Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises

Dark Knight Rises. This is a long film, and a difficult one to review. It’s a must-see for anyone who has seen the first two, which should be roughly everyone.
Its ending is brilliant, among the best I’ve seen in terms of wrapping up, delivering on promises made to the audience, and teasing more. Really good stuff, there.
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is wonderful. Great character, great performance.
As a movie, though… it has some problems. Nolan spends a fair amount of time establishing that Bane is a badass, and a bad guy, without giving us any idea of what he wants or why we care. His plan is eventually revealed, but an hour is a long time to wait for a clue as to what the plot might be. At no point, until the very end, is Bane actually an interesting character.
The dialogue is frequently hard to hear. Part of this is Bane’s machine-filtered voice and lack of lips to read. Part of it is a failure of the sound editors to get the balance right. Which is weird, because on the whole, the sound was brilliantly executed.
The fight scenes, at least the ones involving hand-to-hand combat, were boring, and frequently illogical. When Batman jumps into the middle of a group of men with guns, no one pulls the trigger? Some scenes looked like old Hong Kong action films, where the bad guys line up to come in one at a time, patiently waiting out of range for their turn to come.
Bruce Wayne’s character arc was more or less uninteresting until very far into the movie. The best character arc wasn’t even his – it was Catwoman’s.
That’s a lot of negative things. There were good things as well. The acting was superb, as were the sets and the effects. The vehicular combat scenes were easily as good as the hand-to-hand ones were bad. The overall plot was actually quite decent, once they got around to actually telling us what it was. And the ending, the ending was brilliant. A fitting conclusion to the trilogy as a whole. And it’s Batman. And Christopher Nolan. The thing has style, and cool.
It’s possible that I would feel differently about the ranking I’m giving it were I to see it again, with more rest and with foreknowledge of the plot. I’m not going to see it again (in the theater), though. I had to see it, to see it through, and I’m glad I did. It’s a good movie, flaws and all. Go see it.

1. The Avengers
2. The Amazing Spiderman
3. Brave
4. The Cabin in the Woods
5. The Secret World of Arrietty
6. The Dark Knight Rises
7. Men in Black 3
8. Prometheus
9. Hunger Games
10. The Lorax
11. Snow White and the Huntsman
12. Mirror, Mirror
13. John Carter

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