Saturday, August 4, 2012

A brief review of "The Dark Knight Rises"


         

         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

7 comments:

Adam Riches said...

Gotta agree with you on pretty much everything, also that little TMNT1 anecdote has made my day, what an absolutely ridiculous visual to imagine, I'm laughing just thinking about it!

I am pretty good at suspending disbelief for the sake of enjoying something, but there were many times throughout "Dark Knight Rises" where I found myself chuckling at the pretentious silliness of it all. Despite its flaws, I still found it enjoyable enough, but I'm also glad the current chapter is over and am curious to see what the future holds for the franchise.

B.Thomas said...

I enjoyed the film myself, but thought it was the weakest out of the Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. I found ''The Avengers'' to be a far more entertaining comic book film.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the film. I like my superheros serious. I thought it was the best comic book film ever made.

PL said...

"‪Anonymous‬ said...
I really enjoyed the film. I like my superheros serious. I thought it was the best comic book film ever made."

Really? "The best comic book film ever made"? Have you seen "The Avengers", "Iron Man", "Captain America", "Spider-Man" one and two, "X-Men" one and two, and the first two "Superman" movies (the ones starring Christopher Reeve)? The first TMNT movie, for that matter? Or even Nolan's own "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight"?

Obviously, I couldn't disagree with you more.

I will say that "The Dark Knight RIses" is probably the noisiest comic book movie ever, though... much as, in his play "Macbeth", Shakespeare described a tale told by an idiot -- "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -- PL

PL said...

"‪B.Thomas‬ said...
I enjoyed the film myself, but thought it was the weakest out of the Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy."

I should have put this in my review -- even though I often found myself laughing at the absurdities in "The Dark Knight Rises", and shaking my head at the silliness of the plot, I wasn't bored while watching it. There is enough going on visually to keep one's attention, I think, even while what is happening is ofttimes ridiculous.

For me, this movie is one of those odd creatures which is simultaneously very interesting to look at while almost completely unsatisfying as a story.


"I found ''The Avengers'' to be a far more entertaining comic book film."

I couldn't agree with you more. -- PL

Anonymous said...

Yup I have seen all those films. I still think I enjoyed it more than any of those other films.

Eric Barnett said...

Thank you for this review. I'm one of the few, who, after sitting through the painfully idiotic "Inception" have refused to endure anything "Nolan". Watching the fervor over his latest work, the endless praise and wholly unfounded comparisons to master filmmakers (Nolan = Kubrick?) has left me gobsmacked. I don't pretend to understand the hype, and I pray that I never will.


"I will say that "The Dark Knight RIses" is probably the noisiest comic book movie ever, though... much as, in his play "Macbeth", Shakespeare described a tale told by an idiot -- "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -- PL

Peter, you are the best.