It is official, Christopher Nolan has produced a poor movie and tarnished his filmography with the release of the third Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. I was always aware a good director would have to make a stinker somewhere down the line, I was just hoping it wouldn’t involve ruining what before this monstrosity was one of the greatest movie franchises ever made.
As a huge Nolan fan it pains me to write such a negative review. I would like to defend the movie but it seems The Dark Knight Rises did not live up to the expectation of the last two movies and the hype was just that: nonsensical hype.
…save Gotham City from the storm…
Eight yearsafter the events of The Dark Knight, we find Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) cast in the shadows, still mourning the loss of his beloved Rachel and living with the lies surrounding the death of Harvey Dent. It is only when a masked madman known as Bane (Tom Hardy) enters the fray he must come out of retirement. Also, he needs to deal with the exploits of cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Batman must save Gotham City from the storm and he will need the help of Commissioner Gordon, rookie cop, John Blake, and the ever-reliable weapons man, Lucius Fox.
Let’s talk about the many problems. The voice of Bane is a huge issue. I missed two thirds of his dialogue so when he was explaining his master plan I didn’t even know what it was. I’ve read all of these quotes on posters that the film is “exciting” and “totally gripping” but this is a misconception. By the time you get to the third act you are so far away from the characters, because you don’t understand the dialogue, hence you don’t understand their motivations and their belief systems: the action has no meaning. There are no stakes and you do not feel the emotional impact which Batman Begins and The Dark Knight was so effective at administering.
…disappear for long stretches…
Also I don’t understand why Selina Kyle is in this movie. Anne Hathaway is excellent and devious as the iconic cat burglar but what was the point of her? There’s no chemistry between her and Bruce Wayne. She enjoys a few good punch-ups but aside from that what purpose did she serve here? I know she’s a cat burglar but that gives her no right to disappear for long stretches in the second act?
On the positive side, the film is beautifully shot with cinematography exquisitely akin to Nolan’s other works. Visual effects are thoroughly executed, and I enjoyed the physical battles between Bane and Batman. But this does not make up for the terrible first act. For someone like Nolan who is incredibly disciplined with structure I can’t believe he would allow for such a clunky and disastrous first act.
…didn’t feel the emotional punch…
This brings me onto the ending of this movie. As David Goyer (Co-screenwriter) mentioned in earlier blogs the ending is poignant and heartfelt. The problem is I didn’t feel the emotional punch I wanted it to have on me, simply because the first two acts were so screwed up. Once I had ventured on to the final shots I had lost all interest in the fate of these characters.
There is no question Christopher Nolan is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today. But The Dark Knight Rises has to be considered one of his weakest films to date. I will go beyond this and say this whole thing was a mistake. Sometimes less is more and maybe he should have left it at The Dark Knight.