Review: The Dark Knight Rises (Movie, 2012)

01 Aug

(insert stupid pun about bats here)

Hey y’all. Despite saying I don’t like movie reviews, this is already the second one I’m doing, in such a short time. I guess I just don’t have the time lately to play games I could review. So instead, I watch movies. Right now, I watched the new Nolan Bats in theater, because I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. To be honest, I wasn’t really… looking forward to this movie, because I had a cold feeling it would be bastardizing the source material a lot. I began reading the comics (Detective Comics as well as Batman, but only a few spin-offs) long time after seeing the Burton and *almost throws up* Schumacher movies and some time before Batman Begins hit the big screen, and I had a hard time catching up to all the stuff that happened before, so maybe I’m not the right person to judge the… integrity of this movie. But that doesn’t keep me from adding my two cents. Because I love the comics (post-80s) for my very own reasons. You know what? I should just shut up and review the movie already.

And right in the beginning, right in the beginning, there is something that bothers me. Eight years have gone by since the events of The Dark Knight, without an active Batman protecting Gotham City. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the fact that he retired, I think it’s a great mirror to the events of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Anyhow, my real problem with this is the fact that Nolan’s Batman was still just a beginner in his job prior to those eight years, and now he is retiring for such a long time already? If it were one year, alright, maybe three, but eight is one hell of a time, don’t you think? … I guess it doesn’t matter though, if this really is the end of Nolan’s trilogy. Then I’m okay with that. It was his own little escapade, it was an interesting take on the Batman mythology, but if it wasn’t over I would probably be raging over this movie. So… as good as the movies were, I’m glad if it’s over. For their own good. Anything more, and it could go horribly, horribly wrong. Especially with that Johnny Blake character. Nolan should have named him Jean-Paul Valley instead, then I could imagine a nice sequel.

So, the city doesn’t need Bats anymore because of the so-called Harvey Dent Act that generally provides criminals with harsher treatment and less parole (and also because they obviously realized that the criminals in Gotham are only human, except for maybe Clayface and Man-Bat… yes, Croc is still basically human, he just suffers from a severe case of devolution, and the rumors about him eating people are just rumors… he does love tearing them apart though, but who doesn’t). That’s why he retires from both being Batman and heir to WayneCorp or Wayne Enterprises or Wayne Tech or whatever it’s called here, and instead lives a lonely shut-in life in his mansion, with only his chocolate milk and his butler Alfred as companions. Long story short, the mercenary Bane shows up (whose design I actually prefer over the hairy Venom-Bane in the comics), someone so strong, intelligent and powerful, that only one can rival him: The Batman, with all his useful gadgets, forced to put on the cowl once again. Except he can’t rival him either. Best regards from the Knightfall arc, I hope it doesn’t hurt too much, Brucey-Boy.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie, so let’s look at the characters for a second. Christian Bale is a great Bruce Wayne, in all three parts of Nolan’s trilogy, but as Batman he’s a little awkward, even more so when he talks with his idiotic husky voice.

goddamn batman, he likes chocolate milk

Bane is huge and intimidating, but… I couldn’t take him serious for only a second. But then again, I couldn’t do that in the comics either. Anyway, here he’s just an asshole you get bored of after several moments.

But then comes the person who saved and literally stole the movie, as well as everyone’s attention. The acting was perfect, the outfit was perfect and every single movement was authentic. You already know who I’m talking about, aren’t you? Yes, it is indeed Cillian Murphy, reprising his role as Scarecro- *gets punched in the gut* Oof! Alright, alright! It was Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, damn it! No need to become violent! Anyway, I was pretty skeptic when I heard she would be playing Catwoman (though she isn’t actually called Catwoman in the movie, I think), but she did a great job. Almost purrrfect. Personally, I liked her most of all Catwomen, with Michelle Pfeiffer ranking second now. That’s a big surprise even for me, because I never expected much from Nolan Bats movies, as good as they were.

