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Christopher Nolan and this Batman trilogy.
July 20, 2012 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Nolan’s Batman Trilogy: A Unique Achievement in Myth-Making
posted by Brandon Blatcher (229 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can we declare this thread to be spoilerific? I'll hold off for now, but regardless this article reads like a high school essay. Quite similar to the script in that regard, actually. Despite being 2:40, it felt like there never was any time to breathe, just endless expositing of the narrative. But I'll save my true wrath for the mind-numbing anti-oneliners. And the ***** ******.
posted by SomaSoda at 5:10 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just rot13 it just in case!
posted by jason_steakums at 5:12 PM on July 20, 2012


This is a great comment about spoilers:

The hang-wringing, "But I haven't had time to catch up on my Tivo/torrent" no-spoiler internet entitlement Mafia has become too pervasive, too powerful. It stifles legitimate debate or starts each pop culture topic off on an immediate spoiler derail, all because someone, somewhere might learn that Ned Stark dies in the penultimate episode of season 1, as if the book hadn't been out since 1999. Here's an unoriginal thought, if you haven't watched the latest episode, don't fucking click on the review/analytic blog post the day afterwards, much less pretend to have an inalienable right to a spoiler free discussion, or thread-sit demanding of spoiler tags a week, or a month, or a whole damn decade after the fact.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


um, spoilers aside, is it really in good taste to be discussing this film today?
posted by sexyrobot at 5:28 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


After reading the Atlantic review for the movie which says there are too many flashbacks to Batman Begins, I've been wondering if this whole thing was designed to work well as a trilogy. That plus the whole "Batman Trilogy" thing they had screening last night... And Nolan is pretty good with playing the long game, with ends of things tying back into the beginnings, etc....

I haven't seen this new film yet... thought about going this morning early, but decided I'd hold out to see if the IMAX (not FauxMAX) theater might be showing it in a month or two. I'd rather see it in that format.
posted by hippybear at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2012


A Dark Knight for Romney? Don't believe Limbaugh—the most recent Batman movie is an epic for the 1%
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know about this. I didn't think Batman Begins was particularly good, for one thing, and The Dark Knight was great, it was also very uneven. And Batman himself is the least well-done part of these movies. His action isn't Batman-y, the voice thing is weird, and there's not enough detective. I think people are getting riled up for the same reason they got riled up over Avengers — it's a superhero movie and it doesn't suck. But that's not the same as being unique or great.

I haven't seen TDKR, admittedly, but this analysis put a lot of emphasis on the previous movies as well as this one.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we declare this thread to be spoilerific?

Since the link is about the trilogy as a finalized whole, it wouldn't be fair to expect people to discuss it without spoilers. I haven't seen it yet, so I'm just going to avoid this thread for now.
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on July 20, 2012


all because someone, somewhere might learn that Ned Stark dies in the penultimate episode of season 1,

thanks for that -- just started watching Game of Thrones, Season 1.

Seriously.

But I already knew anyway, because the only ten minutes I've managed to catch EVER of Game of Thrones were the ten minutes where Ned Stark was killed.

And who really cares anyway? I long ago decided that, as far as mainstream movies etc are concerned, the discussions people have about them (online, in bars, around the water cooler) are often far more interesting, suspenseful, action-packed, shocking, ENGAGING than the movies themselves.

Welcome to the age we're in. Way more movies etc to choose from than ever before, way more options as to when/how to actually see them. Hell, I hardly ever watch a sports event live anymore. Why not just wait until tomorrow when I can zap through the commercials?

Which means that Spoiler avoidance is far more my challenge than yours. Keep on ranting in the free world.
posted by philip-random at 5:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's probably not to hard to make the case that this is a film for the 1 percenters. As the previews show, there are a lot of rick people getting thrown out on the street and pulled out from under tables, and -- spoiler -- they are put on trial for the crime of being rich.

The film occasionally references A Tale of Two Cities, though, and this is the source of the reference -- history, not any affection for rich people. The influence of these scenes is the Reign of Terror, and this is not meant to show that, left in charge, the 99 percent will turn commie and unjustly execute the rich, but instead that, when a power vacuum occurs and a Maximilien Robespierre's-style demagogue seeks power, he will execute his political enemies, and propagandize it as populism. This is historically true, and terrible.

The film doesn't really seem to have much sympathy for the rich. With the exception of Wayne, who only seems to care about money inasmuch as it might allow him to be Batman, the rich are cyphers dressed in suits or furs. Seriously, all the women have furs. The rich who are in power are universally corrupt. The people who run the stock market are treated as smarmy assholes.

In the meanwhile, there are a group of orphans who are treated with real sympathy, and the film makes a case that Bruce Wayne may be at least as useful to them as Bruce Wayne, philanthropist, as when he is Batman. That, in fact, when the rich turn inward and stop their support for the poor, it breeds the exact conditions that lead to revolutionary anger against the rich.

The film isn't really an economics or history lecture, and I don't feel it goes any deeper than that. But Bane doesn't talk like a revolutionary because he's the nihilistic side of the Occupy movement. He is, in part, a sort-of scion to an old, wealthy, and destructive secret society, and he uses revolutionary rhetoric because he's a propagandist, as this article says. He dresses up his actions in the language of manifesto, not because anyone believes anything he does, but because if they all act like they do, they might survive another day.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


sexyrobot: Yes!!!
posted by raysmj at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2012


Do people actually unironically use the term "1 percenter"?
posted by KokuRyu at 6:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a stand-alone movie, The Dark Knight Rises is pretty darn good

no
posted by Greg Nog at 6:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I really don't like it when people come into a thread about X going "I hate X but I can't explain why" but I really don't like these Batman movies and I feel like I have to express it when I can in case there are other rabid Batman fans out there like me who are furious that this is what the character is being defined by these days. I haven't seen the latest one, but I hear he does that ridiculous voice less, so maybe its better. I know you're out there h8rs! Hold fast to the Ship!

Long story short: Batmans should be fun, and not all portentousness and gloom and growls and Ethics 101 quandaries and Drowning Pool songs. No thank you. I'd rather watch the animated series ...from the 60s yo!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: I have a continuing odd fondness for the first two Batman movies by Tim Burton, so I'm right there with you about these new ones. I'm interested in seeing this new one, but it's not really a Batman I love.

Frankly, I wish Burton had taken Batman into a space of true psychotic with Batman Begins, and had him reliving the death of his parents, only with the Penguin or Catwoman as their killer. So that EVERY villain he confronts is, in his mind, the one who killed his parents. That would have been a nicely dark twist on his psyche that I could support.
posted by hippybear at 6:39 PM on July 20, 2012


Um...
damn

Okay... once more...

"I wish that Burton had taken Batman into a space of true psychotic with Batman Returns..."
posted by hippybear at 6:41 PM on July 20, 2012


On the other hand, I'm a huge fan of the Frank Miller-style Batman, though I love Adam West in a kitschy sort of way (one of the preshows during the marathon I went to included the famous shark punching scene). Fun and good superheros are boring. Give me the tortured sociopath.

I was actually glad I went to a marathon screening of the entire trilogy because I'd forgotten so much of Batman Begins and TDKR seemed to explicitly tie to that time and time again.

I'm not a huge Supes fan, but one thing that has me intrigued is something Nolan did with Batman. It's a recurring question through the series: Is having Batman around worth the price? Joker is implicitly a reaction to Batman's actions in the first movie. Harvey Dent only has his reputation maintained through lies, and we know what happens there. We find out what happens to Gordon's family in TDKR. Not only does everyone in Bruce Wayne's life suffer, everyone that Batman gets involved with winds up suffering. And if you look at it, the answer leans "No".

If Nolan makes Superman movies worth watching or at least that asks that kind of question, he should be canonized.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nolan is making a Superman movie next?
posted by hippybear at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2012


Yase.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:52 PM on July 20, 2012


Nolan Superman: WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH POWERRRRRR. Some girl: Let me explain, you see the quantum genetic compounds [1 hour later] and that's why you have to kill your human parents, btw I'm your SISTER. Supernolan: TWISSSSSSSSST!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


^Spoiler alert.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


BlackLeotardFront: ...and there's not enough detective.

Unfortunately, there was some detective.

I try my best to disregard these movies, along with Nolan's output generally. It's puzzling to me how this trilogy can be both regarded as OMG the greatest cinematic endeavour in the history of cinema! no, storytelling!, yet simultaneously have such a preponderance of basic, obvious flaws which are freely acknowledged, yet somehow, as if by diktat, aren't to be counted against it. Equivalent works of Hollywood fluff don't get afforded this liberty, presumably because they're not so epically po-faced, or cleverly marketed, or exuding pseudo-intellectual bathos enough to earn the critical pass.

An example of this bizarre doublethink from this article, discussing Gotham's representation across the films: it's conveniently forgotten that the entire cityscape abruptly morphed between the first and second films from fantastically noirish, sepia-illuminated futurist-art deco to... modern day Chicago as shot by the Law & Order crew? Okay, shit happens during big-budget sequel productions (not often on the scale of completely scrapping the established visual aesthetic, mind) but isn't that kind of noteworthy in an analysis of the city's portrayal? Lesser details of the visual production are given attention. Let's everybody discuss the 28 subtle blends of fruitiness in the Kool-Ade, just nobody mention the disturbing aftertaste.

Such a significant stylistic u-turn doesn't speak to the esteem that these films inexplicably seem to be held in. And pretending it does only speaks to the mendacity of cherry-picking reviewers, engaged in a propagandistic circlejerk around a second-rate filmmaker foisted into the limelight through industry need rather than actual artistic merit.

Predictably, it appears reaction regarding the latest offering is largely tentative and pre-apologetic criticisms about precisely the kind of problems that result when a modest talent like Nolan's is flattered beyond all proportion: overlong, error-strewn, confusingly motivated, mis-edited, and totally, depressingly humourless - a common characteristic of inflated works, because of course, if the illegitimate permits his audience to laugh, there's the danger they might not stop.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 6:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Nolan is making a Superman movie next?

Yase.

Well, he's only making Man Of Steel tangentially... Zach Snyder is the one directing the project. Nolan took a story developed by David S. Goyer and helped get the studio interested in the film.

It could be interesting, but we'll see how it all turns out.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


is it really in good taste to be discussing this film today?

Yeah, it's opening day.

I hear he does that ridiculous voice less

Maybe less, but he still does it, and it's still atrocious; it continues to alternate between raspy nasality and tongue-forward mouth-breathing, in a way that suggests Batman's just some dude with a really bad cold. Fucking awful.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

It would be cool if this was the only unBatmanlike thing about the character, but for most of the film, Bale-as-Wayne just doesn't feel imposing, or tragic, or mysterious; he just comes off like a dude in a SWAT team outfit, shuffling around awkwardly. How will he defeat Bane during their first fight? Well uh he just kinda swings at him a lot. How about the second fight, after he's Learned To Believe In Himself? Surely, he'll take a new tactic? Throw a new surprise in there? Be clever in some way? NOPE, just takes a bunch of swings at the dude again.

That repeated fight was maybe my least favorite example in the film of how Nolan kind of just stupidly trundles the plot forward without much of a sense that things have consequences, though it's hard for it to take the gold compared to the two other most laughably bad parts:

- the army of police officers (largely equipped with pistols) marching toward Bane's army (largely equipped with submachine guns) in a sloooow frontal assault, rather than using any kind of tactics.

- Blake-aka-pseudo-Dick-Grayson's explanation of how he figured out Wayne was Batman: "Oh yeah, one time I met you, and you seemed really angry, so I figured yr Batman? So I know yr secret identity now, hope thats cool. welp anyway bye"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:01 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


SPIOLERS!!!!! YAY

The way Robin sniffed out Batman's identity was ridiculous, that made me cringe. The Bane fights and the police using pre-WWI battle tactics also made me groan.

I also thought Talia was wasted. What a great character and story completely misused for an unnecessary twist.
posted by PJLandis at 7:04 PM on July 20, 2012


I also thought Talia was wasted. What a great character and story completely misused for an unnecessary twist.

OH MY GOD I KNOW RIGHT

The whole thing felt like the makings of a really good movie: throw Talia in unexpectedly! Anne Hathaway as a reasonably-cool Catwoman, with a practical explanation for the "cat ears" on her outfit! Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Nightwing! Bane having a disconcertingly cheerful-avuncular voice! And the main crisis being an adaptation of the post-earthquake storyline from the comics, with Gotham cut off from civilization!

But christ almighty, Nolan's direction and Bale's acting were just wretchedly mediocre, and managed to turn all those great things into a middling 2h40m slog of a thing.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:10 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's hard to think of anything good in this movie, and I liked the first two a lot. The writing was just bad, bad, bad. It's like the Nolans found a list of the things you shouldn't do as a filmmaker, and then did all those things. Except filming action sequences in IMAX, all filmmakers should do that.

Good things: The beginning sequence. Catwoman. Imax. Um...

Bad things: Just about everything else about the movie.

SPOILER:

Something I learned: You can have a piece of your spine sticking out of your back, have someone punch it back in and hang you from a rope, and not only will you be fine, all your previous health problems will disappear!

Very disappointed.
posted by Huck500 at 7:22 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


That movie made no sense whatsoever. The only real spoiler is there are no spoilers.
posted by Ardiril at 7:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


My sweetie and I went to a midnight showing after being awake since 5am, so we were only really capable of noticing and developing opinions about little bits of the movie. Did anyone else see the typo in the scene with all the newspaper headlines about Catwoman? One of them said "JEWEL HIEST". Immersion shattered :(

The dude thought that Bane's voice sounded a lot like Sean Connery in Celebrity Jeopardy, and he's not wrong!
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:23 PM on July 20, 2012


One of them said "JEWEL HIEST"

I think it was actually an article about the famous German folksinger.

