BY: GRANT DAVIS
I LOVE ‘THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’!
Oh, also SPOILER ALERT, I plan to discuss TDKR in spoilery detail, so those of you who have not seen the film yet… why are you even here?!? What is wrong with you?!?! Go see the film! Right now! It is amazing! Go on, now!
Anyways, I really enjoyed this film and found it to be an excellent endcap to the trilogy. I dig it so much that I wanted to address complaints others have with my own theories and explanations. Because this isn’t the type of blog post y’all need (want?), but it is the one you deserve!
Is the film everything I had hoped and dreamed for?
Yes and no.
No, because, honestly, my expectations were unreasonable. The hype on this film had my imagination developing all sorts of ideal scenarios and infusing my personal desires for how the story should play out. I wanted to see Nolan’s Riddler. Penguin. Mr.Freeze. Clayface. Hell, I would even love to see his take on Scarface! I was so psyched for this film that I even made my own corny fan-posters for what I wanted to see with the third film (I wanted it to be called “Caped Crusaders”…yeah….). Clearly am not alone in doing this, based on several others complaints I have read/heard. I also expected perfection in the storytelling, and this had no excuse for errors and plot holes (which I will admit there are a few).
But, also, Yes! This film was what I had hoped and dreamed for, because it maintained the vision and themes established in Batman Begins and carried them to fruition in this final installment. Redemption, revenge, legacy, willpower, overcoming fear, good v. evil… All of it came to a head in this film and delivered an incredible story arc us geeks are so fortunate and unworthy to have happen with a beloved superhero franchise. The film went beyond what I could imagine and Nolans ability to escalate the story to proportions that have the entire city of Gotham in turmoil in each film, and have me on the edge of my seat is incredible!
So, what prompted this posting is that I just went to my second viewing of the film. And, after hearing several complaints from the haters out there, some of my issues included, I went in with a much more critical eye.
…and left loving the film even more!
So, after the film I went to my fb page and asked people to post any and all issues and complaints for me and now I intend to answer most that I can. Without further ado, let’s get to it:
Complaint: Hard to understand Batman/Bane
My Thoughts:I actually thought they both sounded much clearer than in the trailers and Batman was much more understandable than in TDK (although why talk in that grumble-voice when it’s just him and Catwoman at the end?). In reality, however, sometimes you don’t deal with fully articulate people. And in some films I think it serves a purpose. In Snatch, Brad Pitt was supposed to be an indecipherable Pike. Here, Batman masks his voice for disguise and intimidation. Bane’s mouth was messed up so now he speaks through a goatse prosthetic microphone. I understood them fine, especially in context, but others shold watch the Blu-Ray with subtitles, I guess.
Complaint: How does Bruce get back to Gotham from the Pit?
My Thoughts: Well, ‘Batman Begins’ illustrated that Bruce Wayne is resourceful. Even when he has no money. In that film he traveled the world training and surviving, all while forsaking his Wayne money. He needed to understand poverty. He knows how to get around and could probably quickly convince others to get him rides to airports and such. We aren’t actually sure how much time he had to get back to Gotham, but the last date stated was 27 days till the bomb explodes. The wealthy know to have secret money stashes and off-shore accounts, too. Perhaps, Bruce could quickly access emergency funds. I assumed we had seen enough of Bruce’s worldly traveling experience (especially when impoverished) to grasp that he could easily get back to Gotham from wherever.
Complaint: Batman has time to paint his symbol on the bridge in gas and then give Gordon a flare?
My Thoughts: Bruce makes his presence known to Catwoman a day before the bomb goes off, but we don’t really know when he got to Gotham. Presumably he got there with enough time to assess the situation beyond what he saw on prison tv, figure out who he needed to locate, discover patterns of Scarecrows executions, and realize that he needed to help rally the people of Gotham through some symbolic gesture. It certainly caught me off guard at first, but I felt it was important in this film to stress that Batman wasn’t just the hero of Gotham, but also the symbol that united all of them.
Complaint: Where did Alfred go?
My Thoughts: Well, Alfred clearly burned a bridge and touched a nerve he knew he shouldn’t have touched when he told Bruce whats what with Rachel. That and eliminating Alfred from the equation really made Bruce rely only on himself which resulted in his failure. He needs the help of others to do what he does. Also, this allowed for that great emotional punch with Alfred at the end.
