The Dark Knight Rises Review

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For more than ten years now, Christopher Nolan has proven time and again just how gifted of a storyteller he is. The varying degrees of excellence he brings with all of his movies reminded me of the consistency that Pixar has shown with their movies until recently. Unfortunately, Nolan’s latest movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” suffers from the same dip in quality that Pixar suffered with “Cars 2,” though, whereas “Cars 2” may have just been not very good, “The Dark Knight Rises” is fucking awful.

I sometimes joke that I did not like “Batman Begins” but I actually do enjoy the movie. I just never liked how you are beaten over the head with the movie’s theme, fear, and the editing was a little choppy for my tastes. Overall I enjoyed the movie, and “The Dark Knight” is about as close to Batman movie perfection as you can get. “The Dark Knight Rises” slowly shows you just how broken it is as it lumbers along until the agonizing ending nearly three hours later.

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One of my biggest issues with “The Dark Knight Rises” is that the plot is very muddy and only becomes more so as the movie progresses. Between Bane’s plan, Selina Kyle’s involvement, Bruce Wayne’s self-imposed exile, a strange energy source, and shady characters making shady dealings, I was never completely sure what was going on. The convoluted, confusing story, and a noticeably absent Batman through most of it (I hope you like spending time with Bruce Wayne!), makes “The Dark Knight Rises” a chore to sit through and not very fun. I wouldn’t feel quite as strongly about these issues if the movie was, say, an hour shorter. A movie can be five hours long so long as it is engaging and interesting. “The Dark Knight Rises” never really takes off and all the heavy drama only fueled my rage until the bizarrely uncomfortable and out of character ending. Sadly, this is not where this movie’s problems end.
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Any hero is often measured by how good the villain he is pitted against and Bane served only to drag this movie down. His mask served two unintentional functions: steal whatever personality he might have been able to show if we can see his face, and make him difficult to understand. Seriously, there were times during the movie where it sounded like he was talking through a plastic Solo cup with a couple of holes poked in the bottom. He is most certainly the least charismatic villain Batman has gone toe to toe with and has had the most unbelievable scheme to date. I’m sorry, but brute force and a few carefully placed bombs are not going to rip Gotham City down and make people completely abandon society. At least Ra’s Al Ghul was going to use a neurotoxin to make people tear the city apart. The Joker was just trying to prove a point through chaos. Obviously these movies are not documentaries, but they have some grounding in reality. I couldn’t get behind Bane’s plans for this movie simply because it stepped too far outside of the believable framework that Christopher Nolan had set up over the previous two movies.

I can sometimes look past story issues if I simply enjoy the company of a character. Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman are as solid as ever, and Michael Caine proves once again that he is the best character in this series. New to the series is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, and, though she is never referred to as Catwoman, we all know who she is. She can hold her own in this movie as both a love interest, and as an ass-kicking self preservationist. However, characters like Bane, his cronies, and a few others I don’t care to mention really suck the life out of this movie with heavy dialogue, as they prattle on in a very Metal Gear-esq way. For those not familiar with Metal Gear, it means that a character will be dying, or revealing their master plan for a good forty-five minutes before you get back to the issue at hand.

Even the action is awful in “The Dark Knight Rises.” There are scenes where cops and Bane’s goons face off and it looks like a scene from the cutting room floor of Gangs of New York. Batman and Bane even fight a couple of times and both times are exceptionally boring. Why Batman forgot his training and decided to fight Bane with haymakers is beyond me. Overall the actions is clunky, forced, and, worst of all, boring.

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Some might argue that it’s just a superhero movie and I’m overthinking it. I might argue the same thing to Christopher Nolan. He tries to have some deep narrative and ends up sacrificing the humor, action, interesting characters, and the engaging stories that made the previous two movies so good. “The Dark Knight Rises” is exceptionally heavy on story and dialogue. It tries to keep things interesting with a few plot twists, but the movie lacks clarity, and drags on for way too long. I never thought I’d say this about a Christopher Nolan movie, but this movie sucks. Though it’s not nearly as bad as “Batman & Robin,” “The Dark Knight Rises” is exceptionally disappointing and should be avoided.

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for how two out of three ain’t bad.

tl;dr – It’s takes a very special combination of things to make me angry when I leave a theater and Christopher Nolan has accomplished that with his latest entry in his Batman saga.

