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July 28, 2012 9:17 AM   Subscribe


 
"cattily encapsulates" is a pretty accurate description of every Anthony Lane movie review.
posted by ook at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


correction: Guano
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:26 AM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


...over three films, we have waited for him to have Bat-core sex, hanging upside down from a rafter and emitting cries of sonar

Speak for yourself, dude.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:26 AM on July 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


Bale, as an actor, has charisma but no charm

This was sharply observed.

The rest is the usual Lane festival of bitchiness.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:26 AM on July 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


All I've seen of the movie is the preview, and this review captures every "meh" reaction I had to it. Sharply pointed reviews are always a pleasure to read, and all the more so when one agrees with them.
posted by Forktine at 9:31 AM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Or else he should hang out with Iron Man and get wasted.

I'm already in line for this movie.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 9:31 AM on July 28, 2012 [21 favorites]


All I've seen of the movie is the preview, and this review captures every "meh" reaction I had to it. Sharply pointed reviews are always a pleasure to read, and all the more so when one agrees with them.

It's nice when people decide how you'll feel about a film for you, isn't it?
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:33 AM on July 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's nice when people decide how you'll feel about a film for you, isn't it?

A++++, would miss the point again.

So I should see a movie where the preview made me say not just "meh" but "fuck meh", and about which even positive reviews make it sound terrible? I don't think so. I'm happy for the millions of people who enjoy the movie; this is a review that manages to both capture what people are enjoying about the movie and also the ways in which those are flawed.
posted by Forktine at 9:36 AM on July 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's nice when people decide how you'll feel about a film for you, isn't it?

It's even better when you read this after seeing it, and feel an instant kindred relation to the writer. This dude said pretty much everything I've been saying about the film, except he said it better.

As for the final paragraph, Julie Newmar agrees with him.
posted by hermitosis at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Fuck meh!
posted by sexyrobot at 9:39 AM on July 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


MetaFilter: Fuck meh!

Horribly, horribly true.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on July 28, 2012


Sharply pointed reviews are always a pleasure to read

I find nothing sharply pointed about "direct Batman to the bathroom, and it would take him twenty minutes of hydraulic shunting simply to unzip".

In fact, I find no point to that at all. It doesn't say why someone considering seeing the movie ought to decide not to. It doesn't scrutinize any directorial choice Nolan made.

If the reviewer is just going to do standup comedy, it needs to be a lot funnier than that.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:42 AM on July 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Caped or uncaped, the guy is a bore. He should have kids; that would pull him out of himself. Or else he should hang out with Iron Man and get wasted. He should have fun.

Not that I've been appalled by the previous two Bat-movies (haven't seen this one yet), but man does this speak to my biggest issue with them. Come on, people, it's a grown man in a bat suit.

Of course, in my perfect world Buckaroo Bonzai would be the franchise that can't be beat, that would inspire round-the-block lineups a full week before their latest installment opens, and, tragically, crazed-haired real world killers telling the cops they're Dr. Lizardo as they get arrested.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on July 28, 2012 [18 favorites]



If the reviewer is just going to do standup comedy, it needs to be a lot funnier than that.


got a chuckle out of me.
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the reviewer is just going to do standup comedy, it needs to be a lot funnier than that.

And that's my problem Anthony Lane across the board. His priorities are 1. to make sure you realize how clever and hilarious Anthony Lane is and (a distant) 2. to talk about movies.
posted by COBRA! at 9:51 AM on July 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


"the outcome is positively Victorian"

Much as I enjoy watching things explode on the screen and Batman being deligtfully depressed for 3 hours while beating people up, I have to say that like Lane these films' politics make me profoundly uncomfortable. Basically, my take away is that Nolan and the films believe is that the problem is not that rich white men are in charge of the world, it's just that the wrong rich white men are in charge of it. The other take away is the the average person is too awful and stupid to be allowed to decide on what they should eat for breakfast, let alone who should be in charge. It's like reading Hard Times but in a version where someone has edited out all the compassion.

Good explosions, though.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:51 AM on July 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


my take away is that Nolan and the films believe is that the problem is not that rich white men are in charge of the world, it's just that the wrong rich white men are in charge of it

This is roughly the problem I have with The Lord of the Rings. As much I love the films - and the character of Aragorn in particular - the idea the world being set right by the enthronement of the True King is a child's philosophy.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:00 AM on July 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


> “The Dark Knight” was pantherish and sleek.

I enjoyed TDK, mostly...but "sleek" it was not.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 10:03 AM on July 28, 2012


The New Yorker guy didn't like the Batman movie? Wow, I never woulda guessed.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:03 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


God I love reading Anthony Lane - though we never seem to like the same movies.
posted by helmutdog at 10:04 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Possibly the worst fault of TDKR is that you see Batman out in the sunlight for the first time (I think?) in the three films and he suddenly looks not at all like Batman and completely like Christian Bale in a complicated rubber suit with a big weirdo stupid cape thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:06 AM on July 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


It is especially hilarious because I saw all those winter downtown NYC scenes being filmed and it was about 96 degrees outside that day.

Also Tom Hardy was Carlton dancing.
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


he is so dreamy
posted by elizardbits at 10:09 AM on July 28, 2012


CATWOMAN WOULD NEVER SETTLE DOWN
posted by shakespeherian at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Kind of distracting to watch the movie after reading that review. It made it seem even more portentous and humorless. "Why so serious?" indeed, intentionally or not. Kind of sucks for them they blew their best bad guy on #1 (does anyone even remember #2?)

Oh, and waaaaay stupid plot twist at the end (or the climax, really). Just d-u-m-b.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2012


"En-cat-sulates?"
posted by gottabefunky at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was only a plot twist if you've never read Batman comics and thus weren't thinking the whole time 'why do they keep acting like Bane is Talia that makes no sense clearly it has to be that lady with the accent.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


It was only a plot twist if you've never heard of Christopher Nolan and therefore would not be able to automatically predict that Marion Cotillard would be the SURPRISE WTF person.
posted by elizardbits at 10:15 AM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not that I've been appalled by the previous two Bat-movies (haven't seen this one yet), but man does this speak to my biggest issue with them. Come on, people, it's a grown man in a bat suit.

Yes and only a crazy person puts on a bat suit. Or a child. Which is why Nolan's take on Batman is great, because the symbol brings huge and horrific consequences. The League of Shadows focuses on Gotham, resulting in numerous explosions and deaths. Then the Joker comes to Gotham, resulting in the destruction of Harvey Dent, a realistic hero, Bruce's childhood squeeze and many legal rights. Finally, The League shows up again, resulting in more death and destruction.

In the end, all Bruce can do is hand off the mantle and go hang out with the chick who kept betraying him, probably until she gets bored.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]




And that's my problem Anthony Lane across the board. His priorities are 1. to make sure you realize how clever and hilarious Anthony Lane is and (a distant) 2. to talk about movies.

I feel like there was an essay a while back talking about how there were two kinds of film critics, ravers and rankers, and each is only fun to read when they're doing the thing they're good at....Lane is always much more fun on movies he doesn't like, and I would say this isn't one of his best, because it bored him more than he disliked it. His was funnier on Star Wars.

Or maybe I've just been reading him too long, because his reaction to the film's humourlessness was pretty predictable to me; Lane likes wit and grace in equal measure. The chicks in the Batman movies have that assignment, but it's like trying to paste rhinestones on granite.
posted by Diablevert at 10:25 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


my take away is that Nolan and the films believe is that the problem is not that rich white men are in charge of the world, it's just that the wrong rich white men are in charge of it

Men of Stahlhartes Gehäuse: Or, The Dark Knight Rises on Followership
posted by homunculus at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kind of sucks for them they blew their best bad guy on #1 (does anyone even remember #2?)

