REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises


Because I’m not as insensitive as Chris Nolan, let’s dive right in and save you some time. If you loved Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, do see The Dark Knight Rises in theatres. If you’re one of those people who looks at their watch and mumbles, “Get on with it,” wait for the DVD. That’s all you really need to know.

If you want to know more, read on…It’s only Tuesday, and chances are you’ve already seen this movie anyway. At least that’s what I gather from the line WRAPPED AROUND THE BLOCK of my local AMC at 9 AM. Yes, 9 AM! I mostly only go to the movies in the morning, when tickets are a reasonable matinee price ($7 in New York, $6 in Jersey), and I’ve never seen anything like this. When I overheard everyone around me discussing the plot point of TDKR, I lost it. It’s only been five days and you’re in line for the first screening of the day, and its your second or third viewing?!? Crazy.Luckily, the 5 consecutive sold out shows were for the IMAX rip-off, which I don’t bother with because that and 3D gives me head-and-wallet aches.

SPOILER CENTRAL FROM HERE ON OUT

I won’t say TDKR dragged on, because I really was entertained, but I did find myself wondering what the hell was taking so long. I wasn’t enthralled until the Talia reveal, but after that, the final half-hour was riveting.

THINGS I LIKED

1. The gradual peeling back of the layers for Talia and Bane’s interwoven origins. My jaw literally dropped, and as a comic book fan, I should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t, and credit most of this with never visiting spoiler sites to get up-to-the-nanosecond information on this movie when it was in production.

2. Selina Kyle realistically portrayed as a cat burglar without the hokey cat motif. She even had these goggles that coincidentally looked like cat ears on her head when she wasn’t wearing them. I love how her costume was handled. Nolan and Co. have done a terrific job updating and inserting classic Batman characters into a plausible world. Even Bane, a glorified luchadore in the comics, looks scary as hell on-screen.

3. The Scarecrow, as Dr. Crane, appears as a judge in Bane’s Gotham City. He’s a quirky character, and the frayed shoulders on his jacket served as a nice nod. The disheveled look of the courtroom – an obscenely high judge’s seat, papers strewn about across the room – compliment his tattered persona. The twisted option of exile (to the frozen river that wouldn’t support anyone’s weight) or death (by exile!) geeked me out.

4. I can do without Detective Blake’s first name being Robin, because as a Dick Grayson fan, I don’t care for him being actively written out of this continuity. But Blake’s subsequent task of taking on the Bat-mantle at the end of the film is a nice wrap for his arc and justifies Bruce’s claims that “anyone can be a hero.” I wouldn’t doubt DC introducing this cop-turned-crusader to the comics someday soon.

5. Alfred leaving Batman was the best way to psychologically break Bruce.

6. Batman’s death was convincing. I really thought, “He’s gone.”

7. The pit scenes, both flashback and current, were all cool. And hooray for Ra’s al Ghul’s cameo.

8. The destruction of Gotham City was pretty effing cool.

But there were so many logic issues for me that I can’t let go of…

THINGS I HATED

1. A CIA agent is going to let three hooded men onto his plane without unmasking them? Laugh out loud.

2. Bruce Wayne has an arsenal and massive secret identity to protect, literally under everyone’s noses, but he’s going to allow just anyone (the wait staff at the opening gala) into his home without a background check? Selina Kyle burns him on this one.

3. The mercenary-led Gotham made no sense. Where are all the people? The streets are only occupied by random news reporters and thugs with guns. How has anyone (the orphans, for example) survived for five months being cut off from the rest of civilization?

4. Are you seriously going to try and get me to believe that EVERY cop in Gotham was sent into the sewers to stop Bane’s subterranean army? Who was on traffic duty that day?  So stupid.

5. Detective Blake figured out who Batman was when he was a kid – simply by staring at Bruce Wayne, no less! – never told anyone, and no one else came to the same conclusion? Not even Commisioner Gordon, who spent plenty of time with both personas? Wow. That’s so terrible, I don’t even have words for it.

6. None of the idiot mercenaries ever use their guns. They wait around for their turn to take an ass-whooping. This looked like something out of an Adam West episode. Additionally, when the cops, starved underground for 5 months, finally emerge to challenge the mercs, it quickly devolves into a fistfight, despite the fact that the bad guys have higher ground and a lot of assault rifles.

7. Alfred sees Bruce and Selina eating dinner, a single MINUTE in screen time after he weeps himself silly over Bruce’s death, and has no sense of rage, relief, joy…. anything? Come on.

Overall, I liked the movie, and maybe the hype justifies the product, but I could have lived with an hour less of movie.

4 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

  1. I agree with you 98% on your review. The positives and plusses. One thing that I have to add though is John Blake existed in the comics, but he was a kid whose dad was murdered by the Joker. Also, Nolan based him on Tim Drake (the 3rd robin). Drake’s background story literally matches what Nolan had JGL tell Wayne in TDKR. As soon as he was telling what happened to him, I immediately knew he was Robin. I just wish they would have kept his real name. I don’t think DC needs to introduce yet ANOTHER Robin into the continuity, but like you said, they probably soon will… Nice review! I posted a review up as well..http://scryptcomics.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/rick-pipito-reviews-the-dark-knight-rises/

    1. Ahhh. I was Googling for something on Blake, because I felt like he was a”real” character, but never put together the Drake connection. My continuity major was in Marvel, with a double minor in Invincible/Hellboy.

      1. lol… I know… I had to dig hard to find something on him… The back story is Drake’s almost to the T. In the comics, Bruce adopted Tim drake… Technically, he did fund the orphanage in Nolan’s version, so really, he kind of is a foster father. Still, I would have rathered the use of Tim Drake as a name rather than combine the two.

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