Rich Coonelly

10 comments

Completely agree.

Really…. you just compared Cars 2 to Batman….and to say it was better?!?!… for shame.

I’ve never synced up with Rich’s thoughts on any of his reviews, but this is absurd. Sorry man but you are wrong on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Dark Knight Rises is the greatest thing ever in the history of movies, but it was damn enjoyable to watch.

*****SPOILERS*****

Sure, things in the script weren’t perfect…but are they ever? No. That being said, the nods to so many huge events in Batman comics throughout the entire movie was awesome, from the whole Knightfall storyline where Bane breaks Batman’s back, (That fight scene was awesome) to Cataclysm where Gotham collapses and No Man’s Land where it is completely cut off and the chalking of the bat-symbol was great for any die-hard Batman fan.

Batman didn’t show up all that much?… dude do you really expect that anymore with all these reboots in modern super hero movies? It wasn’t until the last like 20 mins in Avengers where they finally stopped bitching like girls and fought as one. It’s going to happen. Same with Spider-man, it was the same way, it took forever for him to finally get into the costume. It’s usually the same way with most super hero movies nowadays. It’s a lot about the story of the character and not the action anymore. Plus his back was broken and he was in prison half of the time with no hope. We saw him be beat. We saw him loose the will to live, and we had to see him get his hope back, his fear of death back. It was more than just Batman going on rooftops and fighting crime, it was a story of the Soul of the Batman.

I’ve been a reader and listener since BBPS , and no disrespect nor am I trying to be a dick, but I’ve lost a little respect for this site from this “review” you went into some general likes and dislikes. Really, and I quote “This movie sucks” REALLY?! Cars 2…. was better than a almost 3 hour long BATMAN movie? Come on, maybe you were in a wrong frame of mind. maybe you were tired, maybe you still were thinking about the crap that happened at the opening. I’ll admit a few spots in the movie with guns I thought about how awful it was for the people in the theater that night, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this movie.

I HATE christian bale, I hate they way he is Batman, I hate how the cowl looks more like a bowl on his head, I hate the costume, and his monster voice is mocked so much, I can’t even take anything he says seriously (which totally sucks) but I would never say this movie sucked. I fricken love Batman, and I am not really a big huge fan of this Christopher Nolan series at all. I’d watch ’89 Batman or even the Animated series in a heartbeat before I’d watch the Nolan movies, but I really enjoyed this movie and the production value of the whole thing. The score was good, I saw it in IMAX so at some points the music actually took over some of the dialoge like with Commissioner Gordon and Blake, to the point where I’ll have to watch it again to see what exactly was said, and about 90% of what Bane said was clear but still not 100%. Still with that sound, his voice was encompassing and got into your head, which is kinda what I think or hope he was going for.

Sure, the twists were predictable, no autopilot,no autopilot,no autopilot,no autopilot… You sure Lucious? OK I guess that damn autopilot doesn’t work, or Blake’s big reveal or anything else… it was a blockbuster movie, it was a good ending. No one wants a downer ending where Batman dies… come on, people would be pissed. More so than your “review”. Again, maybe you just aren’t a fan of Batman or whatever, but I really never cared for your reviews and this hasn’t changed my mind, if Rich doesn’t like it, I probably will love it.

I’d say, once it comes out on Blu-Ray, give it another chance. I dare you to rationally sit down and watch it then tell me, that the pacing wasn’t great, where there wasn’t LONG stretches where you could get up and take a break or just want it to end. That the sound wasn’t complementary to the images on screen. That the acting wasn’t decent, or at least to the point believable for the most part (One liners aside)… I mean we ARE watching a guy learn to walk around in a costume and fight crime while having his back broken after 2 months or so and coming off a limp after an 8-year stretch. It’s called Suspension of Disbelief, and you are watching a movie called BATMAN.

You didn’t like it. Ok, it’s your opinion, you are entitled to it. I liked it and that is my opinion.Not the greatest Batman movie but I thought Dark Knight was a little over rated. Still great, just over rated. But to say it Sucked is flat out wrong. Please let someone who isn’t biased one way or the other give a honest review of the movies.

Hey Ryan, thanks for sharing your thoughts! We don’t ever want people to think that a review we post is representative of what PGM thinks as a whole. On our latest podcast you can hear Ryan talk about TDKR and he doesn’t agree with Rich on a lot of points. Dan and I haven’t seen it yet but we’ll definitely weigh in when we do.