You can have a piece of your spine sticking out of your back, have someone punch it back in and hang you from a rope, and not only will you be fine, all your previous health problems will disappear!

Wow look at Mr. AMA here, can't handle how effective chiropracty is as a panacea
posted by Greg Nog at 7:27 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


It is clearly the summer of people nitpicking the shit out of awesome, ambitious epics. Who cares about the plausibility of Blake's method of figuring out Batman's identity?
posted by eugenen at 7:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going to go see Batman. This weekend. I'll be goddamned before I let some loser prick get in the way of my silver-screen superhero.

Batman needs my help? I'm there, come hell or high water. I just hope it doesn't suck as much as is reported...

... Even so, some perspective, please. There will be no bat-nipples, here.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:33 PM on July 20, 2012


Who cares about the plausibility of Blake's method of figuring out Batman's identity?

People who are... actually watching the movie?

BTW was his method to just look at the lower half of Batman's face? The lower half of his face with the annoyingly off-centre open bite? Or, wait no, that would make sense.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nitpicking? Why bother hijacking a CIA plane just to fake a physicist's death? Why even bother faking his death? That's just the first scene. The plot holes just get bigger thereafter.
posted by Ardiril at 7:37 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think we can all agree it was a good idea to spend so much time on whether or not he could make the same jump that a little kid made. Batman could totally win Nickelodeon Guts!
posted by unsupervised at 7:38 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think we can all agree it was a good idea to spend so much time on whether or not he could make the same jump that a little kid made.

I love how the film never actually shows you a side view of the gap between the ledges, so you never get a sense of how hard it actually is, so it doesn't really feel all that satisfyingly impressive when he does it.

I think I would have preferred a silent-movie-esque title-card that said, "Hi guys, Chris Nolan here, so in this scene Batman proves he's Very Determined but I'm really shitty with making exciting visuals so I just want you to take my word that Batman does something super cool and impressive right now okay c ya"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:42 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I'll start the pathetic, wretched, impossible fight back against such impossible odds of snark and and dislike. It is beyond the comprehension of heroic achievement, to reach this plateau. It's impossible, sequestered in this abyss of failure as my beloved city fails into anarchy and ruin. I can never defeat these odds. It's impossible to traverse that climb, its never been done, apart from one.

Maybe I can....
posted by Mintyblonde at 7:45 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn, I'm sure am glad I didn't see the movie all you wet blankets and nitpickers saw. The Dark Knight Rises that I saw is indeed a pretty darn good movie, all by itself, and as the capper on a trilogy, maybe the best third film in a series ever.

This movie is very nearly three hours long, yet when I saw it, i never noticed the length of it. I liked the arc that Alfred's character was given, I liked all the callbacks to the previous two Nolan films, and found the ending to this film be one of the most satisfying I've seen in a few years. Also: CATWOMAN CATWOMAN CATWOMAN!



SPOILER


The only thing that I didn't really buy was the sudden love affair between Wayne and the (gasp!) daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, Talia. That seemed forced. However, I very very much liked how Justin Gordon Levitt's character figured out who Batman was, and his character's 'legal' name.



END SPOILER

I have to say, I didn't mind at all seeing 1 percenters getting knocked around a bit, and I use that phrase as unironically as possible. Personally, I would have liked it if there had been a scene where Bane briefly took off the mask, revealed some serious Cthulu-type eldrich anatomy, and actually ate a rich person. Whole. But that's just me.


I expect to see a scene in Zach Snyder's Superman where Supes punches something/someone in super slow-motion, then speed up as he goes to the next guy/thing, then punch in slo-mo again.
posted by KHAAAN! at 7:47 PM on July 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


You must have seen a different movie, Khaan, because in the the version I saw, Alfred didn't have an arc. He quit.
posted by Ardiril at 7:52 PM on July 20, 2012


sigh.

Alfred quit, yes. But, this was a surprise, because in every other Batman story I've ever seen, Alfred never, ever quits. He's always in it to the bitter end. For Wayne to lose Alfred, well, that was an interesting way to raise some stakes. He tells a story to Wayne, about what he did while he waited for Wayne to return to Gotham, and then at the very end, that little story gets a nice payoff, IMO.
posted by KHAAAN! at 7:57 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems to me Nolan could have come up with a more plot-driving device to write Alfred out of the movie.
posted by Ardiril at 8:03 PM on July 20, 2012


I can't believe it's worse than the first two. Thanks for saving me the ticket price!
posted by dobbs at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2012


It is clearly the summer of people nitpicking the shit out of awesome, ambitious epics. Who cares about the plausibility of Blake's method of figuring out Batman's identity?

How about the fact that you could barely understand anything anyone was saying, thanks to muddy accents, face-masks, and silly growls? Or see anything because everything was tinted five shades too dark?

Or the fact that Batman, a brilliant crime fighter with lots of cool gadgets, goes into battle with someone whose main weakness is the literally a big dunk-tank button right in the middle of his face, but fails to do anything but just punch him uselessly in the torso?

Or how Batman just magically returns after the weird prison interlude without any hint at how he managed to get back onto the island?

Or that Batman basically flies around in a Transformer?

Or someone curing his back injury with a sharp punch to the spine?

I thought it was a big hysterical shrieking mess, storytelling-wise. The passage of time, especially in the second half, was virtually impossible to track, jumping ahead weeks or months at a time. The notion that a batallion of police officers trapped underground for months would emerge healthy and battle-ready is so ridiculous I can't even.

Christopher Nolan gets a lot of credit for making "cerebral" and intelligent films, but he is the least introspective storyteller ever. He assigns emotional issues to characters without any interest in exploring them -- it's just away of getting from point A to point B in the story. No one's motivations in this movie made any sense, except perhaps Selena Kyle's, which is why she managed to steal the movie.
posted by hermitosis at 8:05 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


"how he managed to get back onto the island?"

I got that one! He made the river freeze while he rigged the bridge pyro-effects just over the heads of the Army.
posted by Ardiril at 8:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also agree with the Sean Connery/Bane resemblence: "You're the Batman now, dawg!"
posted by hermitosis at 8:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


the movie is really boring. the writing is atrocious, the acting is bad. the editing, especially with regards to the music, is jarring, the story is lame, etc. The only unexpectedly bright spot was seeing Tom Conti! (yay) There's no tension, there's no interest, it's a boring, normal comic book story. Talia's death scene was laughable and the twist demolished anything interesting about Bane as a villain. Alfred turned into Samwise Gamgee and cried the whole movie. Fox was a boring Q. The handling of the nuclear bomb was ridiculous. Gordon spends the movie in bed. nothing good (other than Conti and Gordon Leavitt does ok considering he has to deliver some really stupid lines). Bale is just no good. Hathaway was wasted. the Nolan brothers really make Joss Whedon look like a genius in comparison with this one.
posted by sineater at 8:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn it, I hate these threads. They always throw me for a loop.

See, I saw TDKR. I went to a midnight screening and everything yesterday--today. And my reaction, even after noting the silly things like the back-punch and the growlings was--I liked it. Loved it, even. One thumb up vigorously.

And now I'm reading these threads, and it's not like you guys are saying stuff like "that's not Bane's backstory in the comics" or whatever. No. You guys are making good points. Very good points that make very good sense.

So now I'm feeling like my surety has been kicked in the kneecaps, is what I'm saying. Now I have no idea whether TDKR was a good film or not. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe you're all right. Maybe I'm dumb. Maybe I'm dumb and my opinion is dumb.

Maybe this is like the time I watched Bulletproof Monk, loved it, and then when I watched it a second time I realized how utterly terrible it was.
posted by KChasm at 8:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I really enjoyed it myself. I would say it was $10 quite well spent.
posted by jamincan at 8:24 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


As well, the time has come for competing writers to coordinate their endings. Two nuclear explosions in one summer is a bit much.
posted by Ardiril at 8:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would say it was $10 quite well spent.

Well, I will still agree with that. The movie was BIG. It was, as they say, "very something."

Something doesn't have to be good or intelligent for me to enjoy it. This was neither good OR intelligent, and I enjoyed like maybe 2/3 of it.
posted by hermitosis at 8:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The protagonist of this movie dresses up like a bat and talks like Clint Eastwood with laryngitis. I adjust my expectations accordingly.

Like I was saying earlier, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie, and you party-poopers can go pound sand.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


I am honestly surprised that people had so much trouble with the voices. I watched a very grainy, smart-phone-captured version of the 6-minute "prologue" last week and had trouble with the voice, but could make it out. In the theatre, though, I was surprised at how well I could understand Bane. I actually thought they could have made him sound a bit more distorted and menacing.

But anyway, my main point:

I enjoyed the time I spent in the movie theatre today. I recognize the faults. Many of you are making fair points. I thought the first bit of the movie had some unnecessary exposition-through-dialogue. I, too, wondered how Batman all of a sudden showed up in Gotham after climbing out of the prison. But whatever. I wasn't expecting Casablanca or great cinema. I wanted to have a fun time and see Batman and Bane and Catwoman. I thought it was a nice way to end the trilogy. I don't expect an amazing, introspective statement on the human condition from a movie about a guy who dresses up in a bat suit, and I don't know why people are disappointed and complain that they don't get it. If I wanted that, I wouldn't have gone to see Batman. It's a superhero movie, and compared to many, many other superhero movies, it was quite good. To me, it was the Return of the Jedi to The Dark Knight's Empire Strikes Back, sans Ewoks, and I'm good with that. So, if you didn't like it, fine. I won't try to convince you it was a brilliant movie. But I liked it.
posted by synecdoche at 8:34 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a film this long, though, 1/3 is a LOT of movie to not enjoy.
posted by hermitosis at 8:34 PM on July 20, 2012


I wasn't expecting Casablanca or great cinema. I wanted to have a fun time and see Batman and Bane and Catwoman.

That's what's so weird to me though -- the movie wasn't very fun, it was a "serious" movie about urban warfare and redemption, which made the moments with Batman and Catwoman kick-fighting on a rooftop seem extra silly and out of place.

Like, what movie do you REALLY want to be making, Nolan? Go make that.
posted by hermitosis at 8:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the link:

You'll hear a lot about the politics of The Dark Knight Rises over the next few days — already, people are talking about it being an Occupy Wall Street movie, even though there was no Occupy movement when the film was written. But if there's a political message in the film, it's about Giuliani's New York, and the hidden fragility of a city that's been "cleaned up" with a heavy hand, based on propaganda.

Really? Bane is Giuliani, cleaning up with a heavy hand? Good lord, that's insane. I mean, the least io9 should have done is at least acknowledge that Bane's creator himself just identified the villain with Occupy-style rhetoric. Or, in a review claiming all 3 movies are somehow now one coherent whole, at least bother to address Nolan's recent claim that he had no grand plan for the combined story:

Christopher Nolan is adamant that he never originally intended to make more than one. “We never had a specific trajectory,” he told journalists at this year's Produced By Conference. “I wanted to put everything into making one great film, I didn’t want to hold anything back.”

Sometimes io9 really disappoints.
posted by mediareport at 8:41 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I don't know why people are disappointed"

I expected more from Chris Nolan, and I wanted to like it. However, it wasn't fun, it was tedious. For an action movie with so much talking, very little is adequately explained.

Without doubt, Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was a singular experience and was bound to overshadow this last segment, but c'mon, nuclear terrorism? Thunderball was 50 years ago.

Sometimes io9 really disappoints. - Word.
posted by Ardiril at 8:48 PM on July 20, 2012


The hang-wringing, "But I haven't had time to catch up on my Tivo/torrent" no-spoiler internet entitlement Mafia has become too pervasive, too powerful. It stifles legitimate debate or starts each pop culture topic off on an immediate spoiler derail

What a fucking horseshit strawman. Plenty of film/TV/book/etc blogs find very easy ways to delineate spoiler-free and spoileriffic threads, with no "stifling" of legitimate debate required and plenty of cool conversation that respects that some folks haven't made it all the way through PopCult Artifact X yet. It's not a big deal, and the SILENCED ALL MY LIFE folks who gripe about inserting a

*spoiler*

and a blank line before making a major reveal are just being asses. I'm surprised to find you, KokuRyu, linking such embarrassing idiocy approvingly. And shoving that Ned Stark thing at us here (yeah, I already saw season one, whatever) is just poseur garbage.So thanks for that.
posted by mediareport at 8:51 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I couldn't get over all the "siege" problems. A city of 12 million people, under siege for months, without police (and no mention of fire departments or other civic works) and yet the streets are completely clear and open, three thousand men live trapped underground, but emerge well-fed, clean and ready to fight? You give hardened criminals guns and they don't start shooting each other? Oh, and the criminals know there is a bomb capable of destroying the city and they stay...why?

It just felt lazy. A good movie could have been made where the siege (and football field explosion) happened in the first ten minutes and the rest of the movie was the city going mad with isolation, but this wasn't the movie.

