The Dark Knight Rises

Well, shit. I had been staying offline working on this review for a couple hours before I had to check a detail on IMDb and found out about the massacre in Colorado last night. Fucking horrible, man. Be safe everybody.

We had a fucked up tragedy in Seattle a few months ago, and even though that was on a smaller scale you see how many people it affects. For those of us blessed enough to be unscathed it still has a psychological effect, it forces you to think about yourself and your loved ones having to go through that. Because I walk by the place where it happened, I know people who went there all the time, I’ve dealt with mentally ill people that could’ve been that guy. Or in this case I love movies too, I went to a midnight showing too, alot of my friends did, alot of you guys did. It’s just as bad as all the other things we read about on the news but it seems more personal.

But I’ve also seen how the community has come together, has celebrated the lives and the art of the people who died, are continuing to hold benefit shows and fundraisers for the families and for the little cafe where it happened. You see that people really do care about their neighbors. And I hope we will also try to learn from these horrible things and figure out how to improve the system to identify the root causes and fix things, get sick people help or whatever needs to be done long before it comes to this.

Warner Brothers is pulling advertising for the weekend, canceled a premiere in France and all TV appearances for the stars, because it seems tacky to promote a movie during this. But instead this sick asshole gets to pretend he’s a super villain, he gets to be on TV, the whole world has to pay attention to him. He gets to stand in for the big summer event movie.

Is it wrong to let one psychopath intentionally take away this source of joy, this thing we’ve been looking forward to so long, that we we want to discuss and (possibly) celebrate? Or is it superficial to still want to do that in the face of this sickening loss of human life? I don’t think Batman movies are the most important thing in the world but shit, I want to talk about Batman movies!

I don’t know what the right thing to do is. Maybe it’s too depressing to think about right now, but when you’re ready for my review of the new Batman movie here it is.

THIS IS AN ALL SPOILERS, I’M-ASSUMING-YOU’VE-ALREADY-SEEN-IT REVIEW. If there’s anybody out there still deciding whether to see it or not this is not gonna help, don’t read it.
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I rewatched the other two Batmans a couple days ago. They hold up well. In the first one there are alot of speeches explaining what people are trying to do. “If I make myself a symbol,” blah blah blah blah. And I still feel like the more special effectsy and shot-on-a-stagey last part with the rioting and the monorail and all that gets a little away from the earlier more-grounded-in-reality-than-you-expect-in-a-super-hero-movie parts, the detailed answer to Jack Nicholson Joker’s famous query, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” But it’s a fun movie with topnotch performances and chemistry between Batman, Alfred and Lucius.

Part 2 takes it up three or four notches and is in my opinion the best non BLADE, non BARBARELLA comic book movie of all time. Yes, even better than POPEYE. It’s even more of an ensemble with the central relationships being between Batman, Gordon and Dent and I love that it’s basically an exaggerated police procedural about how they take down organized crime and this great villain. And yes, other things happen, and I think the long and unwieldy structure really works, and the different episodes all tie in to the themes of what Batman is trying to accomplish and how far he should be willing to go to do it. Yes, including the part with the ferries. I love that part. It’s crucial to the whole.

After such a triumph I, like everyone else, was immediately yearning for the next installment. And I thought shit, I don’t see Nolan fumbling the next one, but how often is there a part 3 that isn’t considered a huge letdown by most people? Will it be not as good? Even if it’s great is a backlash inevitable?

I don’t know, I haven’t read anybody’s reviews yet, and it might be too soon to tell. In my opinion THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is clearly more flawed than THE DARK KNIGHT REGULAR, but it’s such a crazy, wildly ambitious epic that I couldn’t be too mad at it. It asks you to accept more absurd leaps than the other ones, it sidelines favorite characters an awful lot, it bites off more than it can chew at times, but it also has some of the great Batman vehicle action we’ve come to love, some excellent new characters, probly the most effectively “oh shit, how are they gonna get out of this?” villain master plan of all time, and some serious drama surrounding how badly Bruce Wayne can be defeated and how he can overcome that physically and ultimately achieve what he wants emotionally. It’s a not-as-good-part-3 I guess, but not for lack of trying.

Crazy leaps it asks us to accept: that Batman can figure out how to fly that fuckin thing! And I guess once we’re okay with that we can’t complain about Selina knowing how to handle the tumbler-cycle. That an already withered Bruce Wayne can recover from a serious back injury in 5 months without proper medical attention and be back in the cowl and defeat Bane. These types of things aren’t that big a deal to me but they do stand out a little in this series since it’s made a point of trying to make this type of shit explainable and plausible.