I mentioned Cillian Murphy returning, and he did, LIKE A BOSS. He only appeared for two short scenes, nothing more than a cameo, but those were my favorite moments in the whole movie except from Selina’s. Actually, let me quote someone:

“I recommend you go spend $$$ at your local movie theater so you can sit through a 3hr long movie just to see the honorable judge Scarecrow.”

In my personal opinion, he and the cat really stole everyone’s thunder (not that there was any to begin with), because it would have otherwise been an overly long, overly serious and overly tiring movie. It’s nice to see at least some comic relief in there, especially from Jonathan Crane, one of my most favorite Batman characters (can you guess the other four top ranking villains?).

scarecrow, jonathan crane, sold to the man in a cold sweat, death by exile

Here, I said it. Everything else about this movie was tedious. Yes, it was exciting at times (mostly thanks to the dramatic music), but at the end, you just wanted it to… end already. It seemed pretty dragged out, in my opinion, and the big story twist didn’t really impress me that much. Maybe it was because the villains were unlikeable assholes. Even Bane, who is – at times – much more sympathetic in the comics. But I guess you can’t spell ‘sympathetic’ without ‘pathetic’, amirite? So witty.

The story itself was good though, even if dragged out. There were only two things that bothered me, but what I’m really angry at is that I can’t even complain about them without spoiling anything! Damn it! Just be careful not to interpret too much into the next few lines, so you won’t be spoiled. Let’s just say the following: the entirely original character Jonathan Blake played a big role in this movie. Too big for a new character, if you ask me, and that’s where my problem is. Why create an entirely new name when there are plenty to pick of, where one even sounds similar! Timothy Drake, hello~? Or, like I said before, Jean-Paul Valley a.k.a Azrael, which would have been a nice reference. If Nolan did that, I wouldn’t have a problem if the Nolan Bats series didn’t end with this movie. But luckily it does, so the thing at the end of the movie I can’t talk about bothers me less, because it’s just some sort of easter egg, creating a possible future for the Nolan Bats universe… Wait, got a little off-track.

Another small detail that bothered me was the fact that Selina’s young friend played by Juno Temple was named Jen in the credits. Why? What happened to Holly Robinson? Again, why invent a new name when there already is one?

Let us conclude this already, I don’t want to nitpick any more than necessary. The movie itself was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, but it wasn’t quite able to reach the two prequels. It was a great conclusion though… to Nolan’s Batman universe at least. Unlike Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, there were too many differences from the comics, which gave the movie some sort of unsettling tone, with the exception of Selina Kyle and Jonathan Crane. Those two pull you back, and make you feel at home again.

If you’re a fan of the comic, you aren’t going to miss out on anything should you decide not to watch this movie. And if you do, try to switch your brain off and forget about anything from the comics. Unfortunately, this is Nolan’s version, and you have to expect some changes.

If you don’t give a shit about the comic, you have to watch it of course. It’s the conclusion of the trilogy, be it a fulfilling one or not. Imagine not reading The Return of the King after having read the other two The Lord of the Rings books. But consider this: maybe you want to wait until it’s up for rental or on television.

That being said, I rate this movie a ‘I-i-it’s not like I enjoyed it or anything! … But if you really insist… it wasn’t bad… I think… J-just leave me alone and watch it, okay?! Geez!‘* 

I hope you enjoyed this overly long and dragged out review. Personally, I would rather like to see whole story arcs adapted into film rather than these Nolan movies that are only based on them. I recently watched the animated movie Batman: Year One, based on the arc with the same name by Frank Miller, and really enjoyed it, so I will probably watch Batman: Under the Red Hood as well. But those were story arcs from the Batman magazine. We have yet to see a Detective Comics story arc adapted into film. How about Batman: Year Two? That would make sense, wouldn’t it. But I guess people who read the comics are a minority anyway, so who the hell cares.

Now then, tell me… *puts mask on* … what is it that you’re most afraid of?

*) This rating can be translated in: ‘I liked it, but I’m unlikely to admit it because of some flaws it had.’ Cheers.

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Posted by on 01/08/2012 in Movies


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