What? Yes, I think people remember The Dark Knight and its villain.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Of course, in my perfect world Buckaroo Bonzai would be the franchise that can't be beat

Oh man wasn't it amazing when Buckaroo Bonzai showed up at the opening ceremonies of the NYC Olympics?

Wait which universe is this again? The one with the owls?
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I loved it, personally. Thought it was a really neat exploration of Batman as an idea. Bane ruled. We got the first proper onscreen Catwoman ever. I didn't even mind Composite Robin. No one will convince me that I didn't have an absolute blast seeing the Dark Knight Rises. Twice, actually.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Mark Fisher on TDKR.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2012


Everything is stupid and nothing makes sense - that's how I would summarize The Dark Knight Rises. Terrible movie and a dissapointing end to the trilogy.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:31 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw it yesterday, and man, if Rush Limbaugh could get past the Bain/Bane naming nonsense, he would love this movie so much he would use it as a masturbation aid.

Yes, quasi-spoilers follow.

--Gotham is no longer crime-ridden, because eight years ago the never-explained "Dent Act" passed, which, per the mayor, "gave law enforcement teeth." In the real world, this means "removing restraints on the police and thereby weakening civil liberties." But in Gotham, it totally fucking worked. SUCK IT, LIBERALS!

--Bruce Wayne pissed away his fortune and nearly wrecked Wayne Enterprises by pursuing clean energy. This not only meant that Wayne's charitable contributions stopped, thereby hurting the city, but it never accomplished anything save creating a weapon for The Bad Guys. Green energy? A waste, a boondoggle, and destined to screw over the people. Better to keep your money, leave the status quo intact, and Be Generous. SUCK IT, LIBERALS!

--Bane has a cult of mercenaries who follow him blindly because of his crypto-Marxist/Jacobin rhetoric. This rhetoric is clearly just a tool for Bane; he uses it only because it manipulates people. Later, he turns this rhetoric on Gotham, where a modern version of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror breaks out. See, the Occupy movement and leftists in general are only motivated by jealousy, will kill you given a chance, and are all stupid pawns of foreign agitators! I KNEW IT! SUCK IT, LIBERALS!

--The rhetoric about the rich and how "they leave so little for the rest of us" was never shown in practice. Poor people don't actually exist in this movie. All we see are wealthy people being frivolous. Why Bane's rhetoric would be embraced by anyone aside from the general depravity and jealousy of poor people is left a mystery. They hate the rich because theyz haterz! SUCK IT, LIBERALS!

--Despite how the first two movies showed that Gotham's biggest problem was the corruption of its police force, this movie was pure, 100% badge-lovin'. The mysterious "Dent Act" somehow eliminated police corruption, and the worst cop we saw was a fairly craven careerist Matthew Modine, who in the end sucked it up and died a hero in his dress blues. No one else opposed Bane and his crew, despite the fact that he was a murderous loony holding the city hostage. To my eyes, that reads as SUCK IT, LIBERALS!, though maybe not everyone else would.

ugh.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 10:31 AM on July 28, 2012 [68 favorites]


It was only a plot twist if you've never read Batman comics and thus weren't thinking the whole time 'why do they keep acting like Bane is Talia that makes no sense clearly it has to be that lady with the accent.'

Well, it suprised me, though I knew something was happening with her (the scars etc...). I guess I just wasn't thinking in that direction.
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2012


I haven't seen The Dark Knight yet, but I'm generally kind of underwhelmed by Nolan's movies. Contrary to Anthony Lane, I neither oohed nor ahhed when the sidewalk rolled up in Inception; here in the future, a movie that has hundreds of millions of dollars squirted into it can show you pretty much anything, and if I don't care about why something is happening, what's happening isn't really that impressive. (Full disclosure: I kinda think the Matrix movies are crummy.) But I think Lane hits the nail on the head when he alludes to how just weirdly sexless Nolan's movies are, where women are angelic Beatrices (or demonic Liliths), plot devices or straight-up refrigerator fodder, but never partners. And certainly never the lead.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:38 AM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


leading to extravagant results on a football field

Haven't seen the movie, but what gets me about the trailer is that the ball carrier in the football sequence continues to run toward the goal line, the ball tucked neatly into his left elbow, strong arming a potential tackle with his right arm. It's as if he's saying, "Fuck the catastrophic dissolution of the football field, or end of the universe for that matter, I'm scoring a goddamn touchdown." Does this guy realize what's going on behind him? Or, better yet, does the actor, reenacting the scene in front of a green screen, understand the CGI that will be added in post-production?
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:39 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thinking about Nolan's "sexless" Batman movies is now making me imagine a sleek, wry, slightly-but-not-very campy version of Batman, directed by Brian De Palma. This movie, which has not and will never exist, is now my favorite movie.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:42 AM on July 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Fuck. Meh.
posted by mule98J at 10:42 AM on July 28, 2012


But I think Lane hits the nail on the head when he alludes to how just weirdly sexless Nolan's movies are, where women are angelic Beatrices (or demonic Liliths), plot devices or straight-up refrigerator fodder, but never partners. And certainly never the lead.

Selina Kyle is all of these things, except "refrigerator fodder" in TDKR.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


lesbiassparrow: Much as I enjoy watching things explode on the screen and Batman being deligtfully depressed for 3 hours while beating people up, I have to say that like Lane these films' politics make me profoundly uncomfortable.
Oh God, yes. This. The point of the latest Batman apologia for Big Capitalism is that resistance to tyranny is only acceptable when performed by a billionaire. Any other form of dissent—anything that smacks of the little people—must be derided and smashed. There's a name for this kind of aesthetic—fascist, I believe.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:46 AM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think Buckaroo Bonsai and the Tiny Trees was the pinnacle of the franchise.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:49 AM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


And that's my problem Anthony Lane across the board. His priorities are 1. to make sure you realize how clever and hilarious Anthony Lane is and (a distant) 2. to talk about movies.

Anthony Lane has written many positive movie reviews. No one talks about them, though, so people have this misapprehension that all he's out for is snark and cattiness. It just isn't so. And it isn't his fault if so many movies are risible.
posted by kenko at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


And that's my problem Anthony Lane across the board. His priorities are 1. to make sure you realize how clever and hilarious Anthony Lane is and (a distant) 2. to talk about movies.

I have to disagree. I think Anthony Lane does an excellent job of teasing out both the enticing and annoying bits of movies with economy and depth. I don't always agree with him (I wish I could remember the review he wrote which was completely orthogonal to my response), but I always enjoy his reviews.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:11 AM on July 28, 2012


This was sharply observed.

Leaving the film, I couldn't help but to think that Christian Bale is like Keanu Reeves with more emotion and a successful post-90s career.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:26 AM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


If laughing at the overblown righteous indignation of those who cry about the undertones of films like The Dark Knight duology, The Lord of the Rings, and 300 makes me a reactionary, well pass me some Carlyle and call me Ignatius!
posted by Apocryphon at 11:42 AM on July 28, 2012


There are plenty of dull, plodding critics who just want to talk about aspect ratios or the quality of the Dolby sound or the mechanics of the film. We have room for at least one who is witty.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:47 AM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have room for at least one who is witty.

It's too bad he hasn't shown up yet.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:52 AM on July 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


I find him funny. Therefore, he is funny. QED.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:01 PM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Christian Bale is like Keanu Reeves with more emotion

Christian Bale has emotion like Keira Knightley has emotion.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:07 PM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


If laughing at the overblown righteous indignation of those who cry about the undertones of films like The Dark Knight duology, The Lord of the Rings, and 300 makes me a reactionary, well pass me some Carlyle and call me Ignatius!

Huh?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:12 PM on July 28, 2012


It's not one of his cattiest lines, but man oh man, I wish somebody told me this before I saw the movie: "The third film picks up where its predecessors left off, the implication being that anyone unschooled in those two works is not worthy, and not welcome."

