Blindspot 3: Dark Knight Rises

dark knight risesThis month I am taking care of my Blindspot entry early.  This is the series where we watch a classic we have never seen before and give our thoughts on it.  I have already done Blade Runner, Tron and now we look at The Dark Knight Rises.  Yes my friends, today I saw Dark Knight Rises for the first time.  I’m probably one of the few Americans who can say that!

The reason why I was hesitant to see it was because I didn’t really care for Dark Knight (I know shock. Ah, horrors, I have no taste!).  It was too cynical, violent and frankly creepy for me.  It was dominated by a mesmerizing villain and I don’t like stories about villains.  I like stories about heroes.  So I was reticent to see the final installment and then the Colorado Shooting happened and it put me over the edge.  You can read my thoughts on that day here.

I quoted my cousin who said:

“How about the very movie that was showing in the theater where the shooting took place?! I know The Dark Knight Rises is the movie of the Summer, but I walked out because of how intensely violent I felt it was and the ruthless killer Bane was dark and evil. After 20 minutes I went back in because I didn’t want to feel left out… (wish i would have chosen differently now.) i know its bold to say, but we cannot keep watching this violence on screen and expect to be exempt from it in real life!”

I admit I have become a bit more immune to these things than back then but the violence in Dark Knight still bothered me when watching it a few weeks ago.

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So that’s all kind of background to my viewing experience today.  And…

I have to be honest- I liked The Dark Knight Rises a lot more than I thought I would.  Why?  Well, at its core is a message of hope that a city can rise up and confront evil.  In the Dark Knight, on the other hand, the most noble soul turns into the villain.  It’s the opposite message.  Everyone, even Batman has an angle and isn’t that different from the Joker after all.

That’s not to say it is perfect but I did enjoy the viewing experience a lot more.  I know I’m unique in that but I’m not writing these reviews to tell you what you want to hear but what I truly believe.

So basically the plot in Dark Knight Rises is Bruce Wayne is blamed for the death of Harvey Dent, who is looked at as a hero.  He goes into hiding for 8 years.  Bane, a masked beast of a man, played by Tom Hardy is on a mission to remove corruption from Gotham by removing what he see’s as injustice. Injustice with the government, wealth, commerce and everything else.

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Bane is trained by Ra’s al Ghul from Batman Begins (who trained Batman) and he is also on a mission to kill Batman who killed Ra.  Bane tricks Catwoman Selina Kyle to get Bruce Wayne’s fingerprints and he stages a takedown of the stock exchange destroying Bruce and Wayne Enterprises.

The plot does get pretty convoluted at that point but Alfred resigns (and is missing most of the movie), Lucius becomes involved, Commissioner Gordon is hunting down Bane as best he can and we get to meet John Blake who is essentially a Robin-type story.  There is also Wayne Board Member Miranda Tate played by Marion Cotillard who wants to see a fusion reactor produced for energy but Bruce fears it could get into the hands of people like Bane.

Bane tries to stage a type of Marxist revolution killing off the powerful and rich while manipulating the common people with fear.  This is in the end is not effective when many people fight back (literally in a type of battle) and Batman pays the ultimate price.  The film leaves us with the message “a hero can be anyone”

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One of the things that bothers me about most Batman movies is Batman is always the most boring person in the film.  Dark Knight Rises is an interesting situation because he is not really the lead character.  The City of Gotham is the lead, and its transformation is what is compelling.So basically Batman Begins is about Bruce becoming Batman.  Dark Knight is about the Joker and the power of evil and corruption.  Dark Knight Rises is about the City of Gotham and it finding its hope again.

That’s not to say there aren’t problems in the film.  Batman is in the film too little and there are probably too many scenes of Bruce watching the action in prison.  Also it can be difficult to understand what Tom Hardy is saying with that mask on.  There are also other plotholes like his speedy recovery with a leg brace from a debilitating injury but it’s a comic book movie.  I guess I expect that kind of heroics in a comic book movie.  I don’t watch this genre for gritty realism. And in reality there are plotholes in Dark Knight whether people chose to acknowledge them or not.

