Thursday, 9 August 2012
The Dark Knight Rises Commentary
This is one hell of a James Bond movie. It's got a ridiculous plot about destruction, unrealistic villains, two hot girls and a perfect opportunity to make the evil plan airtight without the hero getting in the way only to let him off the hook and come back to save the day by exploiting the loophole so obvious that even I was able to see it. That being said, it's actually quite entertaining and, for my money, the best of the three. First, it wasn't oppressively dark like Batman Begins. Second, it didn't push a political agenda like the Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises is a basic superhero story of hope and vindication in a harsh world and I liked that. There's also the fact that they made a 2:45 minute movie go by really quickly. That means it entertains all the way through and, therefore, does its job. In the other two, I kept feeling like they went on too long. And this one even has some long, drawn out exposition that could have been cut.
I also have to keep reminding myself that these are comic book movies. And as comic book movies, they are going to have some ridiculous things in them. First, the ancient prison that you can only escape from if you are worthy of climbing out of it borders on the idiotic. No, it is idiotic. Second, I'm not sure why Bane had to sound like Sean Connery on his deathbed. It wasn't really sinister enough. But I will concede that it works because Bane (at least in this movie) has a detached nature about him that makes him a bone-chilling villain. So the odd voice really adds to it. While the Joker was this psycho who's motivation seemed to be only his own entertainment, Bane was a calculating and distant sociopath and had an ideological purpose (as twisted as it was). And Tom Hardy got the mannerisms and body language down perfectly.
I also must lament about the location. Gotham City has gotten to the point of being its own character in these movies. Everything is done for the good of or destruction of the city. Having it obviously in New York with the wide sweeping shots of famous landmarks - a flaming bat symbol on the most famous bridge in the world - (and have their football team play all the way out in Pittsburgh) is just distracting; especially when the last movie did the same thing with Chicago and the first one was completely fictional in its scenery. But, in order for this plot to work, they needed the city to be on an island and, thus, painted themselves into a corner. To have the same film makers take such an integral "character" and manipulate it to suit their own whims is too sloppy for me. (You can argue about the symbolism of a changing Gotham to have the city represent some universality about us all needing to be saved all you want. Save it. I'm not buying it. I'll take consistency over weak allegory any day.)
Finally, I will mention Christian Bale. it is well documented that I do not like the man. It is also well documented that I do not know why. In this film, I did not have a problem with him. I actually thought he did very well. And they kept the absolutely idiotic and annoying gravelly Batman voice to a minimum so that made me happy too.
The bottom line is that this movie is entertaining and balances a moral with (finally) not trying to be too deep. See it. Unfortunately, to know all of what's going on, you have to invest the time in the other two. But seeing as how I'm in the minority on the quality of the first two, you probably won't mind.