And the ending was tied up with too pretty of a bow. The fix? Alfred looks across the cafe, smiles, and the credits roll. No reverse shot.
posted by ColdChef at 8:53 PM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


Also: the spine punch. Or the pit of human despair that gets great cable TV. I'll quit now.
posted by ColdChef at 8:55 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think they could've solved the batman voice easily by using some kind of device, a voice modulator or whatever.
posted by PJLandis at 8:58 PM on July 20, 2012


Heheh, I just remembered why that whole button thing sounded familiar, and not just because it's a repeat from the last movie. That is the plotline in William Johnston's 1968 Monkees novelization, Who's Got The Button?
posted by Ardiril at 8:59 PM on July 20, 2012


Also also: I'm sure those orphans are very thankful for the GIGANTIC EMPTY MANSION FAR FROM THE TOWN THAT'S BUILT ON THE TOP OF A SERIES OF BAT-FILLED CAVES! Seriously, what's the upkeep and electricity on that place gotta cost? And sorry orphans who just turned 16. No mansion for you!
posted by ColdChef at 9:00 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, you flew the nuclear bomb out over the ocean (on auto-pilot) and it exploded "harmlessly" out there? Good thing there's no such thing as boats. Or fallout. Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Wayne. It's not like your hometown NEEDS a super-genius right now.
posted by ColdChef at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad someone mentioned fallout, especially since it's SNOWING as they watch the bomb go off.
posted by PJLandis at 9:06 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"They're still working out the ramifications of me being a bit grumpy 15 years ago" - Alan Moore (in typically humble mode).

It's 25 years ago now. Self-consciously dark comic books and comic book adaptations really aren't getting any more original.

I'm not going to watch this until I can stream it off my LoveFilm subscription, because then I won't feel obliged to watch the whole thing. I watched the first two. They made no sense and weren't even fun.
posted by howfar at 9:08 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


LET'S SEND ALL THE POLICE INTO THE SEWERS AT THE SAME TIME!
posted by ColdChef at 9:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think they could've solved the batman voice easily by using some kind of device, a voice modulator or whatever.

notsureifsrs but I believe a bat-voice modulator installed the bat-suit is the legit explanation, established in the first movie. Quite why they let Bale further embarrass himself by choking and sputtering his way through all 3 movies, rather than there being some actual and perhaps not-facepalmingly-ridiculous electronic modulation effect on his bat-dialogue, only Nolan's genius knows. We can be thankful for the comedy mileage it's given the world though.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:17 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The empty city siege was a huge problem for me too.
For the first half of the movie, I'm delighted with all these "oh shit!" moments where they keep taking things further down the hole than I thought they would go and then Bane closes the city off and as long as you make under $80,000 a year, life just goes on normally I guess?
It's the Invasion of Naboo problem: don't tell me people are suffering, SHOW me or I can't feel it and the tension just pffffpts right out.

I'm torn on this entry in the trilogy as it has in sum far more Things I Love than either of the previous films. It just didn't gel for me. I will say that I was expecting to eyeroll during all the Catwoman stuff and she was surprisingly one of my favorite things in the film.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, we could pick apart the movie all night.



















We really could.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:05 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I really liked the movie.

But my friend and I hung out in Barnes and Noble before going to see it opening night, and we happened to buy and bring a rock climbing magazine into the theater to look over while we waited for the show to start.

It was really hard to suspend the disbelief about how hard that pit would be to climb out of.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, guys. In three years, Warner Brothers will have a new Batman movie out to tie into the Man Of Steel universe so you can have a Justice League movie in 2018.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really? Bane is Giuliani, cleaning up with a heavy hand? Good lord, that's insane.

Uh...I thought it was the city authorities, abetted by Commissioner Gordon, cleaning up Gotham's crime problems with a heavy hand and backing it with the postmortem sanitizing of Harvey Dent and his legacy. Which actually works fairly well.

Jesus, there were a lot of plot holes, though. And none of the villains had any obvious motivation. Bane was, at different times a) a nihilist sociopath b) a working-class revolutionary returning the city to "the people" c) a power-hungry demagogue and d) a dude helping his psycho girlfriend carry out the wishes of her father (who hated his guts, incidentally).

At various times, his dialogue and interactions with the people around him can support any of those interpretations. He makes absolutely no sense.

The irritating thing is that there are hints of really interesting ways to go in this film that are never taken. Alfred's contention that Wayne's money and brains could be put to far better use fighting crime and poverty directly rather than via his crazy alter-ego. That's a seriously interesting idea. The issue of unemployment and widening class differences in the film - you get hints throughout the first half of the film that despite the miraculous disappearance of organized crime, things aren't very good for the small guy. Stuff like that.

Instead, we have another superhero film where the whole point is that the status quo is fine, and anyone who says different is a raving sociopath.

There was some good action. Not awesome. The dialogue was snappy in places.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:21 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I kept seeing Bane and thinking of Amon from the Legend of Korra season just past. It just irritates me that you have a villain who you could use to explore ideas about inequality and societal anger (misdirected or not), and then you even consciously and deliberately introduce those themes and then do nothing at all with them.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


"We really could."

We're gonna need a *lot* more beer.
posted by Ardiril at 10:49 PM on July 20, 2012


Who cares about the plausibility of Blake's method of figuring out Batman's identity?

People who are... actually watching the movie?


Ugh, no. People who are actually watching the movie would understand that the point of the Blake monologue is not the real-life plausibility of him recognizing Bruce Wayne by his bearing, or whatever. I mean, for christ's sake, we have people in this thread actually complaining that no one recognized Bruce Wayne 'cause his chin is a dead giveaway. Come on.

Terrific film, rousing and vast. I'm going again tomorrow.
posted by eugenen at 10:52 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm not going to watch this until I can stream it off my LoveFilm subscription, because then I won't feel obliged to watch the whole thing. I watched the first two. They made no sense and weren't even fun.

I don't feel that negatively about them, but yeah. BEGINS. I seem to recall enjoying it at the time, but being blown away. And I couldn't begin to relate the plot to you now, something to do with Batman beginning. At least it wasn't campy or dumb.

The Dark Knight, I went to the trouble of seeing in IMAX. And what struck me most was how annoying it was to see such a chaotic, tightly edited movie on such a huge screen. Again, the overall movie kept me interested (not bored), avoided being campy and dumb. And that moment where the Joker blew up the hospital -- well that was for the ages, and perfectly suited to IMAX because so much of it was accomplished with a very few shots. But overall, that movie had too much NOISE and slamming around, getting in the way its substance. Good for getting the 14 year olds out to see it nine times maybe, but not my brain.
posted by philip-random at 11:01 PM on July 20, 2012


There are better ways to talk about a movie than obvious comparisons, but I don't have those things to say. So: I bet there are tons of criticisms that make sense to me about Avengers, but all that really matters to me is that at the end of Dark Knight Rises I said "ok, well, that was kind of fun even thought it felt like a retread of the last one and I enjoyed Catwoman", and at the end of Avengers I said "CAN WE GO SEE THAT AGAIN A FEW TIMES IN A ROW BECAUSE I WANT MORE OF THAT IN MY BRAIN RIGHT NOW PLEASE".

When people cheered during The Parts At Which You Were Supposed to Cheer in DKR, I felt kind of off-put. I was enjoying it, but not... wanting to cheer. That is not a feeling I felt with That Other Superheros Movie, during which I laughed a lot.
posted by flaterik at 11:19 PM on July 20, 2012


Wow. TDKR is kind of mental, isn't it? I love it, but it's definatley in the glorious mess category. And if you're clinging to the (in my mind, pretty ridiculous) notion that the Nolan Batman films are more real worldly and sensible than other superhero films you're in for a rough time - this is a movie that thoroughly embraces the utterly ridiculous.

Also batman himself is a bit shit, but that's okay as he's not in it much.
posted by Artw at 11:21 PM on July 20, 2012


It is worth mentioning that Michael Caine delivers every single line of dialogue like this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:22 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Christopher Nolan really has no understanding of how any form of radiation works.
posted by Artw at 11:25 PM on July 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Terrific film, rousing and vast.

The worst thing, I think, about the shittiness of so many modern critics is that it's taught people that criticism is just a matter of throwing adjectives that sound pretty together, kind of like Bukowski teaches young poets to write drunken lowercase rants with weird line breaks. This movie was not terrific. It might have been awful – I'd have to see it again to be sure, which I'm not going to, but I'm pretty sure that the only two good parts of the movie were Michael Caine and Anne Hatheway. Caine is utterly marginalized and Hatheway was utterly unnecessary.

(I think a better movie would have put Catwoman as the main antagonist and made the whole thing into a romantic comedy. TDK couldn't be successfully out-epiced and Batman needed more tenderness, not less. Maybe at some point Cillian Murphy comes in so we can look at his beautiful eyes, and maybe he's even a romantic rival for shits and giggles? Not that this would ever happen, since fans are adamantly opposed to anything non-manly happening in their superhero movies – I remember seeing TDK on opening day and hearing people complaining about how Maggie Gyllenhaal wasn't hot like the old Rachel and didn't act sexy. Sigh.)


Christopher Nolan gets a lot of credit for making "cerebral" and intelligent films, but he is the least introspective storyteller ever. He assigns emotional issues to characters without any interest in exploring them -- it's just away of getting from point A to point B in the story. No one's motivations in this movie made any sense, except perhaps Selena Kyle's, which is why she managed to steal the movie.

I was puzzling over why this movie failed so utterly when I'm usually a Nolan fan, and I think that what this movie exposed, more than anything else, was that the Nolan brothers each have a specialized focus in their field, and their movies succeed or fail based on whether they stray beyond those focuses.

Jonathan Nolan, the screenwriter, is obsessed with labyrinths and mysteries. This is the "cerebral" adjective being thrown around. He likes intellectual puzzles, and his characters are usually just ciphers positioned to make the mystery fun. Even their emotional struggles are little mysteries. Think about the four separate times in The Dark Knight when a character says a line, then the same line repeats when that character reveals something about themselves.

Christopher Nolan, meanwhile, has a real love for "epic moments". Every line, every sequence, has to feel like it's a BIG FUCKING DEAL that people will talk about forever and ever and ever. Memento did it, Inception did it, all the Batmans do it. It's not even just that it's serious or grim or bleak, it's that each scene tries hard to vividly imprint itself on your mind regardless of whether or not it makes sense for the scene to be doing that. The few times outright jokes appear in the screenplay, they're accompanied by a striking visual.

Whether a Nolan movie succeeds for you therefore depends on whether "puzzle + epic" covers all the ground you were hoping to see tackled. The Dark Knight, for instance, made its central puzzle about one of the big thematic Batman struggles, with the Joker standing for chaos and Batman standing for order, and even as it's all just a puzzle resolving itself (even the Two-Face conflict) it fits pretty well with the Batman archetype, so if you're a comic book fan looking for epic things on screen, you get good results from both the screenplay and the direction. Batman Begins is much less interesting – it has the puzzle and the epic, but the conceit is just "origin story" and the characters aren't that good. And I couldn't stomach Inception, because all the while I was watching it I was thinking that there was a much more interesting story to tell about the nature of dreams, and throwing it away on a mundane heist film just felt utterly unsatisfying.

TDKR failed on both fronts, for me. The writing especially was just very patchwork. Bane isn't a compelling villain except that he's strong, and as Greg Nog said above, the two him-vs-Batman conflicts were completely colorless – Batman's clearly outmatched the first time, and the second time… meh, good job hitting the gas mask bro. The Talia twist was interesting, but Talia wasn't an interesting protagonist to begin with and she was an even worse antagonist. JGL did absolutely nothing. Gary Oldman was boring and hospitalized. Christian Bale's only good moment was when Alfred told him Rachel was planning to leave him, and that was only a pale shadow of the original sequence in the previous movie.

Bane's plan made zero sense. Why is Bane so convinced Gotham can't be saved when apparently it's been nearly crime-free for EIGHT GODDAMN YEARS? It can't be that he knows Harvey Dent secretly went corrupt; how would he know that before he takes Oldman's top-secret letter that nobody knows about? And what point does that weird anarchy prove? Bane's not the Joker, so why does it matter that chaos reigns? Why bother if you're just going to blow it up again anyway?

Christian Bale in the jail where he learns, what?, that he doesn't want to let his city down? was totally pointless. The flashbacks about the child were pointless too, both when we thought it was about Bane and when it turned out they weren't. Michael Caine is great but he leaves so early on. Morgan Freeman is given nothing to work with. The only lively character is Catwoman, and I liked her a lot – but she had nothing to do with the plot, and after the fun stuff with her in the first half-hour, she's either participating in arbitrary backstabbings or she's stuck in prison, so she doesn't even get to be all that fun.

It was a complete wreck, and both the puzzleness and the epicness seemed to emphasize that. The mystery was so decoupled from relatable characters that whenever the latest flashback hit it felt delusional, and whenever the plot was furthered it seemed ridiculous. And the constant over-the-top-ness just lent attention to the fact that for 90-120 minutes almost nothing happened. Plus the semi-political sequences were cringe-worthy.

Your average fan probably isn't going to care, because your average fan is looking for the pretend-epic, things that act like they're justifiably over-the-top even when they're not. The puzzle-plot is their way of beating back critics by claiming that it's just too smart a movie for most people. Not that the Nolans do that intentionally – probably they just love a certain kind of cinema and don't give a shit about critics who say they're missing out on all the rest of it.

In any case, I'm a little ticked off at them. I wasn't a fan of The Avengers, and I was hoping this would be brilliant so that I could point to it as an example of what The Avengers did wrong. But this was way worse, and The Avengers is the best blockbuster of the summer, and now I hate everything.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


I expect to see a scene in Zach Snyder's Superman where Supes punches something/someone in super slow-motion, then speed up as he goes to the next guy/thing, then punch in slo-mo again.

That and lots of rape.

