Sunday, 26 August 2012


THE INEVITABLE DISCLAIMER: Normally, I do not indulge in lengthy reviews, as I consider them far too tedious for my (four to five) readers, or anyone come to think it. This one, however, is in demand: I am in a small group of people that really DID NOT like this movie. As such I am forced to explain my dislike in a more-or-less detailed fashion. No, this will not change anyones opinion, nor is it meant to - it is simply meant to clarify my own my own. Also !!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!!


Its hard to live up to a masterpiece, but its harder still to live up to hype. I was looking forward to three films to highlight my movie year: The Avengers, Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises. The first was a huge risk - a big movie franchise bestowed upon a cult-followed TV director. The second was a redemption story - famed Alien director returns to the genre he made famous. The final was the biggest of all - the grandiose finale and heir to one of the best hero movies ever made, The Dark Knight.

While Prometheus turned out to be a scriptwriters nightmare and an overal dissapointment, the Avengers came out of nowhere as the most entertaining, well paced super-hero in a long time. One failure, one sucess - that left the final: The Dark Knight Rises. 

It's at least gonna top this.


Nolan has yet to fail with his films, so I was CERTAIN this movie would rock. The trailers looked amazing. Even the fact Anne Hathaway was cast sa Cat Woman did not dissuade me - was not Heath Leadger a completely "random" choice for the Joker, and we all know how that turned out. Hardy's Bane seemed charismatic and a game changer - someone that will ''break the bat''. It's been widely speculated that Nolan will kill Batman in the final movie. Everyone, myself included, was looking forward not to the twist - we all know he will die - but to the execution. Nolan is a master director and as such I knew, I bloody KNEW, I would be moved by Batman's death. 

To sum up my expectation: I was expecting a memorable villain, a storyline that evolves on complex issues of morality and the gray between good and evil and the highly emotional, reverberating death of Batman.

What I got was an even shittier Batman Begins.

Hold on. Just HOW shitty do you like your Batman?


I think I've started, and re-started, writing this text five times. The reason is not only because I'm supremely disappointed, but the fact I didn't know where to begin. There is so many wrongs and so few rights. So, I decided to take my expectations and analyse, one by one, how they were shattered.

Expectation 1: A memorable villan. 

Hardy's Bane is certainly imposing, and while his voice feels like a gimicky attempt to top Ledgers Joker, its still pretty cool. But what about the character himself? Is he a multi-faceted good-evil guy, a revolutionary wanting to  "free the people" and destroy the concept of the vigilante batman (something that would tie in nicely to TDKs plotline)?

Unfortunately, far from it. In the end, Bane turns out to be nothing but a glorified henchman, serving someone who is possibly the most disappointing villain of all time -  Thalia (Cotillard). So what happened with this ''comming storm'' hinted at in the trailer? What happened to this revolution, to Bane's seemingly educated, almost comunist, populism? Nothing. He never meant any of it. He's just out to destroy Gotham, and Batman, for his mistress. In effect, he is a better acted, less campy and slightly more nuanced version of the hulking imbecile from the older, crapy Batman with Posion Ivy and Mr.Freeze. Its tragic.

What about Thalia, the real villain? Is she at least complex and compeling? Nope. She is basically a one dimensional character out for mindless revenge and the completion of her fathers work. Her stupid cover as a Eco-friendly love interest is not only unconvincing, but also insulting to the audience - we are supposed to believe Bruce Wayne falls in love with her because she blinks her eyes at him and pretends to care? Is it really that easy? When she dies (in that admittetly funny fashion thats made fun of on the internet as we speak) no one cares. Literally no one.

Expectation 2: A storyline that evolves on complex issues of morality and the gray between good and evil.

