Now I will write a review where I talk about the plot of 'Dark Knight Rises'.
***THIS REVIEW DEFINITELY HAS SPOILERS SO DON'T READ THIS UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN THE TRILOGY*** (Unless you don't care, than that's cool too)
I liked this movie. It is far from a masterpiece and far from perfect.
It has some very strong points and some very weak points and there are two types of goggles on during this movie, fan goggles and fan-fiction goggles, and if you didn't feel this was your exact interpretation of the character you may hate it.
Fan goggles; OMFG it's Batman and Nolan and they can do no wrong I'll love this movie no matter what and whatever plot holes there are I'll just make up some excuse like 'we'll he's Batman…ect'.
Fan-fiction goggles; Well if I directed this movie I wouldn't do that…I'd never do that, I could have directed this better, why didn't he show that, do that?!?! ect…
Take your goggles off. If Nolan wanted you to see this film wearing goggles he would have shot it in 3D. (Okay glasses but close enough)
~ The opening sequence of this film ~
The film opens with an amazing spectacle style action sequence, similar to James Bond openings…(Yes Nolan is a huge Bond fan) (and Nolan knew the audience was expecting it) sequence of Bane being purposely captured by the CIA in order to capture a scientist. He's captured on an airplane and as the CIA man threatens to throw people off the plane if they don't give him info on Bane, Bane reveals himself, then another plane flies above the one he's in and shoots people through the windows, blows up the outside, flies men into the plane and pulls him and the scientist out as the plane he was in crashes…it's almost impossible to describe but beautiful to watch. And it feels bigger than it should (Why didn't he just kidnap the scientist? A.) It's a comic book film B.) It's an action film C.) He had to capture him, he was already being held by the CIA, so it's probably easy to hijack a plane midair than it would be to invade Langley.) Bane takes some of the scientist's blood and plants it in a body so when he wrecks the plane the people looking for him will assume he died in a plane crash. (What an action scene justified by a plot point…yes actually, that's wonderful.) I can't really nitpick this scene it's done very well. People complained in the original cut Bane was too hard to understand and I actually like him better when he was harder to understand…I felt it was more realistic and I'm keen on audio so I felt his voice was mixed a little too smoothly and I'm almost positive very few people noticed that but me. So I was kind of upset when I heard him speak too clear. That said even though they cleaned up the audio I still missed some of his lines first time around.
Then part of the movie I initially had a problem with. It's been 8 years since 'The Dark Knight' storyline. Harvey Dent's name is now a holiday (apparently, also this is not subtle and hammered in a bit too much but doesn't really bother me, just enough to mention it.) And now synonymous with a new strict on crime law. (Okay, I'll buy that, one public official dies you create a law and attach it to his legacy to crack down on crime) Bruce Wayne is a Howard Hughes style billionaire living in his mansion considering this new tough on crime law as a success and retired as Batman, he won. Crime in the city is down by miles, it used to be the most corrupt city ever, in the history of the universe…okay I'm being overly dramatic but then again so was this plot point in Batman Begins…most crime ridden city ever. (This is what I meant when I said Nolan aimed too high in my first review…YOUR FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT!!! Batman hasn't been Batman for 8 FUCKING YEARS. And then I calmed down and said to myself 'this is Nolan's Batman' . . . you see in my 12 year old boy imagination, I don't like the idea of Batman retiring, my vision is that he's almost addicted to the hunt, like an adrenaline junkie who is genuinely trying to help people. But it's Nolan's story and when I took it at face value on my second viewing of the picture and just went with it. I enjoyed it much, much, more. Hence taking my fan-goggles off which I highly recommend for viewing all movies, but don't just like a film cause it's purdy I think you should still watch films with a tiny bit of a critical eye, don't go nuts though.)
Catwoman rips Bruce's fingerprints sells them to a businessman who wants to bankrupt Bruce and take over Wayne enterprises. John Dagget. Now Dagget's second in command, I don't know who the actor is, but he has a wonderful face for a villain. (This plot point is done intricately and I did miss a few handoffs and touches the first time I saw the movie.)
Bane is apparently working for the business man and Catwoman (she's never called Catwoman in the movie FYI, just 'the cat burglar or Selena' which I really liked) is too, to get a FUCKING HORRIBLE PLOT DEVICE some software that can erase every piece of information on you online. (Who gives a shit? It's setting up something that happens later…but who gives a shit seriously?) Anyways her motivation is to obtain this device to have a 'clean-slate' (which is the name of the software. It's also a weakness of Chris and Jonathan Nolan's writing of spelling out plot points in the body of the dialogue. 'Or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain'. Yeah I've mentioned that horrible line in my previous review of the last film just an obvious foreshadow that the audience didn't need.)
