Monday I got back from a family-visiting vacation (will post more about it next week). The trip was tiring, but had a lot of positives. I even made it to The Dark Knight Rises on opening day. To me, the film was the best of the three. Yes, it had its faults (plot-wise) which I’ll go into below. However, the strengths far outweighed the weaknesses in my opinion.
***Spoiler alert for all three movies in the trilogy.***
- This movie was about Bruce Wayne/Batman. Although I love The Dark Knight, my biggest complaint on the movie was that it really focused on the villains (Two-Face and The Joker especially) rather than Batman. Like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises is all about the hero with the villains playing strong supporting roles.
- Unbelievable characterization across the board. Very few weak spots in any of the major and minor character roles. All did a great a job. Despite any flaws I’ll mention below, the character arcs are what made this film so good to me.
- Michael Caine – What can I say? The perfect Alfred. He immediately steals every scene he’s in. The emotion he brought to the movie was awesome and I found myself a bit misty-eyed in a few spots because of the delivery of his lines.
- Anne Hathaway – Like everyone else, I was very hesitant about her casting. From the very first scene she had me. Best Catwoman yet, and probably the closest to the comics. Absolutely loved her performance and story arc.
- Tom Hardy – The accent/voice was perfect. The swagger awesome. In a lot of ways, he reminded me of the Bane from Batman: The Animated Series, and that’s definitely a good thing. Great casting.
- Christian Bale – His best performance as Batman and Bruce Wayne, and I liked him a lot in the prior two movies. I wanted more scenes with him as the focal point.
- Great fight scenes. My inner fanboy was going absolutely nuts at the Bane/Batman fights above all else. Exactly how I wanted it to be. And on top of everything else, Bane actually said THE LINE. (For those who don’t know what that means, go read KnightFall.)
- Awesome action sequences.
- The Bat was really cool. The fight around the city was killer.
- For being almost three hours long, the movie went by really quickly. I know some complained about the pacing, but I never felt it drag. I wanted more.
- Loved all the nods and tie-ins to the previous films.
- Cool references to all the various storylines within the comics.
- Just enough humor to lighten the dark tone of the movie.
- Another good film score.
- Perfect conclusion for the series. Answered enough questions while still leaving a few out there.
- First teaser trailer for Man of Steel! It looks awesome!
- Miranda Tate – She was ok. I knew she was Talia long before the reveal. The references to tie her in to the series was kind of nice. However, I almost wish the reveal didn’t happen as it did since it diminished Bane’s awesomeness in my eyes.
- The plot had several bumps. Characters did a lot of really dumb things in order to push the story along. Some of those instances took me out of the story for few seconds which I found jarring. I never felt that way in the previous two films.
- HUGE info dumps. I cringed at several points in the film when a character went on this big speech to give information to the viewer that Nolan couldn’t figure out a way to work in elsewhere. Some of these instances were really bad as it happened at pretty suspenseful parts of the film (e.g. the very end when time was of the essence). There were moments like this in the first two films too, but nowhere near as bad as here.
- Batman forgot he was the world’s greatest detective and had a brain. Despite being injury-riddled, older, and out of the game, Batman rarely used his brains to solve his problems. Instead, he almost bullied his way through everything. Very out of character for what Nolan established in the first two films and extremely out of character to who he is in the comics.
- Speaking of being injury-riddled…wow, did Nolan drop the ball here. This is my biggest complaint of the whole film. The Dark Knight Rises starts off with Bruce being skinny and a wreck physically. He goes to the doctor and we learn just how much of a mess he is. However, these injuries are never addressed again once he decides he wants back in to being Batman. What a joke. The only injury they addressed was one knee (ignoring his other knee, shoulder, etc.) and that was done badly. Where did the brace go when he was in prison? Bane wouldn’t have left him that, yet he never limps again.
Also, how did he get all these injuries? According to this film, his last appearance as Batman was at the end of The Dark Knight. We were never led to believe Batman was bad off then, and since he stopped wearing the cowl, Bruce Wayne only became a recluse. Basically, Nolan invented injuries out of the blue to show how far Wayne had fallen. Then he dumped them after the first act when they became too hard to address.
- The Joker is still alive at the end of The Dark Knight. What happened to him? Obviously, I didn’t expect him to get actual screen time, but Nolan could have at least said they gave him the death penalty or shipped him off to Arkham or something.
So yes, The Dark Knight Rises had its flaws, but I loved it all the same. As far as I’m concerned, there are no better comic book films than the three Nolan films. Man, I wish I could see more.
Batman Beyond, anyone?