Since The Dark Knight Rises is a big fuckin’ deal, BrikHaus and Mrs. Brik have decided to do a tag-team review.
I would like to preface this review by letting you know that I am not a particularly big fan of comic book movies. I only watch them if they look interesting (and they rarely do). I liked the first Iron Man. Lots of witty dialogue and ass-kicking, the story made sense, and it was paced well. Iron Man is an example of what Hollywood is almost never capable of doing: making a big-budget movie into something good. (I cannot, however, say the same thing for Iron Man 2.) The Hulk is an example of Hollywood at its worst. They made the same movie repeatedly and did a mediocre job of it each and every time.
Having said all that, Rises made all of my wildest dreams come true.
First off, there was a lot of sexy whispered dialogue. You know, when the man’s voice is so deep that it sounds kind of husky and whisper-y. For some reason, male leads do this when they are especially badass. Viggo Mortensen does it in most of his roles, and there are other examples out there to support my point, but right now the only thing that comes to mind is 30 Rock and the “talking like this contest” between Alec Baldwin and Will Arnett. You really can’t go wrong with talking like this in a really epic movie.
The dialogue was pretty decent. It wasn’t Tolkien or anything, but it wasn’t distractingly bad. It was probably average as far as movies go but above average for action/comic book movies. There were a couple of lines that made me LOL and that is what makes my world go round, after all.
Did I just hint back there that this was an epic movie? I will just say it: this movie was EPIC. I am talking Lord of the Rings epic. Ok, maybe not quite. But it definitely conjured up the final battle at the gates of Mordor, at least for me. When the police force storms the Occupy Wall Street folks (did anyone else think of this when Bane’s lackeys took over the city?), running at full force toward them with little hope but completely willing to die for just the chance of saving Gotham, all I could think of was Aragorn charging 10,000 orcs, “for Frodo.”
Outside of that, the storyline of Bruce Wayne in the prison, building himself up so that he can climb to his freedom, was excellently done. This is perhaps a cliche, I imagine it has been done before and I have probably seen it myself, but I didn’t feel that this part of the story was contrived or even unbelievable. I was right there with Wayne, rooting him on, and feeling defeated each time he fell. His moment of freedom felt like a victory to me as a member of the audience. This is what going to the movies is all about: becoming so invested and lost in the story that you can feel what the characters are feeling. It is rare to accomplish this to even a fraction of the extent that Rises manages to. I commend the writers, the director, and the actors. They pulled me right in, and that is no easy task.
It would be wrong for me to write this review without mentioning JGL. He’s my man, and he did not let me down here. His role was earnest, acted about as well as you can expect for an action flick, and his character was on the good side, so my idolatry of him can remain untarnished. There were no shirtless scenes or him kicking any ass, which I always appreciate, but he always believed in the Bat Man and that makes him more likable. He is the every man in this movie; we all want to believe in the Bat Man. Figuratively speaking, of course.
This movie did not let me down in the slightest. My expectations were pretty low so that probably helps. But anytime I am in a 3-hour movie and am not constantly fidgeting or checking my watch, I count that as a win.
While The Dark Knight Rises has raked in tons of good reviews, most people do not think it is the best Batman movie ever made. Those people are idiots. Their complaints about the film include:
- It’s too dark.
- It’s too long, bloated.
- Bane not as cool as the Joker.
- No consistent themes.
- Bane’s mask uses nebulized morphine, and that technology doesn’t exist.
- Not enough action.
- Confusing ending.
Now, let me tell you why these complaints are invalid.
First, the movie is too dark. — Batman Begins, which kicked off director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, was really fucking dark. When it was released, it was by far the darkest and most realistic superhero movie ever made. Its style was aped by a shitload of superhero movies that came later. It was after Batman Begins when all the Hollywood studios were saying, “GRRRR OUR NEW SUPERHERO MOVIE IS GOING TO BE A DARK AND GRITTY REBOOT GRRRR!” The Dark Knight Rises merely continues the same level of realism from the two movies that came before it.
Second, the movie is too long and bloated. — It’s true that the running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and it’s also true that this is 15 minutes longer than The Dark Knight. My complaint with the second film in the trilogy was that it was too long and bloated. But the difference is that The Dark Knight was guilty of throwing in unnecessary shit (e.g. Bat sonar) just to make a “bigger and better” sequel. The pacing was poor, with huge swaths of time where nothing particularly interesting was happening. And it ran for 30 minutes beyond the point it should have ended. That is the very definition of a bloated film. Rises, while longer, does not suffer from any of those issues. There is always something interesting happening on screen, and the plot is continuously moving forward. There are no scenes that exist just to pad out the length of the movie. There is no extraneous lolcrap just thrown in for the hell of it (again, the retarded Bat sonar). In fact, its near three-hour running time flies by. The only time I even noticed the length of the movie was when I had to pee because I drank too much Coke, and that’s my fault, not the movie’s.
