July 25, 2012 by Tim

Well. I saw The Dark Knight Rises. I know a lot of people haven’t yet, so I’ll keep this little review spoiler free.

First of all, I didn’t hate the movie. On the same token, I didn’t love it, either. I guess I would say it was a solid outing, without feeling really as memorable or as spectacular as the first two.

The movie was three hours long, and I’ll admit, it felt like it at times. Some of it meandered a bit, some of it felt a little disjointed, and eventually during the last hour things start coming together and moving at an entertaining clip, drawing to an ultimately (mostly) satisfying finish.

I will say that I’ve come to enjoy the movie more since I’ve left the theater than I did while I was actually watching the movie. And I don’t mean that in a snarky way. The reflection on the overall story of TDKR I find to be better than the actual three hour experience. I’m not sure that makes it a good movie, but I think it’s safe to say it isn’t a bad one either. It certainly leaves me curious as to whether or not a second viewing, knowing what’s in store now, would be a better watch. That’s a three hour experiment I’m not really running to try any time soon though.

Overall, with magnitude of the hype and expectations I think everyone placed on this movie, being the third in a trilogy, and following the incredible Dark Knight, I’m not sure it could have ever lived up completely and wholly in every aspect.

What we ended up with is a decent final chapter of Nolan’s Batman story, that I think is just this side of “good enough” but doesn’t reach the realm of “great” that we were hoping for.

Below I’ll post some of my main gripes with the movie, if you’re curious, but be warned, they contain spoilers.

Bane: I think Tom Hardy did a great job, but there were too many annoying factors about the character itself. First of all, he has some ridiculous face mask on, and they never explain what it does to help him beyond “He suffered some serious injury that left him in lots of pain.” We never found out how The Joker got his scars either, but in that case the scars did not also cause problems for the audience.

With Bane’s mask, 70% of Tom Hardy’s face is obscured, leaving him just his eyes to act with. He did a phenominal job, but it makes it hard to connect with the character at all. Additionally, so much of what he said was muffled. This was a big problem in early screenings, so you can tell that the studio did some sort of audio tinkering to try and “boost” his voice audio- it was particularly jarring in the first scene in the plane. It never sounded like the voice was coming from Bane, but rather was voiced over by a narrator.

So we have to deal with the consequences of this mask, arguably the only thing that makes the character unique and imposing (since they ditched the venom aspect of Bane), and we never even find out what it does/why he needs to wear it.

I also disliked how Bruce and Alfred parted ways. I agree that the secret Alfred kept could very well have been a shatter point for their relationship, but to have the whole thing go down like that in a matter of minutes, standing in a stairwell… it felt like not enough weight was given to that scene. And we see no follow-up. Alfred leaves, and Bruce barely makes second mention of it. After decades of being raised and looked after by the guy.

And finally… where the hell were the people of Gotham in this movie? Apart from a busload of kids, you hardly ever saw any citizens… in a city that was supposedly being taken under siege. You barely even see Batman in this movie, apart from his very brief retirement comeback and his also very brief ending comeback, so clearly the story was meant to be about the bigger picture, about saving Gotham. But you never see the people they’re all so desperately trying to save. Gotham seemed like more of a movie set for the main events to happen in, than a living breathing city that anyone called home.

With that said, I did like the twist with Talia at the end, and I did enjoy watching Bruce’s back get broken, and having him come back from that. I also enjoyed the passing of the cowl that takes place at the end, even though that part is bittersweet because we’ll probably never see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a Batman movie of his own.

I think Begins and The Dark Knight were better, more tightly spun stories, but The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t horrible.

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