Last night, I went to the movies with my wife and daughter, and saw one of the silliest films I've seen in a while -- "The Dark Knight Rises". As I was watching it, I could not help but think back to the development period of the first live-action TMNT movie, when Kevin and I were struggling to work with the writer the studio had chosen for the project. At one point, he turned in an outline in which the bad guys -- I think they were the Shredder and the Foot -- had imprisoned all the "good people" of the city in the sewers, and the Turtles had to rescue them and release them from their subterranean prison… after which the jubilant, newly-freed citizens carried the Turtles on their shoulders through the streets of of New York City.
No, I'm not kidding.
Anyone who has seen "The Dark Knight Rises" will very likely recognize a similar -- and similarly stupid -- plot line.
There are some good things in the movie -- several pretty spectacular action scenes, and good performances from actors like Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Anne Hathaway. But…
… the overwhelming feeling I had as I watched the movie was this: The more "seriously" you treat the "Batman" story, the more obviously stupid it becomes. Director Christopher Nolan had hit the "sweet spot" in this regard with his first Batman movie, "Batman Begins" -- an intriguing take on the genesis of this tortured hero, with just enough updating and verisimilitude to sell the idea in a "serious" way. His follow-up, "The Dark Knight", was able to tread a similar fine line, though it occasionally tipped over the edge into goofiness.
But "The Dark Knight Rises" suffers hugely from the bloated sense of importance and significance that made watching Nolan's flabby "Inception" painful for me to sit through.
I'm glad he's done with Batman -- I look forward to future explorations of the character which might not be quite so pretentious… and silly. -- PL