I’m not saying Dark Knight Rises is a masterpiece. I don’t know if I feel that way about any superhero movie outside of The Incredibles; although there are many I enjoy.  I’m just saying I appreciated the change in tone from the previous installment.

dark knight rises3I also loved Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle.  She was confident, sexy, and smart.  Her performance certainly wipes the bad taste out of my mouth from Halle Berry’s Catwoman.  That’s for sure!  I thought she was really entertaining.

dark knight rises6Miranda Tate while fine was more of an average character, and I don’t know that I completely buy her big reveal at the end.  It feels a little cheap to me.  Nolan didn’t need to make everything in all 3 movies tie up in a perfect bow.  We even see Scarecrow in a cameo during the sentencing scene.  That wasn’t really needed.

Also  many of the other characters are relegated to bit roles.  Alfred has very powerful moments but then is missing for most of the movie.  Gordon we don’t see enough of , as well as a number of other characters.

dark knight rises8As far as Bane goes I found his political motivations to ‘share the wealth’ kind of interesting but like I said he is tough to understand at times and is a little one-note.  The fight scenes are intense but perhaps because I wasn’t as creeped out by Bane as Joker they didn’t bother me as much as the violence in Dark Knight.

If I’m honest you do kind of tell this was the B storyline that they had to use with Heath Ledger’s passing but I still think it turned out very well.

Dark Knight Rises feels like a comic book movie and not a crime drama.  That said, having seen how the story ends I do appreciate the Dark Knight much more than I did before (it might not sound like it but it is true).  I can now see the story as a true trilogy and the hopeful ending does make the middle violence a little more palatable. It is almost better to think of the 3 films as one long movie and not 3 separate stories.  dark knight trilogyOf course the direction is well done by Nolan with beautiful cinematography from Wally Pfister and terrific score from Hans Zimmer.  I don’t think Nolan has made a technically bad movie yet.

You could definitely make an argument that Dark Knight Rises is self-indulgent at its 165 minute time and there are definitely lags but over all I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  Chop this one up to low expectations if you want.

There’s hope for Gotham and that makes me happy!

Overall Grade- B

33 thoughts on “Blindspot 3: Dark Knight Rises

  1. I feel like I corrupted you when you made that statement about the plot holes, but I can’t help a pretty well-reasoned argument! lol I hate how people act like Rises is bad because they noticed some holes yet treat Dark Knight as a flawless perfect masterpiece when it has some as well. The thing with Rises is I find myself swept up in the experience and don’t notice the holes as much, or they just don’t bother me to film-breaking effect. I think it’s cool you wound up giving it a shot after a few years and liked it pretty well and it’s pretty neat that a lot of what you liked about it are things that have always been reason I love it! In fact, after seeing your thoughts on The Dark Knight and remembering why I like Rises, I actually kind of had a feeling you’d like Rises better.

    1. Not corrupted but gave me the confidence to say what I thought knowing I’d have some support. On my regular blog I got eviscerated for a post I did and it made me reticent to criticize these type of films but I’ve become a better writer since then I think but also gotten more confident!

    2. I have with both my problems…plot holes and contrivances just drive me crazy. Some movies get away with them better than others because they have a “heightened reality” in which the rules can be bend a little bit, but after Nolan spend so much time telegraphing how “realistic” his take is, the plot holes in his trilogy bother me more than they usually would in a comic book based movie.

  2. Also, if there’s one thing that bugs me about the people who hate this movie, it’s that if they’re not whining about plot holes, they just go ‘it sucks!’ and that’s it, which as you may know, bugs me, because when I like said movie, it’s hard for me to see your argument when all you say is ‘it sucks!’

  3. I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out. I found it a bit confusing since I hadn’t seen either of the 2 previous films. I mostly liked it, though. It seemed like an appropriately epic finale, but I couldn’t appreciate it fully since it really expects you to have watched the whole trilogy.