(To be fair he does more flying the Bat and less jumping around after the back injury. And there was that time that Jackie Chan hurt himself doing that stunt and then healed and immediately did it again.)

Sidelining favorite characters: Gordon, co-hero of part 2, spends the first section of the movie in a hospital bed (I won’t say Laurie-in-HALLOWEEN-2 style, since he does stay in the game a little via walkie talkie). Alfred leaves part way in and is not seen again until it’s basically over.

(His crying at Bruce Wayne’s grave would’ve got me if it wasn’t the tip off of how this was all gonna come together. First it was hey, they can’t end like this, Alfred hasn’t come back. Then it was they can’t end like this, with Alfred thinking he was a failure. Which made me realize ah, the thing about the cafe. Chris Nolan, you hustlin sonofabitch. You and your “prestiges.”

One thing I love about that ending is that as a detective I’m not allowed to believe in coincidence, so I know that Bruce and Selina planned to be at that cafe. I believe that it would be important to Bruce to give Alfred that closure, so he would keep tabs on him and set that up to happen.)

Anyway, back to my point about the sidelining. The biggest one, of course, is Batman. I always read the end of DARK KNIGHT to mean that he was still gonna be Batman, but he was gonna allow people to think he was up to no good. He was still gonna be patrolling and everything, but the cops would be after him while he did it. As Gordon said, “We have to chase him.” Well, if I’m reading this one correctly I guess he just went home and hung up the cowl, became a recluse and grew a goatee. But his plan worked, and pre-Two-Face-Harvey-Dent’s inspiration helped clean up the city of organized crime (partly through harsh new sentencing laws denying parole) and now the crime rates are low and they don’t really need a Batman. But he’s still not happy ’cause the lady he wanted to spend his post-Batman life with is dead. Right?

These couple years I’ve been waiting for a big opening with an outlaw Batman, instead he’s retired and limping around on a cane for the first part. Then he triumphantly returns as Batman (and gets chased by more cops than I ever could’ve imagined – thank you Chris Nolan!) but he’s dramatically “broken” and then lays in a hole for a long middle section of the movie. Meanwhile this new character who’s just a regular cop played by HALLOWEEN H20’s Joseph G. Levitt, goes around and does alot of the heroic shit. Showing how a person with Bruce’s tragic background but not his wealth can pull off some shit too.

All of these choices are weird but they also work better than I would think. It seems like Gordon doesn’t get to do as much as in the last one, but maybe that’s because he got to do so damn much in the last one. And I did miss Alfred, but I’m not sure I’d want to see the old man have to run around avoiding gunfire in wartorn Bane-Gotham, so I can see why they spared him that.

As for Bruce Wayne, I think this brings us back to BATMAN BEGINS and how that movie was more about the man than the costume. We get some of his amazing bat-tivities (is that from the comics or did I make that up?) like in part 2 but we also get to see him triumphing over injury and also achieving his dream of BATMAN ENDS. Or at least BATMAN LEAVES. We get to see Bruce Wayne the man pummeled inside and out more than we ever thought we would and see how he deals with that. And that’s drama. So it works, even minus cape.

I mentioned that I think it bites off more than it can chew at times, and that also brings us back to BEGINS. That one has an exciting climax where a big section of Gotham is in chaos, and you just have to accept that Rachel and this little boy and Batman and Scarecrow keep running into each other, you know? It’s this massive thing happening but it seems to mainly involve this small group of characters. RISES takes that to an extreme, where the entire city is taken hostage in this international incident involving a nuclear bomb, a heavily armed guerilla army and U.S. Special Forces, but our newly promoted police detective who knows Bruce seems to be able to lead the resistance, and Gordon and Lucius manage to not get shot. (If Talia has some reason to keep them alive then I guess that last part is explained.)

