…and since I got a few questions in my Ask box from people who were really curious to know as to why I thought it sucked, I decided to subject myself to it again just so all the things I found wrong and just plain offensive about what should have been an awesome end to a great trilogy would be fresh on my mind.
No you people owe me big. I can feel my aneurysm forming as I type this. By this time tomorrow I might very well be gone and I haven’t even decided to whom my My Little Pony and Ms. Marvel artwork collections will go to. (Give you a hint: It won’t be you)
I wish I could just say “I thought it sucked” and just leave it at that but since you people really wanted specifics, fine. You win.
Okay, this will probably be full of spoilers and I am also well aware that Nolan fanboys who would bottle the air if it contained one of the man’s farts will probably flame me to hell and back. All I have to say to the latter is: Bring it. I ceased caring about offending the sensibilities of cultlike-behaving fanboys a long time ago.
The Dark Knight Rises first of all is like the epitome of everything that is wrong with Nolan’s movies. Now I like Nolan’s films, don’t get me wrong. I loved Batman Begins and while I wasn’t blown away by The Dark Knight I thought it was pretty good which is all the more reason I find the fact that this film sucked all the more tragic. I liked the Prestige. I like Inception.
I like the films when I can ignore some of the undertones behind Nolan’s work….the whole in favor of the aristocracy, pushing the logical and industrial, favoring the masculine, eschewing the feminine, and the whole asexuality of his works. Nolan’s work while pretty can at times be a bit much and I often find myself having to ignore that on many levels my feminist sensibilities are being offended. Most of the time I can ignore his slight misogynist, overwhelmingly pro-1%, Neoconservative approach to his stories and films.
Unfortunately he decided to take the last movie of The Dark Knight Trilogy and turn it into a platform to bash the 99% and the Occupy movement in particular, turning the film into a piece of anti-liberal propaganda (which makes Limbaugh’s accusation of it being an anti-GOP film a few months back all the more hilarious). From Bane’s continued message of “bringing the power back to the people” to Selina Kyle’s switching from being contemptuous of the rich to just the opposite since she “saw the light” and “recanted the error of her ways”, the film just screams anti-middle class, pro-upper class, and looks down its nose at all us poor folks in general. No surprise there, like I said See: Nolan’s other works.
I do not care for politics in my superhero films. That pissed me off. And watching it a second time it stands out even more. It would have pissed me off even if it were pushing MY politics. Nolan you did a very, very bad thing.
The film starts off with an attack on an airplane and us getting introduced to Bane, and on a lighter but no less flaming note: Bane’s voice is the most hilarious thing I have ever heard in a superhero film. Ever. Even Arnold’s performance as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin can’t compare.
I know they tried to fix Bane’s voice with some dubbing by Hardy but that didn’t fix shit. If anything it just made matters worse. I thought Bale’s Batman voice was bad (and it is, if possible, even worse in this film than it was in The Dark Knight, where it was worse than in Batman Begins. It’s like with each film Bale just decided to get progressively more awful) but Bane’s voice had me laughing my ass off everytime I heard it. I can’t even really describe it…I have nothing to compare it too. It’s cheesy, it’s cartoony, it’s garbled…just yuck.
Jump to Gotham where we learn that Bruce Wayne has been spending the past 8 years moping in his mansion because Rachel died. Really? REALLY?
We also meet Selina (whom by the way is not once called Catwoman in this film, and rightfully so). Anne Hathaway is better than I thought but she still makes me cringe, like at the scene in the diner and then this scene where she’s dressed at the maid and stealing Martha Wayne’s necklace. It’s like she’s trying to channel Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns, and failing miserably. And she is so over the top…I was smelling ham everytime she come on the screen.