Really have no interest whatsoever in a Snydered up Superman.
posted by Artw at 11:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


That and lots of rape.

Really have no interest whatsoever in a Snydered up Superman.


You forgot the oiled-up musclemen gambolling heterosexually!
posted by psoas at 11:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really like how amused by everything Bane is, like continually.
posted by Artw at 11:48 PM on July 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Ah, you favourited that! Ha ha! But of course you would! Ho ho!

/crunches neck of minion

Outstanding!

...he's basically Aquaman from Brave & the Bold.
posted by Artw at 12:02 AM on July 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


Your average fan probably isn't going to care, because your average fan is looking for...

Even when such statements are likely true, they also give me a... not kind... impression of their authors.
posted by flaterik at 12:02 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


What was the point of the chalk Batman marks?
posted by Ardiril at 12:06 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Liam Neeson should show up as a force ghost in everything.
posted by Artw at 12:13 AM on July 21, 2012 [21 favorites]


Anyone else get really annoyed when Batman would talk to people who KNEW he was Bruce Wayne, and he STILL talked all Batmany? I mean, come on, dude, she knows who you are. Save your voicebox.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:18 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I thought the same thing, Drink of Orange.
posted by flaterik at 12:32 AM on July 21, 2012


Bane grew up in darkness. He managed this in a prison where every cell can see the sky.
posted by squinty at 12:41 AM on July 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


Not a lot makes sense in Baneistan - still, is that the bit of the prison HE grew up in?
posted by Artw at 12:43 AM on July 21, 2012


I really don't understand how people can be excited for the new Batflick. I fell asleep during the first two.

Wooden acting, dim lighting somehow being mistaken for "deep" film making, and Heath Ledger basically doing his (awful) version of drag in the second film.

Tim Burton's version was so much better and enjoyable.
posted by bardic at 12:54 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heath Ledger basically doing his (awful) version of drag in the second film

Take that back.
posted by troll at 1:31 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh thank god, other people found this movie hideously disappointing and enraging.

Just, okay, I could deal with the plot holes. I'm a genre fan, I am okay with handwaving so many plot holes. But what left me with my mouth open in the theater thinking, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME," wanting to claw at my face, was the fact that this movie was basically 3/4 exposition. The writing was so, so terribly clunky and expository and lazy. It was such an incredible failure of show don't tell that I was actually aghast. I could forgive some of this if only the characters were compelling, but the only character whose motivations and arc made any sense at all was Selina Kyle. Everyone else was basically a cypher, or a chess piece to be moved around the board.

And the siege! What potential, and IT WAS ALL WASTED. The timeline/continuity was baffling, and there was no sense of real hardship to the siege. People looked more or less fine as long as they weren't the first against the wall etc etc. Which, what? Nolan, are you seriously telling me that with limited supplies and the likely total breakdown of infrastructure and day to day life, that people would look as good as they did? Because the cops stuck in the sewers for literally five months came out looking as fresh as fucking daisies, and Detective Nightwing was wandering around the city with suspiciously well-pressed slacks.

Talia and Bane were also completely wasted as villains. Their motivations were all over the place and baffling. If you're going to go crazy with the motivation, at least go balls to the wall crazy and comic book like Avengers did. This was just nonsense dressed up in the pretense of something deeper and more philosophical. Though I do have to admit, that scene with Talia and Bane was great if only because Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy sold the shit out of it.
posted by yasaman at 1:31 AM on July 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


Anyone else get really annoyed when Batman would talk to people who KNEW he was Bruce Wayne, and he STILL talked all Batmany? I mean, come on, dude, she knows who you are. Save your voicebox.

YES. I kept thinking "FUUUCK, DUDE, YOU CAN STOP NOW." Nolan's neither smart enough to realize the voice thing is wholly unnecessary at this point, nor fun enough to have Batman start and have someone else say "uh dude you can stop that now." Either of which are tacks that I could see being taken by Whedon, if we're comparing summer superhero movies.

I mean, I don't even think ALL that highly of Whedon, but at the very least, he's good at two things that Nolan is totally awful at:

1) big dramatic larger-than-life moments where a character reveals something about themselves and the audience recognizes that the consequences stemming from that reveal are gonna be awesome ("Hulk: smash." or "That's my secret, Captain: I'm always angry.")

2) Having a goddamn sense of humor about life and realizing that occasional comedic moments provide a nice contrast to whatever Serious Grim emotional tone one might elsewise be going for.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:21 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Christopher Nolan really has no understanding of how any form of radiation works.

it really was an experience, that amongst the smatterings of applause, all i could think was, 'and six months later, they all have cancer'.
posted by cendawanita at 5:30 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


YES. I kept thinking "FUUUCK, DUDE, YOU CAN STOP NOW."

But he can't, because Bruce Wayne is a little crazy. Seeing his parents killed warped him, sending him to dark and ultimately childish places. Does he become a lawyer or citizen advocate? No, he decides to dress up as a bat, so he can have hands on and singular control of defeating evil. Plus he gets to hit them a lot, work out some of that anger.

Then almost everything goes wrong over the course of the three films. Wayne's mentor and Batman's father, Ra's al Ghul, turns out to be crazy. Defeating him brings the Joker, which results in Rachel's death, the twisting and destruction of a real hero Harvey Dent and the Batman symbol being corrupted.

DKR feels, despite it's flaws, a good final chapter in the story of Bruce Wayne and his "rise" into maturity and adulthood, which means putting the cape and mask down and living his own life. And stop using the damn voice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:57 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Someone already uploaded the final scene to youtube, looks like.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:06 AM on July 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


Spoilers:

I thought the first half of the movie was pretty great. Then it started to go downhill quickly.
Bane went from hang-on-his-every-word-interesting to just.. boring.
And the end when Batman flies the nuke away.. how many times have we seen that? At one point they say the blast radius is 6 miles, and Batman has about 2 minutes to get it out of there. It didn't look like the "bat" vehicle (terrible name) was going 180mph.
posted by starman at 6:18 AM on July 21, 2012


When people cheered during The Parts At Which You Were Supposed to Cheer in DKR, I felt kind of off-put.

I've been wondering about this a bit. Do people often cheer in American cinemas? I don't think I've ever heard any response but laughter in a British cinema, although I presume others have a quiet weep occasionally. Admittedly I tend to go to quiet showings (phone flashers and talkers...scum!), so maybe it happens sometimes, but even in full cinemas of blockbuster movies I've never heard it. It just seems like an interesting cultural difference, with American people being happier to publicly express their emotional engagement in a story*.

*I realise this is probably a rather romantic view of it.
posted by howfar at 6:27 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was much cheering in the showings of Avengers I went to. It's not an uncommon, especially at the end of particularly pleasing movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. A lot of haters.

I enjoyed the film and will have to write a much lengthier reply when I'm more fully awake than I am right now.

Snippets of thoughts...having refreshed my memory on Batman Begins prior to going (wish I'd watched it, along with Dark Knight), I really enjoyed the callbacks. The Talia deal was given away when early in the film she made an almost throwaway comment about restoring balance to the world, which is what the League of Shadows basically claims it does by bringing down corrupt cities/nations. Very nice tip off, which left me waiting the entire movie for her to play her hand.

I have terrible hearing when it comes to picking out specific voices/sounds when there's a lot of background noise. This did not prevent me from understanding Bane about 98% of the time. You could tell that they had pumped up the volume of his voice in his introductory scene and it felt somewhat artificial. Bane's acting had to really revolve around his voice and his physical presence, he had to be almost elemental. The first bout against Batman, placed on a catwalk limited Batman's options on fighting and by the time they moved he was already suffering due to his being out of shape. When he tried to rely on darkness, it was neutralized, in part because he was fighting someone also trained with the same skills. We're told early on that Bane is at least a graduate of the League of Shadows. The second fight was a little anti-climatic, but it had become something of a personal issue for Batman. He had to defeat Bane in the same way he had been defeated, but this time, he fought with a different mental outlook and it made the difference. Likewise, he rolled into his belief that Batman must reach a higher level when faced with an obstacle.

Speaking of obstacle, he was thrown into that proverbial well on Wayne Manor again. This time he didn't have his father to pick him up, but instead had to rely on the mantra from the first movie, "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." The back breaking was incredibly amusing (crudely said?) based on the fact it was very much a toss to Knightfall's pivotal moment. The injury was never played away as being insignificant, but we're dealing with Batman, a guy who is virtually superhuman in his ability to rise above physical damages. Even the witnesses at the prison are surprised by his recuperative abilities, but ya know what? He's BATMAN.

I actually enjoyed the Blake character quite a bit and thought JLG did a fine job in it. His detective reveal on Batman while not an amazing connection of dots didn't come off as ridiculous. He viewed the world in the same manner as Wayne and then the fact that the disappearance of Batman coincided with the seclusion of Wayne probably helped a bit. The Dark Knight already sort of shed light on the fact that figuring who Batman is isn't something that is completely out of the realm of impossibility (see the accounting nerd).

Tale of Two Cities: Could it have been done better? I think so, but where as someone above complained about why Bane was still intent on destroying Gotham, it was referenced in the movie. The success of the Dent Act had created a lie, by which while Gotham was safe of crime, it was not crime that rendered Gotham corrupt; but it's decadence with the rich. The presence of Crane/Scarecrow in the trials was a nice twist. Other turns to the Revolution, the breaking free of the prisoners of the Bastille (from a prison with a B-name, the prisoners depicted by Bane as essentially political prisoners of the rich), and the ending of course. The state of Gotham in siege wasn't quite deplorable, but there was electricity, presumably water, and food was shipped in. People are allowed to retain their dignity, but obviously, in a city where prisoners/criminals and terrorists control the streets, one is more likely to stay inside. This would help reduce the trash and what not.

Oh, and the chalk bat signals? Used to map out the paths of the bomb trucks.

The Selina Kyle character seemed a bit all over the place at first, but was grounded better as the movie progressed. It seemed as if Hathaway was being a bit too wry initially. Did the movie need her character? I don't think it did, but it didn't suffer for her presence, either.

What a ramble of thoughts I have amassed, yeesh.

The police emerging from the underground. Yes, the lack of bad haircuts DID bother me, but the en masse movement was visually spectacular. Granted, they were attacking a building with perhaps only one other approach where the enemy was held up in front of said building. Not sure if that left a lot of space for them to proceed with more sophisticated strategy.

The bomb. The wind blows away from Gotham and the continent, the radiation was swept out to sea. As nuclear weapons go, it was a small one.

Right, gonna stop now before I babble further. I'll write up a more definitive thought later, tho'.
posted by Atreides at 6:38 AM on July 21, 2012 [19 favorites]


Wow. A lot of haters.

By the way, I forgot to mention, it's okay to hate on the film. It's everyone's right to be critical. The above statement came off as a bit more negative and it wasn't my intent. Apologies.
posted by Atreides at 6:39 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone already uploaded the final scene to youtube, looks like.

*SPOILERS*

"A good death. Good enough."

BTW, do you know what is very effective shielding for neutron radiation? Water.

Still, in the first movie Nolan was going to vaporize the city's water with a microwave bomb and somehow leave enough people not dead from that to care about fear gas.
posted by Artw at 6:50 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, at least we got not one but TWO getting-back-into-shape montages.
posted by hermitosis at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


There was... No easy way out.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on July 21, 2012


Also, there should be a spinoff movie, starring the Tumbler and the Batpod.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, at least we got not one but TWO getting-back-into-shape montages.

Ah, the male equivalent of whipping off the glasses and letting the hair flow down.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:52 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Another question: Was this essentially a suicide mission for Bane and Miranda? I didn't see any preparations on their parts to leave before the bomb blew.
posted by Ardiril at 8:06 AM on July 21, 2012


That appears to be the case. Clearly destroying the evil that is Gotham is a really big deal to them in the Nolanverse, to the point where they don't really need to do anything afterwards.
posted by Artw at 8:13 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Talia deal was given away when early in the film she made an almost throwaway comment about restoring balance to the world, which is what the League of Shadows basically claims it does by bringing down corrupt cities/nations. Very nice tip off, which left me waiting the entire movie for her to play her hand.

I think the tip-off is a fraction of the things you need to do to make the twist worthwhile in the end. She needed more to do throughout the movie, especially in the end when she was relegated to the passenger seat until the truck crashed and she died. Way too passive to make her interesting.
posted by starman at 8:36 AM on July 21, 2012


DKR feels, despite it's flaws, a good final chapter in the story of Bruce Wayne and his "rise" into maturity and adulthood, which means putting the cape and mask down and living his own life. And stop using the damn voice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:57 AM on July 21 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


For me - this is what the heart of the Batman trilogy has always been about. The arc of a guy - who got pretty fucked up by a childhood trauma - and how he moves forward in the world and becomes the man he needs to be and finds his truth.

I really enjoyed the movie immensely - despite some of the crazy plot devices. But clearly - the movie is meant to be fantasy and the macguffins did not irritate me like I guess it did for many of you. I surrendered myself to the experience and loved it.
posted by helmutdog at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I saw a midnight showing on Thursday, and maybe the late hour affected my judgement but I really liked it and thought it was a fine finale for the trilogy. I thought this was the most "comic-booky" of the three films, and as a comics fan, I really appreciated the way Nolan worked with some of the iconic Batman comics stories. I loved JGL, and the "Robin" line at the end had me laughing with joy.

Yes, the film had Problems, and they were arguably more apparent than the similar kinds of Problems found in Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. I'm wondering if a lot of material that would have fleshed out the No-man's-land element got left on the cutting room floor.