Complaint: Starting with Batman retired?
My Thoughts: Well, Bruce finally succeeded, in a tragic way, at the end of TDK, in getting Gotham cleaned up. Harveys death pinned on Batman cleaned up most crime and Batman was no longer needed. That, and he was really beat up. So why not retire and spend his days sulking, like little emo Bruce would? In order to move beyond the immediate aftermath of TDK, and allow the new villains to really plot an elaborate revenge, jumping ahead that many years and having a retired Batman is great! You want an immortal Batman? Read the comics and watch the cartoons. He ain’t going anywhere there.
Complaint: Bane goes out like a punk
My Thoughts: Bane needed to fall, and he and Batman were too evenly matched. Batman also has a no kill (unless you leave someone in a falling train to die) policy. Enter Catwoman, who can man up and do what needs to be done because Batman, funny enough, is the pussy here. It’s great that Batman finally met his physical equal, as he already faced his mental/psychological nemesis, The Joker, in the previous film. Bane could have had a worthier death scene, but at that point in the film there were more pressing matters and the weight of his character had been undercut by the entrance of Talia al Ghul. Which brings is to…
Complaint: The reveal of Talia makes the character of Bane look weak
My Thoughts: Yes! Exactly! Bane comes across as this brilliant, diabolical mastermind who is able to orchestrate this entire destruction of Gotham with his minions, but that seemed quite lofty for just one man to pull off. Until it was revealed that he was partnered up wit Talia. Then it all made sense tht she was working the Wayne Industries angle to secure all of Bruce’s tech, while Bane performed the grittier grunt work. He carried out the theatricalities, but just like her father using the disguise of Ducard in Batman Begins, Talia used her Miranda Tate disguise to get close to Bruce and was the true villain. Suddenly it makes Bane only Bruce’s physical superior and takes away the rest of his edge.
Complaint: The fight sequences between Batman and Bane were weak
My Thoughts: Really? I thought they were a but one-note with the brawler style, and perhaps seeing Batman vary his style would be neat, but I thought it was a great battle of two physical brutes in close hand-to-hand, and I had no issue with it.
Complaint: Why did Talia want to destroy Gotham if there was no more crime and the city was doing well
My Thoughts: Revenge!! She clearly wasn’t actually in line with all of the League of SHadows ideals. She just wanted vengeance for Papa Ghul.
Complaint: Bruce heals a broken back in 5 months?
My Thoughts: Batman didn’t technically break his back, as the prison Florence Nightingales reveal. He dislocated a vertebrae. The approximate heal-time for this is 6-8 weeks before limited activity. Let’s assume for a moment that Bruce is a superhero. He might be determined to heal even quicker, and, having experienced several injuries in the past, might know appropriate exercise routines to heal quicker.
Complaint: No time for Batman to actually eject from the Bat at the end
My Thoughts: They did an editing trick to make it look like Batman was still in the plane near the end, but who is to say it wasn’t just an imagined vision of Batman in the plane by Blake, or an earlier scene of Batman spliced in later? I’ll tell you who. Nobody. Because thats what it was… clearly.
Complaint: The point of Matthew Modines character?
My Thoughts: Mott Modine as Foley stood as a comparison between what a great cop Gordon is and what a petty social climbing cop could be. But at his core, Foley too had love for his city and came out to defend it to the death.
Complaint: Too much content for one film
My Thoughts: It was certainly a long film at 165 minutes, but thats only 12 minutes over the runtime of TDK, which many hail as one of the greatest films ever (myself included). I don’t need yet another film splitting their story into two parts to get more money from me and make me wait more time between film releases. The length was fine.
Complaint: The Bruce romances came out of nowhere
My Thoughts: Catwoman and Batman are kindred spirits, both driven by a darkness in them to don a costume and exact their own forms of social justice, so finding commonality and connection between them seemed logical. Marion Tate strollin over to Bruce’s house and the audience not being told why at all (I guess since last they saw each other Bruce was thrown out of the Wayne board meeting while she took over the company) only to get all wet in the rain and sexy in his house was…. AWESOME! C’mon! She was totally crushin on Bruce, even though he killed her ol’ man, because he is sexy and was Ra’s fave student. And as for Bruce gettin with her? Duh!