I mean, if you're going to make major plot points based on a movie from 2005, you probably should have made that first movie a little more memorable. I guess I remember sort of that Liam Neeson was in the first movie, but damned if I remember what his motivations or goals were beyond, you know, evil.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Lane on this movie more than I actually enjoyed watching this movie.
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:21 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find him funny. Therefore, he is funny. QED.

Fair enough. I found DKR to be whipass and satisfying. Therefore, it is whipass and satisfying. QED
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So glad I watched this one on my iPad at home.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christian Bale has emotion like Keira Knightley has emotion.

Attractively and Britishly?
posted by elizardbits at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, if you're going to make major plot points based on a movie from 2005, you probably should have made that first movie a little more memorable. I guess I remember sort of that Liam Neeson was in the first movie, but damned if I remember what his motivations or goals were beyond, you know, evil.

Me, I was doing fine on that but annoyed by the crappy little flashbacks.
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, those weren't flashbacks, they were dream visits from spirits!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:39 PM on July 28, 2012


I almost laughed aloud when Qui-Gon Jinn faded out of existence again.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:44 PM on July 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ra's al Ghostie
posted by elizardbits at 12:47 PM on July 28, 2012


ISWYDT
posted by shakespeherian at 12:48 PM on July 28, 2012


Use the Scowl Bruce.
posted by The Whelk at 1:06 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Critic: You went half way around the world... you spent a fortune... you did terrible things... really terrible things Christopher, and all for nothing.
Nolan: For nothing?
Critic: Yeah.
Nolan: You never understood, why we did this. The audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, then you can make them wonder, and then you... then you got to see something really special... you really don't know?... it was... it was the look on their faces...
posted by mediated self at 1:18 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]




The third film picks up where its predecessors left off, the implication being that anyone unschooled in those two works is not worthy, and not welcome.

Um yeah fuck this. I barely remember The Dark Knight, don't remember Batman Begins, but the very last thing I ever want is someone to baby me through two other movies that I could just as easily go... see. Are there people who actually want movies to spend less time on their own story so they can waste time telling you about previous movies? This has been my pet peeve since like age 6.

my take away is that Nolan and the films believe is that the problem is not that rich white men are in charge of the world, it's just that the wrong rich white men are in charge of it

I mean, Nolan and the films are based on the actual Batman franchise, so not a lot was going to change there. I guess I enjoyed TDKR specifically because it was slightly more polyphonic than TDK, at least in that Selina Kyle is a fairly well-drawn character and was working out her own politics as someone who never had the rich white guys working for her. Also, Talia's early motives made the nature of Bruce Wayne's philanthropy a little more interesting, not as confined to "one guy saving the world." I guess I have no problem with the fantasy of goodness in a comic book movie. I like to see a guy working through his personal problems and doing the right thing, even if he's rich and white.

But I think Lane hits the nail on the head when he alludes to how just weirdly sexless Nolan's movies are, where women are angelic Beatrices (or demonic Liliths), plot devices or straight-up refrigerator fodder, but never partners. And certainly never the lead.

Selina Kyle is all of these things, except "refrigerator fodder" in TDKR.


Selina Kyle ruled. I thought it was a huge relief that TDKR was sexless. I emphatically did not want to spend any time with Selina Kyle or her partner in a strip joint, or watch the camera linger on her ass (hello, Avengers). I thought it was great how Nolan preserved the part of Catwoman that pragmatically takes advantage of men without making it more about sexy Catwoman seducing the audience than smart Catwoman kicking ass.



Anyway, I haven't seen Batman Begins, didn't like TDK, and I looooooooved TDKR and did find it totally whipass. Completely unexpected, but I found that it finally hit the right note between "realistic" thriller and what it really is, which is a comic book romp about a guy in a suit. It seemed to me like it was finally a little more accepting of unreality and more thematically interesting, whereas TDK was thematically boring and trying too hard to be real.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:25 PM on July 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


SO... HULK IS REASONABLY SURE THAT NOLAN DID NOT WANT TO MAKE THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. COMING OFF THE DARK KNIGHT HE WAS QUITE CLEAR THAT HE HAD MADE HIS DEFINITIVE VERSION OF BATMAN AND ONE HE WAS COMPLETELY SATISFIED WITH.

Totally. I realized this watching TDKR. Dark Knight Rises is not a sprint to the finish line, it is a victory lap.
posted by mediated self at 1:26 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved The Dark Knight and have watched it over and over with glee each time. The Joker performance is so much more interesting than anything Nolan has ever done. I even read the script to see how much was Ledger's interpretation and how much was preconceived. I even like applying the whole message of that movie to real life. "How do we fight terrorists whose only motivation is pain and suffering?" In that struggle you have the Bat who refuses to kill and the criminals on the boat who refuse to play along. It ends the way it should, with the lunatic hero in a mask in hiding and the terrorist in police custody. For me, it was an moving and fascinating experiment, the Batman and Joker/good vs evil conflict brought into the modern world. Batman has always evolved with the times. Batman having to flee the police and Joker dangling upside down laughing was a magnificent payoff for me as an audience member.

I was very eager to see the story continue in The Dark Knight Rises. I was very disappointed. Bane is legend, fearsome, terrifying promised the trailers. In the end he is nothing more than a bemused muscleman with love for motivation. WTF. Bane cries. Poor little guy (hardy is 5'8 bale is 6'0).

As for the whole DKR is a 1% movie, I just can't get behind that. The trailers certainly played on this idea, shooting up wall street, Selina's "storm is coming speech," but in the film the reason wall street gets shot up is to coverup a robbery and the reason rich people get terrorized is because Bane lets out ALL the criminals. Someone said "it is the most comic booky of all the trilogy" and they were right.

Nolan spends all his time reminding us about what happened in Batman Begins because he knows he cannot touch The Dark Knight in story or quality. DKR is not a bad Batman movie, in fact I thought it was a pretty good Batman movie but we were all hoping for a greatness after Dark Knight because it was both good as a Batman movie and as a good vs evil movie.

tl;dr
Joker better than Bane/the Ah'gul family
posted by M Edward at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Fuck meh!

Semper Meh-fi!

Oh, you say mee-fi? Your parole officer must be so proud of you!
posted by zippy at 2:17 PM on July 28, 2012


As ever, Johnathan Rosenbaum sums up my thoughts: "Roger [Ebert]'s a friend of mine, even though we often disagree about films. I feel far more alienated from someone like Anthony Lane who doesn't care about movies at all."
posted by stoneandstar at 2:19 PM on July 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is a group of people I shall call "Smart People With Taste." Many of these people are members here at Metafilter. They consider themselves to be -- you guessed it -- intelligent people with a refined taste in the arts.

When something very big hits the mainstream, they generally don't complain too much about its popularity. People don't get too worked up on here about the popularity of the Transformers movies or Two and a Half Men or Miley Cyrus. Why? Simple -- they know that Smart People With Taste do not like those things. They know that the people who like Tranformers/Men/Cyrus are people who are not smart people with good taste. Therefore, it doesn't threaten their status as such people to not like those things.

But sometimes something comes along that shakes them to their core. It is not just that a lot of people liked Prometheus or The Dark Knight Rises -- it is that a lot of Smart People With Taste like those movies. How to reconcile the fact that they and many Smart People With Taste disagree about the quality of art? Either the other Smart People With Taste are wrong, or maybe the person himself wasn't really such a Smart Person With Taste after all. This, I assure you, is a terrifying concept.

