Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why The Dark Knight Rises isn't "totally awesome!"


I'm just going to come right out and say it. The Dark Knight Rises is a letdown of epic proportions. Not surprising, seeing that it was handed the task of following up what is largely considered the greatest superhero movie ever made. Still, that is no excuse for how unfocused and, dare I say: boring, Christopher Nolan's last installment to his Dark Knight trilogy is. 

I'm sorry, what did you say?

Let me start with the basic auditory problems of this film (you know where I'm going with this!). Since the release of Batman Begins back in 2005, our hero's voice has been the subject of both scrutiny and comedy. So it's only fitting that, to round out the franchise, the villain's voice is just as awkward and hard to understand. Fitting, yes. Practical, no. Now I'm not saying that Bane's voice is inaudible, but at times I missed serious lines of dialogue and found myself keeping on track only by thinking: "What did he just say exactly? Oh, whatever! He's doing something bad!"

Supernova performances 

Perhaps the greatest part about The Dark Knight was Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker. Every time he was on it, he owned that screen! What 'Rises' lacks is a standout performance like this.Sure Michael Cane and Morgan Freeman are great in their roles as usual, but they are horribly misused and do not get much screen time, even combined. Both Ann Hathaway and Tom Hardy, though welcomed additions to Batman's Nolan-verse, do little to evoke the kind of emotional response that Ledger earned.

Upsetting the established order

What Nolan did so well with the past two Batman movies was bring everything down to Earth and make it feel grounded (no Lazarus pit for this Ra's). With 'Rises' it seems as if all of that was thrown out the window: nobody seemed to age over the course of eight years, Bane still had unexplained supernatural strength, and apparently Bruce Wayne lost all of the cartilage in his leg but that's okay because he has a clamp that makes it function normally.

More than we could chew

The past couple of Batman movies had some things to say and they said those things fairly well. However, this new installment seems to be going for so much all at once and it becomes difficult to follow. Sure, they will bring something up, but then never go into much more detail. I.e. what was that guy in the pit saying to Bruce Wayne about conquering fear of death in order to jump the ledge? That does not even make much sense seeing is how SPOILER Batman doesn't die in the end. 

Die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain 

If you've read this far then it probably already know that Batman lives. What a cop out! Bruce Wayne cannot take a vacation from being Batman, let alone a permanent one. If he is chilling on the beach with Selina and hears about another siege on Gotham, he is going to spring into action. It's who he is. Besides, didn't we just see a rich guy in a super suit carry a nuclear bomb away from a highly populated, New York-esque city not too long ago (see The Avengers movie for more details)?

Well there you have it. Just a few minor complaints I have for Christopher Nolan. I know, I know, I am in the minority, but dangit! The Dark Knight deserved a better sendoff than this.