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  1. #1
    won't you be my neighbor?
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    Saw 'The Dark Knight Rises'...

    Long review follows. Don't like long reviews? Don't read 'em, aka suck it.

    And before anyone asks, no, I didn't feel particularly unsafe watching The Dark Knight Rises (i.e. no worries about 'copycat' killers). In fact, I didn't even flash on the whole Aurora tragedy until I was walking out of the theater. Part of that is probably because the theater I went to didn't have any additional security in place, for good or ill.

    In any case, TDKR is... a mixed-bag. And I say this as someone who generally likes Chris Nolan's films.

    But Nolan has an unfortunate tendency to turn out otherwise good but over-plotted, over-paced, under-emoting films that at some point write themselves into a corner, and only get out of said corner via some bit of ridiculousness that doesn't quite work.

    The 'ridiculous' scene in the previous Nolan Batman film (The Dark Knight) was where the Joker, dressed in drag, after gravely injuring Harvey Dent and killing the woman Dent loves, visits Dent in his hospital room and convinces him via a speech to become evil (wow, sign that guy up for the used-car lot or politics).

    In TDKR, the ridiculousness is masked-bad-guy Bane (who breathes like Darth Vader) and his crew holding Gotham City and its millions of residents hostage literally for MONTHS via a neutron bomb, either to promote a 'people's revolution' of sorts, OR to kill everyone... they never really seem to make up their minds which. But at least they get the order right, you can't really kill everyone and THEN have the revolution, after all.

    This is really symptomatic of the central stumbling block of the film, which is cramming TOO MUCH in. TDKR seems at times to want to be a simple 'bad guy, good guy' hero flick, and at other times a commentary on current events, i.e. the Occupy Movement and the struggle of the 99% against the 1%. Instead, it tries to be both, and everything else besides, and the pacing just gets wacky at times.

    Far as the 'Occupy' angle goes, Nolan raises this issue, a very interesting one for a summer film to take on– and one which gives Hathaway's Catwoman/Selina Kyle some of her most cutting lines – and then abruptly seems to drop it, as if he's worried that he's challenging his good-time action movie audience a bit too much.

    Too bad, because some of the most intruiging-looking scenes center around this, right down to a 'kangaroo court' set in a place of the formerly-powerful that recalls similar moments right out of Dr. Zhivago and the Communist revolution.

    But Nolan knows what most of the audience came to see, which is action. And there's plenty of it. Problem is, it isn't very INTERESTING action, most of the time.

    Oh sure, there's exceptions, such as a heck of a two-pronged high-low attack on the bad guy's convoy, run by Catwoman on a high-tech motorcycle and Batman providing air superiority via a, well, Bat-plane. For a few moments anyway, it feels like a scene out of the high-flying finale of The Avengers, the summer movie to beat so far this season.

    But most of the rest of the action seem surprisingly perfunctory and rote. It's as if you can almost hear Nolan screaming, "Hurry up, hurry up, HURRY UP with all the punching and shooting, can't you see I've only got 2 hours and 45 minutes to cram all these plots and characters in!!!"

    And that's the problem in a nutshell... too many characters, too much story, and a movie that even with its LONG running time seems rushed, to the point where any air or gravitas gets squeezed out of almost every scene.

    Early on, before characters and plots start dog-piling on, TDKR has a few fun moments, primarily coming from Hathaway's Selina Kyle cat-burglaring from Bruce Wayne unapologetically ("I steal from those who have too much and give to those who have too little") and yet quite sexily.

    But as the plot ramps up and the characters pile up, TDKR runs something like this... perfunctory action scene- emotionless explanatory dialogue, perhaps with an ending quip- perfunctory action scene- emotionless explanatory dialogue- rote action scene, lather-rinse-repeat.

    This film just never seems to have room to BREATHE, it's just 'step fast, step fast, lets MOVE IT ALONG, people!!!'.

    Then there are the bits of unintended hilarity, as in how Bane's henchman seem to magically and instantly appear to capture various good guy minor characters at multiple junctures during the picture. A real plot time-saver, yes, but geez, if they're THAT good, one wonders why they even need Bane.

    Another thing we could've done without are all the self-righteous ppl speechifying at Bruce Wayne accusatorily early on. Yes, yes, we know, Wayne's been on the sidelines for eight years, and the city needs Batman, but when he gets the 'Gipper' speech MULTIPLE times from multiple ppl, it starts to seem like a bit much.