So what is the Smart Person With Taste supposed to do in such a situation? Unlike the situation with Transformers, etc., they can't really just say, "Different people like different things." I am not sure why. I mean, different people do like different things. But no, some feel their status in some class has been threatened, so they have to fall all over themselves to tell the world how incredibly awful the art really is and how terribly wrong all of those other alleged Smart People With Taste are. It is really quite an interesting phenomenon to behold.
posted by flarbuse at 2:21 PM on July 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


How did Selina Kyle know how to ride the crazy Bat-cycle thing, two seconds after she learned of its existence? Batman was like, hey, get on this Bat-cycle and go blow away hundreds of tons of concrete with the built-in grenade launcher. And she hopped on it with high heels on and rode off into the night, no problem. Meanwhile, it takes me twenty minutes to remember how to use the gear shifter on my girlfriend's Volkswagon.
posted by deathpanels at 2:24 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gordion Knott: "Does this guy realize what's going on behind him?"

I thought the whole point of that scene (I've also only seen the trailer) was that he did not.
posted by Bonzai at 2:28 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh?

To which part of my sentence?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:32 PM on July 28, 2012


The Joker performance is so much more interesting than anything Nolan has ever done. I even read the script to see how much was Ledger's interpretation and how much was preconceived.

You may or may not want to watch Tom Waits on Australian TV in 1979
posted by fightorflight at 3:09 PM on July 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


How did Selina Kyle know how to ride the crazy Bat-cycle thing, two seconds after she learned of its existence? ... she hopped on it with high heels on and rode off into the night, no problem. Meanwhile, it takes me twenty minutes to remember how to use the gear shifter on my girlfriend's Volkswagon.

Are you as badass as Catwoman? There's yer trouble.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:19 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


or watch the camera linger on her ass (hello, Avengers)

For real, the way the camera ogledpast Chris Evans butt was just appalling.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:21 PM on July 28, 2012


--Gotham is no longer crime-ridden, because eight years ago the never-explained "Dent Act" passed, which, per the mayor, "gave law enforcement teeth." In the real world

This isn't really the real world, it's a comic book movie. In addition, the last movie, didn't depict Batman's brutal method in an entirely positive light either, and majorly hints that Batman's harsh methods had a hand in creating the Joker.

--Bruce Wayne pissed away his fortune and nearly wrecked Wayne Enterprises by pursuing clean energy.

Most movies that feature radical new technology (or even just new technology that scares 40 year old writers) usually have it as a plot device, because things obviously get handwaved to go wrong. Watch Robocop or Total Recall. Hell, watch The Net or even Die Hard 4 to see it with THE 3V4L INTERNET!!

--Bane has a cult of mercenaries who...

Wait, weren't Bane's mercenaries wearing those tan colored modular body armors for a period that made them all look like Blackwater merc's for a bit? The politics is all kind of muddied I admit for Bane, and he seems to borrow a little bit from everything.

-- Why Bane's rhetoric would be embraced by anyone aside from the general depravity and jealousy of poor people is left a mystery.

Other than criminals marching in lock-step with Bane, I don't remember seeing anyone else siding with him. That's kind of odd. In the movie, I never felt that Bane had any significant part of the city behind him. Either through fear or charisma or whatever. Most of the time (like in the Wayne building) people were huddled around a fire. They all became hobos or something.
posted by FJT at 3:23 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You may or may not want to watch Tom Waits on Australian TV in 1979

That is awesome, the voice is dead on. Considering that Parnassus started filmed after Dark Knight I wonder if Ledger had met Waits or if it was all happenstance.

I have always wanted to be Tom Waits when I grew up.
posted by M Edward at 3:29 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


To which part of my sentence?
Presumably that you wrote it at all. You seem to think that people want to talk about the themes of those movies purely out of a desire to I guess apply a specific label to people, or say that it's not ok to like those movies? And while I'm sure you could find examples of those things somewhere on the internet, both you and they are missing the point. Then you want to pick a fight over that missed point.

Whether we like a movie or not, it's possible to talk about the themes it contains and the clues those themes give us about our culture. I enjoyed the batman movies. I liked the lord of the rings books and movies. I liked 300. It's also true that I cringed at a montage of Occupy sound bites getting played over chaos and murder. It did not escape me that the only black people in LOTR work for Sauron. Dan Savage's description of 300's Xerxes as "an eight foot tall black drag queen" seemed spot-on to me.

It's possible to like a movie and still acknowledge that it confirms or panders to some of the less than stellar prejudices of our society.

That said, Bruce Wayne did not piss away his fortune pursuing clean energy. He pissed it away by building a fusion reactor he then refused to sell because it doubled as a hilariously portable thermonuclear weapon. What'd they say it was, 4 or 5 megatons (compared with the 16 kt that leveled Hiroshima)? And you could put it in a shipping container?
posted by kavasa at 3:31 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


For real, the way the camera ogled past Chris Evans butt was just appalling.

You appear to have misspelled "appealing".
posted by elizardbits at 3:34 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Leave it to Anthony Lane to use the word "dropsical" in a movie review. He probably keeps a century-old medical dictionary by his side just so he can look up various fusty and technical ways to call a movie diseased.
posted by painquale at 3:36 PM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


In important ways, Anthony Lane's self-important bitchiness is very much like the reactionary rage of Fox News. Those who are inclined to agree with his superficial, half-paying-attention criticisms regard them as profound insights. On the other hand, those who protest at facts misrepresented and subtexts misread find themselves arguing with an empty room, because Mr. Lane has already moved on to some other argument, as if to say, "Oh, those people? They're fighting over a point I've already won."
posted by belarius at 3:41 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is no sentence that isn't punched up by the diligent use of well-placed gadzookery.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:42 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You appear to have misspelled "appealing".

I think they meant it was appalling that it ogled past rather than staying there for the remainder of the movie.
posted by zippy at 3:42 PM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nolan spends all his time reminding us about what happened in Batman Begins because he knows he cannot touch The Dark Knight in story or quality.

Also, because the best part of The Dark Knight is dead, and I for one would think it a little disrespectful to grab clips of Ledger's performance for TDKR.

I just watched TDKR for the first time like an hour ago, and my thought is: for better or for worse, Nolan wrote a script in which practically nobody onscreen believed in Bruce Wayne or Batman anymore, and he sold the hell out of that disbelief so it became hard for me in the audience to believe in Bruce Wayne and Batman's triumph at the end.
posted by gauche at 3:46 PM on July 28, 2012


SO... HULK IS REASONABLY SURE THAT NOLAN DID NOT WANT TO MAKE THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Totally. I realized this watching TDKR.


Me too. Hulk smashes, er, hits the nail right on the head.
posted by homunculus at 4:05 PM on July 28, 2012


It's possible to like a movie and still acknowledge that it confirms or panders to some of the less than stellar prejudices of our society.

That's fine and all, and an entertaining and worthwhile critique. My issue is when people start taking those sociocultural overtones too seriously and start treating this film as if Nolan is some sort of stealth Riefenstahl. Harvey Jerkwater's post seems to be the sort leftist equivalent to no-fun, looking at hidden meanings too hard antics commonly practiced by media analysts of the Religious Right. Though the histrionics are quite amusing in of themselves.

It's also true that I cringed at a montage of Occupy sound bites getting played over chaos and murder.

Economic populism and class-based revolution has some rhetorical overlap. Doesn't mean they're the same thing. The influence of The Tale of the Two Cities on TDKR has been brought up before.

Certainly it's possible to read in conservative, even reactionary themes into these films. But to act as if they're overt, anti-liberal political messages just smacks of being butthurt.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:24 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christopher Nolan, for all his visionary flair, wants to suck the comic out of comic books; Anne Hathaway wants to put it back in. Take your pick.

Nolan directed Hathaway's performance, didn't he?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:25 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just found out that Tom Hardy is going to play Max in the next Mad Max film.

I wonder if they'll ever do a Road Warrior prequel about the formative years of Bane's and Talia's son.
posted by homunculus at 4:37 PM on July 28, 2012


Certainly it's possible to read in conservative, even reactionary themes into these films. But to act as if they're overt, anti-liberal political messages just smacks of being butthurt.

