Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Review of the Dark Knight Rises

I set out early this morning to watch my last of the summer movies…The Dark Knight Rises.  I wanted to see it in IMAX to drink in all of the noisy goodness.  After a year of the buzz and pseudo-hype, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this third of the Nolan Batman movies. 

Oh, I read the Knightfall comic storyline back before it was cool to have read Knightfall, so I was familiar with the whole ‘Bane breaking Batman mentally and physically,” shtick.  And, over the years, I’ve read through the various incarnations of Catwoman too.  I felt prepared.   As long as Catwoman didn’t purr, I felt this movie might be pretty entertaining. 

It was just that – pretty entertaining.  Not great, not mind-blowing, not The Avengers level of awesomeness.  I had a good time and got my monies worth.  Sure, go see it, but I’d recommend the matinee tickets and save up for the Blu Ray.  I’m sure I will ruin some of the movie for you so stop here if you’re worried just stop here.

The upside – this is a capstone movie to end the trilogy and tie up a lot of loose ends.  To fully appreciate this movie, you should watch Batman Begins before going.  Many of the references that those of us who are geeks will get are related to that film more than The Dark Knight.  Eight years has passed since Harvey Dent’ demise, boo hoo.  Batman has faded into the shadows.  Organized crime has been stomped out. 

Then there’s this cat burglar who robs Bruce Wayne – now a recluse with rumors of a Howard Hughes lifestyle.  Yeah, you had this figured out, Catwoman.  We don’t know much about her character but, what the hell, we don’t care because we’re geeks.  You put any fighting chick in a tight black suit and we’re oddly happy with it. 

The character of Lucian Fox (Morgan Freeman) as the “Q” of the Batman trilogy is still pretty good.  I always feel good when Mr. Freeman is on the screen.  We all want a friend like Fox, complete with all of the toys. 

The movie has some twists and turns you don’t expect which made it good.  The film does tie a bow on the entire trilogy and lay the foundation for future films which we are all fairly sure won’t happen. 

Alright, let’s talk the downsides of this movie.  There were also some implausible movie plots like Gotham being held hostage for five months, which defy not only logic but stretches our willingness to believe it.  Yes, it works in the comic book storylines, but stuff like that just doesn’t play well in the film. 

There is this almost pathetic undertone of the movie that rich people (ala the 1%) are bad and need to be stripped of their wealth, demeaned, and even brutalized/killed.  Hollywood was so clearly pandering to the moronic “occupy” movement in this film that it’s not even subtle.  Yeah, that’s what I want for my money, someone shoving their political beliefs down my throat.  Thanks Hollywood.  This is why we can’t have nice things. 

If you’re going to talk about downsides of the film, we have to address the terrorist Bane.  He’s a badass with a cool entrance at the start of the film – which, as it turns out, is about as cool a Bane gets in the movie.  After The Dark Knight we’re used to villains where we don’t know their background.  Let’s face it, the Joker in the last movie was a creepy, funny and twisted SOB.  We never really learned who he was but it didn’t matter.  We wanted to see him on the film.  With Bane, we kind of wish he had a background and that it was cool or that he had a personality other than just being bitter.  Instead, when we learn his background (at the end of the movie – what a dumb move was that?) I felt like saying, “that’s it?”  You had all of this time failing to get me to care about this character and his origin story is well, flat?  And, yielding to my inner-geek, it didn’t fit the origins of his character from the comic books in the least.  And what in the hell was the deal with the Darth Vadar mask? 

The character of Alfred is whiny – more so than in previous films.  Yes, it was supposed to show character development, but I didn’t care.

Summary:  In the end, this movie was more of a sequel to Batman Begins than to The Dark Knight.  Ultimately it suffers the same fate as most trilogies – the second movie in the series is the best.  Oh sure, The Search for Spock was okay, but nothing topped The Wrath of Kahn.  Yeah, we thrilled at the victory in The Return of the King, but nothing topped the battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers.  This movie is pretty good – four out of five stars (with me being a bit generous)…but after The Dark Knight, we expected much more.  


  1. It’s a very long flick, but I could have honestly gone on longer. There was so many moments of pure epicness (I know it’s not a word, just stay with me here) and total entertainment, that I couldn’t help but keep my eyes glued to the screen at all times, regardless of what was going on with the story. Good review Blaine.

  2. Great review!

    I agree with you that this was not the best movie in the trilogy, but still was an fitting end to the trilogy.

    Check out my review .


  3. It was a good movie, but there were some major plot holes at the end. The last 10 minutes were a let-down with all the goofy and contrived endings to all the plots.

    (Geez. Word Verification. Could you turn this off?)

  4. Blaine,

    I enjoyed the movie. But my interpretation was a little different than yours.

    If I were in the "Occupy" movement, I would have been annoyed with this film. For one, Bane's group was basically a militant version of the "Occupy" group. In the end, the Patrician, Bruce Wayne teams up with the moderates and a disillsioned malcont, (Catwoman) to save the day. It basically painted the Occupy people as dangerous and unconstructive. In the end, the forces of order restored the status quo.

    I also had hoped for an ambiguous "Inception"-like ending, with Alfred just looking up at the Cafe' and us not being sure at what he was smiling about.