Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

If you’ve come here to read how absolutely wonderful this movie is, then you’re in the wrong place. Not that I didn’t enjoy this movie because I did. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t have written all of this. I loved the central lesson of it: “If you fear nothing, you have nothing to live and fight (and die) for. Only if you cherish something, will you have the strength to rise.” This alone puts Batman on the pedestal of a true hero, a saviour even. But this is meant to be an analysis of the movie and everything that has failed to make it a smooth experience. The devil that is my muse had a lot to say about it. Most of what I’ve written here will seem as if I’m trying to turn everyone against it. I’m not; the fact is it’s hard to shut down the story-telling part of the brain and with this movie I couldn’t do that. At least I’m not hypocrat.

I don’t think I need to mention there will be spoilers, do I?

Definitely a movie that gives you a lot to think about. It takes a few assumptions, as in ‘the audience won’t register that anyway so no need to make it logical’. One example is Gordon’s speech in the beginning where he looks a whole lot of people in the eye and says: “I have the truth written on these papers but right now I’m not going to tell you the truth. Basically I’m lying my ass off to you fine people.” Wouldn’t the people be just a little bit insulted with that?

Nolan uses the same cocktail in every movie. It’s a good cocktail, don’t get me wrong, but after having too many drinks any cocktail gives you a hangover. The most crucial detail I dislike in Nolan’s movies is the fact he keeps using the same actors; this makes it hard to supress the knowledge they’re actors. A good thing about the Game of Thrones series is that most of the actors were more or less unknown (I was familiar with maybe five of them). I also noticed too many familiar actors from elsewhere (as Cristopher Judge who played Teal’c in Stargate and Aidan Gillen who played Littlefinger in Game of Thrones series).

Marion Cotillard, also playing in Inception, was a spoiler by herself. She’s obviously Nolan’s muse, always used as a wounded but vicious antagonist. In Batman, her cause does not make much sense to me. She wanted to take revenge on Bruce for killing her father but there were so many other people she could be more pissed at. Her grandfather, for one. The whole romantic Arabic backstory was simply to complex to tell it in that two minute revelation just before the grand finale.

The person that surprised me the most was Anne Hathaway. With those big eyes of hears I feared she would be to gentle for such a role. Luckily, she suprised me and displayed the right amount of brutality. Her pose on that Batman motorcycle was a bit too suggestive though.

Like any other Nolan’s movie, this one is overly saturated with information. In the start it works because you expect to get information but there are fast infodumps in the middle of the story that I was not prepared for and I missed a lot of it. It often comes too fast to register. Nolan wants to put far too much action and drama and philosophy in his movies. The result is a cluttered movie as was The Dark Knight. Yes, Nolan wants every character to have a motive for what they do but he gives us way too many characters for this to work.

For an action movie, this one was very philosophical. It was literally covered in metaphors. The movie nearly fails to work if you look at it from a literal point of view only. The symbolic meaning of the fighting between Batman and Bane only makes sense if you step back and give it a different look. So if I take a whack with simple anger, the villain will brush it off but if I take a whack with determination, the villain will drop almost instantly.

The bounce from the bottom, the leap of faith without a safety rope, all were too predictable plot elements. I can actually hold this next to Rocky 3 and see a similiar movie.

More unreasonable things, if you look at it in the simplest ways. Gotham police was underground for 48 days and there are still in the same clothes and not even in need of a shave. Just generally pissed off and battle-ready, ready to lay down their lives for the same people that turned against them.

The whole ‘give power back to the people’ message doesn’t go anywhere. There’s just a battle between police and maniacs but no reckoning for the people who’ve lost control of themselves. More than a couple of thousand people participated with Bane’s plan. The message I get from this is that people are generally hypocrats, using the situation while it suits them but then quietly transforming back into model citizens. And these are the people the hero should lay down his life for?

Physical injury doesn’t work in the literal sense either. Pounding a metal muzzle with one’s fist, not to mention a man recovering after a broken back as well as simply neglecting the fact he had no knee cartilage to walk without aids. Simply ignored. Why bring it up in the first place?

I liked the idea that being Batman was physically destructive. It made sense but it didn’t make sense how this got forgotten later.

The idea of the dead American dream is very strong in this movie. The poor people are angry with the rich, they think they don’t deserve the pampered life. True, rich people can get overly arrogant but most people turned rich because they’re good at what they do, not because they were corrupt. So you throw all rich people in the same bucket? What about those who earned their fortune with hard work? Don’t we all yearn for a life where money would not be a question? It’s not a simple problem and it shouldn’t be treated as such. And yet in this movie it was.

The fusion reactor turning into an atomic bomb. Well, I don’t think it can be done, but let’s go with it for a moment. So the spontaneous decay of that radioactive core (which a fusion reactor doesn’t have, that’s why it’s called fusion reactor, not fission) can be predicted to a tenth of a second. Yes, the movie needed a ticking time bomb, I know. A simple atomic bomb would have worked, but it was done to death and Dan Brown already used anti-matter, didn’t he?

The plans Nolan’s villains come up with are simply too well engineered. A lot of their assumptions could not work without a look into the future. But then they eventually fail because they failed to anticipate the one obvious event: Batman reappearing.

And, of course, Nolan’s two-meaning endings. Gives the audience the choice to decide for themselves, satisfying everyone’s expectations. Inception has that too. Is Batman alive or dead in the end? I would like to believe so yet to escape a nuclear blast unharmed… It’s not as simple as movies would have us believe. Want to know my interpretation of that ending?

The fact Alfred cried over Bruce’s grave says he believed him dead. But when he sees him in France or wherever that was he doesn’t look a bit surprised. This suggests it was a fantasy or a dream. “The world is too small for someone like Bruce Wayne to disappear, no matter how deep he chooses to sink.” Would he simply sit in a cafe and not get recognized? He was recognized in China, why not France?

Yes, I did enjoy this movie and would recommend it to anyone. But as most Nolan’s movies, you have to watch it at least a few times to understand it.

Oh, just one more thing: why does Bane sound like Sean Connery?

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

  1. Great review. You definitely pointed out some plot holes that I didn’t notice. πŸ™‚

    I still loved the movie despite its flaws. It’s all about the emotional payoff.

    I’m pretty sure Bruce Wayne was a live at the end. Lucius Fox and Bruce talked a lot about there being no autopilot for the flying thing. I think Bruce fixed or had the autopilot fixed without Lucius knowing. So he bailed out of the flying thing long before the bomb went off. At least that is how I saw it. I really do need to see it again. Cause like you said it is very heavy in information, if you blink you’ll miss it.

    Also Alfred wasn’t the only one who got hints of Bruce still being alive. There was Bruce’s mother’s missing pearls from the estate, and some sort of requistion signed by Bruce, and some other hints that he was still alive (that I can’t remember now) before Alfred saw Bruce in France. So I don’t think Bruce being alive is up to interpretation. He did survive, and he moved on. At least that was how I saw it. Of course I’ll need to see it again to make sure. πŸ™‚

  2. I never said I didn’t love the movie. It’s just that my muse had a lot to say about it. πŸ˜‰

    Yes, I remember the talk about fixing the autopilot but still you don’t avoid a nuclear blast that easily. I didn’t see enough time to create the safe distance. The requisition? That part I missed. Looks like I will have to make real my threat and see this movie a few times.

    I’m just in the middle of watching Inception for the nth time. πŸ™‚

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