to sort of hang out on the porch and watch the cars pass by.


I'll close with a quote from Bane: "Mrkl mumf unite argyle frankensense blarg."


The words are as true today as they were during the midnight screening.


Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, using characters created by Bob Kane. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Rated PG-13. 165 minutes.

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19 comments:

thisguysucks said...

So you have zero attention span. Gotcha. I'm sure you also despised the Sopranos ending, get upset when there isn't enough snuff horror on the Walking dead, and pretty much have zero appreciation for character development or dramatic film making. A month from now, when the world is collectively in love with this movie, you are going to look like a contrarian douchebag.

thisguysucks said...

So you have zero attention span. Gotcha. I'm sure you also despised the Sopranos ending, get upset when there isn't enough snuff horror on the Walking dead, and pretty much have zero appreciation for character development or dramatic film making. A month from now, when the world is collectively in love with this movie, you are going to look like a contrarian douchebag.

Longshot said...

This review was hilarious!!!! I loved it!!!! So many funny jabs. But the best were the closing lines by far! I was literally crying with laughter. Old school, ballsy style criticism at its best!

Longshot said...

This review was hilarious!!!! I loved it!!!! So many funny jabs. But the best were the closing lines by far! I was literally crying with laughter. Old school, ballsy style criticism at its best!

doctor.Gorror said...

please don't confuse this review with criticism.

also, the 'snuff' horror featured in the walking dead showcase the only aspect of that show worth watching.

Michael Barclay said...

....apparently there's a reason that your username is "thisguysucks" because you obviously do. Dramatic film making? It was horrible film making. And as far as character development...since when do you use the finale installment of a trilogy to develop characters? It was slow, I completely agree with Phil in the sense that you couldn't even understand Bane sometimes, and it was just boring. It was a major letdown.

Pablo Olmeda said...

I agree, what a petty and at times condescending review. Do this "film critic" is watching a different movie then the 87% of critics, some who are actually know film critics who say its awesome. I watched it last night in IMAX and lived it and was not at all disappointed.

Pablo Olmeda said...

I didn't have a hard time understanding him at all. I felt the movie was brilliant and do the majority.

TheBigAnswer said...

I watched this at 5am on release date so I could fit it in... I went without any "high expectations" and was simply expecting to be enthralled and wooed with another great Batman movie.
It's a great movie, and a great stand alone movie too... but for me it wasn't up to the standards of the multi-twisted previous installments.

There were about 30 of us (in total) watching it, at 5am I'd say that was a hardcore fan base... and when it ended, ONE guy clapped and the rest of the audience just looked at him as to say "Dude, were you watching the same movie we were watching?"... I think that said it all.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

The reason you couldn't hear Bane is because your ears are terrible, just like your taste in movies. I could hear him just fine, and I've been blaring Pearl Jam into my ears for about 20 years now. To those of you who are criticizing this film, I'm sure there will be a crappy art film for you to laud about soon enough. Then you can sit at Starbucks with your laptop, rave about the movie and show everyone how deep you are.

Justin V said...

I wasn't all that wild about the Dark Knight (liked it, didn't love it), and NOT from contrarianism...I love it when myself, fans, and critics agree. It was still good enough to have me planning to see TDKR, but now I don't think I will.

I usually ignore the 15% of negative reviews when a movie scores a 85% on RT, but what's remarkable about all the negative reviews for TDKR is how similar they are to each other. All the negative reviews have the same complaints, which means they're not trolling. Or being "contrarian douchebags", as Mr. You-Must-Love-It-Or-You-Suck asserts.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

After reading that last line with the quote I was in tears I was laughing so hard! Absolutely true, I understood about 30% of what he said throughout the entire movie. Not to mention every time a new character came on screen there was a five minute monologue to explain their backstory. I agree with you on this one, expected a lot more and it was very meandering all throughout. And walking out afterwards all I could think was Matrix Revolutions..kudos on that one too.

Lauren said...

@Justin V. You're still among the fifteen percent, so the majority of fans and the majority of the critics don't agree with you, as your comment would insinuate. You may wish to better qualify your statements. I am perfectly willing to open my eyes to criticism about a movie I enjoy, when the resistance to the film comes with some substantial insight, not when it appears to have been written with a crayon on a napkin in between nap breaks. The circumstances under which this review, and most other like it, seem to have been written.

Kyle Maxwell said...

Nerd Rage! How dare you not like something I like? NERD RAGEEEEEEEE!!!

Stephen said...

@Lauren

And many of us prefer to watch movies whose scripts were not written on napkins with crayons. This review is coherent, and he tells you exactly why he didn't like the movie (including complaints about things aside from Bane's spluttering.) As long as it has that, it suffices in quality for something that hasn't had people talking for four years, staying up late, and paying money to experience.

thisguysucks said...

@Michael Barclay. ... apparently there is a reason why you wear that hat and those shades -- because you are trendy and super cutting edge:

Dramatic film making? Nolan? Every time, especially DKR. His work, somehow to me, is highly subjective amongst those who love to pick on people with great talent. Include yourself in this group.

Character Development? Bane? League of Shadows origin? Tying the entire trilogy together? Thats bad? You're a moron?

Wasn't slow, it moved incredibly fast to those who are able to grasp fast story telling. Stock market raid, to football field terror, to marshall law, to bruce rising from imprisonment, then conclusion. At no point did that sequence get held up on anything arbitrary.

grace crawford said...

All in all, the gifted (writer-director Christopher) Nolan's latest epic is typically well-constructed (despite a plot hole here and there) and beautiful to look at.

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