Unpopular Opinion (Film): “The Dark Knight Rises”

By Ethan Sapienza

via Screen Crush
via Screen Crush

“The Dark Knight” is a phenomenal film, as well as a groundbreaking work that revamped the superhero/action genre. What could possibly go wrong with the follow-up? Surely the tremendous auteur Christopher Nolan will deliver!

Ah! The excitement! The conclusion! Will Batman die? Should he die?

To answer my own question – yes, he should. In a trilogy that prides itself on bringing realism and innovation to an inherently fantastical genre, Batman, a man with some wondrous technology and abs, should perish. It would be realistic, innovative, and a worthy conclusion to the stellar series.

But he doesn’t. No, instead, in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Batman survives the superhuman strength of Bane (who nearly kills him but dies in the most anticlimactic of ways at the last second), a serious knife wound, and a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION, thanks to fixing the unfixable autopilot of the Batwing. All of this after recovering from a completely broken back and escaping an inescapable prison. That’s just a little too much to survive if you ask me.

I’ll return to all of those inconsistencies in a moment. First, as a general overview of the film, the pace was bizarre. The beginning is all too slow, convoluted, and flat out silly.

The film tries to establish how great and crime free Gotham is now…even though it isn’t. Businessmen participate in criminal activity (wait, I thought there was no more crime?) over some bomb whose very existence is unbelievable.

Then there’s a superhuman criminal named Bane and his army (how he got that army is beyond me) who just hang out doing whatever. An orphan genius cop is the only person to ever deduce who Batman really is. And during all of this, Bruce Wayne is a crippled recluse who only needs a knee brace to return back to strength.

While anxiously awaiting the return of the caped crusader, we are forced to endure Bane’s utterly inaudible dialogue. Why does he have a thick accent AND a thick mask? I missed nearly every line of one of the most important characters in the movie.

Batman finally returns. Along with saving the day, surely he saves the movie, right?

Well, no to both.

The hero does next to nothing. He sleeps with Marion Cotillard in a strange, unnecessary and forced sexual encounter in the film. He then gets his back broken in half by Bane within no time and is dumped in the most impractical prison in the world. What could he possibly do to save Gotham? Surely this is too much.

Except, you forget, Batman has the ability to sit in a makeshift swing, do sit-ups and push-ups, so he can completely recover from a paralyzing injury! Next, after conquering immobility, he conquers the absurd prison, returning to Gotham without breaking a sweat.

He arrives to find his Batcave, armory and bomb — all of which are said to be top secret – have been found quite easily; an entire police force is duped and trapped underground; and Bane has taken over the city, despite the fact that no one can understand him.

When he goes to get his revenge on Bane, the evil Marion Cotillard stabs him in a twist fit more for a M. Night Shyamalan movie than anything else. Before dying at Bane’s hands, the mysterious foreign hulk is shot by Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Batman shakes off Cotillard’s revenge stabbing like it was and saves Gotham from certain doom, all with enough time and money to retire to Italy. Not too shabby.

But wait, there’s more eye-rolling material: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is clearly Robin. We get that. His character’s name is even taken from the comics. It was initially a nice, somewhat subtle touch that he was to be Bruce’s successor. Instead, it gets beaten over your head, as his middle name just so happens to be Robin, and it just so happens to be stated, and he just so happens to be given the keys to the Batcave.

Well, at least the film wasn’t too long!

(It was practically three hours.)

Ethan Sapienza is a staff writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.

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