Of the criticisms I've seen, some (like the ease of escape from the unguarded prison pit) seem more valid than others (Bruce's return to Gotham doesn't seem like something that would be challenging for him or add much to the story). Personally, I thought Blake's figurative unmasking of Bruce as Batman was great -- people describing it here as him "recognizing Bruce's chin" missed something, I think.

Finally, how great was it to have TWO blockbuster superhero films this summer that didn't try to jam a romance into an action movie? A couple of smooches, I can deal with.

I'm definitely going to go see this again.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:01 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's kind of unclear if Baneistan is days away from Gotham or five minutes walk. Perhaps it is the land of dreams.
posted by Artw at 9:08 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm feeling a definite need to re-read BATMAN: THE CULT.
posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2012


First, I loved the film and hopefully I will have time to expound on why later but

secondly, I just wanted to add that I don't seem to be interpreting the ending in the same way others are. Many seem to suggest that it is ultimately a trilogy about Bruce coming to terms with his trauma and potentially leaving Batman behind. I interpreted the ending as not that at all. The only time we get a suggestion that Bruce has survived and moved on is when a harrowed Alfred sees him at the cafe that was mentioned at the film's beginning. Since Alfred has already said that he would always see someone that he though or hoped was Bruce while at this cafe his reliability as a point of view character is called into question when the same cafe is used in the final scene. Thusly I think this ending provides a level of ambiguity that works withint the themes of the entire trilogy really well. The ending poses a very unlikely situation (that Bruce escaped the nuclear blast) that provides the viewer with a large amount of hope, optimism, and a "happy" ending. Therefore, in my eyes, the ending ultimately allows Nolan to pose a Harvey Dent question to the audience:

Are you willing to live with an unlikely, if not altogether untrue, claim if it means believing that we live in a just world where our heroes get to retire to happiness out of the spotlight?

I thought that many touches, this ending among them, made TDKR a fantastic film.
posted by sendai sleep master at 9:20 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I saw it in the theater, people cheered at the end when it showed Bruce and Selena at the cafe. Whereas I was like, "Wait, is this even real? Didn't Alfred preface this little story earlier by saying it was a fantasy of his?" but everyone in the crowd was like, "YAY BATMAN, WHO CARES" so I decided not to care either. Weirdly, I don't think that's what Nolan was going for.
posted by hermitosis at 9:35 AM on July 21, 2012


I think Sendai Sleep Master's interpretation would go a long way towards redeeming the film for me, but Nolan goes out of his way to do that extra bit with the autopilot patching and referencing the autopilot at least twice before. Certainly a Chekov's autopilot if there ever was one.

Also, Holy Exposition Batman! Way too much of the movie was explained to us verbally through other characters. This is tedious at best, but unforgivable considering Bruce was in the prison for months. Are you telling me that during his entire incarceration, his cell mates never bothered to clarify that the child was not Bane and was also a girl? You don't think either of those facts would come up when it's all they talked about?
posted by Telf at 9:38 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


My reaction to the ending was, "So, Bruce tosses aside all his dedication to fighting criminality just to score with some cat?" Except, I didn't think the word, 'cat'.
posted by Ardiril at 9:38 AM on July 21, 2012


Also, was I the only one who, when Bane's booming voice is first heard on the airplane in the opening scene, immediately thought "Wait, Sean Connery is in this? And why the hell is his voice so loud?"

It must be said, though, that random-ass megaphone-wielding Sean Connery could only have improved this film. Or any film, really.
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:40 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was thinking either Sean Connery in a fatherly role or Deckard Cain, same difference I guess. In one interview, Hardy claimed to get his inspiration from Bartley Gorman, "King of the Gypsies". I don't hear it, but who knows.
posted by Telf at 9:47 AM on July 21, 2012


Thusly I think this ending provides a level of ambiguity that works withint the themes of the entire trilogy really well. The ending poses a very unlikely situation (that Bruce escaped the nuclear blast) that provides the viewer with a large amount of hope, optimism, and a "happy" ending.

Blargh. This completely makes me think of the end of Inception. I don't know if that's a great thing or not!
posted by Atreides at 10:07 AM on July 21, 2012


I don't find the ending ambiguous at all. He fixed the bat signal, Fox discovers that the auto-pilot was fixed months before, and Alfred sees him in person. That's a lot of separate fantasies.
posted by PJLandis at 10:16 AM on July 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the difference between this and Inception was that Inception's top seemed to challenge the viewers to fight over evidence (the top was wobbling, Cobb's wedding ring etc.) and the final scene didn't seem to pose a question beyond that. In this case I feel that Nolan has provided enough evidence (inescapable bomb and alfred's unreliability vs. Fox's discovery of the autopilot and Alfred's point of view vision of Bruce at cafe) so that an argument of "is Bruce alive" really becomes a kind of ink-blot test that Inception never was. It, hopefully, becomes less about whether he is alive and more about why the audience feels the need to look for evidence in the first place.

I apologize if I'm being redundant in regards to my first comment. I really did like this movie though I admit that I did go to a 3:45 AM show and that any movie that long and viewed at that hour needs a repeat viewing before any really good analysis of quality and thematics can be completed.

That being said, I find a discussion of any film's thematics, techniques, and politics to be much more fun than a simple war of "hated it" vs "best film ever".
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:18 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


hated it!
posted by PJLandis at 10:28 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't find the ending ambiguous at all. He fixed the bat signal, Fox discovers that the auto-pilot was fixed months before, and Alfred sees him in person. That's a lot of separate fantasies.

Hmmmm, ok that may be problematic for my theory. Though when I saw Gordon touching the bat signal I didn't necessarily think that Bruce fixed it. I thought that either Gordon fixed it himself out of some kind of nostalgia or hope and/or new-Batman/Blake may have fixed it. Then again at that point I was pretty sleep deprived so I could be dead wrong.
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:31 AM on July 21, 2012


The auto-pilot alone means that if Wayne died it was suicide.
posted by PJLandis at 10:38 AM on July 21, 2012


Wayne lived. I think if there was any doubt we would have one of those "guy walks in front of the camera" wipe effects and Wayne's chair would be empty.
posted by starman at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haven't seen it yet but came in here looking for the spoilers to find out if I wanted to and adjust my expectations accordingly. I think I'm going to see it on a matinee, but not expect much. (That's still an improvement over my expectations after TDK, which were "don't bother".)
posted by immlass at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2012


In part because it calls-back to both of the previous movies so much, it's hard to imagine that someone who was disappointed by the last film could not be disappointed by this one.

There isn't a lot of crazy fun, and there isn't much of a coherent theme or message (you will not look back on how deep this films was), and the character arcs aren't that interesting.

After the movie, my first thought was that I'd just seen the last installment of a TV mini-series with great production values.
posted by PJLandis at 11:02 AM on July 21, 2012


After the movie, my first thought was that I'd just seen the last installment of a TV mini-series with great production values.

It's a trite observation on my part, but it really seems like TV and cinema are overlapping more and more. HBO series are certainly becoming more movie-like With Thor 2, Iron Man 3 and presumably Avengers 2 right around the corner, movies are become serials again.
posted by Telf at 11:08 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think a problem comes when they serve two masters, as stand-alone features and serials. And I think in this case, it didn't work out well. It isn't great as a stand-alone film nor do all the elements from the previous movies add all that much to the film.

For the Avengers and the feeder movies, everything seems focused on the stand-alone film, with extras added to tie them all together rather than those elements being central to the film.
posted by PJLandis at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2012


I really enjoyed it, as I enjoyed the first two movies. Can't disagree with the faults others have pointed out but, hey, it's a comic book movie.

*SPOILERS*

As for why did Bane let the bomb decay for months rather than just blowing up the city right away? Here's my take: there's a scene in the Hell Prison Pit (homage to Lazarus Pit?) when one of the prisoners says that nobody has managed to make the climb out, but the hope that they might be able to escape torments them all the more. So I figured Bane meant to torment the Gothamites with the months of waiting, hoping someone would save them, before they got nuked. Also, people are asking why Bane's thugs were content to wait around and get vaporized when Gotham City went all Threads...that's just part of being in the League of Shadows I guess, they live to destroy, etc.

As for why the Hell Prison Pit has cable service...got me there.

*END SPOILERS*
posted by mediated self at 11:25 AM on July 21, 2012


Okay, I have the pettiest most ridiculous thing to complain about.

So they turned Wollaton Hall into Wayne Manor. Bit of local pride here, sadly missed my chance to be an extra, but I'm okay with that.

So we stick around for the end credits, only to find that they say they film in Newark. Which is 26 freakin' miles away.

I'm not asking for much, honestly. I mean, okay, I'm a bit sad that no one told me Joseph Gordon Levitt, Gary Oldman, Nestor Carbonell and Anne Hathaway were in Nottingham, because, yeah, I can dream, but Newark? Really?

Nottingham, you are missing out on piles of potential nerd tourist ££££s because of your ineptitude. I am disappointed.

(C'mon, people, the least you could've done was include Gotham...)


Also, if anyone wants to pretend they're at Wayne Manor (or looking for Temeraire), hit me up, and we'll totally go nerd out.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I hope this isn't out of line in this thread, but I wanted to comment on how the shooting in Aurora yesterday affected my experience of the film. Even though I was able to indulge in the escapism of the movie (for the most part), the massacre was on my mind throughout.

*SPOILERS*

When the first gun shot was fired in the movie it was jarring for me...normally a gun being fired in a movie wouldn't faze me at all, as I've been thoroughly desensitized to (most) movie violence. And I found it poignant when, in a later scene, Batman says to Selina Kyle: "No guns. No killing."

*END*
posted by mediated self at 11:36 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's another article picking up on the weird tendency for big franchises to frame Occupy Wall Street and, basically, ordinary people as villains. It mentions the new Call of Duty game, the villain of which, Raul Menendez, is described as "“idolized Messiah of the 99%”.

There is also a Something Awful thread, here, that talks about the weird conservative politics of some video games (and the anti-war politics of others).

All this reminds me of the recent animated series THE LEGEND OF KORRA. The villain of this (in many ways excellent) series was called "Amon" and was the leader of a group called the "Equalists". There is a long history of American attacks on anything that resembles Communism, rooted in anti-Soviet propaganda, which this reminded me of - which, if anyone is interested, I discuss here.

I suspect that THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a case of lazy writing, drawing on the right-wing/fascist tropes common in superhero fiction, American fear of communism, recent news and a kind of 'have your cake and eat it' approach that lets them both show rich people being brutally killed (which people might atavistically want to see) and then wag their fingers and keep the moral high-ground.
posted by lucien_reeve at 11:39 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Anyone think the ending would have been better if it went to credits when you saw Alfred smile, but didn't see Bruce and Selina?
posted by King Bee at 12:50 PM on July 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


As for why did Bane let the bomb decay for months rather than just blowing up the city right away?

Bane actually told Wayne this after leaving him at the prison, and also, it's why the prison had cable. In short, Bane took the lesson of the prison's false hope and expanded it to the city of Gotham. The false hope of being able to climb to freedom was the instrument to reinforce the very hopelessness of the prisoners' plight. The pain and suffering of being in the prison was made all the worse because they thought that possibly, maybe, it could be relieved by climbing the wall. Bane opted to cast this on high with Gotham. Notably, not only did Bruce escape, but before he wandered off to return to Gotham, he cast a rope down to the other inmates. In effect, he saved one community hoping for freedom and then went on to save another. Really, by the time he climbed out of the prison, you might say that Bane's defeat was foregone. (Also cool was the presence of the bats as Bruce climbed out, again referring back to the well on the estate where he overcame his childhood fear.)

Even though I was able to indulge in the escapism of the movie (for the most part), the massacre was on my mind throughout.

I have to admit, it was in the back of my mind at times. I wondered to myself, "Is this the scene where the guy opened up?" Likewise, I couldn't help but be distracted by some fellow who I suddenly noticed standing in the aisle not moving. Seconds later he did move, but I doubt I would have paid attention to his movement before Friday.

OWS and 99%.

I don't think OWS or the 99% movement had much if anything to do with the writing of this film. Batman Begins established quite a while back that poverty and inequality between the classes was a major problem in Gotham and this was merely the extension of this pre-existing setting. The difference is that under the Harvey Dent Act, the poor who had turned to crime were thrown in prison. It solved the crime problem, but not the class inequality. While the inequality took a back seat in the Dark Knight, it was present in the first movie and its increased presence in the third was the foundation for the League of Shadows to rationalize their second attempt to bring Gotham to ruin.

I find it difficult to believe that the elite were held out as victims, rather than the problem. They definitely were served with a comeuppance but Gotham was not saved by the rich in the end. Wayne was literally reduced to pennies and it was as one of the 99% (sorta) that he returned to save the day. Likewise, when the cowl is passed on, it is not passed on to another billionaire playboy, but a working joe orphan. The movies definitely did preach the message, "It's okay to be rich, but that wealth comes with a responsibility." In the first and third movie, failure to do so resulted in societal collapse in one way or another.
posted by Atreides at 12:56 PM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, the movie was worth the price of admission for no other reason than to see Heinz Field in shambles.
posted by King Bee at 12:57 PM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


King Bee: When the shot of Alfred looking at something off screen was held a little longer than it needed to be I was certain that was going to be the last shot of the film. But an ambiguous ending like that would've been too similar to the last shot of Inception, IMO. I appreciated the closure. It could also be seen as a reference to the end of The Dark Knight Returns.
posted by mediated self at 1:04 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just saw it again, and it was still pretty great.

