Well. Nolan finally did it. He finally made a comic book movie. And my disappointment knows no bounds.
It’s the end of Batman. And he goes out with mostly a whimper disguised by a nuclear bang.
Christian Bale as Batman – Have never really been impressed with this choice, nor Nolan’s framing of the story. Bruce was missing the vow, the split personality, the palpable anger(even though he talked about it in this movie), and that voice. And I have NEVER liked that COSTUME. It’s gotten worse with each movie.
Anne Hathaway as Selina – She surprised me. I really didn’t think that she was a good choice for Catwoman, but she actually did really well here. She conveyed the essence of Selina very well. Although Hathaway often looks more like a girl than a woman.
Oh and more Bat-blasphemy to some, I cannot STAND Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman. CAN. NOT. STAND IT. At least Nolan found a brunette. Selina Kyle is not blonde. So, this pretty much makes Anne Hathaway the best live action Catwoman ever for my money.
Tom Hardy as Bane – ….honestly? Whatever. Literally could’ve been anyone in that getup and it would’ve been the same role.
Michael Caine as Alfred – Love Michael in this role, don’t like who Alfred became in this movie. More on that later.
Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as Blake/Robin – This was just stupid. Nolan can’t do a concept like Robin.
Marion Cotillard as Miranda/Talia – Best reveal of the whole movie. I have always loved Talia Al Ghul, and she’s the best translated character in the entire movie. Even though her story placement is still a fail.
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox – He’s ALWAYS a treat. Yet another role that he does so well, and so effortlessly. Like he was born to play it. I love his work.
Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon – He also is a veteran actor, nailing this role. Love his work as well.
This is really kind of the heart of why you will either love or hate this movie. Batman Begins was about exactly what the title states: why and how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. The Dark Knight was about escalation. It was about what happens when you drop vigilante justice square into the center of a deeply corrupt city. The Dark Knight Rises was about…..? A lot of things, and nothing. Except maybe that Batman’s ride was over.
Gone is the characteristic sharpness of Nolan’s first two BatFilms, both visually and in terms of plot cohesion. In its place is, everybody from Inception, some truly uncharacteristic humor, and a lot of fan winks. So much so until about halfway in I started to wonder if Nolan really directed this.
If you want a short phrase to sum up this movie, here it is: Batman is Broken. That is the message over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. He’s lost his heart and all of the cartilage in his knees. That’s the only thing the movie really wants you to know about him. He can no longer do anything on his own, including finding the motivation to come out of his self-imposed exile. He also can’t figure out how to stop the villain. Villains.
So Bruce is limping, hiding, whining, and emotionally withdrawing(all SO NOT BATMAN). Bane has come to town at the same time as Catwoman. Bane seems to want to finish Ra’s Al Ghul’s work in liberating Gotham through destruction. Bruce gets a new girlfriend, whom he turns Wayne Enterprises over to(*facepalm*). Bruce also continually gets his butt handed to him throughout the movie. Bane then breaks him even further, he goes to a hole in the desert. He then climbs an unclimbable wall, and needs Catwoman’s help to finish off Bane. Who we’ve been lead to believe is Ra’s Al Ghul’s child. Turns out that his new girlfriend Miranda Tate is actually Talia, he real child of Ra’s. She’s been behind everything that’s been happening. And it seems it was purely for vengeance on the man that supposedly killed the father she didn’t agree with.
There’s also several sub-plots: one involving exposing the truth about Harvey Dent, but without one single mention of The Joker. Another running plot involves Blake, who figures out early on that Bruce is Batman(as did every other freaking principal character in this movie). Blake works throughout the movie to support the abandoned troubled children’s program that the Wayne Foundation had been funding. Turns out his birth name is Robin, something we find out in the final moments of the film. He’s been groomed to take over for a decidedly retired Bruce, who is seemingly living in bliss with Selina by film’s end.
What They Got Right
1) The Women – Nolan is notorious for writing poor & one dimensional female characters. But here both Talia and Selina shine in their respective roles, although Selina’s role is kind of shoehorned in. Her function in the movie could’ve been achieved even if it wasn’t Catwoman doing it, while Talia obviously and specifically has to be Talia.