People were making a big deal out of the 164 minute run time, but in my opinion it should be longer. What’s most missing from this section is a depiction of what’s going on with the ordinary citizens, how they get by during this, what exactly they’re doing. But of course that’s alot to tackle, and this takes place over several months, and meanwhile it’s also tying into the League of Shadows shit from part 1 and the death of Harvey Dent from part 2 and plus there’s all this stuff we have to piece together about how Bruce had to abandon this game-changing energy program and we’re learning about who this Bane guy is and we’re meeting Selina Kyle…

Remember how DARK KNIGHT put Michael Jai White, Eric Roberts, Rutger Hauer and Tiny Lister back on the big screen? Other than Noel G. from RECOIL and WRONG TURN AT TAHOE in a bit part, this is sorely lacking in DTV stars. That is unless you count Anne Hathaway from HAVOC, who plays Selina. She’s obviously a good lookin gal and likable, but I wasn’t sure she was gonna be womanly enough for this role. I was wrong, she’s great. She pulls off the sarcastic flirtatiousness, the slinky moves, the complete disdain for the people she’s talking to, the love for being underestimated by men and making them pay for it.

Again, Nolan has established a universe where you question even regular comic book shit, so it seemed a little weird at first that Batman would fight alongside her (not ’cause she stole his mom’s necklace, but because he wouldn’t want her to get her head blown off). But it’s nice to see him find a gal who shares his interests (even if it’s the other gal he gets to fuck in this movie). They make a cute couple. And it seems like everybody knows Bruce Wayne is Batman in this one, he doesn’t have to be as careful about it anymore, he might as well hang out with some girls.

Selina’s cool, she has a chip on her shoulder and is good at stealing but she likes to help people. I was sure she was gonna turn out to be Catwoman, but I guess not. Yeah, I don’t know if this one’s gonna work out, Batman, but it’s worth a try. This girl’s crazy but so are you. She’s gonna be way more fun than Rachel anyway. Rest in peace. No disrespect.

I like Bane too. It’s kind of a shame that an actor as great as Tom Hardy has his mouth covered for the entire movie, and people might assume he’s just some muscleman dubbed over by somebody else, like Darth Vader. Honestly he keeps reminding me of Vinnie Jones in X-MEN PART 3. But he’s a great villain because he’s such a fuckin nightmare for Batman: the same training, but in way better shape, so he crushes him physically. (That fight, and the fights in general, are staged a little more clearly than in the other two movies, though we’re still not talking HAYWIRE or something great like that.) But at the same time he has a brilliant mind, so his master plan (or Talia’s?) utterly destroys Bruce Wayne. These sequels have been about escalation, so after the police vs. organized crime epic of part 2 we’re now bringing in the CIA, the military, and a villain with zealous followers proud to die for the cause.

(I see it as realistic and not necessarily inconsistent that the League of Shadows ideology has changed since part 1. No way Talia’s old man would’ve let all those prisoners out. He wanted to execute people like that. But she’s not her father, is she?)

I love that I went into this movie knowing very little about the story, and that this wasn’t at all what I expected. I did not think there would be a point in this movie where Alfred had quit, Bruce had lost all of his money, his back had been broken and he’d been locked in a prison somewhere on the other side of the world, the Wayne Enterprises vehicles and weapons would be in the hands of the enemy and they’d have the entire city contained and under martial law with most of the police force trapped in the sewers for months. I mean, that was never the cliffhanger on the Adam West show. The worst that happened on there was Robin got eaten by a giant clam.

So even with all these negatives I’ve been listing I really enjoyed this movie. Because it has established this Batman reality and then had Bane fuck it up so bad it feels like the most epic comic book movie ever. It can’t be, because we just had one with a super-team fighting an alien invasion, but the stakes just feel higher here. This has multiple scenes with hundreds of extras, no digital crowds that I could spot. It has destruction and action on a massive scale that looks real. Stuff that doesn’t come across like another CGI spectacle as much as a moment to make me gulp and think oh shit, I hope that doesn’t ever really happen. And of course there’s that opening plane sequence we already saw before GHOST PROTOCOL, where as far as I can tell they had real stuntmen hanging in the sky while they dropped a hollowed out plane for real. You might want to strap on your jaw for some of this stuff.

In the 1989 Batman movie (which I still like) the Joker attacks an art museum and a parade. Bane pulls off a kidnapping/death faking/plane crash, an armed robbery of the Gotham stock exchange involving computer transfers during a high speed motorcycle chase, the destruction of a football stadium and all the bridges surrounding Gotham, and all that stuff is in the first half of the movie.

And there are some good twists. When you saw it, did people cheer for the Talia reveal, even though she was stabbing Batman at the time? I guess comic book lore trumps character identification. There’s some good twists and turns, sometimes I saw them coming, but they fit well into the story.