Complaint: Gotham looks too much like NYC
My Thoughts: So? Gotham is the nickname for NYC.
Complaint: The bomb was an unnecessary MacGuffin
My Thoughts: I felt it was an appropriate driving force of the plot and continued the theme of the trilogy of Batman saving Gotham from the brink of destruction. Wayne industries working on tech that could be altered into a bomb didn’t seem that far fetched and played into the endgame of showing Bruce that his actions helped bring about the end of Gotham.
Complaint: Miranda is caught by Bane, then visits Bruce, then is back in Bane’s custody
My Thoughts: I thought it was a mistake of editing on my first watch, but now I feel it is a test of viewers to see if they catch that Miranda is kidnapped, then visits Wayne, and then is kidnapped again to see if you can piece together who she is earlier. I like it.
Complaint: Batman shrugs off Mirandas shanking
My Thoughts: Ok, that was a tad odd. A good shanking will kill a man quick. Thats why it is so popular in prison… movies. I guess it hurt like hell but adrenaline kicked in and he saved the city. I have forgiven much worse in action films, so… meh.
Complaint: Putting the Robin name in there like that
My Thoughts: Dude! I love this! Most pople loved this! A cool nod to the fans, and a passing of the cowl, without the weird undertones that the 40’s were too innocent to recognize with Robin.
Complaint: After the Joker presented a philosophical challenge to Batmans ideals, Bane and Talia were just in it for revenge
My Thoughts: Well, Bane and Talia brought the full story to a close and reinforced those concepts of restoring balance, and killing a man but not an idea. They provoked a different philosophical dilemma of holding on to hope or taking action an enacting change.
Complaint: The pit and the rope – all those prisoners and rope that goes halfway up and they can’t get out?
My Thoughts: The rope acted as a sign of hope but a physical barrier. Using the rope prevented success ut provided security. You have to be willing to die to for your goals was a repeated theme here.
Complaint: Batman, the detective, couldn’t find Bane, but Catwoman could, quickly and easily
My Thoughts: Batman was out of the game and rusty. He no longer knew the streets, and the film needed more reasons to give us that Catwoman goodness!
Complaint: Batman learns nothing between the first two fights except to punch Bane’s mask
My Thoughts: And to inspire a city, and raise an army to defeat Bane’s men, and distract him while others neutralize the threat of his bomb…
Complaint: Nobody suspected Miranda? Nobody??
My Thoughts: I did! Well, I think I read early speculation about her role. But, yeah, she should have seemed suspect. Except that she is so darn cute.
Complaint: Where was the Joker?
My Thoughts: Well, I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but the actor who played the Joker in TDK? He died. Yeah… And out of respect to him and the brilliant character he played it was decided to leave him out of this film. However, if you still want to know where that rascal would be in the Gotham universe, there is one small line from the film novelization that you can read here which explains that the Joker was the sole inmate left in Arkham Asylum when the others were all transferred to Blackgate. So that’s where he’s at. Still leaves us fanboys to dream of how he would have dominated that situation though….
Complaint: John Blake just guessed Bruce was Batman?
My Thoughts: Isn’t the better question ‘why hadn’t everyone else figured out Wayne was Batman?’ Billionaire who is the right age, has the means to get all the gadgets, and seems to come and go from Gotham at the same time as the Bat? But, the question is, how did Blake ‘know’ Bruce was Batman. Easy! He used a little something that has been seriously lacking in the Nolan-verse. Detective work! He first started with a suspicion when he was a kid and saw a similar facade on the face of a broken Bruce Wayne. From there he probably looked at all the other clues and saw that they all pointed to Bruce being Bats. Then Blake did his due diligence and knocked on the doors of all the other likely suspects in town and said to them “I know you are Batman” and watched how they reacted. That part didn’t make it into the film. Seriously though, Blake played a hunch and threw his speculation at Bruce with confidence and surprisingly, a tired Bruce owned up to it rather than denying it. Blake said he knew but up until that confirmation it was really only speculation.
Alright. That is enough reasons for now. I may return to this with more complaints addressed in the future.
Think my reasoning sucks? Agree with me? Lemme know in the comments below!