I can sum up my review of the latest Batman film in two words: IT SUCKS.
Just kidding. I said that because I wanted to see how many death threats I could rack up at one time from the hardcore fanatics who are gonna read this review. Anyway, the Dark Knight is back in his latest adventure starring Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
This time around, eight years have passed since the events in THE DARK KNIGHT. Gotham City is at peace, and Bruce Wayne is living like a hermit at Wayne Manor. That is, until a new threat comes in the form of a terrorist who calls himself Bane. And he has a serious axe to grind with the Batman, which will bring his whole world crashing down around him. As the title suggests, will the Dark Knight be able to rise above it?
I’ll be honest with you guys- I like Batman, but I’ve always felt that he was slightly overrated in his popularity. When BATMAN BEGINS came out, all of my geek buddies had enough orgasms to fill a sperm donor office the size of Dodger stadium. As for me-not so much. I was unimpressed with Christopher Nolan’s ‘more realistic’ take on Batman, even going so far as to fall asleep on it. Yeah, you read that right- I FELL ASLEEP on it.
I think the reason I had such a huge problem with it is because I’m sick of these constant reboots where people feel the need to re-tell a hero’s origins again and again. I mean, are people’s attention spans really so short that they can’t recall the fact that Bruce Wayne’s parents were shot in an alley and he became Batman to insure that what happened to him would never happen to anyone else?
So on that score, yeah- BATMAN BEGINS bored the shit out of me. Then I watched it again before THE DARK KNIGHT came out, and I revised my opinion. It went from ‘it sucks’ to being ‘okay’.
THE DARK KNIGHT is a better film in every conceivable way possible. Better cast, better story, better stunts, and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker… oh my GOD. To say that he nailed that part would be a crime against humanity. Heath Ledger BECAME the Joker. He scared the shit out of me- even more than Anthony Hopkins did as Hannibal Lecter. He deserved to win the Academy award.
Which brings us to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. With a running time of two hours and 45 minutes, you would think that Christopher Nolan would know how to pace a film by now. There were a couple of times while watching the film that I writhed in my seat and checked my watch. I got a little tired of seeing Bruce Wayne feeling sorry for himself and having to listen to Alfred berate him over not having any kind of life. It was more interesting to see Bane in action or watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt investigate what was going on around him while every other cop sat on their ass and did nothing.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t said anything about Anne Hathaway by now, it’s only because I’m not sure what to say. I mean, I like her as an actress and she is totally gorgeous, but I dunno…. As Catwoman, she’s just taking up space. I found her more interesting as Selina Kyle. Plus, I didn’t really like the costume all that much. The designer seemed to be going for that retro, 60’s era, Julie Newmar look. I prefer Catwoman’s current costume. I think it’s sexier.
One thing I will say about the film, it did a nice job of mixing several elements of different Batman stories like KNIGHTFALL, VENGEANCE OF BANE, NO MAN’S LAND, and a few others. That’s kind of hard to do in the context of a two-hour and change-long movie. I was even happier to find that they included a secondary surprise villain, one who is directly connected to BATMAN BEGINS. Long-time Bat-fans will recognize them once the reveal comes, but the general audience will scratch their heads and be like, “Huh?” as usual.
All in all, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES isn’t a bad film, but it’s kind of a letdown after its 2008 predecessor. I know a lot of people will probably disagree with me, but you know what they say about opinions and assholes.
-Gregory B. Gonzalez