The first Batman movie from Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins, changed the way I felt about superhero movies. I always had huge crushes on titular characters (or sidekicks), but the very tone of the film was just as dark and moving as the comic—for the first time in my lifetime. Suddenly, the bar rose for every film to follow.
Like most people, I found The Dark Knight even more amazing and enjoyable—heavily dark yet moving, pushing the envelope for both dramatic and action film genres. I still wonder if we’ll ever have a villain as terrifying as Heath Ledger’s Joker. When The Dark Knight rises was announced, I wondered how Nolan would ever be able to top the previous to films.
Well, that’s an easy answer: he couldn’t.
The first part of the movie was okay as far as any previous superhero movie scales go—but placed next to the previous two, it was boring, unbelievable, and even stupid at times. The only enjoyable part was Catwoman’s fun one-liners and Hathaway’s development, albeit small scaled, in the movie. (Spoiler alert.) It is not until Batman’s capture that anything interesting really occurs.
The ending of the movie—not the very ending, which was predictable, but the last half hour of the film or so—was pretty delightful. Once the city’s thrown into marshal law, its destruction and saving is very moving and interesting to watch. There are even goose bump inducing moments. It’s still not as stellar as the previous two movies—and there were huge disappointments in the villain department—but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I just sort of wished I could have read a Cliffs Notes for the first half of the movie, and then watched the second.
Bane. Wow. What a letdown. I had heard such good things, so when we had every person exclaiming, “You’re so evil! What are you?” without even giving us half of the examples that the Joker had—without the unnecessary victim comments, mind you—it was incredibly disappointing. And I had already known about the “big twist” because of stupid IMDB, which lists characters’ first and last names as the ultimate spoiler in this scenario, so that wasn’t as big of an impact as it could have been, either. And what the hell was up with Scarecrow’s blasé judge position? He simply could have been used more interestingly—and more scarily. He was terrifying in the first film. Give us more of that!
Overall, it was a fine movie, but you don’t go to a Nolan movie looking for fine. You go looking for utterly brilliant. My husband and I are still wondering if we even want to purchase this last one to round out our collection. I guess we will once it’s in the previously viewed bin, but I really wish we could be more excited about it.