So this only took me a week to publish but i finally made it. Please keep in mind that the premiere here was on Thursday, July 26th.
As corny and cliché as this might be i couldn’t help but hear “Closing Time” by Semisonic in my head as i walked in the halls outside the movie theater this past Thursday night. The Dark Knight Rises premiered in Guatemala, which is where I live, and I went to opening night. This opening night in particular was pretty special when you consider that i haven’t been to an opening night release since Nolan’s second installment in The Dark Knight. And when you also consider that i’m probably not going to go to another one unless the movie is pretty fucking special. What i’m saying, basically, is that unless Batman fucks Yoda and a magical Jedi Bat-creature emerges from that unholy coupling my days of midnight premieres are over.
Having gotten that joke out of the way I will warn now and in big BOLD LETTERS that the following review of The Dark Knight Rises might, and by might I mean does, contain some SPOILERS!!! So I’ll give you some time to close this out and skip to another post in case you haven’t seen it…
…still waiting, giving you another chance to turn and run…
…no? You sure? Very well, then, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Here is The Dark Knight Rises as reviewed by a walking, talking, semi-intelligent monkey:
It was in 1990, I can’t really remember the month, I can only remember it was cold out so I’m assuming it was either January or February, and Tim Burton’s Batman had premiered in Guatemala, the country I grew up in. Now, I know that that iteration (is that the right word?) of Batman premiered in 1989 but you have to take into consideration that Guatemala is a developing country, third world if you will, and even though the capital is a bustling, modern metropolis it doesn’t mean we get shit at the same time that you get shit. And by you I mean people from the United States. But I digress.
Tim Burton’s rendition of Batman had premiered here in 1990 and I lobbied my parents to take me. I had to, I mean, the movie was a PG-13 (i was only 8, turning 9 that year), it was dark and broody and scary, and my parents were bigger fans of Superman. Enough that they disguised me as The Man of Steel for a couple of halloweens in prior years. But I loved Batman, even at 8 I knew that Batman was the superhero for me. And so, I begged and borrowed and begged and finally they took me to see it. Cine Las Américas, I remember. I also remember because my dad is not a big fan of going to the movies so the fact that he took me was a pretty big deal.
I remember sitting in the theater with a shared box of popcorn and suddenly forgetting to ask for more of it because i was mesmerized by what I was watching on the screen. At no point did I ever think Michael Keaton wasn’t really or couldn’t be Bruce Wayne, I mean, I was 8! What the shit did i know about comedic actors? And I also didn’t even realize that there were animated parts to the movie. All I knew is that this was perfect, that the two hours I spent sitting in the dark were perfect.
My parents bought me a t-shirt shortly after that, Batman standing on a mountain of skulls. How fucking awesome is that? And it was oversized so that I could grow into it, which I did, it was my favorite t-shirt up until it mysteriously disappeared at around ages 13 or 14.
So, having said all of that i’m pretty sure we’ve established i’ve had a long standing man-crush on the Bat.
Batman Returns followed to great hype and I loved it as well, maybe not as much as the first one but I loved it none the less. And that was followed by shitty and shittier, i mean Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. So when I heard they were making another Batman movie all I wanted for Christmas was for it not to suck. I didn’t even care if it was brilliant, I just wanted it not to suck. And not suck it did. With Batman Begins all that ran through my minds was who the fuck would have ever thought they could make a Batman look like that?
Then came the second installment, The Dark Knight, and we were told that The Joker would make an appearance. Really? I thought, The Joker? And again my love and arrogance over the original Batman movie emerged and i thought, Who could possibly do a better job than Jack-fucking-Nicholson? But then Heath Ledger came in and did just that; he played a Joker so twisted, so fucked up, that even those of us who worship the first Batman film forgot about Jack Nicholson, if even for a little while.
So it is now four years later and you wonder to yourself, How can anyone possibly match, let alone top, that last movie? And with a character like Bane, no less. A fucking joke in Batman & Robin. Well…
The Dark Knight Rises starts off with the introduction of Bane in the first 8 minutes of the film. An introduction that was designed to make an impact and what an impact is did, it immediately made me forget any previous iteration of Bane. So much so that this version needs to be the official one. Start replacing any ideas of what the character used to be.
Kevin Smith mentioned on his podcast that he was never a big fan of Bane and i’m inclined to agree, though I must contest that the cover where Bane breaks The Batman’s back is not only iconic but representative of a generation of comic book lovers, my generation. At least that’s what I like to think.
I feel like what i’m writing is jumping around a lot but that’s just the way the words are flowing into my head, order be damned.
We get to see Bruce Wayne 8 years after the death of Harvey “Two-Face” Dent on what is known as Harvey Dent Day. A day in which people gather around to celebrate their “hero’s” legacy and condemn the one who killed him, Batman. By this point Bruce Wayne has become a hermit, a la Howard Hughes (I later heard Kevin Smith make this same analogy in his podcast… yes, I’m a Kevin Smith fan, I’d probably go gay for him), and much like Hughes has sunk his fortune into a cause he deeply believes in. The cause, in Wayne’s case is cheap and affordable energy and not a giant fucking plane.
