Thursday, July 19, 2012

Escape to The Movies: "The Dark Knight Rises"

Going a day early, 99.9% spoiler-free. You're welcome.

"Intermission" will go up tommorrow in the usual spot. Until then, did you see my long-ass Batman-related article from earlier today; "Bat-Mitt vs. The Obamavengers?"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the early release.

Your review seems to have confirmed what I thought the movie would be like and if I am able to see the movie without increasing my debt I will, but otherwise I guess I will wait for a home theater viewing.

Phil said...

I liked that the review was longer than usual. Any chance getting 10 minute reviews allowed on the Escapist?

On to the review: I'm confused. You say that the movie's problem isn't the plot but the structure. Nevertheless, what you feel is a problem which is that Bruce midway has to learn to be Batman again is not a structural problem. That's part of the plot. Structure in a story is the path and mechanics going from point A to B in the plot but you didn't describe what problems the structure had. So if you're saying it was not the plot but the structure then how could have the midway point in the plot where Bruce learns to be Batman again could've been improved structure wise?

Also, it was bit contradictory in regards to the quality of the action film making here. You say the fights are underwhelming which wouldn't surprise me as Nolan is not a good action director (no the Inception fight is not good since all that's interesting about it is the spinning set). Yet towards the end you say that the action is "good" and the editing of them is "Oscar caliber". Is there a line drawn with respect to the action as to what aspects were "underwhelming" to you and what were "good"? I would be surprised if I agree with the editing since the cutting of all of the action scenes of the Nolan's Batman movies was pretty bad though it may be that Lee Smith did the best he could with the lousy footage Nolan shot.

And the last thing is about Bane. This was part of my question I posted on your 4th part of your Batman Big Picture episodes. Why do you say that this movie's Bane apart from his name "shares nothing else with his comic book counterpart"? Yeah he doesn't use venom to get bigger and Nolan whitewashed the character and hired Tom Hardy instead but one of the main characteristics about Bane is his combination of being a physical and intellectual threat against Batman. That's what the trailers and other people's word about this movie's portrayal of Bane reflects. So why describe him as having no other relation other than his name with the original comic book version?

P.S. Surprised anyone thought that the ending in The Dark Knight was an ending to a series. It was pretty much a textbook cliffhanger ending to me.

Q said...

Bob, you really need to hone your abilities as a critic more so, that your positive reviews are as interesting, or more so, than your negative ones. Like Bordwell and Thompson, their reviews and analyses are great (even if they do ramble a bit). I know that, like, every internet critic learned to be a critic by watching Siskel & Ebert or MST3K so, they naturally bend towards snark and belligerence but you could challenge yourself to do more.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Q. I became a fan of yours because you used to be hilarious and fresh, but now you sound too haggard and cynical and above all, tired. This was a solid review though, even if I quite disagree with you (I loved the movie), but part of what made Escape to the Movies glorious at the begining was that they were both informative AND fun), but I haven´t had that feeling lately. Anyway, good job.

Warren said...

Just got back from a midnight screening.

Gotta say the structure of the plot is pretty weak until Bane's revolution kicks in.

However this is a problem I also have with The Avengers. Until the group was assembled I spent the whole film thinking 'I like this but it's nowhere near as great as everyone is raving'. After that point The Avengers take off running.

The Dark Knight Rises is good and enjoyable but suffers like The Avengers it feels like the writers didn't know how to assemble the pieces together. Once they did though and Bane's plan kicked in, I felt the film starting living up to the hype.

The Avengers? The Dark Knight Rises? Why can't they both be great! To me they suffer from the same problems but end up with the same whichever one someone's prefers is kind of moot in my opinion.

Overall I was satisfied, even got a little teary eyed at the end (despite how it plays out like fan fiction). I enjoyed it and it's worthy of standing alongside the previous two films even if it's under their shadow.

Adrian said...

good review. Admittedly it does sound quite cynical but it mirrors exactly what i felt when I came out of the movie, and you've articulated the issues I had with the film far better than I could. Great movie, but slightly disappointing, a few niggling little plot holes and frustrating character actions. The previous dark knight was just such a superb finale itself.