Anyways Bane then hijacks a stock market exchange at gunpoint and buys some shitty stocks in Bruce Wayne's name (using the fingerprints) bankrupting Wayne Enterprises so majority control can go to the board and John Dagget and Miranda Tate (Played by Marie Collard)
Bruce and Alfred have a stupid pointless fight about his love for Rachel Dawes who died in the last film and Alfred says how he burned a letter (happened in the last film) to spare him pain because she was going to choose to marry Harvey Dent (oh don't play the Harvey Dent drinking game with this movie, whenever they say the name Harvey Dent, you'll die of alcohol poisoning by reel 3) And Wayne and Alfred have a bitch fight that concludes in a scene where Bruce eats a tub of ice-cream by himself and cries into a box of tissues watching Sex in the City (Okay that doesn't happen but c'mon) It's been 8 years remember, if it was 1 year ago, maybe…but I never ever bought she was the love of his life and now the film is asking me to. I guess because Nolan's script couldn't figure out a way to get emotional content into the film. (It feels forced and worse than forced it feels tacked on.) It's a short scene though.
Bruce Wayne has now invested all of his fortune into a free energy project (FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK this 90's The Saint, Chain Reaction (also staring Morgan Freeman) cliche in my Batman film, free energy project, c'mon…but then I realized something…maybe it does work in the overall plot…hear me out…) So anyways Wayne is close to going broke the entire movie…then he does go broke Tate and Dagget gain control of the company.
Batman's looking for Bane, he goes to Catwoman for help, she sets him up, Bane kicks the shit out of him (great, great, fantastic, fight scene) It's revealed (way to early for this reveal if you ask me) that Bane was in the League of Shadow's ~ the crime organization from Batman Begins.
Bane puts Batman in a prison, the one Bane was born and lived in and apparently now runs (eh I'll buy it) and puts up a monitor and gives him hope in the form of an escape route of the prison because there can be no true suffering without hope. (I love this…some people hated it because, why give Batman an escape route…well…because every James Bond movie he escapes by a gadget or some fluke…but in this movie it's spelled out how he can escape and why it's even there…it's fine. I like that he says 'without hope there can be no true despair' although that theme reminds me of a much different Morgan Freeman movie where he played a character named Red and that theme was sort of the opposite in that movie, that 'hope is a good thing', which carries a little too heavy in this movie later on 'hey should these kids die without hope?' ect.)
Anyways Bane announces to the world he has a nuke, blows all the bridges to the city, says if anyone tries to leave he'll blow up the city, and if anyone tries to invade he'll blow up the city and an ordinary citizen has the trigger (Um, I have no idea why that was mentioned because…they don't and the idea that an ordinary citizen ever did was never really explored well. So it's a pointless thing to even mention.) Oh the free energy device was never tested because it uses a core that is unstable and could be used to make a bomb (I thought this was the stupidest thing the first time I saw this movie.) Plot twist to be revealed early in 5-4-3-2-1 Miranda Tate is Talia Al Gul - Ra's Al Gul's daughter…the energy fusion device was never intended to be that and always intended to be a bomb. Apparently she'd invested in this project 'from the very beginning' so she's been manipulating it 'from the very beginning' now I'll buy the stupid free energy device idea in the movie knowing that it was just a lie to double cross Bruce Wayne to use his foundation to make a bomb to destroy the city…and yes, if the city blows it will be his bomb that did it, that's why his torture is pretty horrible when later he's allowed to watch it crumble…and a bit too on the nose for a character's individual spiritual journey having after all created the weapon of himself and his city's own demise. It's all kind of a heavy plot point and metaphor whatever. (And no it's never revealed if it works as an energy device, so I'm assuming it doesn't, if the last shot of the movie had been of Wayne truly invented free~energy, I'd of vomited in my mouth, and expected Bruce Wayne to partner up with The Lorax to fight crime.)
The cops are buried underground, there are only a few on the streets, Bane unleashes the prisons (in a stupid scene where he reads Jim Gordon's message about the real Harvey Dent and the man Harvey really was. He became Two-Face after all and the public never knew about it, and he releases Gotham's prisoners to take apart the city. And in true Batman fashion (yes this kind of thing happens in the comics) The city is torn apart by madness (as Ra's Al Gul wanted to do in the first film and the Joker wanted to do in the second film…a city torn apart by madness and fear, it's a theme that runs throughout and brought to fruition in this final chapter.) And that stuff's fine but it does make the film heaver than it I think should feel. I'd always liked the Batman stories better that had a more subtle touch…but then again I like the mystery and underground nature of the crime in Gotham that it doesn't always affect the normal citizens but in this movie it does…and the world.
