So the last Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman finally hit theaters this past weekend. Sadly, a horrible tragedy marred the experience and is casting a long pall over the film.
It’s hard to report the positives and negatives of the film on its own merits with the senseless actions of a sick coward hanging over it, but that said, there’s been plenty all over the news about the film positive, negative, and in-between, and I’m probably one of the in-betweeners myself.
The Dark Knight Rises is indeed the darkest of the three movies, and while it’s definitely a well made film, I certainly had my issues with it. I agree with the reviews that feel the film was bloated, it did feel too huge and unwieldy at times, and I also agree with the review that said the film’s good but it didn’t have “the shock of the new.” And there’s definitely a lot of material in The Dark Knight Rises we’ve seen many times before in other films, although Nolan certainly presented it all very well.
Technically, the film is certainly extremely well made, the action sequences really do deliver, and one of my biggest worries, Catwoman, turned out way better than I ever expected. Anne Hathaway is very good in the role, and her character is a terrific reinvention of the role. (Not as great a reinvention as Heath Ledger’s Joker, but Hathaway’s Catwoman is very cunning and clever, and Nolan wisely gives her much of the film’s funny lines).
The real problem I had with the film was Bane. I was never nuts about this villain in the first place, and his voice got on my nerves in a hurry. I have no idea why they picked a voice that didn’t fit the character, but in a sense it’s also interesting that he didn’t have a stereotypical voice to go with his size. He’s definitely a cruel and evil villain, one that’s born of pure evil that can’t be redeemed on any level, and he's certainly a great challenge for Batman, but you probably could have put all that evil and brute force into another villain that would have been much more interesting.
Ultimately, I’d like to give it a second chance down the road when I have more time to let it sink in and take more breaks from it. At 164 minutes, The Dark Knight Rises does tend to drag, especially in the middle, and you’d think you can’t get enough Batman, I could have sat through a three hour Dark Knight, or three hours of Heath Ledger’s performance alone. But here I did feel the turkey was definitely overstuffed.
And I won’t write about the ending because any of you still haven’t seen it. I definitely have mixed feelings, although with one part of the ending, the more I think about it, the more I like how they did it. At least one fan complained online the ending reeked of studio meddling, but I doubt it. The fact that Nolan was able to get a Batman out there that’s approaching three hours long, and he was able to get it shot on film without 3D proves, at least to me, that the studio probably couldn’t push him around too much.
The series certainly didn’t end badly, and I didn’t expect it to be better than The Dark Knight, that one really raised the bar extremely high, but my ultimate take on first viewing is I liked it, but I would have liked it more if they made some tweaks with the villain, or had a different villain altogether, and trimmed some of the fat.
As predicted, The Dark Knight Rises made a ton of money this weekend, reportedly $160 million, which is huge for any movie, although we may never really know for sure how much the tragedy in Colorado really affected the box office. The Avengers certainly set the bar pretty high, and it’s a tough one to beat for sure, but what Batman pulled in sure isn’t chickenfeed by any standards.
And lastly, you can never send enough condolences in the face of a horrible tragedy, and I certainly send mine to those who lost their lives in Colorado.