Yeah, god, why do people take the messages in pop culture seriously? It's not like anything actually means anything! It's not like art is one of the biggest ways people communicate ideas and values!

Shit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:38 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


He probably keeps a century-old medical dictionary by his side just so he can look up various fusty and technical ways to call a movie diseased.

I imagine he writes in darkened room, lit by candles and the blueish light of laptop. He's naked and sitting cross legged before a floor to ceiling mirror. Every time he comes up with a phrase such as " a Hitchcockian pleasure ground" or "yeasty political risings", he cackles and hugs himself, then looks in the mirror, straightens the wig, purses his lips and says "I'd fuck me."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:44 PM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Attractively and Britishly?

Cardboardy and vacantly.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:48 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


he cackles and hugs himself, then looks in the mirror, straightens the wig, purses his lips and says "I'd fuck me."

You have certainly just described Tao Lin, I tell you what.
posted by elizardbits at 4:51 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Attractively and Britishly?

Teethpartedly and underbitedly.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:53 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


some feel their status in some class has been threatened, so they have to fall all over themselves to tell the world how incredibly awful the art really is and how terribly wrong all of those other alleged Smart People With Taste are

As a Smart Person With Taste, I must ask: Are you sure it's not just that I was excited by Ebert's 4-star review of Prometheus and was very disappointed when it turned out to suck?
posted by Egg Shen at 4:55 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


It would kind of be burdensome to actually carry around an image of one's self as being smart and tasteful. Everyone has their silly, non-intellectual pleasures and there's nothing wrong with that. High and low culture are really not quite as distinct as some would like to portray.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mostly agree with the Half-in-the-bag guys on TDKR.
posted by octothorpe at 5:26 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, god, why do people take the messages in pop culture seriously? It's not like anything actually means anything! It's not like art is one of the biggest ways people communicate ideas and values!

There's a difference between being overt, and having overtones. There is such a thing as nuance.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:38 PM on July 28, 2012


I mean, different people do like different things. But no, some feel their status in some class has been threatened, so they have to fall all over themselves to tell the world how incredibly awful the art really is...

I think your comment takes an uncharitable view of legitimate aesthetic disagreements. Surely there's some ground to occupy between the kind of insecure hysterics you describe, and total aesthetic relativism where Miley Cyrus is as good as Bach.
posted by Beardman at 5:55 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to agree that the subtext in DKR was rightwing, but that's normal subtext in the Batman universe and actually part of the reason I like Batman. The Batman: Plutocrat link posted on MeFi last year describes it best:
This gives Batman’s origin an Arthurian “king-in-exile” element. “Banished” from Gotham by the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne returns to reclaim his throne and redeem his land. But instead of reclaiming it from usurping uncle or foreign invader, Batman must take Gotham back from a rising underclass.

Just look at who he fights. Superman (for example) fights intergalactic dictators, evil monopolists, angry generals, and dark gods, i.e. symbols of abusive authority. Batman fights psychotics, anarchists, mob bosses, the mentally ill, and environmentalists, i.e. those who would overthrow the status quo. Superman fights those who would impose their version of order on the world. Batman fights those who would unbalance the order Batman himself imposes on Gotham.
I remembered the quote as "Batman fights the mentally ill, ethnic minorities (e.g. Italian surnamed mobsters), and environmentalists". But yep, that describes Batman villains.
posted by dgaicun at 6:11 PM on July 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't tell if Nolan is genuinely fascist, or if he is just completely oblivious to the political message of his film, or if he is simply being true to the source material and just amping up the problematic themes to 11, like Starship Troopers.

What I can tell is that they phoned the script in and that the twist at the ending was colossally stupid and ruined the movie, even leaving aside the cartoonish fox-news politics. I seriously never want to see a movie with some arbitrary and meaningless twist ending again.
posted by empath at 6:21 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mixed feelings about the movie. On the one hand, Nolan clearly shows how much true revolutionary change would suck in his movie- maybe you think that ties into the 99%ers and maybe you don't, but it's an examination of the dark side of revolution for sure.

However, when he does this, he draws from an older example of revolutionary change - the French Revolution, complete with a Bastille Day emptying of the prisons and revolutionary “tribunals” that find everyone guilty – and has to resort to very improbable series of events in order to set up a situation where NYC would be as cut off from the rest of the world as eighteenth-century Paris.

(And speaking of improbable, how did Batman sneak back into Manhattan, anyway?)

The movie feels out of time. Even if no one is physically crossing the bridges, couldn’t the US government use high-flying invisible planes and satellites etc to figure out the location of the bomb and communicate that information via phone lines, cable lines, wireless phone lines to a trusted person the ground? Do I just have too much faith in technocratic solutions and/or the US government? Should I be wondering whether technology is not the answer? (Bruce's tech is used equally as effectively by the bad guys as it is by Bruce, and arguably more effectively.)

But then on the other hand, Nolan is, as always, building a movie out of extremely powerful psychological pieces. Bruce Wayne is trapped in a public life he doesn’t want to live anymore. (I wonder if Christian Bale identifies with this.) The villain grew up in a literal hell on Earth. The stakes include nuclear war, a nuclear bomb, the destruction of the current world order starting with the financial system. Etc etc. It’s an extreme movie. I think it has the power to communicate something to even the most desensitize or complacent person.

Also, unlike The Dark Knight, it ends in “happiest”/most psychologically satisfying way it could possibly have ended, given the premises of the whole thing. As a Batman fan, I like this movie better than Dark Knight because I can see Nolan making some accommodations to fans (in a way that doesn't change the overall tone of the movie). Didn't he say he would never put a Robin in his Batman movies? And yet in this one he leaves the possibility on the table. It's pretty much a perfect fan ending, left completely open for the viewer to decide what happens at the end.

Anyway, this movie is dark and depressing for sure, but I think it's dark and depressing in an interesting way. But then it is kinda similar to Dark Knight, a movie where the villain take the whole city of Gotham (and by extension the audience) hostage for over an hour and tortures us. And you can really see Nolan working hard to set this up, the torture, because again the events required to stage The French Revolution in Manhattan are so improbable. So I'm not sure how I feel about the movie, other than I liked the ending and I could feel the power of the depressive themes.

I guess my overall take is that it's a movie that has the power to reach even extremely jaded/disconnected/desensitized people, or people who are used to quite extreme situations. And it's much, much more interesting than the terrorism-videogame-inspired trailers that played in front of it in the theater.
posted by subdee at 6:24 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


And on the subject of tech being not the answer, the villains use technology to hack Wall Street and Wall Street uses technology to oppress people, so...
posted by subdee at 6:27 PM on July 28, 2012


I like how when Bane is choking Batman, Batman's voice sounds the same. Also that Bane sounds like Abraham Lincoln in Bill and Ted talking through a drainpipe.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:32 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And speaking of improbable, how did Batman sneak back into Manhattan, anyway?)

Well, he is a ninja.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:45 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, people complain about Bruce getting back to Gotham, but for someone with his resources and abilities it wouldn't be difficult. I think Nolan made the right decision in not spelling it out.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:53 PM on July 28, 2012


Haven't had a chance to go through this review yet, but looking forward to reading it - even though I enjoyed the HELL out of TDKR - but I was going in with very "Meh, whatever, I'm not all that psyched to see it" expectations, even though I recall quite enjoying TDK as well. I guess going in with minimal expectations (and minimal knowledge of the Bat-iverse) helped me some. I like a good catty review as much as the next guy though, as long as it's a good one.
posted by antifuse at 6:55 PM on July 28, 2012


couldn’t the US government use high-flying invisible planes and satellites etc

Quoting from memory, "the trucks have shielding In the roofs" to thwart remote aerial detection. So Gordon et al have to get up close to the sides of the trucks for detectors to work.