Blah blah blah, cops run around doing things, Bane kills people (hangs a few special forces guys from a bridge) Batman tries to climb out of the pit and constantly fails and they tie the imagery back to Batman Begins (which I liked that they tied it back in and it wasn't done too hammy and felt like it really did belong especially the flashbacks to Bane's backstory and his connection with Talia and Bane…I think it connects fine, I'm sure some people didn't like the way it connected but I didn't mind it. Bane is from the Caribbean in the comics but tying him in with Ra's this way works well for me.) I did find it odd that Nolan had the balls to do a character with backstory in the final chapter of a trilogy. Two-Face and Joker didn't have a backstory…Two-Face's change was a part of the story and Joker's actual backstory was never mentioned. He kept telling people about it and changing it around, which I think is wonderful. Remember an audience's imagination is better than bad exposition…always.) (((Oh the timer on the bomb is about 5 months so if you said to yourself 'how did he heal from his wounds that fast' um 5 months…so I'm happy Nolan did mention that.)))
Batman miraculously escapes from his pit and even more miraculously makes it back into Gotham. (He doesn't have a penny to his name and is halfway across the world) (My disbelief is hanging) but at this point I'll buy that. It honestly didn't bother me til someone mentioned it.
Anyways he fights Bane, gets the upper hand for a moment, then gets stabbed in the side by Talia. And would have died and been hung from a bridge by a rope unless Catwoman hadn't shown up to shoot Bane in the face…oh yeah that's right audience your hero was going to die and barely got the upper hand in a fight against the villain for about 1/2 a second. He never really won against him and only won out by a fluke. Take that people who think the hero should always win. (I think that was great and realistic.)
Okay they think if they can re-attach the bomb to the core of the energy device maybe they can stabilize it (cause that's how it was stabilized before) well the chamber is flooded so that doesn't work. Batman never fixed the autopilot on his Bat a point mentioned earlier to give Bruce Wayne something to do, back when he was still retired, as obvious foreshadowing as this was…I'll buy it, I don't mind it at all. Anyways he carry's the bomb outside of the city and it explodes, funeral scene for Bruce Wayne (strangely only a small handful of characters from the movie show up. You'd think a billionaire businessman that had large mansion parties and family practically built the town would have a better funeral…but it makes sense that he wouldn't want to draw attention to it. Only a few people knew he was batman now Commissioner Gordon does…which I'm fine with, realistically people would figure out who Batman is anyways and it's done well enough in this franchise.) Oh and a super cool Batman statue is revealed now bringing back hope to Gotham and forgetting Harvey Dent as a false - prophet. I like the statue touch, some people might not, I do 100%.)
He fixed the autopilot, fixed the Bat signal, Joseph Levitt's cop character is Robin, he bangs Anne Hathaway in a cafe (it's implied) (presumably on her money, it's mentioned she has a thief nest egg…I thought was a nice touch I caught the second time around) and Alfred (as foreshadowed earlier but not poorly by the time it happens in the film it's revealed.) sees them in a cafe. (It kind of ends a little bit like the novel *spoiler of a novel* "A Clockwork Orange" - where the character puts away his past. I kind of like this ending, it for me is satisfying…in the Nolanverse if he retires and Levitt is Robin, there is no Riddler, Penguin, and any other villains you love…I'd thought in my mind because I knew this movie was 8 years in the shadow of the events from The Dark Knight that he'd fought those villains maybe during this time…he doesn't so in this universe they don't even exist.)
There is an old samurai story about two groups 1 who during peace time exercises and practices and another who parties…well they go back to war and one of them gets destroyed…guess which one. This movie (when Batman loses a fight to Bane) reminds me of that. He's weak, he's human, and he's out of practice, he should lose to a trained man, it's realistic. I don't mind this I love it
Top 10 Things that bothered me about the film.
10. The subplot about the 'clean-slate'. (Who gives a shit?)
9. In 8 years he's still crying over a woman who in the last film was clearly in love with another man.
8. The scene where Bane reads Commissioner Gordon's letter is overcooked and he talks too much about 'tearing down society' he does in other scenes too but he could like mention it once and we'll get the point. (But Heath Ledger did too but when he monologued it felt right and fluid with the character and Liam Nesson did it in Begins monologuing about corrupt societies need to be torn down ect…and it felt a little tacked on but when Bane does it it does it fine up to a point and then keeps going. It's not that bad it's just annoying.)
7. The amount of times they mention and talk about Harvey Dent (He made an effort not to mention The Joker at all (In memory of Heath Ledger), but you'd think all the mentioning Dent someone would remember what else was going on around that time.)