    The film was a bit ruined for me by people excessively pointing out the plotholes, but a lot of them are annoying like Blake just intuiting that Bruce is Batman by “I can see it in your eyes” logic.

    1. That would be confusing if you hadnt seen the other 2. Those plotholes are there but not any more egregious than any other comic book movie

    1. I guess I still prefer more light hearted superhero movies like Guardians (which I know you hate) but they are all solid entertainments.

    2. Your other comment got deleted so it looked like I was responding to Dan which was confusing so I deleted them. Sorry for the confusion. Not sure what happened

  4. Glad you liked it. Overall, I thought it was just okay. Both the beginning and the ending bothered me a bit. The ending of Dark Knight suggested that Bruce has fully accepted his role as Gotham’s protector in the shadows and has no reason left to stop following the death of Rachel – but DKR doesn’t bother to explain why instead he went into hiding for 8 years. Then the ending doesn’t explain why he is suddenly able to give it up and have a normal life like Alfred wanted.

    1. Fair points. Doesnt he die at the end not have a normal life? That’s what I thought

    2. I just read the Wikipedia. Somehow I missed that whole autopilot not dying thing! Oh well! I guess I responded to it more for an improved tone than anything else. Plus I really did like Anne Hathaway.

  5. Well, you definitely liked this movie more than I did.

    It seems that you love movies that have messages of hope or positive outlooks at the end of them, are those things you deem important and can make or break a movie for you?

    1. Yep. I’m trying to think of a dark depressing film I like and nothing comes to mind. Even films that take on very depressing topics like war or the Holocaust I need something to latch on to and feel hopeful about otherwise the movie becomes kind of washed out and one note for me. That’s why I’m not into dystopian stories. They are too cynical and downbeat.

    2. It’s all about tone in the end, which is a very tricky thing to manage. A movie like Room for instance is very depressing but there is an undercurrent of hope and the triumph of human spirit in there. The tone is managed well. The Revenant on the otherhand gave me nothing like that. It was an absorbing experience and a good film but not really my thing.

      1. Um, there’s an animated British film called When the Wind Blows that I really enjoyed even though it’s incredibly depressing and some could consider it boring. It’s basically about a nuclear war threat being imminent, but I thought it was a well-made movie.

        I like the Maze Runner films, but I dunno if you’ll consider them hopeful or depressing.

        I can’t think of any more on the top of my head at the moment.

      2. I was not a fan of Maze Runner films particularly the second which was unending in the generic action and very down beat! I just don’t like dystopian.

      3. The first had some interesting stuff with the maze. The second was just mindless unending action. And that nightclub scene was awful. The first was more creative. The second very generic

      4. I feel like if something is that downbeat it should teach me something like Children of Men, 1984, or Lord of the Flies

      5. It’s also extremely subjective. For example, my sister thought Where the Wild Things Are was very depressing where I thought it was hopeful and beautiful. So I guess it just depends.

  6. Haven’t seen this movie in awhile, but the first time that I did, all I remember was being absolutely compelled. Nice review.

  7. You know, I at first I loved ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and considered it as good as the first two films, even holding Bane up to the same level of the Joker! But after a few more viewings, I started to notice it’s flaws and felt it was more of a 4/5 film, than a 5/5 one. Doug Walker’s spoiler review in which he confessed his disappointment in the film was the start of my disillusionment in the film.

    Still, on repeat viewings, I was still swept up in the emotional experience and felt like it delivered on the spectacle and culmination of Bruce Wayne’s story, and as before the villains injected vitality and memorability into the film. For me, the good points outweighed the bad, whether it was plot holes, extreme length or a lack of Batman.

    1. That could be. I’m not in love with any Batman movie except for animated so perhaps my expectations were lower. I just liked the more hopeful tone most of all.

      1. I agree it is perhaps the most optimistic of the Dark Knight saga, so it does have that going for it. But I do feel like it compromised Batman a little too much for the story and tone to be carried through.

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