Thoom said...

You thought Inception was engaging all the way through? Really.

And who thought DKR would be a messiah like ending to all movie trilogies? Kids are too concerned with it just being good and adults should know better. As long as it's a good movie, it did it's job.

thisisntacar.jpg said...

So... what "Kingdom Come" quote were you referring to exactly? Having never read the book, I'm as curious as I am confused.

Blue Highwind said...

Bob, you're wrong in a number of things:

1) Batman has to pull himself up to be Batman twice, you're arguing this is a waste of time and structural mess. I'll say you're completely off on this one here. The first time Bruce Wayne decides to become Batman again, its not because he honestly believes that Gotham needs Batman again, its just that he's an empty person full of his demons, having LEARNED nothing. He's doing it for thrills, he's almost like the lunatic Frank Miller "Dark Knight Returns" old man, putting on the cape again to fill up his own misery. Now, Batman disappearing from the plot is important because the middle act needs Bane to run virtually unopposed through Gotham, so Batman needs to be out of the picture, but it also means something thematically. After being soundly beaten by Bane, Batman has to pull himself up all over again, not for his own madness, but because GOTHAM NEEDS HIM. Because he needs to save the people he cares about. Its a movement from a stupid 90s anti-hero to a proper superhero, a man with totally unselfish motives.

2) Batman and Catwoman's romance... yeah, pretty last minute. I was thinking that too. But really, Bruce Wayne needed a happy ending, and you need to find one somewhere. I don't think Bruce and Alfred could have eloped together, could they?

3) Bane is FAR from the dull villain you bring him up to be. Bane is something totally new for a Batman movie: somebody who can BEAT Batman. That's hard-core, man. I know that's basically fanboy gushing, but I didn't read Knightfall, I don't care about the comics, for me, Batman is the guy who wins every fight. This guy may be just one-dimensional evil (and the Joker wasn't?), but he's also somebody who CONQUERS GOTHAM. He's bringing a whole new level of intensity and threat to this story, launching an all-out war against Western Civilization and PULLING IT OFF. Somehow Loki's plan to just invade New York City with aliens seems pretty pathetic in comparison. Loki couldn't stand a chance against ONE of the Avengers, Bane is a hulking powerhouse that easily overshadows any foe any superhero film has ever put together in raw threat. And being a threat means something, he isn't as fun as the Joker or as Liam Neeson as Liam Neeson, but he's the guy who simply gets shit done.

4) This movie isn't really about anything? Its Batman on the line, the highest limit of Superhero threat. It easily matches the vapid Avengers in what they stand for - no matter how you swing it, that was just a popcorn movie. I don't know what exactly you wanted from Batman, for him to redefine the universe somehow, but I thought this had some very profound thoughts. For one, it has Bruce Wayne MOVE ON, finally get some measure of a normal life, give up the madness and become a more complete person. He gives everything for his city. The socialist overtones, they didn't mean anything, not even to Bane, who just wanted to destroy the city. Nobody bought that political message, not even in the movie. His economic message is a fraud, that's the point, ideology is just another tool of destruction.

Anyway, just in terms of raw MOVIE, this was everything I wanted. In fact, I lowered my expectations, thinking I'd be seeing a very long, a very entertaining, but ultimately flawed movie, probably like you did. Then those expectations were surpassed, BIG TIME. As a matter of fact, and this sounds insane, I know, I can't really think of any movie I enjoyed more. This may be the best movie I've ever seen. What the Hell, right? Just amazing. Utterly amazing.

munchie64 said...

As of right now this one is my favourite of the trilogy. Of course I have to see it again and really think about it.

Anonymous said...

Blue Highwind knows what's good. Best of the trilogy, best film of the summer, probably the greatest super hero movie ever made. It was a powerhouse. You've missed the point, Bob.

Anonymous said...

thisisntacar.jpg said...
So... what "Kingdom Come" quote were you referring to exactly? Having never read the book, I'm as curious as I am confused.