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We have Beards so we know Movies: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

August 22, 2012

Brace yourselves; here is my review of The Dark Knight Rises. It’s loaded with SPOILERS so you might not want to continue reading on if you haven’t seen the movie yet. (And if you want to read the review in Swedish instead, click here!)

I didn’t like it — period. It was epic but stupid. I usually like Christopher Nolan movies the first time I see them, but then they tend to dissolve like Fizzies in water as soon as I re-watch them. However, this time it was enough to see the movie once (or perhaps I will like it when I re-watch it..?)

Nolan doesn’t seem to like superhero comics and tries desperately to put everything in a realistic world, which I would like if he did it completely and not just when it suits him. When something from the comic book Batman is removed, Nolan excuses it with it “not suiting his realistic version” but as soon as something is deemed false or illogical he credits it to be “in honor of the comic book world’s suspension of disbelief” – something that DOESN’T define good comics at all…

I have decided to keep this review as short as I possibly can (believe me – it could have become longer!) and to achieve that I have made a list of 10 things (in no particular order) of stuff I don’t think worked and then end with a few words on what I actually did like.

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1. The Plot.

I challenge you to re-tell the plot for me without scratching your heads and think “was that how it really was?”, because without the powerful musical score which tells you “what you see now is really important, believe me!” the house of cards will fall. Let me give it a try:

“Ehrm… Bane, who is like a cool character… ehrm… plans to blow up Gotham.. for some reason… Oh, yeah! Because that girl’s dad wanted that and he… ehrm.. is like in love with her.. eh.. Yeah, but he doesn’t blow up the town, he just lets a bomb tick for five months so that..

Ehrm… Fuck it! Let’s talk about Bruce Wayne instead! I mean, he IS the hero and the centre of the story and he… ehrm… builds some kind of energy-thing in secret that only he and Morgan Freeman know about… and perhaps a hundred construction workers who built the underground damn that…

Fuck it! Let’s talk about Batman instead!! Batman is the true centre of the story and he quit being a hero because… ehrm… thanks to the fact that he in the last movie took responsibility for what Harvey Dent/ Two-Face did.. ehrm.. crime has been outlawed in Gotham. Actually, we should outlaw crime everywhere; it’s a great idea.

Yeah, but Batman returns because… Bane returns? Or because that tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun asks him? I’m not really sure but I’ll bet it was memorable because it was a major plot point…

Anyway, Batman returns only to get the shit beaten out of him and get to spend the rest of the movie like he was Ivanhoe (and yes, just like in that one, he chooses the wrong girl here as well).

Because, he should have chosen Catwoman (who isn’t called Catwoman in the movie because Nolan thinks that is silly) even though she’s obviously a lesbian, at least she is one up to the point where they needed an ending that says Bruce Wayne “made it” because.. ehrm… Alfred said so. Yeah, that he has succeeded if he has a coffee somewhere in Europe with a woman who loves him. *cough* Not farfetched at all.”

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2. The Characters.

Pretty much every character seems to be driven by the screenwriters as if they were puppets. None of them seem to have a will of their own, and they are only driven by what is important for the extremely hollow plot. Why does Alfred leave? “Well, it’s because it’s needed for that really clever final scene which is almost Inception-like, but amazingly even more strained”.

Bane talks about torturing souls and setting off an atomic bomb with a five-month countdown.. Why? Is it to play Caligula on the deserted streets of Gotham (who still seem to have garbage pickups and other stuff a city needs to not completely deteriorate)? NO, it’s because he’s a fool in love, a henchman who starts to cry when the musical score plays a “sad theme”.

I actually only thought two characters were believable, Commissioner Gordon and the tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun. To be honest, I can’t believe no other character reacts to all the bad stuff happening like they do!

The girls are actually pretty kick-ass, but sadly they only fill one purpose: How I Met Your Mother or Who Shall Alfred See Bruce Have a Coffee With in The End?

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3. The Fingerprints

Bane needs fingerprints from someone on the board of Wayne Enterprises to activate the atomic bomb, so he sneaks in to their office building in the middle of the day with a bunch of armed guys and forces someone to accompany him voluntarily.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to use Bruce Wayne’s fingerprints, which he already has in his possession? I mean, he bought them from Catwoman earlier and I’m pretty sure Bruce’s fingerprints work better. (And did the board even know about the bomb? Should its safety even be in jeopardy due to their fingerprints?

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4. The Bomb.

In the Screenwriting business there’s a lot of talk about a movie’s “time lock”. You know; in romantic comedies the guy has to say to the girl that he loves her before she marries the wrong guy, in a thriller they have to find the exonerating evidence before an innocent person is executed and so on… It’s basically a deadline for the main character that sprays gasoline on the fire we call “excitement” in a movie.

The most classic “time lock” is the ticking bomb. “We have to save X and defeat Y before the bomb explodes!”

I would have loved to have been at the meeting with Warner Brothers when Christopher Nolan pitched his idea:

-“And then Bane threatens to blow up Gotham City with an atomic bomb!”
“-Wow, how exciting! How much time does Batman have to save the city?”

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5. The Police.

