Escape from Gotham: The Dark Knight Rises (Review)

Firstly the tragic events that occurred on Thursday in Aurora Colorado that left 12 people dead and many injured deserves an honourable mention before I delve into my review. I express my heartfelt condolences for the victims and the families that were killed. Fittingly director chris Nolan released this statement:

“The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me,” he continued. “Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”  Rolling Stone.

I attended the film event of the summer that I could not get to see at the IMAX but on a less than glamorous screen which failed to align with the seats at the Renoir. I wanted to love this film because everyone else was telling me so, even though The Dark Knight was a big disappointment to me. But I was brainwashed and convinced that this would be a legendary cinematic experience, that I would leave the theatre thinking wow, with a big grin on my face and not giving two shits that the price of one ticket is £11.50. Unfortunately I was wrong.

Nolan is obviously a talented filmmaker with Inception and Memento being standard modern masterpieces, yet I feel his talents are wasted or somewhat misused within this franchise. This third instalment suffers from the same faults of the previous film in that its characters get lost in the convoluted narrative that Nolan has created. Rises’ length is another let down of the film; it didn’t need to be that long, yet considering all that happens within the film I suppose it had to to fit all of it in.

Watching Rises I was struck by how similar it was to Nolan’s Inception but not as good. The grandiose architecture, the spectacular appetite for destruction, the hero overcoming a personal tragedy and or obstacles, a femme fatale and even two of that film’s actors gave me a little sense of déjà vu. The result was that I felt that I was not watching something new but I had seen this movie before.

How do you film a comic book hero who is billionaire in this current age of economic turmoil? Christopher Nolan’s feeling is to convey a less than subtle commentary on our current financial disorder smartly alluding to the banking crises, the stock exchange and more importantly the occupy movement in the various story threads that make up the film. Does this work and should this type of commentary be expressed in a film such as this? Not so much, mainly because whatever message Nolan is trying to get across is lost in the thrill and spectacle of the grandiose, explosions and terror. For all the faults of Watchmen its message was clear: in a world where man can end the world, there is no place for moral absolutes. The message in Rises? Evil and crime is not the cause of poverty? Or the only way to achieve your goal is through fear rather than complacency?  I am clutching at straws here.

bane and the duke share remarkable similarities as does the dark knight rises with escape from new york

At least it did address the idea of privilege. Though Bruce Wayne is our hero, he is a pampered billionaire who does not even open his own door when the bell rings. This perhaps puts Wayne in a different and less favourable light from the orphaned-philanthropist-saint that has taken the fall for something he didn’t do. What is funny however is that how many people know the true identity of Batman or soon find out within this film. Batman is perhaps the worst keeper of secrets ever.

To be perfectly honest I am not a great fan of the Batman reboots or for that matter for reboots, origins, remakes, English speaking versions of foreign versions or prequels in general. I believe that it is creatively lazy and overpopulated and this is clearly intrinsic to the comic book movies. We have already had Tim Burton’s two Batman films (which I feel have been widely overlooked) Batman Forever and the monstrosity of Batman and Robin. That is seven films already, what more can you say about this character? We have had a reboot of the Hulk in the space of five years and Spiderman in the space of five years, oh and Titanic 3D. I blame George Lucas and Jar Jar Binks for this trending at the multiplex.

The reason why I preferred Burton’s vision is that it took itself less seriously, yet Rises is somewhat pretentious and is smug at its own cleverness. The opening aeroplane scene was brilliantly executed and immense but each set pieces’ aim is to top the last. Surprisingly where the film works better is without all the masks. Bruce Wayne as a Charles-Foster-Kane crippled recluse was an interesting concept. His conflict with himself, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and the new character of John Blake is where the heart of the film lies.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle and Joseph Gordon Hewitt as John Blake are the revelation of the movie. Hathaway especially, as she provides much of the film’s sadly lacking humour and some of the best one-liners; she easily fits into Nolan’s staging of clever adversaries. However the chemistry was somewhat lacking between her and Bruce Wayne. In all it was an okay but nothing to be shouting about from the rooftops about. Avengers Assemble remains the best comic book movie of this year.

current rotten tomatoes rating amongst all critics:

87% but really it should have be 62%

official verdict:

5/10

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5 comments

  1. Brilliant review, I really enjoyed the film and it’d be great if you could read my review! Thanks http://conordcfc.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/film-review-the-dark-knight-rises-2012/

    1. thank you for reading conord are you from the uk?

  2. Yea the film has many flaws and I also agree with you that it takes itself too seriously, other thing that I really hated was the obsession to make Batman a martyr when in reality there really was no neccesity to do this… well I already wrote my list of complains about the film. I still believe Escape from NY had a ever simplier and more effective story and I agree with you, the message of the film is almost completely lost by its convoluted storyline :(, anyway great review.

    1. that is so true about the martrydom, that was good of you to pick up on that. batman is batman and his perception of in the eyes of gotham city residents do not resolute to thew same perceptions of superman or the like. he is a vigilante whose ethos is vengeance and fear through crime fighting methods. it would have been better if nolan concentrated more on this aspect of the character rather than the soppy message he was trying to achieve in that film. also as i forgot to mention, that michael caine ending really pissed me off, it was too obvious and overindulgent for the type of film this is. thank you for your praise and comments.

  3. […] over substance and there would be an element of truth to this. Style plays a very major part yet the Dark Knight Rises has been lauded as a work of genius, but it is void of any […]

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