THE DARK KNIGHT RISES has finally arrived and once again we have exaggeration and hyperbole overload surrounding how good it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fitting end to the saga and is, for the most part, very good. But here are some of the gripes – which some may deem as nitpicks – that I had with the film.
No, I’m not complaining that it was unintelligible. On the contrary, I found it too clear. I was fine with the original mix during the prologue, but the second Bane spoke in the finished version I was confused and disorientated. How was his voice suddenly so clear? Other characters are yelling over the sound of the plane but Bane has an omnipresent voice that even manages to beat out Hans Zimmer’s obnoxious score. In that scene he also has a sack over his head, so shouldn’t his voice be distorted just a little bit? Not once throughout the entire film did I feel Bane’s voice was coming from his character, it was just an announcement over the PA system.
Nolan really loves to hammer us over the head with his themes. Yes, his films are smarter than most blockbusters, but we don’t require every single piece of dialogue from every incidental character to tie together. It destroys the audience’s involvement with interpreting the subtext. So when John Blake is hurrying the orphans onto a bus and tells them it will shelter them from the blast, do we really need his conversation with the Priest about lies and hope? Did anyone not understand what Blake was doing? The other cringe-worthy moment came during the stock market heist. “I keep my money in a mattress.” Oh, just shut up!
I wanted to slap him so hard throughout this film. He was like the hysterical woman from AIRPLANE! Every scene he was in resulted in a flood of tears. I’m pretty sure at one point I saw the ‘For Your Consideration’ title pop-up at the bottom of the screen. I get that he loves Wayne, but wasn’t he supportive of him throughout the first two films? Now he has a pompous ‘I told you so’ look constantly slapped across his face. When he wasn’t crying he just happened to have all the exposition a crime fighter needs. Batman may be able to find out about Selina Kyle from his advanced computer, but when it comes to masked mercenaries, Wayne’s butler is an encyclopedia of knowledge.
For a man so set on subverting the comic book genre, it’s amazing that he fell into tropes present in other films. One such example is the underdog comeback fight found in many boxing films. The first fight between Batman and Bane sees Batman get annihilated. He doesn’t stand a chance, and it’s both great and terrifying to see a hero beaten so horrifically. After this fight he has his back broken and eventually comes back. So why was he so much more powerful than Bane in their second fight? Shouldn’t he have struggled even more? I guess a broken back is just what you need to overcome your greatest foe. PAIN IS THE CLEANSER.
Remember when Batman went to Hong Kong? You got a sense of distance thanks to the scene of the plane arriving, Lucius in Hong Kong, and some beautiful establishing shots. Alternatively, this film transports us to… erm, I don’t really know. I think it’s a place just outside Gotham. I say this because after Batman has his back broken, we skip to the arrival at the prison. Bane’s there, but the next second he’s teleported back to Gotham. After Wayne’s struggle to get out of the cave we’re prepared for his long journey home… only we don’t see that. He just walks straight into Gotham, past the armed soldiers, over the cracking ice, and just happens to bump into Catwoman. I guess it was a 5-minute walk, and the fresh air has done Brucey some good.
Talk about a mess. I’m pretty sure one of the scenes was even in the wrong place – as Gordon and Miranda Tate brought before Judge Crane. Bane then asks for Miranda to be brought to him. The next scene has Wayne enter the building and talk to Lucius and Miranda, even though she was just called to see Bane. Later, Batman asks where Miranda is and he is told that Bane took her. But Wayne was the last person to see her. Add to that the constant flashbacks for the sake of those that skipped BATMAN BEGINS, and the PG-13 friendly violence that just cuts to dead characters without any explanation – was Foley shot, run over, or did he just die from embarrassment when he realised he was wearing his wife’s underwear? It all adds up to a big headache.
How do the Nolan brothers get away with such lazy writing at times? They do stuff others would be hanged for. I’ve already mentioned Alfred’s knowledge of mercenaries and Wayne just appearing in Gotham, but there is more. Early on John Blake confronts Wayne about being Batman. Did he piece together the facts that Batman appeared when Wayne came back from the dead, and disappeared at the same time that Wayne became a hermit? No! He saw it in Wayne’s eyes when he once visited an orphanage. Anything would have been better than that crap. Why not just say “I remember Reece saying he knew the identity of Batman 8 years ago. Found out Wayne Enterprises was one of his clients. Put 2 and 2 together”. Bane is even luckier, as he discovers the truth about Harvey Dent thanks to a note written by Gordon, because we all walk around with our deep dark secrets in our breast pocket. I would have loved to have heard Bane’s speech when releasing the prisoners without that lucky find. “I’m releasing the prisoners now. That is all.”
The final reveal that Miranda Tate is really Talia Al Ghul must be one of the most obvious twists in recent memory. If it was supposed to be an emotional moment of betrayal, it failed as her and Bruce were together for just one night. There wasn’t any time to build on their relationship or give it any weight. Next, it makes Bane just another dog on a leash doing a woman’s bidding, which is exactly what he was in BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997). Bane is quickly pushed aside for an underwhelming chase with a woman that is as threatening as that Butler from THE ARISTROCATS (1970).
As I said at the start, this is still a very good film. But whereas, even after four years, I still have to think long and hard about criticisms for THE DARK KNIGHT, the failings of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES just stood out and detracted from my enjoyment of the film.
Am I being too critical? What bits did you not enjoy? Let us know.