There are great Batman moments: the older cop seeing him and telling the younger cop he’s in for a show tonight, shock-and-awing the police by being cornered in a dark alley and then coming out in The Bat, the lighting of the bat-symbol, Batman punching off part of Bane’s mouth-mask. And holy shit, that part where Bane crushed the bat-mask! And that had to’ve been the later batch that weren’t brittle like the original batch that weren’t up to spec!

Yeah, there’s some super hero shit. But mostly this is a movie about Bruce Wayne, his dream, what he’s up against. And he goes through so much that it seems to justify putting a happy ending on what’s supposed to be an ongoing story.

This is one of those movies I saw last night and then I couldn’t sleep that well because so much of it was rattling through my brain. It’s not entirely digested, and I’m sure later today I’ll think of 100 things I forgot to mention in the review. And I haven’t even gotten a chance to sit and think about what it’s trying to say about Al Quaeda after the death of bin Laden, the threat of nuclear terrorism and what we should do about parts of the world run by warlords. But these are my initial findings: messy, unwieldy, ballsy, hugely ambitious, no DARK KNIGHT, but pretty fuckin good.

I’m sure in a couple years they’ll start over with a more normal version of Batman and I’ll give it a shot, but right now it’s hard to imagine a version that doesn’t seem underwhelming after all that was unexpectedly attempted and achieved in this series. Chris Nolan, you reached for the stars, and it’s impossible to actually grab the stars, but you got a pretty good grip on one of them for a minute there. Thanks bud.

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VERN’S ETIQUETTE CORNER: Hey guys, even though this is the all spoiler review, please be careful about major spoilers at the front of your comments so nobody gets anything ruined by accidentally glancing at the “recent comments”.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 2:59 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

380 Responses to “The Dark Knight Rises”

  1. Yeah, I’m mostly with you on this one, Vern. While it’s a little flabbier and not quite as transcendent as The Dark Knight, it’s damn entertaining and a fitting ending. I need to see it again to really get into the themes and what not, but I do agree that, even at 165 minutes, it felt like there was a lot more that needed to be shown. I know usually two-part movies end up a little disappointing more often than not, but two two-hour plus movies probably would’ve been more accomodating to combine all three of the comic storylines (Knightfall, No Man’s Land and The Dark Knight Returns) this movie followed. We needed to see more of the day-to-day life of the citizens of Gotham, we needed to see more of what Alfred’s going through, etc.

    And I think it was a misstep having him in a cane and having him out of the game for a few years. It would have been more interesting to start off with him unable to patrol because of the increasingly heavy police awareness and then to have him broken by Bane. By starting him off gimpy and then almost instantly being back to normal, it kind of undercut Bane’s vicious beatdown. (And yeah, him breaking the cowl was one of the coolest images I’ve seen in one of these movies.)

    The villanous plot needed to be a little more fleshed out too I think. Was Bane the one who pushed the League into a more extremist light? You’re right in that Ra’s would never align himself with the scum who ruined the city in the first place, so was it Bane’s influence over Talia that led to a more diabolical, one-dimensional plot? Ra’s in the first one thought he was helping the world by ripping Gotham to pieces. If that was the end goal, and Talia just wanted to fulfill her father’s destiny, why would they need the ordinary citizens to suffer for months before detonating the bomb?

    And they should have pulled back on the flashbacks a bit. The Talia/Bane ones were fine but the first vision of Alfred at the restaurant which foreshadows the ending should have been removed. We can put together that the tunnel in India or wherever is similar to one he fell down as a child. No need to hammer it home with a flashback.

    Overall, I thought it was solid, a bit overstuffed but never dull. I can’t wait to see it again to hopefully clear up some of my questions and/or problems.

  2. Great review. My response to the film was very similar. I also think TDK is the best comic book superhero film of all time, and while TDKR is not as good it is still a great movie. I think the 2 big advantages TDK has over TDKR is there is no performance as iconic as Ledger’s Joker in TDKR & I still think the highway chase/capture of the Joker from TDK is the best action sequence of the franchise (however, the opening plane sequence from TDKR is a close second). I also thought Bane looked cool but the masked drastically limited Hardy’s performance. I kind of wish that Bane did not have the mask until later in the film to give Hardy the chance to do his thing. He is such a good actor and was so terrifying in BRONSON, I think if he had the chance to work without the mask for even a small part of them film (other than just a few shots were he does not speak) he would have been able to bring a lot more to the character of Bane and made him an even better villain.


