The Dark Knight disappoints
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan has made the superhero movie cool again. His spin on the Batman mythos (and hopefully the upcoming Superman mythos) has been breathtaking, heartbreaking, and all-together mind-blowing. Following the death of Heath Ledger shortly before the premier of 2008’s The Dark Knight, serious doubt was cast on whether or not Nolan would continue on with the third movie in what has become the highest-grossing superhero movie franchise of all time. On July 20, the long-anticipated The Dark Knight Rises hit theatres like a rocket from the Tumbler. I was just as excited as anybody. The finale of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy promised to be the best in the series. I thought that Nolan’s gritty realization of Batman and the seedy underbelly of Gotham would be outstanding. Instead, I got an epilogue that sank like a Bat-Anchor.
The movie opens with the villain du jour Bane, played by Tom Hardy, hijacking a CIA plane. And might I be the first to say, what in the blazing blue hell is up with Bane? I know that monstrosity of a painter’s mask on his face is supposed to be saving his life, but why does it have to muddle his voice to the point of incomprehensibility? He sounds about as intelligent as that little imbecile fresh out of oral surgery on YouTube. This is going to be a long three hours if I can’t understand the evil half of the dialogue throughout.
Cut to Bruce Wayne, reprised by Christian Bale. Since the events of the last film, Wayne has taken the Howard Hughes approach to billionaire reclusiveness. Batman has disappeared after becoming public enemy number one, and Bruce Wayne hasn’t been seen for years. Bruce has a run-in with Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle, who, although never being mentioned by the name Catwoman is, in fact, just Catwoman. After this brief encounter, Bruce Wayne decides that he needs to don the cowl once more and bring Batman back to Gotham. Just because.
"The primary problem with this film is that it doesn’t bring anything new to a series that has been so dependent on character evolution and stunning set pieces. Every review I’ve read thus far has loudly touted character development."
Bane shows up in Gotham because of the possibility of the existence of a failed nuclear generator funded by Wayne Enterprises under the city (just roll with it). Bane figures out that this generator can be turned into a four-megaton nuclear bomb if it was given the right encouragement. Batman shows up, and he and Bane throw down. Batman fails, Batman has a training montage, Batman—wait for it—rises, Batman and Bane throw down again, Batman wins. Then the ending, a screw-job, cop-out ending that practically announces that everyone involved stopped giving a shit, and shot the first thing that the most uncreative bloke on set suggested.
The primary problem with this film is that it doesn’t bring anything new to a series that has been so dependent on character evolution and stunning set pieces. Every review I’ve read thus far has loudly touted character development. There is no character development throughout the film. Whiny Character A gets less whiny in three hours. That isn’t character development. That’s puberty. Character development is what we saw in Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent in the last film. There was an incorruptible ray of hope for Gotham City that was broken by the Joker and turned into what could have been a very cool villain and a very real threat to Gotham for this movie. Instead, he’s killed off about as quickly as he appears, and we’re stuck with someone who mumbles even worse that the titular Dark Knight.
The “stunning” set pieces, too, left something to be desired. The things that made me “ooh” in the slightest were the same things that made me sit in slack-jawed wonder throughout The Dark Knight. Gunfight? Check. Freeway chase involving the Bat-Cycle? Check. Gunfight in a financial institution? Check. The only newness came when a football stadium literally opens up and swallows two entire football teams. And even then, that scene was shown in every teaser trailer and TV spot, so by the time the scene came in the movie, I was anxiously checking my watch and yawning loudly. What should have been one of the best films of 2012 just left me glaring at the screen in silent fury. This film was a let-down from beginning to end.
FIVE things I could have done instead of watching The Dark Knight
1) Take up crocheting
Crocheting is an activity that more people under the age of 102 should take up. It’s a great wrist workout, and think of the pride you’ll feel when you wear the ugly-arse sweater that you made for Christmas dinner this year.
2) Drive to Moose Jaw 5.4 times
3) Walk 10 km
The average brisk walking speed in a marathon is four miles per hour or six-point-five kilometres per hour. Anyone who knows me knows I’d be going slower than that. 10 kilometres at my average walking speed would be no problem over the run-time of TDKR.
4) Go see Marvel’s The Avengers again
I know I was harsh on superhero movies last year —in fact naming them to my worst films of 2011. But Joss Whedon and company really stepped it up with The Avengers. Thanks to Whedon’s genuinely great movie, I believe in Marvel, again.
5) Anything else in the world
Yes, I could have done literally anything else on the goddamn planet, and been happier than I was watching The Dark Knight Rises. I can handle being disappointed by genuinely bad films, but being disappointed by films that had so much to live up to is all that much worse.