    And speaking of 'too much', I can think of at least three superfluous characters right off the bat that added little or nothing to the film- Matthew Modine as a cowardly-but-then-heroic police lieutenant, Michael Caine's Alfred this time out, who isn't really given an interesting or original scene to inhabit (certainly nothing equal to 'Some men just want to watch the world burn'), and, surprisingly, the true 'big bad' of the film (who isn't Bane).

    That's most of what's bad. So, what's good?

    Bane's supposed origin story. I say 'supposed' because it turns out to not quite be true (and more's the pity), but it and his 'desert prison hell' and how it challenges and educates Wayne are a real high point in the film, maybe THE high point.

    Hathaway, aka 'little girl's all grown up now'. Though Michele Pfeiffer's Catwoman remains the gold standard, Hathaway does a more than passable job inhabiting Selina Kyle's black leather tights, and has a believable edge to her, while still coming across as credibly whip-smart and very world-aware. It's a woman's role not a girl's role, and Hathaway is about as good as the script and Nolan let her be in it, which is all you can really ask.

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's shown promise already in films like 500 Days of Summer and 50/50 as a lead, and in Nolan's own Inception as a supporting character, but here he confirms he can be more in the center of the mix in a big-budget blockbuster and hold his own. His 'I wear the same mask as you' monologue early on is one of TDKR's stronger moments.

    The music. Though Nolan unfortunately chooses to overemphasize the soaring, dramatic score, to the point where it drowns out a considerable amount of dialogue. In fact, between that, Bane's mask-muffled vocalizations, and Bale's continually overdone hyper-gruff 'Batman-voice', TDKR may win the award for the Highest Amount of Unintelligible Dialogue in a Major Feature Film™ this year.

    So, to sum up... is it good? Yes and no. It provides much of what you expected and what you came for, but it's missing some of the focus (relative term) and fun of the previous film. And Tom Hardy, while a very credible Bane, is no Heath Ledger. Indeed, how could be be, beneath a costume that covers his face all the time? Bale, at least, gets to be Bruce Wayne half the time.

    Finally, there's just no focus or special interest to the ending... Dark Knight was notable for its 'two ships' ending, which posed a very concrete moral question to the audience, and set up the very apt "YOU'RE the one who's all alone!" rejoinder to the Joker's nihilistic antics. Here, there's no such sense of closure, just a standard race-against-time ending and a "he's-dead!-no-he's-not" tug at our heartstrings that somehow seemed better when Tony Stark did it in The Avengers.

    It may be fitting that this is the final Nolan Batman film... even as much of an upgrade as he was to the Batman series of films with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, it feels like Nolan's beginning to run out of gas and good ideas here. A shorter, more focused film would've been a godsend, but Nolan seems wedded to complicated, overlong action films that begin to challenge their summer audiences, but always pull back to 'what's expected' well before all is said and done.

    Two and a half stars (out of four). And the ending of course leaves the door open for some non-Nolan sequels.
    .
    Last edited by SystemShock; 07-31-2012 at 01:04 AM.
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  2. #2
    waterproof*
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    tl.dr.
    * not actually a Rock Star

  3. #3
    S2H
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    tl;dr

  4. #4
    S2H
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  5. #5
    eminence grease
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    Rush said that the name Bane was chosen to make a bad association with Mitt. Did that come out in the movie?
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

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  6. #6
    I Love PAIN
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    Bane is in the comic books. No nothing about Mitt came out. I thought it was probably the best of the the three. You have to go Ultrascreen though to enjoy it.

  7. #7
    Misfit Toy
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    I like Batman Begins. I recently watched The Dark Knight, quit halfway through then finished the following day (with quite a bit of fast forwarding). It was too freakin' violent for my tastes, so I won't be seeing TDKR.
    It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.

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  8. #8
    On the wrong floor again
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    It is long. I really liked it but liked the Dark Knight better. I wasn't a huge fan of Bain but that's my own problem.
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  9. #9
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    I mainly agree with all this. For me, there were just too many plot devices and holes that made me say, "Now hold on a minute." I can tolerate a lot of that kind of stuff but by the third or fourth one, I start to deduct points.

    It's not a bad movie, it's just such a step down from the others. It promises the most yet delivers the least.