Many of the other seeming holes (why didn't they destroy the reactor early on, why did they trap rather than kill the police?) can be explained by Bane's capital idea that suffering is greatest when there is hope.
posted by zippy at 6:57 PM on July 28, 2012


Yeah, people complain about Bruce getting back to Gotham, but for someone with his resources and abilities it wouldn't be difficult. I think Nolan made the right decision in not spelling it out.

I didn't even THINK to question this during the movie, I was too caught up in the fun I was having. I thought about it a bit after seeing people bringing it up - he was broke, so I guess he would have had to rely on whatever international contacts he had? I presume a multi-bagillionaire (even one who has recently lost all his money) has a few. But then, I didn't really care how he got back to Gotham. Does it matter? Why pick on little points like this? However he got back, he got back. He's f'ing batman, that's how. Bat-teleporter. Whatever. It wasn't really important to the plot of the (already very long) movie. Did people want a 10 minute montage of him showing up at the door of a mansion of one of his rich international Prisonzikastani (I pretended his prison was in Prisonzikastan) friends, and hopping on their private jet to wherever the DC-universe equivalent is of New Jersey?

Also, I feel like I really f'd up the grammar in that last sentence. But I don't care, it's been a long day :P
posted by antifuse at 7:01 PM on July 28, 2012


What the hell kind of guns are those on that little batpod?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:08 PM on July 28, 2012


What the hell kind of guns are those on that little batpod?

.30 mm PGU-14/B armour-piercing incendiary, Dual Mounted, Fully Automatic, Air-cooled guns of Awesomeness. They shoot standard high velocity, armor-piercing bullets of Awesome and are capable of piercing up to 4 inches of steel due to being composed of depleted awesomeness.

Yeah, people complain about Bruce getting back to Gotham, but for someone with his resources and abilities it wouldn't be difficult.

Tracking down Selina Kyle in city of millions under Martial Law was the big "WTF?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


sevenyearlurk: "Yeah, people complain about Bruce getting back to Gotham, but for someone with his resources and abilities it wouldn't be difficult. I think Nolan made the right decision in not spelling it out."

I'd bet that in an earlier screenplay there's a montage sequence showing how he made it from Africa back to Gotham (wherever that is) and Nolan and Co. looked that that and said, "fuck it, who cares how he gets back". He got back for exactly the same reason that Bruce Banner got from his crash site to Manhattan just in time to fight with the rest of the Avengers. He got there because you can't have Batman MIA for the last act.

I think that one big problem with the Nolan Batman movies is his devotion to making them look so realistic and current. No one complained about plot holes in the Tim Burton movies because they existed in a fantasy world of no specific time or place. Did anyone care that The Joker could shoot down the Batwing with a comically large revolver? No, because it all took place in a brightly colored comic book world. Nolan's Batman lives in a world that looks like a modern 21st century so we expect things to behave like the real world.
posted by octothorpe at 8:04 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did anyone care that The Joker could shoot down the Batwing with a comically large revolver

That actually did bother the hell out of me at the time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:21 PM on July 28, 2012


There were lots of explosions!
posted by telstar at 8:35 PM on July 28, 2012


I think my biggest WTF was the fusion reactor. You've found the holy grail of clean, renewable energy, but you're concerned that someone less enlightened than you will make yet another nuclear weapon out of it, so you're keeping it secret? Something that ridiculous just makes the whole story implode.

No one tell Wayne about this project, or he may sabotage it.
posted by homunculus at 8:58 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still mad about the "punching him the breath mask, it's his weak point, here's a special sound when you hit it to make sure you know that you have to aim there" thing. Comic book logic is one thing, video game logic is way worse.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:04 PM on July 28, 2012


Did anyone care that The Joker could shoot down the Batwing with a comically large revolver

That actually did bother the hell out of me at the time.


I have commented on this before. I love that scene. Here you have the Bat, the gadget wunderkind, and he is blazing away with rockets and bullets and in an airplane and the Joker just shoots him down. He even looks surprised that he accomplishes it. The one-in-a-million shot should always go to the villain in movies. Too often it happens for the good guys and we cry dues-ex-machina but when it happens for the bad guy it's so much more compelling.

In Avatar when the guy runs out into the non-oxygenated air firing his pistol it's compelling because it shows how relentless he is. But when his bullets bounce harmlessly off the escaping jet it just reinforces that it's all completely meaningless because the good guy always wins.
posted by M Edward at 9:09 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The first Tim Burton Batman was a fun popcorn flick befitting a superhero movie.

The Nolan Batmans were dull trudges. I truly don't understand why some people like them so much.

I can't be bothered to sit through the third one.
posted by bardic at 9:23 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


There were lots of explosions!

I'm sure whoever votes for this movie's inevitable Academy Award nomination will write that comment as an addendum to their vote. In crayon.
posted by MattMangels at 9:32 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tim Burton's movies were not Batman movies, they were twee Paint It Black, That Makes It Psychological movies that happened to feature characters named after the Batman franchise.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:46 PM on July 28, 2012


My favorite part of the movie was that it compelled me to read Dark Knight Returns for the first time- I had started it a couple of times and disliked the art/talking heads/frankmiller, but I went ahead and bought a used copy and it was awesome. Also, Bane is so much cooler in the film than in the Knightfall books... a much better character. Not in his arc, not in the story, he doesn't use venom, he doesn't have a mexican wrestling mask, but I loved the performance and the costuming of Bane. His voice was so disconcerting at first, and over the course of the (what 5 hours?) movie I really got to like his voice, presence, and that the Nolan et. all kept Bane's place as the reverse Batman. Still, if they had just told the Knightfall story well w/o all the 90s BREAK THE BAT AND PUMP U UP wackiness, it would have been a better film.
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:08 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sure whoever votes for this movie's inevitable Academy Award nomination will write that comment as an addendum to their vote. In crayon.

I hope they take the time to hand-write out the akjdghaldkfadfh afterwards.
posted by elizardbits at 10:11 PM on July 28, 2012


and on edit: BAne comes to gotham. release arkham. batman returns from retirement and fights for a month. he is destroyed. there is an awesome montage for like 10 mins where he is taken in my selina kyle and retrains on the broken streets of the east end. he returns to take the city back w catwoman, defeats bane, catwoman betrays him, cut. I guess.

BTW Anne Hathaway defied all expectation and ruled. I was not expecting that. I probably liked the film because I expected to be bored.
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:12 PM on July 28, 2012


ack please excuse laptop on couch typing.
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:13 PM on July 28, 2012


the reverse Batman

This may have to be my new SN.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:21 PM on July 28, 2012


My biggest complaint with TDKR was Round 2 of Batman vs Bane.

First fight was fine. Bats tries to just throw himself at someone stronger and faster and just plain a better brawler than he is, and gets his batbutt kicked. Well and good.

Then he, you know, rises (again) after prison chiropractic and dramatic climbing attempts that fail because he hasn't been told that the prisoners are chanting "the dark knight rises" at him and he realizes, hey, that's me! Also well and good.

So he must face Bane again. He's the goddamn Batman, and he's learned a little something, so he's going to approach this differently. Gotham's at stake! What they're going to do, I'm sure, is crib another bit from The Dark Knight Returns comic book, namely his fight with the Mutants gang leader. Round 1: overconfident attack, get roundly thumped. Rematch: use that superior batbrain to maneuver your stronger faster opponent into a fight where his advantages are removed and therefore win. That's clearly how he'll approach the Bane rematch and...oh, what? They're just going to punch each other whilst loudly grunting again? All right then.
posted by Drastic at 10:26 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


well this is a good column about Bane. I've always liked Knightfall, it was the first time I picked up Batman comics. That's what they wanted! The fallout of Knightfall was what really turned the story to shit. The Bane story is pretty cool, in it's way.
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:27 PM on July 28, 2012


the reverse Batman

thats when I bring your parents back to life to torment you
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 PM on July 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Drastic- they really dropped the ball on that fight. The face mask never even came off. For me the 3rd act/ending dropped the ball. Fun, yeah, but forced.
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:31 PM on July 28, 2012


Did they start manufacturing more Tumblers when Bane took over? If so, he's a job creator.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:17 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a Smart Person With Taste, I must ask: Are you sure it's not just that I was excited by Ebert's 4-star review of Prometheus and was very disappointed when it turned out to suck?

