There are many great films in the world, and there are many terrible films as well. Every now and then we find a film with some great attributes and also some terrible ones. We want to love these films, but we can’t help but hate them. We want to hate them, but we can’t help but love them. It is a Love/Hate relationship. The Dark Knight Rises is one of these films.
Following the 2008 phenomenon The Dark Knight, which is considered by many to be the greatest superhero and crime film of all time, which featured an Oscar winning performance by the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, Christopher Nolan and writing partner David S. Goyer were tasked with the very difficult challenge of creating a bigger, better and more epic conclusion to their Dark Knight Trilogy.
Some rumors state that Nolan’s early drafts for the third film included a team up between Heath Ledger’s Joker and the enigmatic Riddler, whom Nolan had casted as Leonardo DiCaprio in his mind. But after Ledger’s tragic death, Nolan scrapped any and all ideas for a third Batman movie.
It is no rumor that Nolan had lost all interest in returning to the Batman franchise. So why did he? Well in order to get funding from Warner Bros. for his 2010 Blockbuster hit Inception, Nolan had to agree to return to the Batman series for one final run. BIG MISTAKE.
I am a firm believer that you should never force the hand of an artist. All throughout film history, we have examples of Studio Interference which destroyed the overall quality of the film.(Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, David Fincher’s Alien 3 etc.) When you force an artist’s hand, he loses all passion and creativity.
Given the fact that this is a Nolan film, there are of course some highlights, such as the outstanding score by Hans Zimmer. Gary Oldman delivers a powerful performance in his return as Commissioner Gordon. Of course, Tom Hardy’s Bane stands out as one of the best acting endeavors in a superhero film. Yes, yes, all great things. But they are however, overshadowed by enormous plot holes, an extremely annoying change in aspect ratio throughout the entire film, an extremely rushed finale and one of the cheesiest movie deaths I have ever seen.
Let’s start with the positives. Hans Zimmer’s score is perhaps darker and more engaging than ever. With a cold and hollow introduction, he brings the spirit of our hero to life. A state of despair, of nothingness. Then Bane’s theme: Rampant, destructive, chaotic… Frightening. Catwoman’s theme is a slow, seductive muse which pulls us in, then stabs us in the gut. Truly an amazing score.
Now one thing to remember about this BATMAN film which is truly frustrating is that there is hardly any BATMAN in it. Bruce Wayne sits in a pit for most of the film. Our heroes are Gotham’s Finest, which would probably be irritating if the cast was not lead by the incomparable Gary Oldman. Oldman returns to his role as Gordon with a new fierceness and an unyielding sense of duty to Gotham City which reminds us that not all heroes wear capes.
I feel as if I don’t even need to mention Tom Hardy’s portrayal as Bane. It is powerful, eerie, and charming in a brutal sort of way. For the first time in the series, Batman is faced with a foe who is truly more powerful than him in every way. Hardy proved in this movie that he is an acting force to be reckoned with.
Now on to the bad…
There are so many plot holes in this film. How did Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham from that pit out in the middle of nowhere in less than a day? How could Batman possibly escape the nuclear bomb at the end? Even with the autopilot fixes, he would have to glide so far to escape the blast radius. How did all the nuclear fallout from the bomb not contaminate the City? Why the hell would Gordon send EVERY COP IN THE CITY down into the tunnels? I’m not a cop or a military strategist, but that it just plain stupid. Why did the police force immediately start searching for the missing senator after he’d only been gone for a few hours? Maybe he was just out partying. How did Joseph Gordon-Levitt know exactly where Gordon’s body would wash up from the sewers? A. He didn’t even know Gordon was potentially dead, or that he fell into the waterway, and B. If you tell me it is because he found a body at that same location earlier in the movie, then I’ll tell you that in that same scene, another officer says they’ve been finding bodies washing up in sewage reservoirs all over the city, so how did he know Gordon would come out of this one? And that brings me to another problem… How come there were a ton of bodies washing out of the sewers and the police never bothered to investigate it??? I could go on, but I won’t.
One thing about this film that got audiences very excited was their use of the IMAX camera. However, since the only shot the film partially in IMAX, we are left with two different aspect ratios switching back and forth throughout the entire movie. It is annoying and all around unprofessional. I love Nolan, but unfortunately this has sort of become his MO as of late.
The ending of this movie was extremely rushed. It’s like Nolan realized he spent too much time with Bruce Wayne in the pit and focusing too much on Gordon-Levitt’s character, and now he has to hurry up and end this sh*t because he’s only got about 10 minutes left. POW! Batman beats the living crap outta Bane (with some newfound strength he didn’t have earlier in the movie?) STAB! Batman is betrayed by Marion Cotillard (aka Miranda Tate, aka Talia Al Ghul) BOOM! Catwoman blows up Bane. CRASH! Talia crashes the truck and for some reason the bomb doesn’t blow up. SLOP! Batman and Catwoman share an extremely awkward and very wet kiss. KABLAMO! The bomb explodes over the Bay… Yes, the Bay, so everyone is safe. Because that makes perfect sense.
God, and don’t even get me started on Talia’s annoyingly bad death scene. I love Marion Cotillard, but wtf was that. And I also might add that the entire population of Gotham is stupid. Batman and Bruce Wayne die at the same time, and no one is able to figure out they are the same person except for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, because… reasons.
For all of these reasons and more, I have an intense Love/Hate relationship with The Dark Knight Rises.
What do you think? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comment section!