  10. #10
    What the Hell is going on
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    It's way better than "Prometheus".
    You'd think we were here for something other than fun. - Ishmael

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaeP View Post
    It's way better than "Prometheus".
    Wrong! Although both were AAA films that relied too heavily on plot contrivances.

  12. #12
    Fierce Pancake
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    It can't seem any longer and more tedious than the review.















































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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
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  13. #13
    S2H
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  14. #14
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    Listed at 2:45 long...truth is it was 25 minutes of previews follows by a 2:20 movie.......absurd.

    I enjoyed it for what it was....a summer blockbuster with a few plot twists.....but then I wasn't expecting a masterpiece.

    I LOL'd at the "riduculousness" part...it's a freeking movie about a comic book hero.

    YMMV

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    I LOL'd at the "riduculousness" part...it's a freeking movie about a comic book hero.
    This reminds me of when I hear someone say, "I LOL'd at the price... it's a freeking bicycle!"

    You must have either missed the first two movies or didn't bother to contemplate them.

    Yes, it's a Batman movie, but TDK had a lot to say about 9/11, the Patriot Act and terrorism. This movie deals with class warfare and the haves and have-nots. The Nolan movies are so popular because they have somehow transcended the generic "comic book movie" by way of intelligence and quality story telling.

    The first two movies even went with a realistic approach unseen before in the genre. Nolan even said during the production of Batman Begins that if they could build the gadget themselves and make it work, they wouldn't use it. Watch the doc on how they really made the Tumbler and really did all the stunts with it.

    I personally think that's a flaw in this movie. The Bat, while cool, doesn't exactly fit into that idea.

    But anyway, your general dismissal of them as simple "comic book movies" is sorta misguided.

  16. #16
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie John View Post
    This reminds me of when I hear someone say, "I LOL'd at the price... it's a freeking bicycle!"

    You must have either missed the first two movies or didn't bother to contemplate them.

    Yes, it's a Batman movie, but TDK had a lot to say about 9/11, the Patriot Act and terrorism. This movie deals with class warfare and the haves and have-nots. The Nolan movies are so popular because they have somehow transcended the generic "comic book movie" by way of intelligence and quality story telling.

    The first two movies even went with a realistic approach unseen before in the genre. Nolan even said during the production of Batman Begins that if they could build the gadget themselves and make it work, they wouldn't use it. Watch the doc on how they really made the Tumbler and really did all the stunts with it.

    I personally think that's a flaw in this movie. The Bat, while cool, doesn't exactly fit into that idea.

    But anyway, your general dismissal of them as simple "comic book movies" is sorta misguided.
    You missed my point completely...I didn't communicate clearly.

    I get that they tried to keep it realistic, but at it's core, the entire premise is unrealistic, no matter how you package it. The thought that a Billionaire would dress up in a costume and be a vigalante is absurd on it's face...the fact that a burgler would dress in a cat costume with spiked high heals is absurd.....the absurditiies are everywhere in the 3 films....everything else flows from those premise's........once you suspend the absurdity of that, it's hard to suggest anything else is not believable. It's ironic to me to make that the major flaw in the movie.

    I get all the social commentary stuff too. That doesn't reduce the irony.

    BTW, I'm not a hater...I paid for all 3 movies and I didn't come away thinking I wasted my money......I found all 3 entertaining and in some ways thought provoking.

    Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  17. #17
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    I LOVED the movie. Can't wait to see it again, and that is rare for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    Then there are the bits of unintended hilarity, as in how Bane's henchman seem to magically and instantly appear to capture various good guy minor characters at multiple junctures during the picture. A real plot time-saver, yes, but geez, if they're THAT good, one wonders why they even need Bane.
    It would suck if they never got caught. Who wants to watch a movie where the good guys never get stuck up a creek full of ****?

    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    Bane's supposed origin story. I say 'supposed' because it turns out to not quite be true (and more's the pity), but it and his 'desert prison hell' and how it challenges and educates Wayne are a real high point in the film, maybe THE high point.
    I thought that was one of the weakest moments of the film. As soon as he got down there and they spoke of the kid who climbed out it was obvious. The rope was limiting the jump. That they had to put this into a line was ridiculous and flattened the entire scene.

    I agree on the ending, it was silly to show the cafe with that sort of closure. Would have been left to just leave it, although I suppose people would rage if they ever decided to bring him back.
    Last edited by jsedlak; 07-26-2012 at 06:51 AM.