Man, do I love all the analysis that's come out of Prometheus. Not only because I thought it sucked (I did), and not because I'm threatened by other people liking it (frankly, no one whose taste I ever really agree with liked it, and that includes Ebert--he's always liked a lot of silly stuff), but because there's been a lot of refreshingly perceptive criticism that came out of that pile of poop. These are nice, quality discussions of story, with the kind of nuance you generally don't see or else see pooh-poohed because smartypants thinks he's better than the average viewer (oh wait . . . ). It's a solid reminder that viewers are more perceptive and thoughtful than they're generally given credit for.

Anyway, I thought TDKR was generally good fun, if bloated and flawed. Much of that was due to Anne Hathway as Catwoman. I expected her to be bland and terrible. I was surprised that, in fact, she had a great, interesting edge. She was pretty close to what I'd hoped Black Widow would be--better developed even, which is funny given how little screentime she was given compared to Robin Gordon Leavitt, who knows that your fake smile makes you Batman because HE fake smiles all the time even though we never see him do so in the movie.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:18 PM on July 28, 2012


Levitt. I'm the Leavitt. It's okay we get mistaken for each other all the time *smiles, nods, smiles too long, starts to cry, breaks into heaving sobs, falls into the river, dies*
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, so you're the one whose parents aren't dead?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:24 PM on July 28, 2012


It's the only thing that's kept me from a life of superheroics so THANKS A LOT FOR LIVING YOU GUYS.
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tom Hardy is an amazing actor (if you need a good example please see the movie Bronson), and the few scenes I took with me past the credits were his. The Bane voice was interesting and creative and I liked his comic booky brawlin' monologue complete with posh squeaky inflections and Tim Allen monkey grunt.
posted by dgaicun at 11:57 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


YOu're forgetting the part where he's brain meltingly charismatic.
posted by The Whelk at 12:17 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


What they're going to do, I'm sure, is crib another bit from The Dark Knight Returns comic book, namely his fight with the Mutants gang leader.

"You don't get it, boy. This isn't a mudhole... It's an operating table... Wait no, it's the steps of City Hall. Nevermind."

Drastic- they really dropped the ball on that fight. The face mask never even came off.

"Something tells me to stop at the mask. I listen to it."
posted by homunculus at 12:38 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like it how every major critic had to have a witty idea about what Bane "sounds like". These are collected here, along with a bunch from Twitter, which I like better:

...Homer Simpson pretending to be Mr. Burns. (ha!)

...a jovial Sean Connery dying at the bottom of a well.

Lot of mentions of Sean Connery (especially Darell Hammond Sean Connery), Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Jimmy Stewart, and some video game character. All paired with Darth Vader or some sort of comical voice distortion idea, of course.

And not so curiously, no mentions of Bartley Gorman, the Gypsy boxer Tom Hardy says the voice was based on, since the voices have no obvious overlap. This guy has a low class UK accent of the draggle-tailed gutter snipe variety, while Bane has those distinctive lilting high notes people associate with Irish, Scottish, or higher class Brits.
posted by dgaicun at 3:20 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Bizarro Batman's parents killed him when he was eight years old."
posted by rifflesby at 3:28 AM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did they start manufacturing more Tumblers when Bane took over? If so, he's a job creator.

I think they just used the ones Fox had in mothballs. So, Bane is a canny supply chain optimization specialist. Kind of a Tim Cook figure.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:54 AM on July 29, 2012


Looks like they gave Bane an undistorted macho voice in the Spanish and German dub, but went straight-up satan with the French dub.

Threadjacking fucking rocks. I'm going to bed.
posted by dgaicun at 3:58 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just sounds like he's from Marseilles...
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:06 AM on July 29, 2012


It just opened here, and we went to see it today. For me, pretty much everything got spoiled, but it was fun watching Mrs. Ghidorah react to everything as it happened. I did like the idea of JGL as the new Batman/Robin/Nightwing, and the bluntness of the step coming up to black out the screen as the title comes up. I'd love, in some way, to see what happens next, yet I'd also like (selfishly) to live in the reality where Ledger was still alive, and we got to see how the third movie would have played out.

That said, I wasn't exactly underwhelmed, but I don't know if I was fully whelmed. I can see what the hulk review said, that this isn't anything like the third movie was supposed to be. Bane's sudden death (?) seemed horrible abrupt, and just... Wrong. I'm okay with the whole setting up the reactor to flood, letting the cops live to give hope angle. Things I didn't buy? A braveheart style charge by the cops against an armed horde of mercenaries? The aforementioned round two between Bane and Batman, which failed when it had a chance to showcase Batman's essential awesomeness. When Azrael goes nuts, but is wearing a super suit that is too powerful for Batman to take on directly, he lures Azrael into an environment that eliminates that advantage. Same with the fight in Dark Knight Returns with the leader of the Mutants.

Somehow, Nolan forgot the key rule. Batman don't shiv.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:41 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fuck yeah Tom Hardy
posted by youngergirl44 at 6:36 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The aforementioned round two between Bane and Batman, which failed when it had a chance to showcase Batman's essential awesomeness.

Thematically it works, as Batman is now fueled with the righteous knowledge of how to get up after falling down.

It's no different from any number of scenes in previous media, where the hero gets their act together and can now defeat the enemy who once defeated them. Righteousness is a useful tool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 AM on July 29, 2012


I'm curious to learn how Tommy Carcetti ended up in CIA instead of the governor's mansion.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:19 AM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually think it would have been awesome if Batman had taken off the cowl for the final fight. At the end of their careers, Bruce Wayne and Batman become one and the same.

You see Bane, but you hear Batman growl, "LET'S SETTLE THIS LIKE MEN - NO MASKS, ON TRICKS."

Bane is stunned to see Batman wearing purely functional military gear, without a cape or a mask.

"Thank you for the offer, but I'll keep my mask," chortles Bane as he ambles towards Wayne.

Wayne (in his normal voice): "...and I'll keep my tricks..."

Bane sees, too late, that "Wayne" is merely a dead soldier with a speaker on him and a crude Wayne mask over his face. As Bane whips around to find the real enemy, he sees that he is surrounded by dummies with Wayne masks, corpses with Batman masks, sticks with all sorts of masks and silhouettes draped over them. We hear snips and snaps of "take off the mask" and "we are the initiated" as he struggles to make sense of his surroundings.

And just as he thinks he finds the real Batman, two precision shots from opposite sides nearly cut off his mask, leaving it hanging by literal threads.

This leads to a pummeling match as Wayne primarily fights Bane, but with key support from Catwoman and Robin...the coup de grace comes when Bane's mask comes off entirely, revealing his disfigured face. He lies on the ground like a mortally wounded beast, and he's about four seconds into a serious-sounding monologue before Catwoman shouts "shut UP" and chucks him into the street. He wails in pain as he is thrown to the citizenry, denied even the honor of being dispatched by the hero...
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:05 AM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm curious to learn how Tommy Carcetti ended up in CIA instead of the governor's mansion.

I'm very curious to see if any commentators, whether conservative or liberal, have mentioned that opening scene of this film. Or has the post-Jack Bauer conception of the CIA as a bunch of black site extraditing enhanced interrogators become so commonplace that there's no need to talk about that depiction?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:50 AM on July 29, 2012


I emphatically did not want to spend any time with Selina Kyle or her partner in a strip joint, or watch the camera linger on her ass (hello, Avengers).

