Disclaimer: Hold up there you huge sopping vagina. I know you liked The Dark Knight Rises. I know you are so precious about the sanctity of Batman-via-Nolan that the very idea of discourse on the subject is anathema to you, because we should all be too busy sucking the cocks of everyone involved in making the film. Well, too fucking bad.
Also, this thing contains spoilers.
I don’t really want to rag on The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a pretty damn cool movie in fact, and will most likely make it onto my top five for 2012. I do occasionally like to slaughter a sacred cow though, and I was bored by the hype surrounding this film months before I saw it. Marketing campaigns are perfectly natural, of course, but when the anticipation for a film is deliberately milked for all its worth, I just see a film maker shoot himself in the foot. Nothing could even hope to live up to the that level of hype, much less surpass it. It would be like the eight year old me falling in love with Sharon Stone in Total Recall (which I really did), only to years later actually have the good fortune to sleep with her. Ignoring for a second the ravages of time, if I were somehow able to bang the in-her-prime Sharon Stone, the reality could never live up to the fantasy that my eight-year-old brain was able to concoct. As my personal Deadbeat Hero Doug Stanhope points out with his patented incisiveness, it always ends the same way: BLORT!
You should watch the whole video, but if you want to skip to the relevant part it’s 4 minutes 10 seconds in.
That’s exactly how I felt at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. Months and months of people just creaming themselves over the trailers, just to get… another fucking comic book movie. That’s all it is. A good comic book movie. Most of them suck, but this one happens to be pretty good. And it is good. It is visually stunning. Tom Hardy absolutely steals the show as the big, buff, badass Bane. Anne Hathaway is a close second as Selina Kyle, somehow making her more than just a sexy cat-suit, and of the three films I’d say Christian Bale gives his best performance. Add to that a supporting cast that reads like a fucking Oscar nominee card, and it’s hard to go wrong. But for all its strengths it is far from perfect, and it’s not so much that the film has its flaws, but that so many people refuse to acknowledge them.
First of all, at two hours forty five minutes long, it is distended out of all proportion. I like the fact that there is some time taken to cover back story of the numerous characters, but the exact same story could have been told with much more economy. This is a symptom of nearly every “epic” ever made. A sort of deliberate subjectivity that stems from a hyper-fondness for the source material, which is ultimately why die-hard Batman fans don’t mind at all. They would gladly sit through four hours of this shit because hell, it’s Batman; the more the better. Somewhat ironically, for a guy who seemed reticent to cut out scenes that so obviously slow the film down, Nolan seemed only too happy to cut the violence down to a 12A (or PG-13) level, which results in lots of shooting and fighting and dead bodies, with none of the actual killing in between, some of which is just looks fucking ridiculous.
And then comes the ending, just about. The legend ends, promised the trailer. “The legend ends… kinda” would have been more accurate. After about two hours of borderline-sombre drama, peppered with a few kick ass action sequences, comes the utterly conventional superhero ending. It is bad enough that the film is treated with such solemn regard (dude, ‘why so serious?’) only to end with series of increasingly convenient character decisions and just-in-time saves. Give me a fucking break. Hey, Bane, you know how you smashed Batman’s back and locked him away in an inescapable prison in the desert, but he still got out and came back to save the day, and we have him right here and could finish him off once and for all? Don’t do that. Keep him alive. I want him to see this. I’M SORRY, I DIDN’T REALISE THIS WAS A FUCKING JAMES BOND MOVIE. And this right after, in the middle of a riot, the just-revealed true villain of the film takes the time to explain to Batman, and therefore the audience, some exposition that somehow there wasn’t time for in the first two hours of the fucking film. But even that wasn’t enough to ruin an otherwise cool movie. I realised it’s just a film about a guy in a black mask and a cape fighting crime, even if Christopher Nolan didn’t, so I made an allowance for some silliness. And then comes the biggest cop out of a film ending I have seen this year. I can hear the arguments already: ‘He deliberately left it open to interpretation!’. No, folks, he just fucking copped out.
When Ironman survived at the end of The Avengers I was disappointed, but not too much, since I knew The Avengers was just a piece of fun, commercial fluff. But for some reason I expected more from The Dark Knight Rises. Shit, maybe I was even a victim of the hype I was so suspicious of. Just wrap the fucking thing up already. Don’t give me a your typically Hollywood everything-is-okay-after-all montage and an apparently contradictory account of Bruce Wayne’s fate. Did he fix the bat symbol and then use the repaired autopilot to eject before the explosion and finally move away to live happily ever after with Selina, just like Alfred always hoped he would? Or is that just hopeful thinking on behalf of Alfred, Lucius, Blake, and we the audience? You know what? I couldn’t give a shit. Blort.