2) The Bat – Just incredible. It steals every scene that it’s in, no joke.
3) Gotham’s Peril – When you see that Bane has paralyzed the city and incited martial law, it just rocks. Everyone in the theater sat up in their chairs at this point.
What They Got Wrong
Sadly, almost everything else.
1) Everything about Batman – He’s broken, he’s heartless, he’s lost his mission. He constantly needs help, AND EVEN ALFRED TURNS ON HIM. He’s fighting in broad daylight, and he’s admitting his identity left and right. He’s got gray hair and he’s ready to hang the cowl up once and for all. He’s tired, he forgot he was angry, and he just turns the Cave over to someone he didn’t train.
NONE OF THAT IS BATMAN.
2) Convoluted Plot – Nolan is known for this, but here it’s just hard to follow. Or believe. Bane is preaching and pontificating all the time. He has a Darth Vaderesque voice, but he lacks the conviction of Ra’s. Turns out he was only doing it for Talia. Also, we never get a real sense of the venom that feeds Bane and makes him swell up. In addition most of his activities during the movie are kind of nonsensical.
We don’t get why Blake is important until the very end, but he receives no direct training from Bruce. BUT INHERITS THE CAVE. And, once I found out he was Robin, I still didn’t care about him any more than I initially did.
Commissioner Gordon spends most of the movie on his back in the hospital. Kind of like Professor X in the first 2 X movies.
3) Too many characters – They pulled a Schumacher. They overcaricatured versions of Bane, Catwoman, Daggett, Talia, Ra’s, and Scarecrow. Just great. When that happens it feels stuffed to the gills with campy villainy, but that’s not supposed to be the heart of a Batman movie.
4) Tone – Nolan tries to add some humor here, and it just feels out of place in his work. He’s not funny. He’s cerebral. He needs to stick with what he knows.
5) Misnamed – This movie had the Dark Knight doing anything but rising. He literally was barely surviving in almost every sense of the word; financially, socially, physically, emotionally. No, what this movie actually was was Nolan’s take on The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller’s seminal work. Nolan understood the concept as “The Last Batman Story.” What would Batman do once he got old, and can no longer fight the way he used to, due to years of damage in the field? This version of Batman just wanted the world to think he was dead, so he could retire in peace with Selina. *groan* That’s not Bruce. Bruce would NEVER stop fighting. See Batman Beyond. He’d fight even in death.
I must say, I called it a few days ago. I predicted that Batman Begins would be my favorite movie of the three, and indeed it is.
Because it’s about Batman.
Bruce does nothing but lose in this movie. I can’t stand it. Bruce loses his heart, his fortune, his best friend/surrogate father, and his secret identity. He loses his health, his edge, and in the end, his life as he knew it.
Nolan made a comic book movie. He made something over the top, with comic book physics(Catwoman never loses a skirmish, and never even gets hit in the whole movie). He made a cartoonish villain with Bane. Facemask wasn’t scary, just annoying and kind of puzzling. He showed us a Bruce Wayne that stopped caring, and started over trusting everyone around him. Bruce clearly also never got over Rachel, but Batman has lost people in the comics before and he never stopped fighting. The Joker beat Jason Todd to death, and Batman mourned, grieved, and moved on. Not whined and hid.
Bruce passed the baton to Robin, unbeknownst to us as the audience until the end. There’s never really a formal introduction of Blake even to Alfred. And, if it’s that easy to get into the cave, why hasn’t it been done before now? So by movie’s end, Bats and Catwoman are making out, the world’s ending, and she saves his bacon Han Solo style. Turns out Bane’s in love with Talia, and Talia hates Bruce. Bruce hallucinates a very powerful Ra’s moment before he climbs out of that stupid hole, and we never see Talia and Ra’s together. And the Scarecrow scenes were just beyond stupid.
Good riddance to Nolan’s vision of Batman. First two movies were outstanding. This one was crap on a stick.