There was the bit where Catwoman gets on the bat-bike and drives away... she has to stretch waaaay over and hike her ass in the air and suddenly my brain was full of Michael J. Nelson saying "Ooh! She's presenting!"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:15 PM on July 29, 2012


I guess what I meant to say was that I read Nolan talking about how the three films are at different levels of Gotham, literally Begins is on the rooftops, TDK is on the streets, and TDKR is underground, well, that would have been perfect for the second fight, in the Dark Knight Returns style. Obviously, Nolan wanted his silly braveheart style set-piece (I always thought that step one in training is 'don't run at the guy with the automatic weapon'), but had it gone back to the pit, again ringed with Bane's followers, and Batman used his knowledge to lure Bane, possibly as a way of saying, no, the darkness is mine, that'd have been keen. Even the idea that Batman has to fight Bane in public gets chucked when their fight ends in the courthouse, where no member of the public can see.

Also, Mask-Tan!
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just in case youtube pulls that bootleg footage of the first fight scene I linked above, here's an alternate link.
posted by dgaicun at 10:29 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there anything more tiresome than a mediocre writer thinking they can coast on snark?
posted by mgrichmond at 9:19 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're asking MetaFilter that.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:52 AM on July 30, 2012


Is there anything more tiresome than a mediocre writer thinking they can coast on snark?

man's got a regular gig at the New Yorker. I'm thinking he's pulling it off.
posted by philip-random at 10:09 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The New Yorker definitely has its weak links. See: poetry, and apparently film criticism.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:45 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm seldom an apologist, and I'm pretty left-liberal/anarchist. But I don't know that we watched the same movie.

"--Gotham is no longer crime-ridden, because eight years ago the never-explained "Dent Act" passed, which, per the mayor, "gave law enforcement teeth." In the real world, this means "removing restraints on the police and thereby weakening civil liberties." But in Gotham, it totally fucking worked. SUCK IT, LIBERALS!"

Wrong. Things in Gotham are pretty obviously shitty, esp. for the 99%. Commissioner Gordon is wracked with angst about this false sense of security and the cost.

"--Bruce Wayne pissed away his fortune and nearly wrecked Wayne Enterprises by pursuing clean energy. This not only meant that Wayne's charitable contributions stopped, thereby hurting the city, but it never accomplished anything save creating a weapon for The Bad Guys. Green energy? A waste, a boondoggle, and destined to screw over the people. Better to keep your money, leave the status quo intact, and Be Generous. SUCK IT, LIBERALS!"

No, Wayne pissed away his fortune by pursuing clean energy and then WITHHOLDING it, because he didn't trust the people (to not turn it into a bomb). He didn't trust humanity to use it for good, because he's a deeply scarred individual from watching his parents get murdered at a young age (which does a lot to one's trust in humanity). And by withholding it, he turned Gotham into a target.

"--Bane has a cult of mercenaries who follow him blindly because of his crypto-Marxist/Jacobin rhetoric. This rhetoric is clearly just a tool for Bane; he uses it only because it manipulates people. Later, he turns this rhetoric on Gotham, where a modern version of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror breaks out. See, the Occupy movement and leftists in general are only motivated by jealousy, will kill you given a chance, and are all stupid pawns of foreign agitators! I KNEW IT! SUCK IT, LIBERALS!"

Bane is a version of "new boss, same as the old boss." He holds up the fascism of the Dent Law in a twisted mirror so that the perversion is clearer. It also shows that any movement is up for co-opting, and we must always be on guard for that. But when the masses are disillusioned, they will choose what seems to be the lesser evil. Or at least, a change. The rich should be wary lest they go to far, too boldly.

"--The rhetoric about the rich and how "they leave so little for the rest of us" was never shown in practice. Poor people don't actually exist in this movie. All we see are wealthy people being frivolous. Why Bane's rhetoric would be embraced by anyone aside from the general depravity and jealousy of poor people is left a mystery. They hate the rich because theyz haterz! SUCK IT, LIBERALS!"

Did you miss the second half of the movie? You realize a majority of those people were not actually paid mercenaries but Gothamites? How can you rage about the depiction of the 99% being turned into thugs/a foamy-mouthed mob/rabble without realizing that it's them cheering as people are strung up in the third act? Yes, they have been turned into a tool by Bane because they lacked a positive catalyzing influence (Wayne/Batman/clean energy?).

"--Despite how the first two movies showed that Gotham's biggest problem was the corruption of its police force, this movie was pure, 100% badge-lovin'. The mysterious "Dent Act" somehow eliminated police corruption, and the worst cop we saw was a fairly craven careerist Matthew Modine, who in the end sucked it up and died a hero in his dress blues. No one else opposed Bane and his crew, despite the fact that he was a murderous loony holding the city hostage. To my eyes, that reads as SUCK IT, LIBERALS!, though maybe not everyone else would. "

I don't know about this part, and it's certainly the only part I can't disagree with you on. I can say that it's possible the act and the groundswell of support A) galvanized the cops into being honest and re-establishing the dignity of the badge B) gave Gordon the power needed to clean the corruption up. That's post-hoc rationalization, though. I think the only real window we had (other than Captain Joker; did anyone else catch that? heh) was Blake's dissatisfaction with the force and the way that they were sweeping things under the rug.

One thing is for certain. Maybe it was tacked on? But there was definitely the line towards the end where Catwoman implores Bruce to leave (you've given them enough) and he says that no, he hasn't. The problem is not the wrong rich men in charge, but rather men who are not willing to give everything to serve their fellow man.
posted by Eideteker at 1:16 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't believe nobody has said this yet, but Anthony Lane is the critic we deserve, not the critic we need.

I thought this review by Tim O'Neill was a pretty good take on TDKR from a comics nerd perspective (he used to write for The Comics Journal). I agree with him, and was also somewhat disappointed, that Batman's main superpower in this movie was the wealth that allowed him to have all kinds of very un-Batman like paramilitary gear; there was very little of the World's Greatest Detective on display, which is a pity because the character of Bane is an excellent foil for that element of Batman's character. I feel like in the comics, or the good ones anyways, when faced with an opponent who was physically much stronger, Batman would find a way to outthink him in order to even the odds somewhat.
posted by whir at 4:44 PM on July 30, 2012




Bane's quick death at the end of DKR was a cop-out. I'm glad Nolan took out the Venom steroid (a rule of thumb for the Batman universe is that the more implausible elements that are taken out, the more I like it), but Bane's Venom overload quasi-death scene in the Animated Series was pretty wicked and disturbing. That kind of suffering and body horror is rare for an afterschool cartoon. Tom Hardy's screaming head inflating like the rapid decompression scene in Total Recall would have at least been entertaining.
posted by dgaicun at 7:38 AM on July 31, 2012




Bane's quick death at the end of DKR was a cop-out.

Yea, I thought for sure we'd see him lose the mask in a fight and writhe in pain while Batman refuses to kill him but we get an instant anti-climactic death instead. Weird choice from the filmmakers.
posted by octothorpe at 5:05 AM on August 1, 2012


Before & After Comparison Of Bane's Voice In 'The Dark Knight Rises'

That's a pretty significant difference. A lot of people seem to be complaining about his voice, and the only time I really found it odd was in the plane sequence.
posted by antifuse at 6:15 AM on August 1, 2012


The problem is not the wrong rich men in charge, but rather men who are not willing to give everything to serve their fellow man.

This.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:10 AM on August 5, 2012




I think it's possible to do a leftist take on batman, if Bruce Wayne recognizes that a) he did nothing to earn his wealth and b) his family earned its vast fortune by exploiting the poor and oppressed. Then he dedicates his vast fortune and intelligence to oppose the corrupt and warmongers, rather than using disproportionate force to take on petty criminals outside of the protection of the justice system.
posted by empath at 8:43 AM on August 13, 2012




Cookie Monster Batman
posted by homunculus at 11:18 AM on August 25, 2012


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