Oh and she also lifts Bruce’s prints as part of some plan by some corporate bad guy in a subplot that really serves no purpose other than to make Bruce broke and really hit it home that he’s “broken” in this film. Cause you know, being beaten up and having his back broke then thrown into a literal hole in the ground wasn’t enough…OOPS, I’m sorry did I give that away? Well what did you expect. It is BANE afterall, the one trick pony whose only claim to fame is breaking Bruce’s back in the 90s, that awful decade where comics were FULL of gimmicky crap with no substance whatsoever (See: Death of Superman and the subsequent return, Spider-Man’s Clone Saga, Onslaught…)
Another thing that made me cringe was those wicked impractical 6 inch spiked steel heels. Because we want realism but let’s not give the chick realistic footwear while we’re at it. I guess it’s Nolan’s attempt to add SOME sex appeal to this movie, but it’s a very failed attempt, as is the lesbian relationship Selina has. And it’s a girlfriend that she drops like a hot potato with no explanation whatsoever when she runs away with Bruce. Because all that needs to be done to change a lesbian’s mind is some hot rich guy running around in a tight rubber suit. Even assuming Selina is bisexual it’s still reinforcing the stereotype of bisexual people being flakes who will drop their same sex partners for an opposite sex one in an instant.
Fuck you Nolan.
On second thought, judging by how asexual your films are, you may not like that.
Then scene, scene, scene, and we meet Gary Stu….er, Officer Blake. No I’ll call him what he is…Gary Stu. Gordon-Levitt’s character is totally the definition of one. He appears miraculously to save Gordon from the sewer, not for the first time, he’s got such a tragic past just like Bruce Wayne…oh and he figured out Bruce Wayne was Batman from, get this, a look on Bruce’s face when he came to visit the orphanage where he was raised.
Seriously? That is like the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Damn, even Tim Drake in the comics had to do more detective work than that to figure out Batman’s identity. Oh did I mention that Gary Stu’s legal name is apparently Robin? And that at the end of the film he gets all the Batstuff? And that there’s a rumour that he might be in the Batsuit in the Justice League movie? Yeah I already stated how I feel about that. Short version for the link-phobic: I think it is a fantastically stupid idea.
Okay, the film isn’t all bad. Bruce’s struggle in Bane’s old prison is done very nicely and you actually feel some admiration for Bale’s Wayne. And the hour-long Battle of Gotham City sequence in the third act is great and a very enjoyable action sequence. But then that all gets ruined by the very ending when not only does Gary Stu end up becoming the next Batman but we see Bruce enjoying a nice life in Paris with Selina. Just sitting there in a crowded cafe without so much as a spot of makeup on his face.
Really Wayne? You’re a world-famous billionaire…you don’t think anyone, even in Europe, would recognize you instantly?
I suppose that was Nolan’s way of giving him a happy ending but it just made me roll my eyes. So he decides to spend his life with the woman who not only killed Bane and a few other people when he himself is against killing but also sold him out to Bane. I believe in forgiveness and all but there’s forgiving someone and then there’s plain being a chump.
Oh and in a twist that Helen Keller could have seen coming, turns out the true big bad throughout the film is actually Talia al Ghul, who turns out to have Bane’s comic origin in this film and she managed to escape the prison she grew up in due in part to the fact that Bane fell in love with her. When he was an adult and she was a child. Ew.
I just…I wanted to like this movie. I gave it a chance just like I did The Amazing Spider-Man (I am NOT watching that one again and reviewing it, I don’t care how much you people beg). But it just offended me on almost every conceivable level. I loved Batman Begins. The Dark Knight to me wasn’t the masterpiece that most other people think it was (partly because, while I loved Ledger’s performance, he was not the Joker. Scary, demented, psychotic, yes. Joker, no.) but I enjoyed it. The Dark Knight Rises is a huge disappointment after those two movies.
Do yourselves a favor WB, although I am sure you will ignore everyone who is saying so just like you have ignored everyone else giving you advice: Distance the Justice League movie from the Nolan films. Don’t do the “Blake as the Man in the Cowl” thing. Let the Nolan universe die in as dignified a manner as possible instead of dragging it out.