Question: did Batman turn Catwoman straight?
posted by eugenen at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question: did Batman turn Catwoman straight?

I don't think there was intended to be any definitive answer to Kyle's sexuality. It's part of the mystery they painted her with throughout the film. How much did we really learn about her?
posted by Atreides at 1:44 PM on July 21, 2012


Question: did Batman turn Catwoman straight?

"TO THE BATPOLE!"
posted by ColdChef at 2:20 PM on July 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Question: did Batman turn Catwoman straight?

You mean criminologically "straight," right?* At least, that's what I went with... the friend I saw it with commented afterward about Selina's pseudo-lesbic attachment to her blonds accomplice, which totally went over my gay head.

*My answer: Yes. I think it was a done deal when she came back to help him blast out the tunnel, single tear, blah blah. I was a little disappointed at that, really.
posted by psoas at 2:32 PM on July 21, 2012


Just got out of it. Though I admit that it was a bit uneven at times, it was quite ambitious. I winced due to Bane's plans seeing full fruition. To the . . . totality of vision and execution. That's more frightening to me/Batman because Batman always is supposed to be ahead of the game. It was effective, even if some of you do not feel the same.

Anyway, I was looking for themes and patterns in the midst of it. Each centers around an theme that is shown in society and Batman (and conversely in the villains he fights).

Batman Begins = will (the idea that will is what makes Batman Batman and that society must have will to oppose destruction)

The Dark Knight = ideals (the idea that Batman is most of all an idea that any man could be and that society needs ideals to fight for something than mere survival like justice, etc.)

The Dark Knight Rises = soul (the idea that Batman must become spiritual triumphant figure like Bane and that society is not only made up of individual atoms, but a collective soul that must unify and rise)

These are still nascent in my head, but I enjoy the movie for that, along with some great scenes.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:46 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just wanted batman to say "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb"
posted by hellojed at 2:52 PM on July 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


The chalk marks, to answer a question way upthread, were to telegraph that Blake was to become Robin because the symbol is a variation of the Nightwing emblem.
posted by syncope at 3:50 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus, there were a lot of plot holes, though. And none of the villains had any obvious motivation. Bane was, at different times a) a nihilist sociopath b) a working-class revolutionary returning the city to "the people" c) a power-hungry demagogue and d) a dude helping his psycho girlfriend carry out the wishes of her father (who hated his guts, incidentally).

It took me a while to work this one through (like, the train ride home), but... people sign up with Bane because he has the fire of belief. He's a believer. But what he actually believes (the mission of the League of Shadows) is not what he claims to believe (the uprising of the downtrodden). So, all his rhetoric about the people rising up is totally dishonest, from the start. What he really believes in, to the exclusion of everything else, is that what Talia wants should happen - he's a servant of not just an aristocrat but the ultimate aristocrat - an al-Ghul. This is a family who believe that they and they alone should decide what happens to the entire world.

So, if anything, Bane is about how populism can be coopted by mouthpieces of the rich and powerful, and bent to their will. It's not Occupy: it's the Tea Party.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:47 PM on July 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


I found it incredibly tough to get into this movie, and its hard to say whether it's the movie's fault, or because of fallout from the shooting in Colorado. Either way, watching all the violence was more squirm inducing than enjoyable for me. Of course, the fact that Bane's voice sounded just like the Ian McKellen impersonator guy didn't help. I was really underwhelmed by the idea that the citizen's court thought crossing an ice covered river was the worst death sentence they could come up with too.
posted by peppermind at 6:09 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's interesting to revisit Michael Caine's character's dialogue from The Prestige in light of Nolan's completion of his Batman trilogy, which many seem to think he didn't end very well (I always considered the below dialogue in reference to the 3-act structure of most movies [and the structure of The Prestige itself, of course], but I find it especially fascinating considering Nolan's three Batman movies):

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"."
posted by mediated self at 6:46 PM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


um, spoilers aside, is it really in good taste to be discussing this film today?

Er...? Why wouldn't it be? I shouldn't talk about a movie I've been looking forward to, because some asshole shot up a showing at a theater 1200 miles away from me?

It's not the movie's fault.
posted by MissySedai at 7:51 PM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


For me, the biggest mistake of the movie was that the villains had barely any comeuppance. Talia died thinking that she'd won. Bane was just sort of thrown across a room.

They had set up how Bane's mask is what separates him from total agony, but Batman never actually pulls it off. He just sort of knocks it askew at one point. How much better of an ending would it have been had Batman knocked off Bane's mask and then thrown him into the streets, squalling like a nasty infant, presumably to be torn apart by the citizenry?

I'm even picturing a scene where Batman knocks off even just the straps to his mask, leaving Bane to fight one-handed - one hand throwing haymakers, the other scrambling to keep his mask on. Make it fast-paced and sort of funny, almost like a Jackie Chan routine.

As for Talia, she added nothing to the plot. She actually weakened Bane's story, as well. Why not just have Bane be yet another reject from the League of Shadows, who is obsessed with applying his own personal vision to Gotham? One's a nihilist fascist, the other is an borderline-absurdist hero. That's a conflict, that's a story. We don't need any silliness about Bane doing anything for love.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:02 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another way to improve the movie: right after Talia reveals herself, Batman says, "YOU FORGOT ONE THING, TALIA," and she says, "what," and he says, "THAT BOMB OF YOURS - WHERE IS IT," and she says, "a truck," and then Batman goes, "I DON'T THINK SO - DON'T YOU REMEMBER WHAT YOU HAD FOR BREAKFAST," and then she looks confused and surprised, and then we flash back to her eating breakfast, and so the cerebral twist winds up being that she had actually been tricked into eating the neutron bomb for breakfast that morning, so then later when it detonates, it just causes her to rocket into the sky and then fall down and then she's covered in soot and she sees little dancing bats around her head as her eyes spin in opposite circles.

Another way to improve the movie: at the end, in Florence, Alfred smiles when he sees Batman having a romantic lunch with...Bane.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:08 PM on July 21, 2012 [29 favorites]


I was willing to like this movie. I found it hard to do so. The plot holes weren't plastered over by overwhelming force of narrative, or emotional content, or even spectacle. It's a ticking-time-bomb story, and that's all it is. The solution was just to lob it off over the ocean... woo, big surprise there. Couldn't have thought of that myself. Bane isn't al-Goul's son? BIG SURPRISE. When I saw Wayne climbing up tied to the rope, I thought "He's going to go up without the rope, and succeed." HE DOES EXACTLY THAT. Shocking.

I'm pretty sure you don't need to shoot up the stock exchange to put together some fraudulent trades. And you won't have some computer with a progress bar. I hate computers with progress bars in movies, they never make any sense. "We must risk death to copy THE ENTIRETY of this hard drive! 97% is not enough!"

Why didn't Batman punch the crap out of Bane's facehugger the FIRST time they fought?

Why don't any of the exilees, you know, crawl on the ice?

Why did Bane allow the secret agent types onto the island in the first place? Just have the food trucks drive up, swap drivers, take them to a warehouse, unload everything and shoot anyone hidden inside.

Why did the nuclear physicist actually set them up the bomb, so to speak? Surely he could have just pretended to do it. He's the only one who understands the idea, after all- there's presumably nobody who could check his work thoroughly.

Why did the nuclear device have a TIMER on it? I mean, it's an unstable nuclear thingummy. How can they possibly know exactly how long it will take for it to go off pop?

Why didn't the army drop a missile onto each of the potentially bomb-toting trucks? They could do it before anyone could pull the trigger on the bomb. The result is a somewhat irradiated Gotham: rather better than the worst-case scenario.

Why didn't Wayne go to the Feds and say "Look, the bomb is going off at X time and date, we know this because we built it, open up the bridge before then so we can get some people out."
posted by BungaDunga at 8:24 PM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


I, for one, enjoyed the Batman movie.
posted by mediated self at 8:31 PM on July 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well I really loved it. Perhaps it's a symptom of my paucity (and my very old school critical yens), but these movies have a thesis. Compare this particular blockbuster to frigging Transformers. It's actually about something.

Now, sure, plot holes, characterisations etc but there are lots of other movies that have those problems - and nothing else. Nolan, at least, is trying to make movies about something.

Even better, that thesis - the individual responsibility for collective well-being, and the responsibility to do that without sliding into fascism, self-loathing, withdrawal, or stentorian morality - is a great thesis for action movies. It's practically an anti-action movie in that respect.

I suspect that THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a case of lazy writing, drawing on the right-wing/fascist tropes common in superhero fiction

I agree with you that the Nolans are limited as writers, but disagree very much about the fascism. For me, these batman movies really repudiate that in a lot of ways. As a human personification of justice, Nolan's Batman is terrible. He's broken human being, driven from a relentlessly selfish perspective to pursue self-defeating and typically impossible aims, especially compared to the real moral centers of the film like Gordon etc (who also, messes up in thinking that his notions of justice are more valid than a population's freedom to decide for itself).

The success of Bane I felt - and the Joker in many ways - is to show how bewitching those fascist ideas are. Indeed, one of my biggest criticisms of the film was that it didn't make Bane's ideas attractive enough. In a fundamentally unjust society, with different rules for the rich, laws used as a bludgeon that only strikes the poor and keeps them locked away in jail, and the legalised corruptions of corporations, it's amazing people weren't queuing up to make him mayor, instead of the strictly controlled martial law that results.

That they weren't I think is typified by Matthew Modine's (character's) refusal to go out in public; change is more terrifying than stasis even when that stasis is horrible (kind of like, how Bruce Wayne knows that being Batman is worse for him and Gotham, than a city & man that doesn't need him). And, if you want to be more positive, that sense of well-being and community that stopped the boats from blowing up, in the second movie (another individual act of heroism for collective wellbeing...).

So for me, what the film needed was more explication showing how many people were chewed up in the meat grinder of contemporary "successful" Gotham - aka Real Life - and why someone promising to destroy that would be attractive.

But of course, all Bane wanted to do was keep the city quiescent until it could be wholly destroyed, so why would he invest his mythos more than he had to? (as opposed, say, to the Joker, who was primarily trying to destroy hearts and minds).

So, for me, I don't think these films are veiled propaganda - at least not for that particular side. And so, plot holes, characterisation, whatever: that, and his glorious disdain for 3D make it - to paraphrase - not the blockbusters that we want, but the blockbusters that maybe we need. ;)
posted by smoke at 10:42 PM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, the prison was like, better than a lot of prisons in the US I think. I'm definitely sure the extraordinary rendition sites in Uzbekistan etc are worse than that. I was expecting more men as animals and dirty clothes, and like shivs-in-the-dark, but actually they seemed a very supportive bunch on the whole!
posted by smoke at 11:23 PM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was expecting more men as animals and dirty clothes, and like shivs-in-the-dark, but actually they seemed a very supportive bunch on the whole!

Well, I think there's a narrative reason for that - when Talia came back and stormed the prison, presumably she put lots of nice people in jail and let all the bad people out - so you are a sharing a prison with the people the League of Shadows dislike - massage therapists and osteopaths, it seems - rather than the people who were swarming Bane, presumably in the hope of getting to and doing some pretty unpleasant things to the young Talia.

So, when Bruce Wayne arrives, everyone in there is basically lovely, hence the presence of the lovely Tom Conti and the very supportive chanting when people try to escape. If it was still full of the worst people in the world, presumably Wayne wouldn't have been so quick to throw the rope down after reaching the top - especially since he was pretty much single-handedly responsible for the Dent Act, which put a lot of (at least notionally) bad people in jail without the right of appeal or bail, as far as one can tell.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:12 AM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


The most memorable joke in Leslie H. Martinson’s fondly remembered ‘campy’ Batman film (1966) finds the po-faced caped crusader (Adam West) running about the Gotham waterfront in broad daylight with a giant fizzing cartoon-infernal device. The hero is repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to throw it in the water before it explodes by young lovers, passing nuns or innocent tweeting birds. “Some days,” West deadpans, “you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

Thank you Mr. Kim Newman.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2012


Hmm.. Watching the B:TAS episode Cat Scratch Fever with the kiddo... It has Careoman, a scheming businessman named Dagget and a perilous ice crossing.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on July 22, 2012


Daggers a bit of a recurring character in the bad-guy businessman role in fact.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on July 22, 2012


I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out a lot of people on metafilter don't like something.
posted by dig_duggler at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Criticism of this movie (all these points and more) is hardly limited to MetaFilter. The reviews on this film are running very hot, cold, and lukewarm -- sometimes even within the same review. Many people think it's very flawed but just don't care because they had fun. I think that's a totally valid approach to movie-watching, although I didn't personally have much fun watching this movie.
posted by hermitosis at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2012


"the chalk marks, to answer a question way upthread, were to telegraph that Blake was to become Robin because the symbol is a variation of the Nightwing emblem"

Or it could just be a simple way of making bat symbol using chalk.
posted by PJLandis at 1:05 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Many people think it's very flawed but just don't care because they had fun. I think that's a totally valid approach to movie-watching

That's really what I wanted to be spoiled on it to judge: will I enjoy it? Dark Knight yadda yadda yadda Oscar contender yadda yadda yadda great film yadda yadda yadda. It may have had the best version of the Killing Joke Joker ever but I didn't enjoy it at all. This one sounds like I might not like it as much as some folks but I might not hate it.