I’ve known Rich for a long time and he and I frequently butt heads with our opinions, especially with movies. But it’s always a lively and fun discussion, especially during the disagreements.

We want to create a back and forth dialogue with our readers and listeners. I’ve already reached out to Rich to encourage him to reply and possibly clarify some of what you have a problem with in his review. I had a big problem with people calling Prometheus “awful” because, like you, I believe that is flat-out incorrect. I haven’t talked to Rich about TDKR since I haven’t seen it yet but maybe I’ll be on your side, maybe I’ll be on his. Either way, I look forward to furthering this discussion.

Maybe I was a little harsh saying I lost a little respect, I guess I’m just very passionate about Batman, but I’ve always been in the camp of having low expectations for something,even when I’m super excited about it, so I don’t disappoint myself when it doesn’t live up to my expectations.

It’s Rich’s opinion, I know a few people who didn’t like it as much as TDK. That’s fine, but to put it in perspective, these are the same people who even up till seeing the movie were the ones who would say “OMG TDKR is going to be the greatest movie of all time ever, Chris Nolan is a god among men” and all that crap. Then a few days latter they post all over the internet, “This movie sucked, I hated it!
Maybe its their fault for setting unbelievable expectations.

PGM is still and always will be my favorite podcast, I think you guys do a great job and are good at this. It’s the internet, someone is gonna get butt hurt about something on this damn thing. Keep up the great work, and I will be enjoying the new podcast today like always.

Ryan, thank you for taking the time to express yourself.

As you stated in your last post, and as evidenced by your first one, you are very passionate about Batman, and I respect that. I too really like Batman, and I grew up watching the same television shows and movies as you did ,though, I’m not much of a comic book reader.

As I said in my review, I really liked the first two movies and I was excited to see this last one. I’m not some fanboy that just eats up whatever scraps are thrown my way, and I’m not hating on TDKR simply to hate on it or because it didn’t live up to my lofty expectations. You mentioned that you thought I was in the wrong frame of mind when I was watching the movie too, but I was fully awake, excited because I was fresh off of watching the first two movies, and I didn’t yet know of the shootings. I just did not like the movie. I found it to be boring and I not very entertaining.

Sitting here and arguing with you over plot points, characters, etc. is silly. There’s obviously elements of the movie that you loved that really got under my skin, but to say the TDKN rises is good as a matter of fact is ridiculous. People’s opinions are subjective by their very nature and can’t be measured. You can no more prove that TDKR is factually a good movie, than I can prove that you love your dog.

I’m not going to apologize for what I think and feel about a movie. People used to get on my case when I voiced my issues with Batman Begins. I still liked the movie, but the fact that I wasn’t gushing all over it seemed to baffle people.

I know my opinion is the minority on this, but I wrote what I thought about TDKR. Most people will disagree with me, and I’m fine with that. Reviews are not meant to change people’s minds about what they buy, see, etc. They are simply to give people an informed view before they do something. I know I always read the negative reviews for a product as well as the positive ones, because there might be something I had not considered if I had only read the later. People were going to see the TDKR if they read my review or not. If anyone thinks that my opinion could actually affect box office grosses, they’re giving me too much credit.

You and I disagree one this movie, and that’s okay. Two people can look at the same thing and think differently about it. I dig that you feel so strongly about Batman, and I appreciate your feedback.

“Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”
- Lex Luthor

WTF did I see… I guess it wasn’t nolan so much as heath in the last one. This one makes the last two look stupider the same way the second one made the first one look better. What was the point? The entire plot was so ”wtf” that I can’t manage to contextualize it at all, its just messy and boring. I think thats the worst part, I kept glancing at my watch because it was so boring. I have coined a word to describe what happened to me during this film–moneybacknowsobored.

Hey guys, the podcast that goes up over night has a whole segment where we talk about The Dark Knight Rises, spoiler-filled. Be sure to check that out and let us know what you think!

Finally saw it a couple of days ago.
For the most part, my opinions can be summed up with a hearty “What Rich said.”
I didn’t find the story to be as convoluted as Rich did, but otherwise, I was seriously considering walking out. By the time we got around to all the plot twists, I didn’t give a rat’s ass about any of it.

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