    “(I see it as realistic and not necessarily inconsistent that the League of Shadows ideology has changed since part 1. No way Talia’s old man would’ve let all those prisoners out. He wanted to execute people like that. But she’s not her father, is she?)”

    She is just like her father. She was going to execute them and everybody else when the bomb went off.

  4. Sorry, I was trying to post that comment in a way that Vern’s quote would not appear in as part of my post in recent jibber-jabber, but it does not seems to have worked.

  5. You know after seeing TDKR, those leftist accusations that the movie is anti-OWS is quite fucking stupid.

    The cruel irony of that criticism is, Bane is a fascist.

    I like the ideological dispartieis between these Nolan Batman villains. Ra’s Al Ghul was Al Qaeda/Osama Bin Laden, Joker was anarchy, Bane…was sorta Al Qaeda too, but he’s a totaltarian with that whole occupation.

    (I don’t know about you Vern, but when that one knee met that one precious body part in that one fight scene, my audience gasped.)

    Also the “exile” set piece reveal was awesome. (did Nolan check out ARKHAM CITY’s development before he shot the movie?)

  6. Come to think of it, if Ledger had lived, would Joker have come back for TDKR?

    Narrative-wise I have no clue how that would’ve worked, but it would’ve been fascinating on a subtextual level the conflict between him and Bane, anarchy vs totaltarianism.

  7. You know that Colorado disaster and the pre-release online bullshit over the people threatening the critics who hate the movie* really obscures that IMO, this summer we’ve got two very exceptional summer superhero blockbuster spectacles in TDKR and AVENGERS, both with great casts, both exciting, both have humor, both involve clean energy as a mcguffin/nuclear bomb plot device somehow.

    Right now, I’m not sure I can decide which is better per say. Both have their advantages and drawbacks** compared to the other, but….you know this is? Like that great 80s pop music debate: Prince or Michael Jackson? You may prefer one or the other, but you’re not losing because you can’t really go wrong with either quite honestly. So we got two highly anticipated movies that have (from the early TDKR reviews) have been received very well.

    For one, AVENGERS never felt draggy (TDKR sorta did here and there) yet AVENGERS was only what, 17 minutes shorter? Yet AVENGERS was streamlined that you didn’t need to see the previous Marvel movies to enjoy it, TDKR is enrichen if you’ve seen that whole Nolan series. To me these two wonderful superhero movies make me realize how much I’m pissed at these nerd critics like Devin Farraci and Hary at AICN complain that every comic book till doomsday should be like the Marvel series.

    I like the Marvel movies, but I don’t just want sausage at the deli. I want variety, and Nolan had his own style, Marvel has their own. I like both. Not everybody likes sausage or wants sausage all the time you fucking nerds.

    *=Its funny that happens yet every other time, the Internet cries “critics don’t matter!” Well do they or not? Make up your minds.

  8. Be warned–my comment has SPOILERS.

    I basically agree with you, Vern, that this movie is pretty good but not as great as the first two. My main problems have to do with Bane, first off because he is just not nearly as interesting as Rhas al Ghul or the Joker. Whats his motivation? I get that he is with League of Shadows but I could have used some more background on the nature of the disagreement between him and Rhas. And Marion Cotillard’s reveal as Talia felt weak and I didn’t care about her very much. Oh well.

    Even more to the point– if their plan was just to blow up Gotham with a nuclear device anyway, then why bother with the 5 month occupation of the city? I didn’t see the point though I thought the idea of the have-nots putting the haves on trial and looting away the 1% was fascinating and like you, I wanted way more of that. I guess I wish the threat of nuclear annihilation had been a bluff by Bane (like in The Rock) to keep US government out of the city. I also wish Batman/Bruce Wayne had been present for this part of the story. It all felt like a missed opportunity. As it is, seems like Bane and Talia would’ve just blown up Gotham immediately but maybe somebody can explain it better to me.

    Pleased with how well Catwoman was handled but again, I wanted more interaction with Wayne. I wanted more of everything! I agree, Vern– the movie weirdly feels too short for its scope. Here is one franchise that might have benefited from splitting up the finale into two films–if only Chris Nolan were more of a hack.

    So no, this one wasn’t as thematically cohesive or as satisfactory as the first two but I have a feeling it will grow on me over time. Still, I loved it a hell of a lot. I just wish Nolan had used his clout to get some more of the subversive themes in there– I mean, the villain LITERALLY occupies Wall Street. I know it’s trendy to demonized rich people in this country but if this had been a $250M blockbuster that was truly critical of the looter mentality, I would have been really pleased.

