Friday, July 20, 2012

Escape to the Movies: "The Dark Knight Rises" (Updated)

Re-posting for regular Friday schedule and "Intermission."

THE MOVIE: Good, not great. Review probably would've been slightly more negative if I'd seen it more than just once beforehand.

"INTERMISSION": Warners is already talking reboot. Because that's where we live now.

A SECOND ARTICLE: Because why not?

Before anyone asks, yes, I've been watching the same "Colorado Batman Massacre" story unfold as everyone else. Horrifying, unbelievable, tragic stuff; but thus far that it happened in concurrance with this particular movie appears to be wholly incidental and I'd appreciate it if people didn't try to pull it into the conversation here at this time beyond this obligatory acknowledgement - both out of respect to the victims and consideration for viewers/visitors who may have ties to that community.


Andrew said...

Good work on all these articles bob, though I don't necessarily agree with all of it.

Way to show respect as well. Very nice. =)

Chris Cesarano said...

Can't watch your review yet, but in regards to intermission:

I didn't think about it until today, but I feel like Joseph Gordon-Levitt might have made for an excellent Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond. However, I'm not sure anyone would be willing to make a movie out of that at the moment. It could work, and the cartoon was EXCELLENT at handling "What does Bruce Wayne do when he's too old to be Batman?", but aspects of it might be a bit too out-there sci-fi for Hollywood audiences.

Which is strange to say considering one of the biggest recent blockbusters is about giant walking and talking robots. Then again, maybe now IS the time for such a thing?

But I don't think it would be nearly as bankable. Everyone knows Batman, but you had to be a kid or teen of the era to remember Batman Begins, and any who aren't familiar might be skeptical of the concept of a new smart-mouthed kid taking the reins.

As for television, I still think SOMEONE out there (that isn't Fox) should approach Joss Whedon and say "Please make us a Wonder Woman television show". But that just makes too much damned sense for anyone to actually try it.

Anonymous said...

People head over heels over The Avengers need to see more movies...and recognize the difference between good filmmaking with aesthetics you may not prefer and fanboy service to make you lose your shit over an average quality film.

Anonymous said...

I see we've learned the value of interlinking articles. Kind of a shame your mostly-vanilla Blogspot can't make the most of it.

Ever get the feeling most of the executives at Warner Brothers are creatively bankrupt? I don't mean that in the way people joke about Hollywood being the place where they crush your dreams and childhood into a fine pasteurized white male heteronormative paste, I mean even by those standards, they're still not measuring up.

I read tons of stories about talented people wanting to involve themselves with Warner Brothers that are sold short or ignored. They don't seem to care about making things with cross-demographic appeal, instead focusing on pandering exclusively to white teenage boys. I mean... look at those fucking New 52 comics. This is a company that needs a serious paradigm shift.

Snoopybrown007 said...

Bob, I always like your reviews, but this is probably the only one I would disagree with you on. This was my favorite of The Dark Knight Trilogy and one of my favorite movies. Bob, I love your stuff and I hope no one flames me, but I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises the best, thought there were a lot of problems (*Spoiler* The JGL twist was just dumb.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Oh, I see... if there was even the slightest hint that the shooter was a conservative or a Christian, we'd get a couple essays out of it again. But, since it's something you like that's inevitably going to get attacked over this, it's just incidental and it would be inconsiderate to discus it any further.


MerelyAFan said...

I'm myself would prefer a 1940s Batman because that aesthetic (especially in film noir stytle) has never been done in live action and I'm pretty iffy in Silver Age stuff in general.

MovieBob said...


Um, actually, I was kinda just hoping to deter people from getting into the innevitable "find a connection that may not exist" (this was, obviously, BEFORE the "I am The Joker" rumors started to hit) game and start reducing a serious tragedy into a bunch of Batman references. But please, by all means, immediately jump into a defensive crouch - it's so helpful...

