Thanks to a bunch of cats called The Avengers, my expectations were lowered for The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s previous Batman movies, but I’ve also had several issues with the way the director has strayed from the comics. With lowered expectations and a love for comic-book purity in mind, I was blown away by The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not as much fun as The Avengers and it’s certainly more about Nolan’s interpretation of Batman than the comic books, but it’s a great superhero movie that wraps up this Batman trilogy nicely. Here are some random thoughts (not a review!) on The Dark Knight Rises. (Spoiler warning!)
Bane: Let’s get the bad out of the way first — Bane’s voice sucked. He sounded like Goldmember’s serious younger brother. I love the bad-ass South American character in the comics that’s driven by hate and powered by performance-enhancing drugs (this also describes most MLB players from 1995-2003). This movie’s Bane is very different. There were some aspects of this Bane that I liked. His fight scenes were fierce and he was the guy making things happen throughout the movie. I didn’t like that his mask pumped his body full of painkillers instead of performance enhancers. I also didn’t like the big reveal that he ultimately wasn’t the baddie behind all the machinations. Bane deserves his own stage. This version of Bane was a melange of coolness and annoyances.
Catwoman: Anne Hathaway was perfect as Catwoman. This is the Catwoman that I love in the comics — sultry, powerful, vulnerable, and morally scattered. Hathaway knocked it out of the park. If you like the version of Catwoman made popular by Devin Grayson and currently penned by Judd Winnick then you’ll love Hathaway’s Catwoman. To be completely honest, I also enjoyed that she spent a chunk of the movie riding a motorcycle that required her to stick her ass in the air. There were a lot of people that panned this casting choice going into the film. Many of them will owe Anne Hathaway an apology.
Full Circle: I really enjoyed how the movie used elements of the first two films and wrapped them up. Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins live on in Talia al Ghul and Bane. The truth of Harvey Dent’s inglorious fall is revealed to Gotham. Scarecrow shows up…to be cool and creepy. Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul shows up in a hallucination (or Qui-Gon Jin was using the Force in the wrong movie). The movie ties everything together nicely and works splendidly as a finale.
Surprises: I had no idea that was Matthew Modine playing Deputy Commissioner Foley. Dude got old. In my head, I still see the young kid in Vision Quest. I also didn’t recognize Nestor Carbonell as Mayor Garcia. I think it’s hilarious that the guy that played Bat Manuel was in the last two Batman movies. Bwahahahahahaha!!!
Michael Caine: He was awesome, as expected, but he was also a bit of distraction for me. Since Bane sounded like Goldmember, I kept waiting for him to have a scene with Alfred Pennyworth and address him as “Aushtin Powas Faja”.
Batman: Christian Bale was pretty much the same. He was great at “acting” as the flippant Bruce Wayne. His Batman voice was over-the-top. He brought more physicality to Batman than any other actor that has played the character. After two movies, people have already made up their minds about Bale’s Batman. The third movie isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion. Personally, I like him as Batman, but agree that his voice can cross the line from intimidating to ridiculous.
Catwoman: Let’s take a moment to look at her again. Anne Hathaway is stunning.
Fernet: I love that Fernet Branca played a part in one of Alfred’s big scenes. It’s an under-appreciated digestif in America.
Conclusion: If you look at Nolan’s Batman world on its own then you’ll think that The Dark Knight Rises is an undeniably great superhero movie. The storytelling is fantastic and most of the performance are strong. This 165-minute film moves at a brisk pace thanks to some slick action and clever directing. Staunch comic-book purists will have problems with the way some of the characters were rewritten and Nolan’s interpretation of these characters, which is a shame because they’re missing out on enjoying a perfectly fine film by being overly stringent. While I had more fun with The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises is a better movie on several levels — directing, cinematography, acting, score, etc. As a summer blockbuster, Marvel’s movie wins. As a film, The Dark Knight Rises is superior.
14 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises (Batman)”
I always had an issue with bane's voice when i saw the 10 min preview before mi4 when i saw it at the imax. I thought nolan was going to change it but i guess not. I already pieced that talia was making an appearance once it was leaked that liam filmed a scene.
