The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises 2012
I have to start off by mentioning that this is turning out to be one of the harder reviews I’ve had to write. I actually ended up seeing it by myself in the local theater at a late Saturday night showing, largely because I got the chance to participate in my first podcast for the Lamb which I believe will be posted this weekend. I jumped at the chance when the Dark Knight Rises episode went up for grabs, and even though it got filled before I got to put my name in the hat, a couple people dropped out so I snuck my way into the pod. And then I realized I would have to do something I have almost never done before: see the movie opening weekend, and see it by myself. I am a very shy person, and I dislike crowds of any kind. I was worried that the theater would be crowded, especially when I got to the theater at 9:25 and saw that the 9:30 show was flashing “sold out”. But luckily for me, the theater was only about two thirds full for the ten o’clock showing. I ended up having a good theater experience, sitting with empty chairs on either side of me, and near complete silence during the entire movie, the only crowd reaction was for the line “So that’s how it feels”. And since watching the movie, I’ve gone through and read many different reviews and takes on the movie, which has made it a little bit harder to sort out my own opinions from those of others. But I will say that Dark Knight Rises is an epic end to the best superhero trilogies of all time, even if it doesn’t have much competition in that category. I’ll even say that it’s one of the best movie trilogies of all time.
But enough about my own experiences, I should talk about the actual movie. And when I say talk about the movie, I mean I’m going to talk about the movie, not talk around the movie. The term spoilers is thrown about loosely, and I don’t believe anything would spoil this film. There is one twist that I knew about ahead of time, and yet was still caught off guard when it happened, and there are several reveals at the end, and a couple fun cameos that were nice, but not a big part of the movie. You know what, I’ll just go ahead and get the spoiler talk out of the way up front. When I came into this movie, I knew that Marion Cotilliard was Talia Al’Ghul, I knew Bane would break Batman’s back, and I knew that Batman would survive in the end. Of course, I thought Batman would survive for a different reason. The first two movies take place over the course of about a year and a half, so I thought that with all the history behind Batman that it would be too against type to pull him out of the picture after so short a time fighting crime. During the movie, I also thought that Detective Blake would play a larger part in the mythos even though it didn’t go exactly where I thought it would.
I think the biggest word thrown around when talking about this movie is “epic”, this film is totally epic in its scope. Bane succeeds in taking over an entire city essentially the size of Manhattan for a span of five months, neutralizing the entire police force, and breaking the Batman. The level of planning and forethought in this movie reminds me a lot of what happens in the Dark Knight. Bane anticipates Batman’s moves every step of the way until the very end. Unfortunately when you start looking into the logic of it, things start to break down a bit, like predicting that the entire Gotham police force would be sent into the sewers. But it’s a tribute to the pacing and scope of the movie, that it doesn’t really register until after the credits roll and you sit there thinking about what you just watched.
I’m one of the ones who actually thought Bane was a good choice for the villain in this movie, and I wasn’t entirely let down. I have to comment on the voice. It was jarring, in a bad way, how overly synthetic it seemed. The accent was hard to understand, though I could deal with it. My biggest problem was that it just didn’t feel like it was coming from Bane, it felt like it was coming from the theater speakers. It could have been a balance issue within the theater I saw it at, but it was fairly distracting for me. But during scenes like either of the epic fights between him and Batman, it was quickly forgotten. I also absolutely loved Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, I thought she was the best part of this movie. She pulled off the biggest comedy moments, and she also got some of the biggest touching moments next to Alfred. Just the look on her face through the bars made the fight scene that much more epic.
Of course, there is no Batman without Batman and I haven’t even begun to talk about him yet. This movie starts off a full eight years after the Dark Knight. Eight years in Gotham without a Batman, essentially without a Bruce Wayne, and more or less without crime. I’m not sure I liked that portion of the story, it seemed too convenient, and as much as Alfred cares about Bruce, I find it hard to believe he would have just let him rot away in his mansion for that long without confronting him. Even though it’s one of the most touching scenes in the movie when Alfred says goodbye, I find it hard to believe that it took this long to set it off. The fact that he’s been gone so long also means he has to get back into the game, only to be taken back out of the game shortly thereafter. I think I would have much preferred Batman to have been still out there under the cover of darkness, staying under the radar but with many reported sightings. I think it should have only been a few years later, with the toll taken on his body after years of crimefighting, rather than a year and a half of crimefighting followed by eight years of seclusion. I would have also liked to have seen more of Batman, he only has about three or four action scenes in this entire movie.
One of the other big surprises in this movie was Joseph Gordon Levitt as Officer John Blake. In the movie, he’s set up to be Commissioner Gordon’s protege. He has a great insight and drive to earn Gordon’s respect early on in the movie. He’s essentially the beacon of hope throughout this entire movie, and he plays it well even when he becomes disillusioned to his own heroes. The only thing I didn’t like about his character was that he wasn’t given more to do. He spends the entire movie investigating. I loved what he did with what he was given, I just wish he would have been given more. And at the end of the movie, he’s essentially given everything. I could probably go on and on, this movie is just so dense that it’s hard to cover everything in it, and that’s probably one of its biggest flaws. Everything connects to something else later or earlier in the movie. Some of the connections are weaker than they could be, but they are woven together so well that I was transfixed for the entire runtime. It may not be the best movie out of the trilogy, but I sure as hell enjoyed watching it, and as much as I can find all sorts of little problems with it, they are all small when compared to the big picture. And this movie is definitely a big picture. I also have to mention, that while I was watching trailers to pick out some screenshots for this review, all that excitement about this movie came rushing right back to me. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.