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Bob

But, even before the "I am The Joker" thing leaked, this event raised important questions that needed to be discussed. And, well... you've never shied away from controversial discussion before. In fact, you seem to go out of your way to provoke it more often than not.

The idea that this incident imparticular was too tragic to talk about, when you've had no issue talking about far more tragic instances in the past, seems more than a bit odd to me.

I and think you under estimate your fanbase's maturity (other than Jame's, obviously) to think it could turn into a bunch of Batman jokes.

Aiddon said...

Thoughts: this is the best movie I've seen since Inception. It's not quite as good as Dark Knight but the difference is literally a paper-thin margin. If Dark Knight was the Godfather of superhero movies, then Rises is the Return of the King. It's a perfect capstone to the greatest comic trilogy ever and I wait with bated breath to see what Nolan does in the future as he has pretty much cemented himself as the new Spielberg. It's the best movie of the summer and maybe of the year. Everyone is great in their parts even if there isn't an incredible standout like the Joker (which was a one-in-a-million thing) and the narrative is a rollercoaster that brings you down and lifts you up and has a TON of fanboy moments.

Nick said...

Are you going to talk about the tragedy that happened at all?

Anonymous said...

The Almighty Narf is my hero. that is all

milanjeftic1992 said...


Anonymous said...


Bob has good reason to underestimate the maturity of his fan-and-detractor-base.

You gave him good reason to doubt your maturity JUST A FEW POSTS AGO when you tried to turn what Bob was trying to do into a 'let's beat up on Bob's politics because of reasons' clusterfuck.

If you don't see the graceless, tactless, gauche opportunism in that, I don't know what to do with you.

Uncle Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
motyr said...

I watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before seeing The Dark Knight Rises. I absolutely loved Rises. Now, it's granted, of course, that I've only seen Rises once and I've seen the others multiple times, but I didn't think Rises had any more plot problems, instances of awkward lines/delivery of lines, or any less emotional weight than either of its predecessors. Great movie, the best of the trilogy, an awesome ending to an awesome franchise.

motyr said...

BTW, re: intermission

Last idea is best. Actually quite brilliant. I've heard a few rumours that they're trying to adapt the New 52 Court of Owls storyline for the reboot. HORRIBLE call, considering the Court is extremely similar to The League of Shadows in many ways.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...


I had a thought.. I would like to hear peoples opinion on it, whether I am insane or..
what if... Bane swapped place with what the joker was supposed to do in the Dark knight rises?
What if the unknown Joker (hench why he is unknown and can't be identified.) grew up in the pit (And was scarred there as Bane ended up being.) and was Talias protector.. then it would really have been Talia whom planned all of that shit AND the joker would have the league of shadows to help him, whom would be able to plant bombs and so on pretty fast without people noticing.. what if he was meant to be that agent and throw-away image. Which is why he would dress up like that so you would only watch him, no one else. Which means he didn't plan all of this.. She did. She is the big master planner taking back-seat playing puppet master, much like Rash-all Ghul.. this all makes to much sense to be a coincidence..

What if in Dark knight, the joker had been send by Talia so he could test the city, giving it another chance to prove that it's worth saving, but the city lost cause it ended up living on a lie, which is why it now needs to be destroyed.

What if there was all this stuff to explain and "The Dark knight rises." were the movie supposed to explain that, but because of leadgers death they decided to do an protagonist swap loosing the importance of all the questions left open in "The Dark knight." ????

SirRosser said...

I get to go see maybe, MAYBE one or two movies a year. So I was thrilled to find that a) we still have a drive-in, b) it costs half of what a normal theater does around here and c) TDKR was playing. So I went and saw it last night. Now, as I don't see many movies, I can't really look at them all that objectively. What I CAN say is that I really loved how TDKR paid off in the end. I'm in something of a minority, in that I didn't much care for Heath Ledger's Joker, so for me, I enjoyed this one much more. Also, I'm a bit dense, so I never see the plot twists coming beforehand. Makes 'em better in the end.

Gordy said...