6. Batman is weak (that's fine) but then Bane beat him when he was weak, so it's not that much of a victory, if he beat him in his prime…or more of his prime than this film showed us…then it'd be scarier. (But in retrospect this bothered me much less the second time around) But you shouldn't be impressed with a villain so much for beating up a crippled man. (Even though that fight scene is great.) (Also why does Bruce have so many wounds, he'd been retired for 8 years, were those all accumulated wounds from the first few movies…I guess so.)
5. The design of the bomb (It is round, obviously a prop, and has a FUCKING CLICHE Red timer on it that's usually used by hack directors to get a response out of an audience using a countdown as a plot device. But whatever it's in a million movies so why not this one.)
4. Bruce loosing all of his money, the city being almost perfectly clean, and then so easily taken down was a bit too much, but it does make the villain feel more powerful however it was a bit on the nose…much less crime but it was sparkling and oversold as sparkling, I'd of liked to see a bit more of the underground of Gotham's crime. (they show it a little bit with character's like Dagget, I just wished they showed it more, but it didn't bother me that much. It'd just be a nice thing to say Gotham's not really that much cleaner it just seems that way.)
3. They revealed the 'League of Shadow's' connection way, way too early. They should have saved that for more toward the end.
2. Talia's death scene (she dies by peacefully closing her eyes…in a horribly cliched way.)
1. Overcooked emotional scenes and cute throwbacks to the other films. It ties together well as a final chapter but not super cleanly and not perfectly. Nolan is a fantastic director and some fans give him too much credit when he succeeds or hate his films flat out because they aren't perfect.
(Someone mentioned that Bruce could easily prove fraud by showing the tape of the terrorist attack on the stock market and get his money back but then again Lucius says 'in the long run you can prove fraud' I'm assuming insinuating the long process it would take, even given that a terrorist organization attacked the stock market, to appeal and get his money back once it changed hands in such a big way. (which I'm not sure how stocks work but I can imagine that even in such an obvious case like that once it's gone out to different people and dissipated it'd be hard to get back even if fraud was obvious because stock money is shared money and the company might not be able to untangle it's web…so that didn't bother me but I noticed it did bother some critics.)
Some people complained about him taking the time to make a giant Bat signal out of fire…um I don't care. It was a good moment in the film, I'm not going to nitpick the logistics of that particular moment…besides the movie needed a moment like that.
Ten Things I liked about the film.
10. The opening scene.
9. The Bane / Batman fight scene. (Both of them, the second one the composer timed Bane's punches to a pillar with a drum beat which was genius.)
8. The score to the film (despise the chant that get's annoying after a while) a particular piece titled 'Mind if I Cut In?' (It's beautiful) but the rest is very well orchestrated.
7. I kind of liked that they showed the suit in harsher light and he walked around more…it felt more…real.
6. Batman never, ever, really gets the upper hand on Bane. (And I liked that they took time and did a decent backstory on Bane without it feeling too out of place.)
5. Anne Hathaway (steals every scene she's in…she's great.)
4. The fact that he turned Wayne Manor into a school for orphans…and the Bat Statue. It suites the character and I thought a very, very, nice human touch.
3. Some funny Bane lines. 'He has a lovely, lovely voice'.
2. The details I missed the first time around…and some details I had to look up. Ra's Al Gul is Arabic for 'The Demon's Head' and the chant that means 'Rise' is also Arabic. (And yes for those who thought Ken Watanabe was supposed to be Ra's back when Begins came out…Ra's is Arabic, Liam is totally a white guy, but I do like him as the character…even though I wished originally they picked an actor who was more um shall I say Persian looking…but Liam is one of my favorite actors so in that case to hell with being faithful to the comics too much. Little touches like; Talia's outfit at the end, the way Bane's mask looks (and functioned, that it wasn't venom but an anesthetic for pain), in some scenes where Bane clearly looks bored and waiting around for the next phase of the plan and little things like all the cut away shots especially in the Bane / Batman fight scene.)
1. A scarecrow cameo. (Wished there were more villain cameos but I didn't direct this film.)
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like this film a lot more the second time I saw it. I picked up on details I'd missed which enriched the film experience but I don't love it. Certain scenes I think are amazing others are very, very, weak. I think it's a fitting end for the trilogy. I wished it had been a little more thought out script wise and a little less like emotions had been tacked onto it…but then again I wish most films were better and at least at the caliber where they could be close to as good as some sequences in this.
I don't think it's as good as The Dark Knight (mainly because Ledger is so electric) and I don't think it's worse than Batman Begins (mainly because that movie takes so long to get into the action and I really hate that water-vaporizer device) It's the 'Return of the Jedi' of this film series and it's not as good as 'Return of the Jedi'. But I enjoy the film and look forward to enjoying it again when it comes out on blu-ray.
(This is a hilarious set photo)
(This is a hilarious set photo)