Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Rating: ½

What can I say about The Dark Knight Rises that hasn't already been said? This film completely dominated the internet, magazine covers and news headlines during the calm before the Olympic storm. One of the reasons was the tragic shooting at a midnight screening of the film in Aurora, Colorado. But that didn't seem to deter audiences too much because The Dark Knight Rises did very well at the box office, for a 2-D film.

The Overly-Dark Knight Rises
The stakes just went up and up throughout The Dark Knight Rises. By the end I could hardly stand the level of drama. It was thrilling and epic and gripping and for the first time in a Nolan Batman movie I actually managed to follow the intricacies of the plot. And this is a salute to his storytelling ability because the plot had a lot of intricacies. It involves arch-villain Bane (Tom Hardy) taking over Gotham and holding it to ransom,  the appearance of Anne Hathaway's cat-burgling Catwoman, Bruce getting his back broken and then being incarcerated in a foreign prison and fighting to get his strength back and escape, not to mention Joseph Gordon-Levitt's dedicated beat cop, Marion Cotillard's sexy socialite, lots of explosions, Michael Caine's Alfred getting all emotional, and Morgan Freeman getting all technical as Batman's Q, and a whole lot more besides - even the obligatory ticking-bomb finale! I have always been a fan of big action adventure films and Christopher Nolan definitely hit the action nail on the head with this one. He also managed to do it without the dark, brooding atmosphere being too overwhelming this time out, something that I felt ruined the previous two films for me, because they seemed too desperate not to be a typical super-hero movies.

Cats and Bats don't mix
All of that said, The Dark Knight Rises did fall down in a few places for me. Firstly there was virtually no chemistry between Christian Bale's Batman and Anne Hathaway's Catwoman. I think Anne Hathaway was doing her best to make her character spunky and charismatic and Christian Bale was generally just a little bit boring. I understand that as a character Batman is supposed to be intense and morose and tortured, but did he have to quite so dull, with it? I didn't see any sparks between him and Hathaway because he was such a wet blanket.

The Gotham Police force get trapped in a giant plot hole
One of the other problems was the glaring plot holes and obvious devices: for example the fact that Gotham's police force had been living underground for months in a concrete bunker but came out ready to fight apparently without any ill effects. And what was all that shenanigans about the chip Catwoman needed to erase her criminal record? Obviously a MacGuffin to make sure Catwoman had to team up with Batman. Also there was a ridiculous amount of plot contrivances to make sure the big twist at the end was possible.

Is The Dark Knight still Rising?
I'd also say, you can definitely have too much of a good thing, and The Dark Knight Rises proves it... Because it was two hours and forty minutes long!! The pacing at the beginning was funereal and there was at least a half an hour of extra sub-plots — involving the Police Chief Foley, the orphanage, loads of business about truck spotting, the bomb underground that Wayne Enterprises had been hiding, etc, etc — all of which were being used to distract people from the inconsistencies in the main plot.

I also wasn't fooled by it's dark, brooding exterior, because quite a lot of the scenes especially during the finale, were extremely cheesy and cliché. I mean, orphans on a bridge that's about to explode? The race-against-the-clock to diffuse the bomb (while still finding time for lots of conversations)? Alfred's emotional breakdown? And a couple more I can't mention without spoiling the plot.

I know I've mentioned a lot of negatives, but everything good about this film has already been said, so I thought I ought to look at it from the non-crazed-fan perspective. That said, I did come out of the movie feeling thoroughly entertained. It was exciting, breath-taking, dramatic and the best way to conclude Nolan's Batman trilogy. Also I could understand Bane just fine.

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  1. So agree with you about the lack of chemistry between Bat and Cat! Shame really cos that could have given us a bit of light relief... STill very entertaining all in all. If a little long.

  2. EJL commenting here;

    Thanks for another great review Joey..... liking your honesty, and humour