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but I'm a proper Bat-Fanboy so that was something of a forgone conclusion. I can see how those structural and pacing flaws would bother you a bit more though, Bob.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Batman party at my local rock club afterwards. Sexy Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn cosplayers were many in their number. My cup did runneth over. :)

Judge said...

This is by no means a dig at your very high level of work Bob, as I think the standard, effort and enthusiasm you condense into both 'The Big Picture' and 'At The Movies' is incredible. But for the first time I feel you are way off the mark with 'The Dark Knight Rises' and I can't help but feel you are letting your expectations intrude into your review.
I appreciate that you may be a huge Batman fan and have a greater dearth of knowledge than others on the intricacies of Bat mythology and iconic storylines and sub-plots. Nolan has continued with the gritty realism through out the trilogy, and he has completed a masterpiece.


Recluse Wayne can't be expected after 8 years to just be Batman again, his body is punished and reflexes rusty, the initial encounter with Bane he had to fail. As would any 'everyman' assuming a costume, the real reinvigoration and rise comes from the defeat. The defeat he needed to respect his mantle as Batman. It is like any sportsman, not training for almost a decade and coming out of retirement and saying "yeah, no problems, I'll take on the next young buck coming along". To me the film signified what the character needed to do to be at peace with himself and lay to rest memories from the previous 2 movies.
The plot was terrific and you rightfully said the cast 'brought their A game'. It also felt really good to be duped for once in a long time in a movie!
And finally, as much as I would have loved some kind of working for the Joker to get some kind of acknowledgement or CGI screen time, that villian simply would not have worked in this movie.
Ultimately, Batman 'gave everything' and became Bruce Wayne's saviour.
The film is a triumph, and will get better with every viewing.

Thoughts and wishes to the families and friends affected by the horrific and sensless attack in Denver, Colorado.

Joe said...

So this was a great end to the trilogy. Perhaps one of the few #3 films of a trilogy that was actually decent (up there with Back to the Future and Lord of the Rings, though I consider neither as great as earlier entries in their series). As a standalone film, it was much weaker.

I was kind of bored for almost an hour. Then Michael Caine made me cry. It got better after that.

Anne Hathaway was maybe the best Catwoman ever! Definitely top three. Just like Alice in Wonderland (a film I really didn't care for), every time she was on screen the movie was improved by her presence. Her character arc felt really rushed though. But Bob was right about Bane. The speaker-voice was so irritating and the mask so ridiculous I could never take him seriously, even though he had some of the best one-liners in the film.

The "political" stuff was typical Nolan. He drops a few fancy-sounding ideas that make you think his films are profound, but they don't actually say anything. Just like he said, it's A Tale of Two Cities, firmly in the camp of Edmund Burke's notion that revolutionaries must be the dupes of manipulative elites--there's no way they could have legitimate grievances against the status quo!

I really don't get the debate over "serious" Batman vs. "silly" Avengers. They're both silly. Batman is a billionaire who dresses up like a bat to stop the clan of ninjas who trained him from blowing up his city with the help of a guy in a scarecrow mask and a bodybuilder because wiping out Gotham somehow demonstrates their point.

I mean, I loved the original 70s Ra's al-Ghul stories in the comics. But precisely because they were basically Bond films starring Batman. Ra's is one of my favourite villains, but I don't take him any more seriously than Blofeld, Doctor Doom or Cobra Commander.

Silens Cursor said...

Ugh. Maybe it's just me, but I disliked this movie significantly more than Bob, to the point where I have a hard time giving it a recommendation or even calling it all that good. Granted, most of that dislike has to do with the absolutely fucking terrible last minute of the film, but there's more problems than that.

So I wrote an extensive rant here: I tried to keep things spoiler-free before the jump, for the most part. And just to weigh in on the politics of this issue before I crash, let me say this: while I have a hard time calling this film truly anti-Occupy or right-leaning, I have no problems in saying this film's policy on science and energy is FUCKING REPULSIVE.

