Review - The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy comes to a close in The Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan continues to do what he does best in the third and final installment of this why does it feel so...meh? I can’t talk about why I didn’t LOVE it without getting into spoiler territory so be forewarned. Here there be SPOILERS! Read my thoughts on this epic film after the jump.

Let’s start on a high note. This movie is beautiful. Seriously, straight up gorgeous. I love the framing. I love the look. I love Chris Nolan’s Gotham. It’s great. The movie is a bit long in the tooth, but I didn’t really notice that much. Everyone turned in a grade “A” performance. Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, etc., etc. All did great. Chris Nolan has a short list of actors that he seems partial to and loves using, and I can’t fault him for that one bit. It’s something that I love about his work.

I cannot blame my distaste for The Dark Knight Rises on the cast. They all did excellent. 

So as you may have gathered. I had some problems with The Dark Knight Rises. But before I get into that, some background info. Here is my rule on final films. They have to leave more questions answered than unanswered. I’m not saying that you can’t leave something open ended. I LOVED Inception. Clearly an ending open to interpretation. I also loved Memento, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. So I went into this firmly in Chris’ corner. Ready to cheer him on as he completed his Dark Knight masterpiece with grace and beauty. So why didn’t I LOVE it? The blame for this film’s failure falls squarely on Chris Nolan and David Goyer’s shoulders. The story just blew chunks. To put it simply, Chris forgot who Batman was.

My biggest problem with The Dark Knight Rises is that I didn’t see Batman in the film. I’m not talking about the titular character’s miniscule screen time, I’m talking about the character himself. I saw Christian Bale dressed up as a guy who looks like Batman, but I didn’t see BATMAN. When the film starts, Batman has been out of commission for 8 years. One can only assume that it’s because the rigorous lifestyle of crime fighting has left Bruce so beaten and battered that the thought of taking on the criminal element of Gotham makes his entire body wince in pain. But that’s not the case. Bruce stopped being Batman because he lost the love of his life, Rachel Dawes...that’s it. THAT’S my biggest problem with this film. Batman does not “give up”. He especially doesn’t do it when someone he loves is killed. HELLO?! It’s because the people he loved were killed that he became Batman in the first place! So because the girl he was into got axed by a psycho, Bruce Wayne turns into Howard Hughes. Sorry Chris, that’s Strike #1.

My second problem with The Dark Knight Rises is the relationship with Selina Kyle. Anne Hathaway plays Selina very well. I think she “got” the character and she plays her to perfection. You can see that she’s got one foot firmly planted in a life of crime and one foot on the good guys side and I love that about her. What I didn’t love is that Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne end up together after about 26 sec. of chemistry building. That just plays into my first problem. Bruce Wayne is so eager to hand off the mantle of the Bat that he runs off with the first woman he’s physically talked to since his beloved Rachel died? Again...WTF? So the reason he stopped being Batman became null and void the second a new girl has the stones to say “Hi” to him? A new girl who was more than happy to let Batman get beaten to death while she watched. Strike #2 Chris, Strike #2.

My third problem with the film was Bane. Now, I’m not some crazed fan boy who is going to rip Nolan for changing Bane’s backstory. Chris did what he felt would make Bane a more interesting character and I can’t fault him for it. Bane was significantly more interesting when tied into the backstory of Talia and Ra's Al Ghul. Unfortunately, that’s where it ends. Bane is apparently brilliant, but dumb, calculated, but dumb, and strong, but dumb. Let me try to put this into perspective for you...

Bane hijacks a plane, mid flight, to capture a scientist to arm a nuclear bomb so Bane can hold Gotham hostage...except he actually wants to blow it up...which he could do at any moment...but doesn’t....why? Who knows!? He was brilliant enough to engineer the hijacking, and he can accurately calculate the exact time it will take a nuclear core to melt down and explode...but he didn’t just arm it himself? He needed the scientist? He seems pretty damn smart. So...why?

Bane holds the entire island city of Gotham hostage for 5 months while his bomb begins to melt down and explode. During that time, He lets life continue as normal...because of course...when you know there is a nuclear bomb about to go off the first thing you do is keep the entire city running like normal. It’s only fun if the city suddenly explodes killing 12 million innocent people, why not just blow the damn thing up in the first place? 

Bane defeats Bruce Wayne and tells him that he will leave him alive long enough to see Gotham be destroyed, then he has Bane’s permission to die. So again...why 5 Months? If the end game is for Gotham to crumble and for Bruce to see it go down, why not blow it all up at once...with Bruce in the City. Mission Accomplished. But Bane doesn’t...Why?

Bane’s network of loyal servants create a situation which allows Bane to capture over 1000 police officers below the city for months...Why? Why capture them at all? If your endgame is to destroy the city why leave an army of people dedicated to stopping you alive? And why feed them? Why? Just...Why? Strike #3.

I’m going to rate this 2.5 Geegamons.

It’s a good film with a horrible understanding of the source material on which it is based. Which is a shame because I wanted to love this movie so bad. Wait for Blu-Ray. Maybe there will be some great deleted scenes to explain away some of the larger flaws in the film.

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