The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

(Story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer)

So I finally saw it.  Going in I was pretty excited for this.  I know shocking right!  I rewatched the previous two.  I bought my IMAX tickets for opening weekend.  After a disastrous showing at the IMAX at the Liberty Science in which I walked out in the opening scene I finally made it down to Atlantic City to see it at the Tropicana IMAX.

The Dark Knight Rises is good.  It isn’t better than The Dark Knight.  It is certainly big and epic.  I was never bored throughout the over 3 hour run time.  Thats all I should hope for with a movie like this right?  But I can’t help but think it isn’t enough.  Going into TDKR Chris Nolan had never made a movie I didn’t love.  He seemed to be able to do no wrong.  Sure he was criticized by some for being stuffy and too serious but I never really felt like things were missing.

With TDKR he seems to have unloosened his tie as much as he ever has.  The movie is silly and as over the top more than anything he’s ever done.  The movie is huge and loud.  I felt that the “grounded and realistic” approach that was taken with The Dark Knight was mostly gone.  I put it in quotes because how grounded and realistic can a Batman movie ever be.

I liked Bane.  A lot of fuss was made over his dialogue but in the final film I liked it.  It was totally silly and made me laugh almost every time he spoke.  I don’t know if that was really the intention but that was my reaction to it.

I think I just had way too many issues with the movie to elevate it past pretty good.  The overall through line and message of the film is too muddled to really mean anything.  I just couldn’t quite figure out exactly what Nolan and crew were trying to say with it.  We’ve got Bruce who is broken, he heals himself, is broken again, then heals himself again.  Redundant?  I thought so.

Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman was good.  I wasn’t sure about her casting originally but she turns in one of the more entertaining performances.  I don’t really think the ending of her with Wayne is really earned but oh well I guess thats how it goes.

The No Man’s Land direction of the story is interesting but this is where I felt the movie lost its way a bit.  We’ve got all the cops down in the subway for months, they get out, with very clean and pressed uniforms, well fed, to go face off against Bane’s hoard.  Where are the regular people in this?  Why is it ONLY Bane mob vs. clean well fed cops.  Then at the end Blake, who is a cop, decides fuck cops, throws his badge in the water, and the film leaves with him apparently going to take up the vigilante Batman name.  I enjoyed the Blake storyline, as it is about as close as we get to the point of view of the average citizen, until this last act.

The score is huge and so is the photography.  That I really can’t stress enough.  The Avengers was pretty good but the scope and size was the biggest thing it lacked.  It felt a bit above a TV show but compared to TDKR it looks damn near tiny.

Overall I found TDKR entertaining but very flawed.  It just doesn’t have that magic that Nolan’s previous work does.  It feels like something he was forced to make, not something he was passionate about.  I often wonder the direction the series would’ve taken had Ledger not died.  Was the Joker storyline going to continue?  As is TDKR feels too much at times like a rehash of Begins, with much of the villains plot referencing it.

Pretty good.  Not great.  I think time will not be as kind to it though.  There just doesn’t seem to be that level of excitement for it compared to the last two.

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About Jon Watches Movies

Watching a movie a day since January 1, 2011.
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