Saarai'ari said...

Saw the Dark Knight Rises on Friday night and I'm still meditating on all of it. But if I had to say on how good it was based on my feelings right now, I'd say it was perhaps better than Batman Begins but doesn't beat the Dark Knight. Avengers does seem to me the better superhero film so far in 2012, though the Dark Knight Rises is a great film that nearly got there in being better than Avengers. Just that Avengers was more fun and focused on it's heroes where as Dark Knight Rises was far more about the villains and other characters, while Bruce Wayne spent the majority of the film as himself and building character development on him rather than him running around as Batman. Just wished this film had more Batman action in it, despite the good Batman action it had in the final act.

As for the right wing tilt the film had, as well as the whole Dark Knight Saga as a whole, while I'll say it's there, I'll also say it's subtle and perhaps unintentional. Don't think it was even Nolan who brought that in, but David Goyer who wrote the script. Like Silen's here on the forum, I too don't really see the film as being too much an anti-Occupy film, but the anti-clean energy message it gave off in the film did put a bad taste in my mouth.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

This movie was good but by no means great. Bane still sucks, Catwoman was purely a plot device and, again, it seems like Batman wasn't the main character ... again.

Batman Begins was my favorite of the three Nolan films, and this one had a few script snafus.


I mean, if you're gonna nuke the city anyway, why the Hell go through the effort of planting those explosives, cordoning off the island and making the anarchist republic? It doesn't seem to make any sense.

Also, how does Bruce "Broke-ass" Wayne A) afford an international flight from where the prison is to Gotham and B) get to Gotham with plenty of time to spare considering he'd have been on a plane for at least 12 or so hours?

Also, I don't really see how Catwoman knew where Bane was all the time. Did they tell us that, or is she supposed to know because she's a crook, too?

I hate to sound like I disliked the movie because I didn't. I was just hoping for more: I was expecting about what I got but was hoping for more.

Rises was definitely the weakest of this summer's big superhero movies, if you ask me.

Avengers was the best, then Amazing Spider-Man and then Dark Knight Rises. Yeah, ASM had its share of problems, too, but they didn't bother me as much as the ones in Rises did.

Oh, and I saw the Man of Steel teaser, and it made me want to see the move even less than I did previously, and that's saying something.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Sorry for the double "again"s in the first sentence...

aggraham83 said...

I actually thought this movie had by far the best hand-to-hand of the series so far, both in terms of fight choeography and fight cinematography (i.e., no close up, quick cut shaky cams). Though it's not quite as good either the Bourne movies or "pure" martial arts movies.

Did anyone else think they pulled a lot of insparation for Selina Kyle's (almost typed "Catwoman") from the choeography used in "Arkham City"

The fight scenes also proved the importance of importance of good costume design. Watch the speed difference between Hardy and Bale in the last fight...time to ditch the latex as material for future bat-suits.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Finally got to see the movie and I've ultimately got to agree with Bob on most of it... it was all text without subtext, and all tell without show.

I mean, yea, there was reference to the Occupy movement. But, it had absolutely bub-kiss to say about it because it clearly wasn't analogis... it was just a plot device.

Same deal with the "green energy" thing... it really had nothing to say either for or against it(And, just throwing this out there, despite the "green energy" rhetoric there's likely for more money behind creating fusion bomb than a fusion power plant. Let's not be in denial about that).

And we've pretty much just have their word that the "Dent Act" was this horrible Draconian law, because the movie said pretty much nothing about why it was bad, or even what it did as far as I noticed.

On top of all that you've got all of Bane's and Kyle's ridicules prose about economic inequality that completely tore me out of the movie whenever they started to yammer on.

Ultimately the movie seemed to be all style with no substance... Very reminiscent of The Avengers in that regard.

Vinny Andreotti said...

My review can be found here. I more or less agree with Bob.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the movie and don't get Bob's comment about Catwoman's "best part of the movie not for the reasons I'm thinking"... would someone please explain it to me?