Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Needed More Yeast.

Batman vs. Predator.

You know, for all the talk of "a storm coming", I don't think it rained once in The Dark Knight Rises.  As I was anxiously awaiting excessive precipitation, I have to admit that I'm heartbroken.  Maybe I wouldn't be so down if the film had been up to par.  I know I have a history of downplaying mega hits just to piss people off–including The Dark Knight–but I've always felt that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are really good films.  The Dark Knight Rises is not.

It's really unfortunate that so few trilogies actually have three good movies in them, and it's equally upsetting that I have to consider The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan's only miss.  I assumed TDKR would follow the trend of third-in-the-trilogy films and be less than the previous two, but I did not expect what I got: a bloated, clunky exercise in mediocrity.

Dear Christopher Nolan,

I'm disappointed.  The Dark Knight Rises should have been, at the very least, good.  It was certainly okay, but you're not an "okay" film director.  Although if I had ninety characters I was trying to cram into one film, I assume I'd have difficulties too.  It would have been better to do four evenly paced films, than have an overstuffed finale.

The Dark Knight Rises suffers from a case of too much content.  You'd think with the 165 minute run time, characters and subplots would have time to develop, but they don't.  They just happen.  Joseph Gordon Levitt's character is the only secondary character who gets enough screen time, but still, he gets lost in a shuffle of underdeveloped and unnecessary nonsense.  Even the mainstays from the franchise seem trite.  Fox and Alfred are irrelevant, and Gordon doesn't have much to do but wander around and throw things at trucks.  Toss in Miranda, Foley, Daggett, and an underutilized Catwoman, and we've got a mess on our hands.

And while Bane as a character is exceptional, the execution is poor.  At the beginning of the film, we're given his lackluster back story, which revolves around Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Shadows, and we're off.  Bane spends his time in Gotham building an army of Gotham's riff-raff who apparently have unwavering loyalty for no real reason.  Then he breaks into the stock exchange, and makes a bunch of fraudulent trades that have absolutely no bearing on the plot because he ends up taking everything from Wayne Enterprises by force.  Of course, he takes a vacation from overthrowing the city to take Bruce Wayne to a desert prison.  Then,  he traps the entire police force in the sewers, gives a couple of speeches about revolution, and holds the city hostage with a nuclear bomb.  The whole revolution spin is complete bullshit of course, because the bomb is going to go off and kill everyone regardless.  It's stupid, weightless, and it's not even that entertaining.  Oh, and then it turns out he's just the crony of Ra's Al Ghul's daughter, which might set a new record for bullshit coming out of left field.

So, let's face it.  Even the main characters blew.  Bruce Wayne spends his days wallowing in misery because Tom Cruise wouldn't let Katie Holmes be in the second movie his girlfriend died, and apparently let himself decay into a cripple from all the hard work that comes from not being Batman anymore.  This decay can be remedied by a magical knee brace, but there's still something missing.  Oh, right.  It's the will to live.  The will to live fixes everything.  Since Batman doesn't have the will to live yet, Bane breaks his back and then conveniently throws him in a prison which houses the nicest inmates ever (Even though this is the same prison that mutilated Bane because he was nice to a little girl).  The inmates cure Batman's back with a rope, and then motivate him to climb out of the cave.  He of course gets back to Gotham without a problem because he's super rich and probably had his passport it's convenient.

At least Catwoman was a classy broad.  That dame has got moxie.  Although, when she had the time to fall for Bruce Wayne is still a mystery.  Likewise, Miranda randomly decides to sleep with him for some reason. Is that what it's like for attractive people?  These romances develop out of nowhere.  It's stupid.  Besides, wasn't Catwoman a lesbian?  That's never stopped Christian Bale before... Right, bro?

So, basically the whole thing is a sham.  Everything is either predictable or completely out of the blue.  You could have taken the plot in so many directions, Christopher.  The film has themes and ideas, they're just all over the place.  Batman Begins and The Dark Knight had incredibly cohesive themes.  The Dark Knight Rises briefly focuses on various notions (economic inequality, government transparency, etc.), but tends to abandon these themes altogether or butcher them entirely.  It's still relatively entertaining, but only because it's  a Batman movie.

And the ending is completely ridiculous.  All of it.


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