Firstly I would like to offer my condolences to the people of Colorado. Much has been said about the suspect and what happened that night has already been well-publicised. I will close by saying that those poor guys and girls happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and bad things happen to people when they least expect. I can only hope that the town finds the strength to move on from this tragedy.
As you can tell from the title, me and a mate went down to the silver screen today to watch the much anticipated Dark Knight Rises. Just like back then, the popular culture crowd whipped out their spectacles with pen and paper ready to analyse how deep this film is before the Winter break ends. I remember going out for dinner and a couple next to me kept babbling on about it’s great, hidden messages. It’s like the word Nolan is a subliminal word. Upon hearing it causes everyone on the net to write essays. Maybe it is a secret CIA project that actually worked unlike their psychic recruitment project or their Castro Assassination Project #549. Brilliant piece of work that was. Place an explosive in a shiny shell and hope it’s shiny enough that it’ll catch the attention of a certain bearded Cuban dictator.
Now I won’t deny that Nolan does include meaning from his film. My main interest in watching this was whether it could finally be THE threequel done right. But I was a little disdainful about how my quiet dinner was anything but. Despite all the hype, I felt letdown by this film as you will find out in my review. And an actual warning, always assume there maybe spoilers.
Dark Knight Rises picks up after a 8 year timeskip from the last film. We learn that Gotham is a changed place. The city is no longer reknowned from being Crime Central. The crims are safely behind bars because of better police presence and the frequently-mentioned Dent Act. It seems that for the citizens, the good times are rolling and the bad times are over. But we and Commissioner Gordon know that part of this legacy is based on a lie. Harvey Dent is held up as a shining, white beacon when in reality in the last film, he went insane and almost killed Gordon. 8 years ago, Batman agreed to take a hit so that Dent could still be held up as a White Knight and a symbol of hope.
Meanwhile at the mansion, Bruce Wayne has become a shut in. His business is failing because of a bad investment deal and while he’s retired from his vigilante persona, he hasn’t made any public appearances nor taken an active role in his company. But because this is a Superhero Film and not Bruce the Loser, he has to come out of retirement soon. And come out he does when Gotham is threatened by a mysterious, masked man named Bane. Him and his band of brothers take over the city, blow shit up and for added fun release angry criminals back onto the streets….wait haven’t we heard this before?
Oh yeah that’s right. It’s almost the exact same story from Dark Knight the 1st and Dark Knight the 2nd. We are introduced to Batman’s new foe who places the entire city at his mercy and unleashes anarchy. Re-using the plot is not necessarily a bad thing unless it quickly gets boring. Unfortunately it did bore me with it’s 3 hour long dark and deep jerk-off. And with a story like that, I can’t help but compare it to what came before. Part of the beauty of complete chaos being unleashed relies on the person who unleashed it. The Joker already did a great job. He jeered, he mocked both the Bat and the Cops and finally there was his now infamous, cruel experiment. The city was being trampled and Joker had his hand on the steering wheel. It was great.
Compared to the 2nd, Bane was menacing but was too restrained. There were no memorable moments where he makes chide comments followed by another character talking about his back story and then another. Another problem was that a lot of the great chaos took place within the montage. It then transitions to scenes of the main characters shivering in the cold but managing to walk on the streets at night in spite of the ‘revolution and anarchy’. When it came to universe building, it just didn’t convince me enough that this became Hell on Earth. And what’s with the show trials? Irony? They are gangsters with guns in their hands not a government who has to pretend that what they are doing is legal.
I suppose then that I should consider the film on it’s own merits. But I can’t bring myself to praise it too much, it goes without saying that the action scenes were decent but stupid. I’m still trying to get my head over some of the more stupid contrivances like an entire army of cops walking 10 lines abreast into the sewers. Or how they marched like Spartans onto a gang armed with assault rifles. Maybe I’ll chalk that down to Cillian Murphy’s new Stupidness Drug which he has been polluting the water supply with.
Here’s what I did like; Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. Anne Hathaway does a brilliant job at portraying a dangerous seductress but a keen-witted woman whose allegiance swings from good to bad depending on what serves her best. Sometimes, she’s with the baddies and sometime she’s Batman’s best ally. I guess it helped that I am something of a BatxCat man.
In closing, the Dark Knight Rises was decent but I cannot say that this was the one that broke the threequel curse. And neither can I say that it lived up to the hype.
Other Comments: Critics have been trying to link the film to the Occupy Movement. Variety suggests that Bane is “far more akin to an Occupy Wall Street type if you’re looking to cast him politically”. Which seems retarded. While there are studies linking crime with poverty, the Criminal Merchs do not act like anyone from the Occupy X Movement. If they were, remember that infamous cop who sprayed the Occupiers? He would have been and I quote ‘hunted down like a rat’. The Occupiers hold picket signs not AK-47 and FAMAS.
But on the legal theory spectrum, it’s definitely in the ‘crime as punishment’ side. If Nolan intended to explore the disaffected, we would have explored how money or the lack of money resulted in the growth of the criminal class. But instead the faceless criminals are referred to as ‘important clogs in organised crime’ and implied they had to be in there. Bane’s Reign of Terror merely reinforced that the redshirts deserved to be locked up. The comparisons begin and end with the storming of the stock exchange. By the end of the film and after the plot twist, any comparisons look like a batshit insane conspiracy theory which would be more suitable for serving a FAR-right cause.