I’ve written at great length in the past about my feelings about Batman, The Dark Knight, comic books movies and being an adult fanboy in general. I’ve talked so much about how The Dark Knight Rises would be the end of it all for me, that nothing would ever get me as excited again as these films had and everything else would simply be a disappointment. Which just means that I should’ve have known I wouldn’t really like TDKR.
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I liked it, I did, but I wasn’t IN like with it. Christopher Nolan doesn’t make bad movies, but even some of his films are better than others. And TDKR is one of his films than isn’t better than The Dark Knight. The story of TDKR is formulaic and has to balance it’s sense of feeling and theme while explaining to you how Batman will save Gotham, a juggling act that is tough to keep up for almost three hours. It goes right to the end where Batman literally has to stop a ticking time bomb, the hackiest of action movie conventions. The sequence is almost as ridiculous as the scripted dialogue of every signal GCPD officer of the last three movies NOT named John or Jim and reduces Batman to an ordinary comic book movie hero, rather than one of the great complex characters of New American literature. The Bane plane hijacking had nothing on the Joker’s bank robbery and neither of the chases were as amazing as Harvey’s Trip to Jail.
I teared up admittedly when Alfred left but to watch Bale slightly more understated next to a blubbering Michael Caine, I could not help but think that that girl was only 16 years old and for the last ten minutes I was beginning to cry. But the film awkwardly stumbled to it’s end, struggling to ties up the threads it had created, and some of the methods of ending it were as ham handed as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders. Really? Not to be a dick Batman, but this is Gotham City, I got four kids getting orphaned every week, man, remember those little bastards that need your help? You’re going to have to narrow it down for me there, chief.
Whoa, don’t call me Bruce, call me by my full name.
What the hell kind of name has Robin at the end part of it? It’s not his name, he wasn’t named Robin, he just was Robin, you didn’t even to call him that and everyone wearing a tee shirt in the auditorium would’ve have been screaming for Robin by the end rather than rolling their eyes at the mention of the name. Catwoman was never referred to as Catwoman and the name Two Face has only been said twice in the three films together. I never felt like a Nolan film had ever talked down to me as an audience member but I felt that way about this movie. He was inspired by films like Heat and Blade Runner and I know now why he was inspired by The Return of the King when the movie rustles up about nine different endings. I know it seems like I’m nit-picking the most Batman-less Batman movie ever but I felt that big studio influence with the large scale battle scenes that seemed to come out of a different movie unlike those that had proceeded it where our Dark Knight was mostly in the a single specter in the dark, not out in broad daylight leading an army charge that was more out of Two Towers than Gangs of New York.
I liked the flow of the picture, I liked Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway is the best Catwoman ever, just like Ledger, Nolan delivers what will become the new definitive version of Catwoman with all due respect to the lovely Miss Julie Newmar. To watch Batman become broken and rise up as the hero of Gotham was spectacular and truly took advantage of those IMAX cameras. Nolan came with his usual bag of tricks, including some of the best actors you’ll ever watch on scene like the incredible and beautiful Marion Cottilard. The ending was a really fine conclusion to both their world and as a great farewell for all of the fans who supported him from Batman Begins. He crushed it, mashed it, jerked it over the fences in a perfectly adaptable baseball-related pun in order to remind me that nobody bats 1.000 and maybe this was just an infield single from Nolan instead a three run homer. The film was not without it’s flaws, not more glaring, but somehow more frequent than in his other films. But from the Liam Neeson ghost that was missing from Revenge of the Sith and creating characters who sole purpose in the movie was to die, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this movie was that clever as the second one. I still love Nolan and I can not wait to find out what he next project is, which I pitched something like Bale and DiCaprio are brothers, they’re horse jockeys and they’re trying to find out who killed their father with magic. And that may sound God-awful but I know what Chris Nolan is capable of when he wants to tell us a story and he’s told some of my favorites.
The Dark Knight was Nolan letting lose in the world he created, with a bigger, stronger Batman, the King of the Rogue’s Gallery of Villains and some of the best large-scale physical stunt sequences of the last decade. Nolan’s plot is stop the Joker. It’s the stories of the characters around that plot that make it such an engaging tale of morality and introspection. The movie had such a pace to it that you listen so closely to the slower dialogue scenes because you knew there was good stuff there you might miss if you stopped paying attention. It didn’t just grab me, it held onto me until we really got to spend some time together. That’s how close I felt to the film.
I was trying to explain to a teenager the other week about the 1992 USA Men’s Basketball Team, the ‘Dream Team’ and I told him they were like the Beatles, they were everywhere, everyone loved them and if you weren’t there to watch it happen, you would never understand how much it meant to you at that age. The Dark Knight meant something so much more to me in 2008 that I don’t know if I could ever explain it. It moved me and motivated me and spoke to me in a way that made me feel movies had stopped to talking to me years ago or perhaps, I had stopped listening. I have a rough looking Batman tattoo that is made to look like the shattering from within Bat-logo of The Dark Knight. I had my faith rewarded. But that movie feels like a long Obama administration away and I feel significantly different than I did when I sat in front of an IMAX theatre four years ago.
But like The Dark Knight Rises, it was still a very satisfying conclusion.
I plan on seeing the film again a few times in the coming day. I reserve the right to completely change my mind about this.