(My comics nerd friends on FB are reporting their nerd-rage about it. Batman doesn't want to be Batman and that is wrong is the diagnosis.)
posted by immlass at 1:27 PM on July 22, 2012


Great review by Richard Brody from the New Yorker: “The Dark Knight Rises”: Hero Worship

I agree with a lot of what he says, to me the movie is constructed so tightly that none of the characters seem alive and nothing that happens has any weight at all. It's technically accomplished, but it doesn't make me feel anything. Discussions about minute plot details or inconsistencies seem to be so pointless.
posted by Cloud King at 2:30 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


TBH I find the notion that The Dark Knight was super well plotted rather ridiculous - it has a great central performance that distracted you from the plot, but the second you thought about it the thing fell apart, way more so than TDKR. Also way too many endings.
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just came back from seeing it and was all hopped up about it and you-all have totally harshed my buzz. Yea, lots of plot holes but name me a superhero movie that doesn't have a ton of them. Or a James Bond movie. Or a Star Trek movie. I could go on but I'm wondering that if such things bother you so much, why did you spent the $10 to see it in the first place? It's the third in a series and the first two had a lot of the same kinds of plot holes. Plus, you know, it's a movie about a millionaire who dresses up as a bad and fights crime; I think that your taking it a little too seriously.

Personally I had a great time and the audience that I was with all clapped at the end so I'm assuming that they did to.
posted by octothorpe at 2:53 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think anyone going into a Batman movie is ready to have large amounts of disbelief suspended. It's how the filmmakers handle the little things (and big things) that keep that suspension afloat or not.
For example, the opening scene with the CIA plane is incredibly impressive. But when they identify Pavel's body, is blood type the main authorities way to do it? Or would it be dental records? Why even bring up a blood transfusion in the first place if it doesn't really make sense overall? Because it looked cool. The audience will certainly forgive some of these moments, but if there are too many, they start to bring attention to the fact that we're watching a story that someone made up. And they might not have thought it through as well as they could have.
(The Dark Knight had one of these moments: the fingerprints on the bullet fragments... when it would actually be a fingerprint on the bullet casing. But for the most part there weren't an abundance of these types of mistakes so we give it a pass.)
Back to the plane: the way the wings were ripped off was spectacular. But won't that raise a bit of suspicion about the overall crash? Doesn't seem like any sort of typical plane crash would have its wings ripped shear off. Why do it then? It looks cool and it's a Wow moment. Nolan could have easily staged a more realistic plane crash.
Then, we don't see the scientist for about 90 minutes. We've almost forgotten about him. The movie could have plotted ahead perfectly fine without his existence in the first place, but then we wouldn't have the awesome plane sequence with Bane.
I think some people can forgive these holes because they provide for the Wow moments, but others see them as obstacles to suspending disbelief.
I think it just needed to be ironed-out better.
posted by starman at 4:01 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Movies are very much an "in the moment" experience. If you enjoyed yourself while watching it, nothing can change that.

I have no problem suspending my belief and I love comic book logic, but that was not the problem for me here. For the most part, I had no clue what was happening.

For example, at first I thought the plane segment was how Bane was escaping whatever country he was in to reach Gotham, but then it turned into a kidnapping, but the target was someone whom Bane already had captured. All well and good even to the point of faking the guy's death. Great. So, then what? Nothing. The guy activates a bomb and then he is killed anyway in a stadium full of people. The whole plane sequence was pointless.

Jumping from one event to another without filling in the details is fine, but that is not what Nolan did. Instead, he abused the second type of plot hole, the one where an action is started but is then dropped without explanation, and he did this time after time.
posted by Ardiril at 4:49 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Several years ago a sports doctor wrote a book called "Becoming Batman" about the physical training it would take to become Batman and the kinds of effects such a lifestyle would have on the body. I think Nolan was familiar with that work, because the movie seems to nod at several of the author's insights (or at least the insights I know about from the above article):

"I went through a lot of comics and graphic novels and I only found a couple of examples where some of those blows to Batman's head had the effect of something like a concussion. Whereas in reality, that would be a very likely outcome"

One interesting aspect of this movie is they actually make Wayne a physical wreck. Thomas Lennon's doctor tells him the cartilage in his knees is gone, and that his brain is covered in concussive damage (I guess his depression is caused by brain damage). Of course the movie also takes back this bit of appealing realism by having Wayne somehow overcome all this debilitating damage through force of will.

The other interesting argument is that it would take Wayne about 12 years of training to get into top Batman form, and then he would only have about 3 good years as Batman, due to the physical requirements. This seems to be true in the movie as well. Given Christian Bale's unmodified age (i.e. no wrinkle make-up) and the timespan of the series, a 30 to 40 year old man is about what we see, and eight of those years are spent in crippled retirement. So we're talking about maybe 3 or 4 years of crime-fighting, max.
posted by dgaicun at 6:37 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, a lot of fridge logic here. I was wondering from the outset why there was so much emphasis on faking the plane crash when it seemed the wings would be found miles from the fuselage anyway. And it got more muddled from there. The curious bonhomie of prisoners in both prisons was jarring.

There was a weirdly off-kilter moment when the newly-returned-to-the-surface cops make their charge against the bad guys, who are now armed and vehicular (with their own surplus Batmobiles) and ordering them to disperse. I was sure that this image of police officers playing the role that protesters usually play while convicts are in the police role would be something that came up again; but no -- my recollection of the scene is that despite a WWI "let us bravely charge into automatic weapons" moment, the next shot is of Matthew Modine, sprawled on the ground and looking about as composed as if he were napping. Thus is the PG-13 rating preserved.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:28 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


When they reboot this franchise, hopefully in no less than five years, they should make it 2D animated. They should work with some of the darkness, without making it lugubrious, grimdark, or self-important. Take a cue from Batman: TAS, except with big screen credentials.

Don't begin with an origin story. Create new continuity, treating the Nolanverse as "up for grabs" but not at all binding, i.e. we could assume that Batman Begins more or less happened as described, but that neither The Dark Knight nor The Dark Knight Rises has happened. Begin midstream, with Batman having already saved the entire city at least once.

Maybe have the first reboot's plot center around Clayface, as the first villain for him to encounter who truly has a supernatural power. Have Batman and the other villains have to deal with this new, bizarre thing in their universe. Make it about Gotham becoming more and more ridiculous.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:31 PM on July 22, 2012


I was sure that this image of police officers playing the role that protesters usually play while convicts are in the police role would be something that came up again

You know what would have been interesting? If the police officers had each lost about 30lbs. and their uniforms were in tatters by this point. And if they were all squinting in the sun, barely able to see, since they've been underground for three weeks.

Combine the ragged police with a force of common people who join in as a people's auxiliary.

Show lots of strategy involving the immobilization of their high-tech gizmos - show how easily the people could have dismantled Batman if they had ever chosen to.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:34 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


When they reboot this franchise, hopefully in no less than five years, they should make it 2D animated. They should work with some of the darkness, without making it lugubrious, grimdark, or self-important. Take a cue from Batman: TAS, except with big screen credentials.

They already did this. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is still the best Batman movie (and one of my favorite movies to boot).

I've seen the animation quality in that movie praised in the past, but I honestly felt like the best animated shows in the animated series were done a lot better. If anything, they should just keep the sound recording and redo the Mask of the Phantasm visuals with some of that top-shelf animation quality on display in, say, Feat of Clay: Part II.
posted by dgaicun at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was too comicbooky. Or rather the comic book logic of everything was finally showing through. Somehow it was less of an issue in the first two movies, despite the microwave water boiler yet not people boiler and everything else.

The Bane fights were terrible. I'd always complained about the fast cutting in the first two that obscured any demonstrations of actual skill by the actors. I don't know what the big deal was, they were uniquely equipped to sub in stunt doubles that could have actually fought awesomely.

And as everyone else has said, the motivation for the destruction of Gotham didn't make any sense at all.
posted by Chekhovian at 8:49 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just saw the movie and have to say I was pretty disappointed. Lots of rehashed material, storylines and technology.

Before I forget, I want to ask if anyone remembers a quick shot of a scar on Talia's back, while they were making love by the fireplace. What was that supposed to be? A League of Shadows reference?
posted by phaedon at 10:21 PM on July 22, 2012


The eXile: The Dark Knight Rises vs. The 99%
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:38 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


mightygodking: So we understand that you have problems with the new Batman movie
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:44 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ugh, that Exile piece - like 90% of their pieces, to be fair - is such bad writing. I hate that arch tone; they're always so facile.
posted by smoke at 10:49 PM on July 22, 2012


How did that guy cure Batman’s back by punching him in the spin?
Eastern medicine or something.

posted by Chekhovian at 10:57 PM on July 22, 2012


Thrice meh. Not happy at all - weak sauce.
posted by lalochezia at 11:19 PM on July 22, 2012


Dark Knight Rises Headscratchers
posted by Chekhovian at 11:41 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also...Batman straightup murdered Talia with his indiscriminate gunship machinegun bullet spraying...while not exactly unwarranted, it is surprising...
posted by Chekhovian at 11:53 PM on July 22, 2012


No nevermind, I guess she died from the crash, apparently...
posted by Chekhovian at 12:05 AM on July 23, 2012


Earlier this summer I went to see The Avengers. Then I saw Prometheus. Last night I watched TDKR. As I was walking out of the cinema, I realized, without a trace of irony, that the best action movie I've see this year was John Carter.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 5:09 AM on July 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


No nevermind, I guess she died from the crash, apparently...

Batman tends to dodge these kinds of moral bullets all the time, of course... But clearly Batman's actions lead indirectly to a large number of deaths - whether Talia in the crash, Bane by batcannon or the Bane loyalists being shot by the police. Since the indirect killing of Harvey Dent (gravity did the deed, but Batman certainly gave him the necessary push) was the cause of the retirement of the Batman, it sort of makes sense that this all needs to lead to the redemptive "death" of both Batman and Bruce Wayne.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:12 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Movie batmen are pretty about the whole "no killing" thing in general. Comics Batman failing to save a villain would be a fairly big deal, or at least should be if they haven't made him into The Punisher yet.
posted by Artw at 5:17 AM on July 23, 2012


So here's a question Chris Sims raises: In Superman II when Supes and Lois dump the depowered Kryptonians down great big holes in the ground in the Fortress of Solitude, are they murdering them in cold blood?

I never really thought about it as a kid, they just get neutralized and disappear from the story, but it's kind of implied, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 5:21 AM on July 23, 2012


From the man of twists and turns' link:

Why does the prison in the middle of nowhere have cable TV?

Because Bane wants Batman to suffer, and Fox News will make you suffer like you would not believe

posted by mediated self at 5:34 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why so many folks on MeFi would go to see the third film of a trilogy on opening weekend when they didn't enjoy the first two. But whatever. It wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it. Pity so many here didn't.
posted by smorange at 5:49 AM on July 23, 2012


The movie industry's kill happy superheroes
posted by Artw at 6:17 AM on July 23, 2012


I don't understand why so many folks on MeFi would go to see the third film of a trilogy on opening weekend when they didn't enjoy the first two. But whatever. It wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it. Pity so many here didn't.

Just speaking for myself, I adore the first two movies, and I enjoyed watching the third. However, the third movie really was a disappointment, especially considering the talent behind it and the near-perfection of the first two movies.

What's most frustrating about the third movie is that you can see the outlines of a great film, but there are too many poor writing and editorial choices. It's too muddled and removed from emotional impact. There's nothing even as visually "wow"-worthy as the flipping semi from TDK.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:25 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Bane fights were terrible.

True. Watching them I had the same disappointed feeling that I got watching a Buffy marathon once: it is dispiriting to watch any interesting ideas from the story get set aside and all conflicts resolved by a series of fistfights. Hand-to-hand combat can be made visually engaging in and of itself: Jackie Chan spent decades doing so. Here it wasn't much more sophisticated than two grade-schoolers on the playground standing toe-to-toe, windmilling their arms.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:06 AM on July 23, 2012


Yup, Nolan continues to sucks at fight scenes just like he did for the last two movies.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on July 23, 2012


TOR.com Finally, a Batman Movie Actually About Batman: The Dark Knight Rises
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:53 AM on July 23, 2012


"I don't understand why so many folks on MeFi would go to see the third film of a trilogy on opening weekend when they didn't enjoy the first two."

We can hope, can't we?
posted by PJLandis at 7:58 AM on July 23, 2012


"The whole plane sequence was pointless."

They fake the doctor's death, which Wayne notes as one of the reasons he's willing to give Talia the reactor, although he worries someone else will rediscover the doctors work.
posted by PJLandis at 8:02 AM on July 23, 2012


"I don't understand why so many folks on MeFi would go to see the third film of a trilogy on opening weekend when they didn't enjoy the first two."

We can hope, can't we?


I was so hoping* that someone would post an excerpt from Bane's speech about how there can be no true despair without hope.

*Heh.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:36 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved BB and TDK but, yes, TKDR had problems and I would rank it last out of the three. I will say it redeemed Bane as a character, which is no easy trick considering his ridiculous 90s X-TREEM roots.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:37 AM on July 23, 2012


They fake the doctor's death, which Wayne notes as one of the reasons he's willing to give Talia the reactor, although he worries someone else will rediscover the doctors work.

Really, Bane should have swapped out Pavel's teeth. Which would have been a heck of a sequence.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:10 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Dark Knight Rises Explained: Unraveling The Unanswered Questions
posted by mediated self at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2012


Wow. Those are some stupid questions.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Boiled down to a purely symbolic level, it's essentially a book about how it's okay to still really like Batman when you're about to turn 30, like Frank Miller was when he wrote it and like I am as I write this.

Chris Sims takes on The Dark Knight Returns
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on July 23, 2012


It's interesting seeing the reactions of folks here - although I guess not overly surprising. Folks round these parts DO love their nitpicking.

