Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dark Knight Falls

This past weekend, I finally saw The Dark Knight Rises. I was eagerly awaiting the third, final movie in Nolan's Batman trilogy. Although I wasn't too impressed by Batman Begins, I thought The Dark Knight was one of the best movies I've ever seen, action/superhero movie or otherwise, and figured Nolan was going to top off his trilogy with an even more epic film.

While it wasn't a bad movie by any means, and Christian Bale did a phenomenal job as Bruce Wayne, I have to admit that I wasn't nearly as impressed by it as many of my fellow moviegoers. Moreover, not only do I not think that it was the best movie of the trilogy, I don't think it even belongs in the same league as The Dark Knight.

Here are my issues with The Dark Knight Rises:

1. Bane

Bane wasn't scary and creepy like the Scarecrow. He wasn't clever, witty, funny, twisted, intriguing like The Joker. He wasn't a sideshow with a moral conflict begging to be psychologically dissected like Two-Face (Dent). Instead, the most interesting/intriguing thing about him is this ridiculous face mask thing that he supposedly wears because he got some infection/sickness when he was younger and it's the only thing to stop the pain. Unfortunately, the mask doesn't make him intimidating or intriguing. Rather it turns him into a poor man's, second-rate Darth Vader wannabe.

Let's dissect Bane's personality for a moment. This is a man who risked his own well-being to save and raise a child who wasn't even his own. He loved this child and helped this child escape the hell-hole they were living in even if it meant incurring the wrath of other "inmates", for lack of a better term. He was unselfish, compassionate, self-sacrificing. I'm sorry, but based on his history, he is not the kind of man who would have no problem annihilating an entire city and murdering millions of people. He has a heart, he cares about human life, he has compassion and sympathy. A person doesn't just go from innately possessing a moral compass and those traits and turn into someone who has no problem killing a whole damn city full of innocents. The only plausible explanation for this is....

He loves Miranda Tate. First of all, based on their age difference, that is clear due to flashbacks of her escape as a child and the fact that he was able to care for her and raise her when she was a baby, this is not a romantic love. It should be a fatherly love. That being said, he saved her life. She owes him, not he owes her. How is it that he is somehow some sort of minion of hers and she can tell him what to do because she decided she wants revenge. All of a sudden this little brat decides she wants revenge because Wayne killed her father and so she's willing to murder millions of innocent people along the way just to get to one person she's mad at, and because Bane "loves" her, he's willing to go along with this plan. Please.

Speaking of her plan of revenge....

2. Miranda Tate

Wayne killed her father, she wants revenge. She's willing to destroy an entire city and murder millions of people to do it? Fine, maybe she's a freaking psycho. I can accept that. But, seriously.. turning her into some sort of Bond girl? Seducing Bruce Wayne, sleeping with him, acting like she's in love with him to get access to his weaponry and secret access codes and then backstabbing him by exposing that she's really working against him. This was annoying. I'm watching Batman, not 007. Villains should be Villains.

3. Robin

First of all, the big reveal at the end when we find out his real name is "Robin" isn't that much of a reveal. He is exposed as Robin much earlier on in the movie when he's having a discussion with Bruce. If I recall correctly, it was something about a cape or a mask, blah blah blah and immediately, you understand: This is Robin.  So it was blatantly foreshadowed so badly, they might have well have hung a banner behind Gordon-Levitt saying: "Look at me, I'm Robin" and it wasn't a surprise at the end. Robin Reveal = Fail.

Moreover, what an ungrateful little brat. The whole movie, the only person who believed in him, who treated him with respect, who realized his potential and allowed him to live up to it, was Commissioner Gordon. If it was up to everyone else, especially Foley, he would've been pushing paper behind a desk back at the police station. Then, when he finds out that Gordon was actually responsible for the fall of Harvey Dent but allowed Batman to take the blame so that his hands could remain clean and he could continue his important role in keeping the city safe, suddenly Blake is so appalled by him and goes all holier-than-thou on his ass. Excuse me, but first of all, STFU Blake. Who the hell do you think you are, you ungrateful brat? This is the man who cleaned up the city from crime, this is the ONLY person who believed in you, and the only person who understands the need for Batman, your hero, and knows who the real enemy is. You haven't accomplished ANYTHING yet and now you think you can ride some moral high road over him and act like you're so damn noble and his hands are so "dirty?" Please. That's how the world works. People, including Batman, himself, understand that sometimes you make sacrifices -- including someone taking the fall for somebody else's actions -- for the greater good. And whether what Gordon and Batman did was right or not, who the hell is Blake to pass any judgment on the Commissioner at all? He needs to keep that ego in check.

Also, although I do appreciated JGL as an actor, and I like him in almost all of his movies, he had one realy bad acting job. When he kills two of the goons, and it's obviously the first time he killed anyone so he's shocked and appalled and he looks at his hands and the gun in shock and horror, he kind of had a delayed reaction there. It's like you could see JGL's brain going: "Ok, on the count of three look shocked and horrified by what you've done." You could SEE the acting, which makes it bad acting. This is not necessarily JGL's fault though. Nolan should've just done another take.

4. Catwoman

She's the worst. Her character always is. She even ruins her own movies. She's really just unnecessary.

And if I may make one comment, she's a burglar. All of a sudden, with no training, she automatically knows how to fully operate Bruce Wayne's Batman Motorcycle thing to the point of being able to maneuver it like a race car driver and use it's weapons like an expert? Just saying.

5. The Doctor and Helpful Inmate

So these guys are helping Bruce Wayne recover and escape from his prison. They strengthen him physically and mentally. They tell him the story of how the child escaped. They tell him what's necessary for him to escape. They're obviously on his side. It seems as though they know who the child is since they know the entire rest of the story. They should know it's a girl. Unless my memory is failing me, I thought Wayne made a comment while hearing the story about the child being Bane. Why wouldn't they correct him? Why won't they tell him it's a girl, or tell him the name of the child? They're obviously rooting for him, yet they're allowing him to just go off with false information? It doesn't make sense. They should have told him it was a girl or that the name of the child wasn't Bane.

Ending on a positive note -- Scarecrow was back and he was hilarious as the head of the People's Court. That was a beautiful cameo.

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