fredag 27. juli 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

This review is written in English to accommodate my vast international readership (and the film is American, so I find it easier to write the review in the film's original language).

I just got back from the cinema after having seen the latest Batman film in Christopher Nolan's modern take on the Batman franchise; The Dark Knight Rises (DKR). I'll try and break my review of this approximately 3 hour long film into what I find to be the film's pros and cons.

Being a nice guy, I'll start with the fluff.
  • DKR wraps up the Batman mythos
I'll not post any spoilers here, but I will say that unlike the gushing rivers of broken vaginas we have seen so far in 2012 (especially Prometheus); the audience mostly get the answers they want and the film actually fucking ends. Also, plotlines not completely sorted out in the previous two films are wrapped up in a nice, coherent bow-tie of no gaping plotholes the size of Kim Kardashian's battered and chapped pussy (and thus differs massively from "films" such as Prometheus).
  • DKR introduces us to a cool Catwoman
None of the many (many) Batman films made over the last 40 years have ever managed to create a believable, entertaining and cool Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer did the best she could in Batman Returns, but with shit-stained quotes like "I am Catwoman. Hear me roar" and "Meow"; the BR- Catwoman is still pathetic and laughable. In DKR, however, Anne Hathaway does a decent job portraying the dexterous and desperate catburglar that Catwoman always was meant to be. Yes, she has silly little cat- ears on her costume (and evening wear); but you get the feeling she puts them there as a joke; not in all seriousness. That being said, it is not a fantastic Catwoman we're introduced to; but she's pretty cool. And I guess you really can't expect more from, let's face it, a ridiculous idea to begin with.
  • Bane is the second coolest villain ever
Only the Joker, portrayed by Heath Ledger in the masterpiece The Dark Knight, is a cooler Batman- villain than Bane. Bane is actually the best character in the whole of DKR, certainly better than Batman himself. The largely unknown actor Tom Hardy (yes, I know he played a role in Inception) does a masterful job of portraying a villain who is both thuggish and (extremely) brutal while at the same time appearing educated and Dr No-ish (yes, the 007 villain). You believe the story behind Bane and, as all good villains should do, you quickly end up rooting for the guy (well, at least I tend to root for mass murdering serial killer terrorists if they do their deeds in a spectacular and cool manner).
  • DKR is an entertaining film
I know this could be seen as a rather weak point, but it is one of the most important pros of this film. The film is long, ca 3 hours, but I wasn't bored once (except during one of the "obligatory" love scenes). The script is tight and you get the the classic action-flick rollercoaster feeling watching this film. A lot of productions the last couple of years (such as Prometheus) doesn't have any cohesion in their script and a lot of time is often wasted away on messy and pointless dialogue, extended transport- and/or chase-scenes and a general feeling that the film isn't going anywhere. Not so with DKR.

Okay, that was the fluff. On to the fun bits. The cons. 
  • Batman is boring
Even though the film as a whole isn't boring, the main character and the reason people actually go to see these fucking things (i.e. the Batman franchise) certainly is. Christian Bale does a decent enough job with what he is given, but I couldn't shake the feeling that he was somewhat bored doing the same role for the third time. That being said, Bale wasn't the main problem; the script was. Without revealing any spoilers I think it is safe to say that Batman gets to play second- violin in this film. All the side- kicks and villains are given way too much screen time and when Batman actually shows up you never get the "holy fucktard, this guy is so goddamn badass I just pissed myself" feeling you got from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  It may be that I am weird, but when I go to a Batman film, I want to see Batman being awesome. You know, being a fucking superhero and whatnot. Ah well.
  • Pointless fucking love story (minor spoiler- alert!)
Okay, this section has a little bit of a spoiler in it; so skip to the next if the love story plot is what gets you to go see a fucking Batman film.

As we all know the brilliant The Dark Knight ended with Bruce Wayne's love interest Rachel Dawes being murdered. DKR starts with Bruce Wayne having gone all Howard Hughes on everybody living as a recluse and not seeing the point of life anymore as his one true love is all dead and shit. Which is fine, but then Bruce ends up making out with a totally new woman (some chick he barely gets to know via her business connection to Wayne Enterprises) and does so after a pretty short time into the film. But that is not all, he naturally has to fall in love with Catwoman as well; about 30 minutes after he's fucked his businesswoman chick in front of his fireplace for several hours. Any of this making any sense? Remember; Bruce has a stated death wish due to Rachel being dead. Does it then make sense that he starts fucking around with every single female character he meets as soon as he emerges from his isolation? No, internet, it does not.
  • Poorly veiled political propaganda
DKR is the last instalment in a trilogy and neither Batman Begins nor The Dark Knight had overly political agendas; but for some (I guess money- making) reason DKR does. In abundance. One thing I really didn't want going into the cinema to watch this film was for the director to try and impose his personal beliefs onto me (you know, like Ridley Scott did in Prometheus). But lo and behold, not only are we introduced to the perils of global warming and the world's energy crisis; but apparently Mr Nolan has a huge hard-on for financial institutions as well. That doesn't stop him from warning the audience of the increasing gap between the rich and the poor in America though, which makes me think Nolan really haven't put too much thought into his political proselytizing. 
  • Senseless criminals
While Bane's persona is awesome, his evil plans doesn't seem to make any fucking sense. I hate that. Evildoers should always have a proper motive, not just do evil because evil is so devilishly delightful. Lex Luthor hates Superman and his greed fuels his evil plans. The Joker is an anarchist who wants to create chaos. Voldemort wants to live forever and turn muggles into the wizard's slaves. And so on. But Bane doesn't seem to have a proper motive. Even when we find out why he does what he does towards the end, it really doesn't make any sense (not going to spoil the film by telling what it is). I guess apologists could blabber about "creating balance" and whatnot, but I don't buy it. It's mushy and it shouldn't have been. Also, Bane's small army of followers doesn't make any fucking sense either. They are willing to die for the guy, but all we see him do is treat them all like utter garbage. Why follow such an asshole? And if you follow him because you see how awesomely badass he is; it certainly doesn't justify being willing to die in agony for the guy.

The Dark Knight Rises is, in short, an entertaining film worth the ticket price; but unfortunately little more. On a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a solid 6.

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