I'll be watching this movie on Friday night. I have not read your commentary on purpose because I didn't want to have any of your opinions cloud my judgement. I am going to watch Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Returns between now and Friday to get me "set" for this movie.
I will read your article and comment on the movie after I have seen it.
I quickly scrolled to the comment box. I didn't even want to see a screenshot. I have avoided everything I possibly can. I know Anne Hathaway is in the movie and that Bane is a villain. I'm ready to be surprised when I see it in 2D on Sunday.
I saw the movie in IMAX 2D, btw.
I'm not paying 1 red cent extra for IMAX!!I'd seriously pay them $20-$25 to watch it at home on my set up.
I didn't read anything but I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. I know I will like it better than the Avengers.
Uh, no. It was not a brisk pace. The film was redundant and could have lost 30 mins. By the time the reveals happened I didn't care…except for one…not a baddie.
This wouldn't be a good film if it were just a film without the comic book aspect.
Nolan sucked all the fun out of Batman.
I saw this last night and my opinion was… meh.
I thought the movie as a whole was just okay. My favorite parts were pointing out the parts of Pittsburgh and my favorite screen appearances were by the Steelers.
Considering the movie was shot in August… the snow looked AWESOME (full disclosure, my friend who was in the same music circuit as me for years was the guy on top of buildings shooting out the snow).
Well, I finally got around to seeing it and the first comment the pops into my head is one that my friend Javi made when we left the theater: “I’ve never seen a Batman movie that only has Batman in it for twenty minutes.”
That got me thinking about the movie in general. The movie was more about Gotham City and the GCPD more than Batman. It was a continuation of the first movie. Where the second installment was more “Batman vs. Joker”, this movie is “Gotham City vs. The League of Shadows.”
I can see why comic book purists would have a few problems with this movie, but it ultimately succeeds as Nolan’s take on the character and fits in well with the previous two. I love the subtle, little nods that Nolan gives to the comics (Bane’s iconic pose breaking Batman’s back, the Talia love interest, Robin), however I think that a movie that mirrors “Knightfall” would have made for a better movie. Yes, I know it’s too long and complicated to be properly translated to the screen and that it is not really Nolan’s style, but I’m just saying that a movie that sticks closely to the “Knightfall” story line would probably be the best “Bane” movie.
The characters were all over the place. There are pros and cons for every character I saw. I am glad that they went with the “smart” master-mind Bane, but I am disappointed that he wasn’t bigger (physically) and he should have been addicted to a performance-enhancing drug instead of a painkiller (like Mr. Padilla mentioned). I didn’t mind that he didn’t sound like he was from South America. His voice did get annoying and a little too “theatrical” at times. Catwoman was adequate, but I prefer how the character was portrayed in Hush and Arkham City more than this movie. She was the best Catwoman I’ve seen on the big screen (which isn’t saying much), but she wasn’t quite as perfect as I had imagined. Gordon was solid, as usual, but he had more “punch” in the second movie. Talia was good, but there wasn’t enough of her in the movie for my liking. The Alfred character was taken out of his comfort zone and I thought it was both good and bad. I’m very disappointed that Cillian Murphy didn’t put on the Scarecrow mask at least once, but I get why they didn’t make him do that. I think that the best actor in that movie was Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Sans Batman, I think he could have carried the movie himself. I really would like to see future installments pick up where this movie left off. I just hope he drops the “bat-rasp”… unless he can do a really good impression of Kevin Conroy.
Excellent insights, as always! Nolan strives for realism, which makes for some slick film-making, but often leaves comic-book purists unhappy. I’m guessing that’s why he went with Bane using Vicodin instead of a fictitious performance-enhancer. Come to think of it, realistic characterization caused one of my biggest problem’s with Nolan’s Batman. I’ll post an article about that this week after I find the image I want. Thanks for the idea!
Ah Kevin Conroy….between N8 reminding me of how awesome Mark Hamill’s Joker is and you mentioning Conroy…I think I’ll play Arkham Asylum again. Love the animated series.
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