Third, Bane is not as cool as the Joker. — Guess what, dipshit? Bane is not the same fucking villain as the Joker. If they made him act “cool” in a similar fashion, the movie would have just been a retread, and would have been shitty as a result. The Joker is a bad guy who knows he can’t defeat Batman in any kind of physical confrontation, so he resorts to tricks, diversions, and general anarchy. Conversely, Bane is a villain, the first in this trilogy, who can best Batman in a straight-up fight. That was the point of Bane, he was meant to be Batman’s equal. The first movie showed Batman using his ninja skills and theatricality to defeat bad guys. Bane had the same training so that weapon was rendered null. The second movie showed Batman using his wits to defeat the Joker. Avoiding a rehash, the only place left to go for the final movie was for Batman to have to resort to sheer brute force to defeat someone just as physically imposing as himself. Bane was the perfect villain for The Dark Knight Rises. Plus, Tom Hardy’s Bane voice went against type. Instead of a super deep growling cliche, he played it with a flourish of an accent and a bit higher on the register. It distinguished Bane from legions of generic bad guys who have come before him.
Fourth, Bane’s mask uses nebulized morphine, and that technology doesn’t exist. — Fuck off.
Fifth, there were no consistent themes. — This is simply false. There were two major themes, one from Bane’s point of view and one from Batman’s. Bane’s theme was to show what would happen to a society if everyone were to become true equals. Batman’s theme was what a man must do to overcome his fears and disgrace, and to do whatever it takes to help others even if they hate you. The Occupy Gotham stuff clearly illustrates Bane’s theme, while Bruce Wayne rising out of the Pit of Hell illustrates his. I’m not sure how you people could have missed this stuff. Anyway, the themes tackled in Rises were heads and shoulders above the typical themes you see in other superhero movies. Those themes are “LOL THE AVENGERS HATE EACH OTHER NOW THEY LOVE EACH OTHER SO NOW LETS GO SAVE THE WORLD FROM EVIL SPACE LIZARDS LOL!”
Sixth, not enough action. — Clearly, the people who made this complaint were watching some other Batman movie. There were four major action sequences: the motorcycle chase, Batman rescuing Catwoman, Bane whooping Batman, and the fight for Gotham City. They were all appropriate lengths, and came at good intervals throughout the movie. One of my major complaints in a lot of movies is that the action scenes are either too few or too short. The action scenes here were absolutely perfect.
Seventh, the ending was confusing. — OK, you are either incredibly stupid or just trolling. People have said that they thought Batman died and Alfred hallucinated seeing Bruce in the final scene, or they just didn’t “get it.” Obviously, Bruce did not die. After the memorial service, the movie gives us concrete examples as to how he is still living. 1) He fixed the autopilot on the Bat Plane, 2) he fixed the Bat Signal so Commissioner Gordon can use it again, and 3) he gave JGL the coordinates to the Bat Cave. You could argue for numbers 2 and 3 being done so “Batman” can live on as someone else, but then there would be no point for number 1 if Bruce hadn’t intended to live all along. When Alfred sees Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in the restaurant at the end, Bruce is letting his old friend know he survived.
As you can see, none of the above complaints are valid. If you came into this movie with unrealistic expectations, thinking it would be the second coming of Christ, just admit it. If you simply liked The Dark Knight more than Rises, just say so. Don’t invent a bunch of bullshit reasons why you didn’t like it. Don’t be an idiot.
Of course, this isn’t a perfect movie. I could raise some complaints such as: Catwoman doesn’t have a lot to do, how is Bane recruiting people that are so fiercely loyal to him, would getting out of town really save the kids from an A-Bomb, and Bane can be hard to understand at times. But no movie is perfect, and to be honest I had to really think hard to come up with complaints. None of these issues are dealbreakers.
The filmmakers managed to bring some other themes full circle as well, such as Bruce Wayne’s fears from Batman Begins, Batman as a “symbol”, and the idea that Batman could be anyone (from The Dark Knight – hinting at JGL becoming the new Batman in the future). Introducing new themes, and concluding old ones, over an arc of three movies is an incredible task. The fact that they managed to do it so gracefully is a testament to how damn strong the writing was of Rises.
The fact of the matter is, The Dark Knight Rises is the best Batman movie ever made. It is the best superhero movie ever made. It provides total closure to an amazing, epic trilogy. That is something incredibly rare in Hollywood. It has exciting action, fantastic acting, a thrilling story, identifiable characters, skillful directing, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I completely agree with Mrs. Brik when she wrote, “This is what going to the movies is all about: becoming so invested and lost in the story that you can feel what the characters are feeling.” Christopher Nolan crafted a blockbuster film, and managed to make it thoughtful at the same time. Try and name other movies that can do the same thing. I am thrilled that they ended the series on such a high note.
If you disagree with these reviews, you will be thrown into the Pit of Hell. Good luck getting out. Last time I checked, you weren’t Batman.