  18. #18
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    I am watching the movie this weekend. I eagerly await it and the discussion here after.

  19. #19
    All or Nothing Baby!!!
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    Spoiler:

    Dark Knight was better, DKR lacked the calculating element that I thought should go with Bane, he is supposed to be just as smart as Batman, but it just didn't come out that well in the movie I thought. There was no 'elaborate plot to trick someone' and the end was just like a football game: push push push, then score...BORING!

    I did like one quote: Your punishment must be more severe.
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  20. #20
    S2H
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    Listed at 2:45 long...truth is it was 25 minutes of previews follows by a 2:20 movie.......absurd.

    I enjoyed it for what it was....a summer blockbuster with a few plot twists.....but then I wasn't expecting a masterpiece.

    I LOL'd at the "riduculousness" part...it's a freeking movie about a comic book hero.

    YMMV

    Len
    My movie started at 7:45 (8:00 after previews were over) and I was walking out to my car at like 10:50. I think it was like 2:45.

  21. #21
    won't you be my neighbor?
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2H View Post
    tl;dr
    Quote Originally Posted by Creaky
    tl;dr
    Quote Originally Posted by System
    Long review follows. Don't like long reviews? Don't read 'em, aka suck it.

    What part was hard to understand, the "suck" or the "it"?

    *shrug*
    .
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  22. #22
    won't you be my neighbor?
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2H View Post
    My movie started at 7:45 (8:00 after previews were over) and I was walking out to my car at like 10:50. I think it was like 2:45.
    +1. It's listed at 2 hours 45 minutes, and I don't believe that includes previews (I was in the theater for 3 hours plus).

    But Len is quite correct in saying that they piled on 20-25 minutes of previews up front. REALLY obnoxious of them, and a growing trend/problem in first-run films in general.
    .
    Monkhouse: I want to die like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep... not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    xxl: Your post is so stupid, if stupid had a cognitively-impaired relative, it would be your post.

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    I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    AM999: Romney 320 Electoral votes, Obama 218. Colorado profs' prediction model, 100% accurate since 1980.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day, it blew my teenage mind.


  23. #23
    won't you be my neighbor?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    I LOL'd at the "riduculousness" part...it's a freeking movie about a comic book hero.
    Of course, but it destroys any immersion or suspension-of-disbelief you might have had when things are glaringly arbitrary or ridiculous.

    If one says, "Ahhh, it's all ridiculous anyway", then you're watching the entire film from the POV of not buying into ANY of it, i.e. you probably shouldn't even be watching the film in the first place. It's just a light-and-noise show to you.

    Fact is, comic-book hero films, sci-fi films, horror films, ANYTHING fantastic or highly fictional really, does depend on an element of you, the audience member, 'buying into' the premise and the particular world being created.

    But that kind of goes out the window, at least partially, when glaringly stupid, arbitrary, or ridiculous things happen... *that* is what snaps you out of the film-world, and makes you go, "Oh yeah, this is just a dumb comic book movie."

    Probably not the effect the film-makers were going for, yes?

    And of course, as I said, there are ppl who already don't buy into anything in a comic book film/horror film/sci-fi film no matter what, and why those ppl invest their time and money to go and see them anyway, is completely beyond me.

    Those ppl are probably having only a shadow of the experience I or anyone else who's willing to suspend disbelief is having... provided the film is a *good* one, of course.
    .
    Last edited by SystemShock; 07-25-2012 at 06:20 PM.
    Monkhouse: I want to die like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep... not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    xxl: Your post is so stupid, if stupid had a cognitively-impaired relative, it would be your post.

    Platypius:
    I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    AM999: Romney 320 Electoral votes, Obama 218. Colorado profs' prediction model, 100% accurate since 1980.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day, it blew my teenage mind.


  24. #24
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    I really enjoyed it. It wasn't as good as The Dark Knight. That movie is phenomenal.

    Bane doesn't deliver as an evil enough villain. Cat woman was a cliched character. The plot twist wasn't that surprising after the fact.

    The story was great. The acting was great. The action was great.

    Nolan is awesome.

  25. #25
    Fierce Pancake
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    What part was hard to understand, the "suck" or the "it"?

    *shrug*
    .
    I think they were being, y'know, ironic. Like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    Poast of the Day™.
    .

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