I will give you all the time and money in the world to complete this mission: Trap 3000 policemen underground without killing them, keep them there for five months without them starving to death (even though they only seem to be able to receive tiny notes from the tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun through a manhole cover) and make sure when they are trapped that they all somehow lose their guns, because when they finally resurfaces it will look so much cooler if they face their enemies unarmed. (I don’t know, perhaps I missed a scene where the starving policemen eat their guns to survive?)

Sure, it helps that the first hour of the movie establishes that the Gotham Police Force is as incompetent as the police force in The Blues Brothers… but still! Come on.

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6. Spa Torture.

Bane wants to “torture Bruce Wayne’s soul” and accomplishes that by throwing him into a pit. A pit where nice old men massages his aching back and gives him life advice and a way to freedom through a climbing wall where you need to be able to jump like a panicky child to be able to get through.

Oh yeah, and a TV so he doesn’t miss what’s happening plot-wise, so the screenwriters doesn’t have to have someone retell him everything that has happened later when (WHEN, not IF) he manages to escape. Ehrm… great torture, Bane. Kudos.

the animated comedy series and blog lunki and sika
7. Closed Off Gotham.

Nobody can get in or out – the whole town is closed off. Which is why it’s so important for Bruce Wayne and the tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun to get a school bus full of orphan children out of there before the city explodes. Bruce asks the tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun to nicely persuade those extremely stupid army guys who are guarding the only bridge out to let them through because… well, because they are orphan children. If you don’t help orphan children you will never win a Miss USA contest.

Smart plan. An even smarter plan would have been if Bruce Wayne had explained to the tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun which way he himself took when he returned from that prison pit abroad. I would personally have chosen that way instead of the bridge.

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8. Kryptonite.

Nolan doesn’t like silly supernatural figments in his Batman movies (who he doesn’t even want to call Batman movies) so he removes the fact that Bane inhales something called “Venom” in the comic books to be able to become Popeye strong. No, Nolan thinks it’s more “for real” that Bane walks around sniffing some kind of pain relieving gas through his mask.

Why even put it in there? Well, it’s in there because the screenwriters needs an Achilles heel in the middle of the face of their… ehrm… physically invincible villain… who really isn’t that invincible, it’s just that people have been eating all the guns in the city so nobody has the possibility to shoot the guy. If Bane was real smart he would down a couple of Tylenol instead, but I guess Nolan would find that idea tasteless due to… well… Heath Ledger.

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9. The Bomb. Again!

An atomic bomb that explodes within a minute of Bat-flying-thing distance from the city? Congratulations Gotham! You have cancer.

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10. Alfred likes cafés.

One example of something that sums up the entire Dark Knight screenplay structure is Alfred’s love of having a coffee at a specific café in Florence ONCE a year and fantasizing about Bruce Wayne showing up and having a good life. It’s ONLY at that café, once a year that Alfred thinks about Bruce Wayne; the man he raised, having a good life.

How lucky that Bruce listened carefully to Alfred when he told that story, so he later can show up there with a lesbian Catwoman (that was her only function in the movie, right?) because it IS a nice scene… so nice that you don’t even care how extremely obvious the setup is.

And THAT is how everything in the screenplay is set up. Every action, every character, every scene, every “bad guys has their own court of law, and even if it’s cool it doesn’t serve a purpose because it’s always the same judgment”-concoction is based on “Yeah yeah, the point of it is FUN” – which is the opposite of “It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.”

Which is fine by me, but if they make a movie where the journey doesn’t matter I think it would be a good idea to make it a SHORTER JOURNEY!!

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Okay, so what DID I like then? I really liked all the actors, but mostly the tiny guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun. The movie is powerfully epic, bit parts who was in the trailer, the plane hijacking in the beginning, Bane up to the point where you get to know why he does what he does, Bruce Wayne limping, Gordon’s fast recovery when it is really needed and stuff like that. It’s mostly good stuff that I expect in every movie and not stuff I should be surprised to get in a comic book movie.

I’m insanely jealous of everyone that loved the movie…

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More “We have Beards so we know Movies!” Reviews
Men in Black 3
The Hunger Games
The Thing (2011) vs The Thing (1982) vs The Thing from Another World (1951)
The Turin Horse
Straw Dogs
Midnight in Paris  Green Lantern
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Death Wish 1-5
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D
Super 8
Red Riding Hood
The Hangover Part II
Fast Five 
Thor 3D 
Tron: Legacy
the animated comedy series and blog lunki and sika

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2012 10:59

    Phew…thought I was the only one who didn’t like it!

    • Janne the Director permalink
      August 30, 2012 10:59

      Phew… I thought nobody read this.

  2. September 1, 2012 10:59

    Nice review!! Anyway, I really like the movie. And I think the last scene when the policeman John Blake said that his first name is Robin makes me think that there might be the next Batman film featuring Robin. But, since we seen him in the last scene entering the Batman’s underground cave, I also think that he might be the new Batman. But we’ll never know.

    Christian Bale stated that this will be his last Batman movie!!

  3. September 18, 2012 10:59

    epic but stupid, agreed.

  4. ChrisV permalink
    November 28, 2012 10:59

    LOL, I made the same exact Adam West Batman holding the Dark Knight Nuclear reactor photo with MS_Paint.. I guess I wasn’t the only one. :/

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