It is here that we are also introduced to Selina Kyle, as portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Now, even though it’s not canon, i’m still way more in love with Michelle Pfeiffer’s version. Having said that, Anne Hathaway is now a close second being closer to what the original character was and the fact that, well, as any good fan-boy would admit, she looks crazy hot in the movie.
Another point that I enjoyed was, in keeping with the trilogy’s sense of realism, that they didn’t dress her up in a cat costume/suit but rather just referred to her as a cat-burglar, which is what she’s always been.
Alas, I will summarize, a series of events are set into motion, seemingly by Bane, to destroy Bruce Wayne and strip him of his fortune. It is also revealed that the “mastermind” behind this plan is a board member of Wayne Enterprises and professional nemesis of Wayne’s who is intent on taking over the company.
Having achieved the destruction of Bruce Wayne’s fortune, Wayne reaches out to one of his largest investors in the free energy project, Miranda Tate, played by Marion Cotillard, and who also happens to be a board member of Wayne Enterprises. They come up with a plan to take over the company and keep it out of the hands of John Daggett, but she only agrees to do so after Bruce Wayne shows her the device they’ve been working on to provide said free energy.
Little did they know that this was all part of Bane’s plan. Bane, who turned out to be an exiled member of The League of Shadows and for those of you who’ve read this far and didn’t care about spoilers but don’t remember The League of Shadows being the organization led by Ra’s Al Ghul.
Man, feels more like I’m describing the entire movie rather than giving a review… wait, no, it doesn’t feel like that, that’s what I’m actually doing. But I digress… again.
It is at this point that we see Batman go after Bane with the help of Catwoman only to be left out to dry by her and having to face him on his own. And it is here where The Bat gets the beat down some of us remember from the books, including the iconic breaking of not only the back, but The Bat.
It is during this time that Bane takes control of the city and threatens its complete destruction with the nuclear reactor that Wayne Enterprises had developed for free energy if anyone tries to interfere.
So, with Gotham cast into chaos and being held hostage, and Batman exiled there is nothing left to fight Bane but a handful of police officers who can do very little if nothing at all.
Jump to, what I assume are a few months into the future, and we get to see Bruce Wayne all healed up and trying to escape from the prison Bane put him in (Yes, Bane put him in an inescapable prison and forced him to watch what he was doing to Gotham as punishment). And guess what? He does. Yeah, I know many of these aren’t really spoilers, ooh, the good guy escapes the clutches of the bad guy, ooh, but bear with me, I’ll get to my disappointing review soon enough.
Batman makes his way back to Gotham, much to Bane’s surprise, and proceeds to build his own army of cops to fight Bane’s… own army… of bad guys. Wow, that sentence doesn’t feel right.
During this epic final fight with Bane we see Batman find his weakness and exploit it. We see Batman defeat Bane. And we also see Batman be stopped by, and this one is a major SPOILER, Talia Al Ghul. I won’t say who she is but I’m pretty sure you’ve all figured it out by now.
She is determined to finish her father’s mission of destroying what she still considers the most corrupt city in the world, Gotham.
I will stop here, I don’t want to spoil the WHOLE thing. And I’ll let you all draw your own conclusions. Now on to the review. A review, by the way, that will only be a few lines long compared to all the shit that I just wrote. Soooooo, sorry?
My review of the movie can be summarized in the following Power Ranking: 2 - 3 - 1.
Is it the best movie of this trilogy? No. But it’s sure as fuck a close second. The movie as a whole works perfectly, granted, like the previous ones with some plot holes here and there and basic errors like in any movie but the film as a whole is pretty solid. My one major complaint is what appears to be weak and cliche dialogue at times. It felt like the movie’s dialogue was being filled with bad puns and corny one-liners instead of substantial dialogue like we know Nolan can do. However, if you’re not really paying attention to the speaking parts and just the action you’ll probably not notice this at all.
Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is a solid character as well, strong and with a purpose. Though lacking the seductive charms that makes Michelle Pfeiffer my favorite still, Anne Hathaway is a solid #2 in my Catwoman power rankings. Hell, I’d even call her a #1.237
My favorite scene is, like it probably will be for many of you, the breaking of Batman’s back. And the ending, though I’m sure many will hate, is well thought out and gives closure to an otherwise tortured character who is Christian Bale’s Batman. It made me happy, and in a world where you’re rooting for a character you know to be flawed and human it’s hard to be happy for him.
All in all, I can honestly consider this trilogy, and I’m referring to it as a trilogy and not a Batman trilogy, in my top 5. As far as Batman movie power rankings, here you go:
439 billion - Batman & Robin
6 - Batman Forever
5 - Batman Returns
4 - Batman
3 - Batman Begins
2 - The Dark Knight Rises
1 - The Dark Knight
You are now free to insult me. Thanks :D