Sure, Gotham has now turned to peace thanks to the Dent law - but there is no continuation of the whole Dark Knight Vigilante In Exile story. Bruce simply decides to come back at one point, and that is it. The Joker is not even mentioned even though at one point every convict in the city is released. More importantly though, none of the moral dilemmas from The Dark Knight ever resurface. There is no conflict or gray zone here. Batman -good. Thalia/Bane - evil. The single marginally interesting conflict and character evolution is between Bruce and Alfred (and even this is debatable) Their argument over Alfredćs desire for Bruce to ''let it go'' and not die is the only even mildly compelling moment in the entire film.
As a matter of fact, the ENTIRE movie plot can be summarized thusly:

Batman arrives, overcomes adversity and eventually defeats a madwoman intent on destroying Gotham. He then retires peacefully.

Am I the only one put off by this? It's sad when the follow up to one of the most jarring morality stories in a hero movie (TDK) is followed up by B-movie plot lines and one-dimensional characters.

Expectation 3: The highly emotional, reverberating death of Batman.
Didn't expect me to skip this one, did you? What could have been a dramatic ending that  leaves even grown men teary eyed ended up a massive turn-off. Not only was Batman's death not compelling, he didn't EVEN FUCKING DIE. Nolan makes the most ridiculous, ungainly happy ending - something so unlike him that its hard to believe. So why is his "death" not emotional? Again - because no one cares about him. Why? Well look at the character. There is no evolution or depth. While it can be said there was not a lot to begin with (The Joker and Harvey Dent were far more complex characters than Batman was) - this movie treats him as a mindless super-hero shell. The trials he goes through so he can "fall" and then "rise" again are borderline retarded. Bane gives him a 30 second speech about how he sucks and then breaks his back. Really? Thats all it took? His silly recovery from SPINAL FUCKING INJURY is like a bad 80's montage criss crossed with foreign accents and rope. There is no true fall from grace, or redemption. Just a classic action movie moment of doubt followed by a re-arming and return to defeat the enemy.  So the punchline would be: No one cares for Stock Superhero, he dies but then he actually isn't dead, lolz! Wow.

Other issues: Plot, plot and plot. Also, extras.
I've never been big on plotholes. If a movie is good enough it can stand quite a few and still be a good movie. This, however, is not such a movie - so the plot holes ram nails in a very deep deep coffin. The jolly people from the internet  have already pointed out some and to me they only further my dismay. Please see them here and here. So what the hell is it with that stupid pit-jail with vaguely arabic people? And the ease in which Batman heals his spine? What about the many gaping problems pointed out in those two clips?

These bother me less than the so called filler-extras: Cat Woman, Commissioner Gordon and Blake the motherfucking Robin. These character serve little-to-no purpose, are cruelly one-dimensional and sometimes even unnecessary. Commissioner Gordon pretty much just goes around making faces. Blake is a goody two-shoes cop that doubles as a orphanage helper. Does he also feed Africa and cure AIDS? He is not even a character, just an instrument to represent uncorrupted good and a tool to inherit Wayne Mannor. What about Celina Kyle aka CatWoman? A love interest only after EcoWoman (Cotillard) proves to be a crazy villain, Cat Woman is just that - Batmans  bland, uninteresting love interest...because every blockbuster needs  a love story, you guys! Even if the protagonist is deeply scared by losing the one he truly loved (Maggie Gylenhal in TDK). Sigh.

THIS! This is how the death of hope and expectation look like!
CONCLUSION: The Matrix Syndrome.

So Nolan is no longer the immaculate movie maker with no fault. I didnt like Batman Begins either, but I thought it was a one-ff, producer-affected origin story.
It appears to me that, sadly, The Dark Knight is an aberration in this trilogy. Much like the Matrix, one of the three films is a masterpiece, the others are utter trash. It just happens that here it is the second one, and not the first, that is a work of art. In actuality, skipping The Dark Knight and simply watching Batman Begins followed by The Dark Knight Rises - makes much more sense. Those two (BB and TKDR) share the same faults and same style. They are both bad, but at least they are consistent: view them as shitty films, but an improvement to the Schumacher Batman travesty for sure.

Then, when you've gotten the suck out of your system, go watch The Dark Knight and see what a real Batman movie is.
Hey. at least it had no nipples!
PS: Thank the Gods for the Avengers. Without them, it would be a bleak year for blockbusters.

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