I went into this flick expecting very little - I hadn't planned to see it, despite quite liking the previous two, but I just wasn't all that excited about it. Which maybe explains why I loved it as much as I did. I hadn't really checked out the spoilers or any of the hype. I knew that Bane and Catwoman were in it, but that's about all I knew. And ya know what? I loved it. I didn't think too much about the plot holes or lame bits (Seriously? From "you put a jacket on a kid's shoulders" Gordon was able to figure out that he's Bruce Wayne? He only ever did that to one kid ever?) - made a few jokes about them in fact - but still absolutely loved it. But in general, it takes a LOT for me to dislike a movie.
posted by antifuse at 12:08 PM on July 23, 2012


Man, I'm not sorry I saw it or anything, but I didn't really like it all that much. I can get past the occasional plot hole or weak characterization, but this was just all over the place, writing-wise, and I had a lot more sympathy for Bane's army than the boys in blue.

I never really react well to purely nihilist villains - and all of the villains in this movie were either loyal dupes or nihilists. None of them expected to get clear of the bomb in the end, and that just sapped all the tension out of the second half of the movie for me. I didn't care about their motivations, I didn't care about the little secondary fights, because they didn't, really. (Likewise, the last scene just totally killed any emotion I felt about Batman's noble self-sacrifice.)

And the logic holes were just too much. Fly the bomb six miles away over water? In two minutes? That just doesn't hold up. I was watching everyone on the bridge looking at the mushroom cloud thinking a) they've all just been flash-blinded and b) the tsunami will be here shortly, they're all dead. Climbing out of the hole? Why the bloody hell was everyone trying to make that crazy leap when the whole thing was unmortared blocks - I saw plenty of handholds that the fucking Batman could manage to use. Hell, given sufficient adrenalin *I* could probably make it up that last ten feet.

And crowds of cops with guns just creep me the fuck out. Not to say I enjoyed the thugs with assault rifles - not after this weekend - but my mental association with a wall of blue marching towards people in civilian clothes is not "Oh good, here comes the cavalry, the day is saved."

Catwoman was fun, and I would probably go see a Nightwing movie, but man, give me the Avengers any day and twice on Mondays. Maybe I'll go see if it's still playing anywhere.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:28 PM on July 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, disappointing film. It was enjoyable at first, but it just started to drag while the bullshit piled up. It felt to me like neither Nolan nor Bale really wanted to make this film, and Nolan settled for a predictable and nonsensical bookend to the first film. Marion Cotillard was especially wasted on a bad character; Talia was a shallow echo of her father, from her words to her plan to her death. And her reveal made Bane superfluous; he went from an entertaining Darth Gimp to a weepy Arseface. Anne Hathaway was a pleasant surprise, but she didn't seem to quite fit in the story, somehow. She should have at least teased Batman about his silly voice after she knew who he was.
posted by homunculus at 4:54 PM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


They had set up how Bane's mask is what separates him from total agony, but Batman never actually pulls it off. He just sort of knocks it askew at one point.

I was hoping he'd pull it apart Goatse-style.
posted by homunculus at 4:58 PM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is Batman’s Healing Method Sound?
posted by ColdChef at 5:51 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the way Chris Nolan movies look, and his Batman trilogy is chock full of actors I like both for their dramatic chops as well as their really pretty eyes. And I wasn't bored (mostly) at The Dark Knight Rises, but sometimes the unrelenting, ponderous don't make me come down there are stop your giggling-ness in the face all the fundamentally silly plot twists and turns made it really hard for me to wave away some of the clunky dialogue and logical inconsistencies and just have a good time.

That said, I did laugh, at several moments that I suspect were not meant to be as hilarious as they struck me (the unveiling of that glowering batman statue for example).
posted by thivaia at 5:57 PM on July 23, 2012


Is Batman’s Healing Method Sound?

That's a great piece, because it features a chiropractor admitting you can't punch someone's spine better. What the fuck do people pay you for then, you inane quack?
posted by howfar at 6:19 PM on July 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


She should have at least teased Batman about his silly voice after she knew who he was.

You mean a "talking like this contest"?
posted by Chekhovian at 6:51 PM on July 23, 2012


And to follow up, I did in fact find a theater that was still running The Avengers and I stand by my opinion.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:47 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Batman Theme, originally by Danny Elfman, performed by Pomplamoose
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on July 24, 2012


The First Knight of Ramadan - A Muslim Nerd's Dilemma
posted by homunculus at 11:48 AM on July 24, 2012


Anne Hathaway on Catwoman spin-off: 'It would be lovely to see more'
posted by homunculus at 5:43 PM on July 24, 2012


Hi! I don't know if anyone is still reading this THE INTERNET HATES THIS MOVIE thread, but I wanted to reply to this:

Bane's plan made zero sense. Why is Bane so convinced Gotham can't be saved when apparently it's been nearly crime-free for EIGHT GODDAMN YEARS? It can't be that he knows Harvey Dent secretly went corrupt; how would he know that before he takes Oldman's top-secret letter that nobody knows about? And what point does that weird anarchy prove? Bane's not the Joker, so why does it matter that chaos reigns? Why bother if you're just going to blow it up again anyway?

Bane doesn't give a shit about any of that. Bane is doing Talia's bidding, and Talia wants to get revenge on Bruce Wayne for killing her father. Her method of getting that revenge is slowly destroying Bruce Wayne's Gotham. Really, the only place this is explained in the movie is in the scene where Talia stabs Batman, but it is in the movie and it explains why Bane did everything he did.
posted by chrchr at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2012


Yeah, but that motivation was lame. I'd have preferred it if Bane really was a fascist, posthuman Robespierre.

Doubly so if they could have had the Riddler as his sidekick - a babbling Riddler with a striking resemblance to Slavoj Žižek.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:06 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Question: did Batman turn Catwoman straight?

Batman Defeats Occupy Movement, Cures Lesbianism!
posted by homunculus at 6:54 PM on July 26, 2012


Men of Stahlhartes Gehäuse: Or, The Dark Knight Rises on Followership
posted by homunculus at 7:03 PM on July 26, 2012


'The Dark Knight Rises' Novelization Hints At The Joker's Fate
posted by Artw at 9:08 PM on July 26, 2012


Honestly Catwoman's arc was so blatantly a Han Solo ripoff that when she rescued our Chosen One hero by shooting the funny-mask-breathing badguy who was about to shoot Our Hero I seriously actually expected, for a moment, that she would say GREAT SHOT KID THAT WAS ONE IN A MILLION
posted by shakespeherian at 7:43 AM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Finally saw it tonight. That was some by-the-numbers monomyth writing if I ever saw it, and a lot of the narrative flaws can be explained in light of that. Alfred's leaving, for example, was totally out of character, a sort of ret-conned objection written in just so that we can have our hero's mentor depart and set him up for the bleak moment of near death/apotheosis before he's dragged off into the magic cable prison.

That said, I actually enjoyed it much more than previous movies because Anne Hathaway was surprisingly, refreshingly good as Catwoman and had great sexual tension with Christian Bale. Their interactions were campy, but I like my Batman campy, damn it. I've never been able to get behind the macho modern Batmodel anyway.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:11 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw it last night, and I don't believe anyone's brought this up, but I think it might have been better as TWO movies. The first ending when Bruce is broken (maybe even implying he's dead), and the 2nd picks up a couple of months into Gotham's siege. It almost seems sometimes like it wanted to be two movies, with it's length, multiple villains, and change in character of Gotham from a low-crime city into a lawless anarchic frontier.

I also would have played up Batman's defeat and possible death a bit more. Looking back, I wondered why Bane didn't at least film his fight and beating of Batman and put it up on the Jumbotron when he was at the football game. Or at least hold up the shard of his mask as proof he defeated Batman. I mean, he was a populist villain attempting to market himself as someone "of the people". He should have done much, much more to take down Batman's image as this underground hero. Maybe as an ultimate destruction of his image he could have hired thugs and mercenaries to dress up like Batman and go on a fascist authoritarian streak before he stepped out on stage as the people's hero.
posted by FJT at 11:48 AM on July 28, 2012


There's a couple of points that would feel just right as episode breaks in a miniseries.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on July 28, 2012


My reaction to the ending was, "So, Bruce tosses aside all his dedication to fighting criminality just to score with some cat?" Except, I didn't think the word, 'cat'.

Thumbs up effort at making a pretty refreshingly good characterization of a complex heroine into a joke about pussy. (Lame.)

On that note I felt some vindication when Bane became a sop in love with a woman who was going to leave him on an nuclear island for the sake of her father's legacy. People tend to dig/comprehend when the woman is in that role, but a tough-guy luchador sewer fighter being a fool for love was too much for my fragile woman's heart to handle. Oh, Bane. ♥

As for Talia, she added nothing to the plot. She actually weakened Bane's story, as well. Why not just have Bane be yet another reject from the League of Shadows, who is obsessed with applying his own personal vision to Gotham? One's a nihilist fascist, the other is an borderline-absurdist hero. That's a conflict, that's a story. We don't need any silliness about Bane doing anything for love.

Why can't he be both? People do dumb shit for love all the time, I thought it was pretty fabulous.

I actually really liked the blend of humor with straight-facedness in TDKR. The jokes were often corny but I liked the way the tension/scenes weren't totally constructed around them, and they made me laugh. There were actually multiple moments were I was simultaneously overcome with glee and found myself giggling out loud at the absurdity of what was happening-- the Robin reveal, for instance. A few of the fighting scenes. It was just such a fun movie. LOL forever at Bane's voice, but that's what made it so great. I just got back from seeing it the second time, and for once I was impressed by Nolan's puzzle-making skills. I didn't know what the fuck happened with the autopilot the first time around, for instance-- probably because people started shuffling and leaving the theater (??? are you people paying attention) after Batman just couldn't get rid of that bomb. There's just something satisfying about a well-made action movie tying up all its loose exposition, I guess.

I didn't think the "glowering Batman statue" unveiling was supposed to be humorous exactly (well, obviously, I mean), but it was supposed to seem slightly ridiculous and bitter, I thought, and least judging from Gordon's reaction.

Also umm is it not possible that Catwoman was bisexual? At least that was my interpretation.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:43 AM on July 30, 2012


Bane's plan made zero sense. Why is Bane so convinced Gotham can't be saved when apparently it's been nearly crime-free for EIGHT GODDAMN YEARS? It can't be that he knows Harvey Dent secretly went corrupt; how would he know that before he takes Oldman's top-secret letter that nobody knows about? And what point does that weird anarchy prove? Bane's not the Joker, so why does it matter that chaos reigns? Why bother if you're just going to blow it up again anyway?

I saw it as Bane being primarily motivated by his love for Talia, but they both suffered in a sweltering jail-hole and Bane was pretty passionate about his ostensible plot to give Gotham hope and then blow it to pieces. I'd imagine growing up in a battle-torn brick well in the desert would give you some unique ideas about what rich, corrupt Western Civilization has coming to it (at least in terms of the narrative Nolan is using and which we are to believe about the War on Terror &c., but if you accept his ongoing thematic exploration of the creation of terrorism in our political climate then it was a shared, formative experience of theirs). They were a power couple: crazy, fearless, mastermind Talia al Ghul trying to avenge her father, and Bane, both scarred by his experiences and deeply in love with a charismatic(??) supervillainness. So their bid to destroy Gotham was one based both in love and in deep solidarity from their early days in a life-shaping prison. That's pretty ironclad.

(If Talia's big reveal hadn't been so crucial to the structure of the movie as Nolan wanted it, we might have seen more of her being influential/charismatic? But as it was I saw her brief moments in Wayne manor-- "suffering builds character" and "when we had a fire, we felt very rich indeed"-- as extremely powerful character moments, where I was made aware that she had a great depth of integrity. I just didn't expect the direction to which that integrity was turned. But as it was, it tied in with the various thematic threads about money, privilege, and entitlement.)

We see plenty of society fat cats getting what's coming to them, but we also see Gordon getting chewed out for the shitty moral decisions he may have made, Selina Kyle realizing that despite being mistreated all her life she's been disavowing responsibility for her actions (and believing in a facile idea of revolution), Bruce Wayne being heroic but pretty massively pathological about his own scars, Bane feeling that Gotham and Batman should suffer as he did because he did, Blake learning how to choke down his own rage at terrible unfairness to break out of his "at-risk" prognosis, &c. On that note, I broke into goosebumps/tears when he confronted Bruce about being Batman, because the idea throughout the film that these horribly painful experiences underlie the patina of civilization and take us in endlessly confusing, brutalizing directions was so strong. ... and that's also why Bane and Talia's partnership seemed plausible to me, because they'd simply decided that Western society's morals were a flimsy pretext-- I mean, look at Gotham's elites-- and were letting revenge take over. Catwoman was doing the same, but without the League of Shadows firepower, Blake took years to get himself under control, and even Batman had to make hard choices (according to Alfred, anyway) about what he was doing for Gotham and what he was doing out of his own misplaced sense of rage.

I also would have played up Batman's defeat and possible death a bit more. Looking back, I wondered why Bane didn't at least film his fight and beating of Batman and put it up on the Jumbotron when he was at the football game. Or at least hold up the shard of his mask as proof he defeated Batman.

I was a little shocked when Bane threw Batman's shattered mask to the ground, but ultimately I was glad they didn't go down that road, because it seems to be a touchstone of... every supervillain's plot, ever.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:12 AM on July 30, 2012


Yeah!
posted by eoden at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2012


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