Dark Knight Rises was easily the most anticipated movie of 2012, and one of the hottest topics of this week due to the tragedy in Colorado. The epic banked $249M over the weekend largely due to the cult-like following of Batman and Christopher Nolanites across the United States, such as myself.
I decided in lieu of getting ostracized by my friends and family, and you my readers for my initial reaction to the film, to give it a couple days to sink in before I shared my opinion on the film.
When I go back now and imagine how I felt after walking out of the theater, this is the only image that comes to mind:
Was it that bad? Yes, it was indeed that bad. I was Ralphie and this was my pink bunny pajamas on Christmas morning.
*I should now warn you of spoilers.*
I am a Batman fan and yes, I did crouch over the comics in the 90s as a pimply-faced teen, imagining myself as this masked crusader for the greater good. So I am slightly biased here in my review.
Like you, I LOVED Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Both movies were true to the gritty details of a filthy and corrupt city like Gotham, and to the tormented soul of their liberator, Batman. The supporting cast of characters was trim, well defined and mastered by the actors who portrayed Rachel Dawes, The Joker, Commissioner Gordon and so on. Both movies were cohesive and very much earned the title of “epic.”
The Dark Knight Rises was none of those things.
Gotham went from being a world of its own in the first two movies to being a sloppy mash-up of London, Nottingham, Glasgow, Los Angeles, New York City, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh. Each city was blatantly shown without cover-up. When I saw Freedom Tower in NYC or the One Wilshire building down the street from where I live my skin couldn’t help but crawl with annoyance. Nolan’s decision to forgo clean-up of the scenery basically removed me from the universe he so carefully crafted in parts one and two of the Batman Trilogy.
Christian Bale as Batman was the same, no grips there. The supporting cast though was weak, desperate and unorganized. I’ve heard some call The Dark Knight Rises “Inception 2,” and they would be right.
Instead of having a focused cast where the viewer has time to get to know and appreciate each character Nolon opts to invite all his friends to the party. Each non-essential character suffers from lax introduction, lax definition and terrible character-arc wrap-ups. I think Marion Cotillard is an incredible actress and sexy as hell, but her character and her relationship to the story was one of the most sloppy forced inclusions I’ve ever seen in film. I can’t even think of another movie to relate such poor character development to outside New Year’s Eve.
Oh and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin? Come on now, I had no idea that was coming until the last 5 seconds of the movie. Please say no. Please. Don’t even get me started on Cat-woman.
Bane is what really messed me up about The Dark Knight Rises. Dude is the MAIN VILLIAN, and he’s about as scary as Will Ferrell in Elf. Nolon’s disregard of Bane’s power and presence truly made my blood boil. Bane was one of my absolute FAVORITE characters in the Batman universe, and here his role is given to a built, but undersized Tom Hardy (Inception alum), and his voice-over made him sound like and English dandy. Does anyone else agree with me here? His voice over was RIDICULOUS!
How can you take the drugged-up-intellectual-ninja-trained powerhouse that BROKE BATMAN’S BACK and make him into a silly mousekateer? Even the cartoon Bane was scarier than Nolon’s incarnation.
Boiling. Christopher Nolon, you disgraced one of my favorite villains of all time. Disgraced.
Overall I give The Dark Knight Rises and F…minus. Poor story line, poor plot development, poor character development of an over-crowded cast and poor attention to mythology and universe as constructed by the scenery. There were so many things that just irked me and let me down as someone who truly appreciated the first two films and the Batman as a story.
This was my pink bunny suit on Christmas, when all I’ve been waiting for in the last four years is a red rider BB gun.
Think, what if Peter Jackson had taken a vacation and let Michael Bay do The Return of the King? That is The Dark Knight Rises.
Love me or hate me, I’m just telling it like it is.
PS…for those of you who don’t get the pink bunny/BB gun reference look up A Christmas Story.