    So I guess my problems are more of what I wanted the film to be rather than a failure of what it was. Except for the bomb plot–still makes no sense.

  9. @Keith- Spoilers coming up for anyone who hasn’t seen this.

    Usually I hate those cash grab movie that ,like the last 2 Harry potter movies, that drag a story out over 2 movies for no other reason then ton double the money. this story actually could have been told even better if it had been told in 2 movies. They could have easily ended the movie with Bane ruling Gotham and Batman in the jail with his back broken. I would have happily paid for the second half of that story. it would have made sure that they wouldn’t have to rush certain aspects of the story. They would have been able to show the aftermath of all this on the people of Gotham. It also would have allowed them to flesh out Bane a little more. This is one of the few times i have to say I wanted more of an almost 3 hour movie.

    As far as Banes actions and who was really controlling everything, it was Talia. There’s no way Ras Al Ghul would have released those prisoners. Talia on the other hand was motivated by nothing but pure hatred. First for her father and then for Bruce Wayne. She was consumed by hate because her father thought the man she loved, Bane, was evil. When Bruce defeated her father she just took the hate she had for her father and used his death as an excuse to hurt Bruce in the way that she really wanted to inflict pain on her father for his supposed betrayal. Bane was the brawn and she was definitely the brains of the operation. Everything that happened at the end spelled that out. Especially the fact that Talia told Bane not to kill Bruce but as soon as she left he decided he was going to kill him anyway. I thought the fact that Talia was the brains all along was pretty clearly spelled out once they revealed her past.

  10. @Chuck- See my comments above. Banes motivation was his love for Talia and her quest for revenge which Bruce took away when he allowed Ras Al Ghul to die in Batman Begins.

  11. I wish you could edit on here because I had a ton of typos but I’m sure you get what I’m saying,lol

  12. @Chitown Fair enough but why wait 5 months to blow up the city (other than to give Batman time to recover and save the day)?

  13. @Chuck- Because Talia wanted Bruce to suffer. She didn’t care about Gotham either way.She knew how much he loved the city and it’s people. She wanted him to sit for 5 months in agony as he watched Gotham explode into flames right before his eyes. She wanted him to be buried in that hole forever with the guilt that he could do nothing about it. She never really wanted to reveal herself to him, but he made that impossible when he came back.

  14. Bruce took away her chance at revenge on her father and she gave him that revenge plus more for killing her father.

  15. Ehhh, I think seeing his city blown to smithereens would have made him suffer more than seeing a bunch of millionaires’ houses looted. But fine, I can roll with that explanation. I guess the whole bomb-with-red-countdown-clock plot just plain rubbed me the wrong. Some people think the fear gas plot in Begins is too complicated but I love how insidious and wicked it was. restating the French Revolution in Gotham felt inspired in the same kind of way. Just blowing it up… Kinda lazy.

    I am sounding more negative than I want. I think the movie has a lot going for it but to me it’s the most problematic of Nolan’s Bat-films.

  16. I get where you’re coming from. I actually had to sit down and think about it myself after the movie. I think that it is a little bloated also, but in a good way. Like I said, this is one of the few times it would have been nice if it was actually longer. That’s crazy to say about a movie this long. I just feel like there are some scenes on the cutting room floor that probably would have fleshed some of the story out a little better. As it stands, it still damn good. It just doesn’t reach greatness, but it’s only a step below in my mind.

  17. I didn’t think this was as good as the first two.

    It lost too much of the detail as if someone had saw the actual real film and then retold the story to someone who then made this film.
    A sketch of a painting rather then a real honest paint on canvas picture.

    In 1 and 2 you had the depth of the story; The building of this film world; the jokers emergence as a new criminal age. The tragedy of harvey dent.

    With this one you had… a very one dimensional rolling story.
    Which it didn’t even bother to tell very well.

    Why does he fall in love with Kyle of all the hot thieves he’s probably strung upside down over the years?

    What did he do differently from the first fight he lost with bane and the second one he won? Punch him in the mouth? He never tried that in the first fight?

    Why was so much of the film really really goofy?

    The time scale of the film was all over the place. Like it was edited with an axe and the cliff notes of the film:

    He’s a recluse, cut, he’s back.
    He fights bane, cut, he’s in prison in an entirely different part of the world.
    Bane makes an announcement, cut, Gotham has gone to shit.
    Bruce looks at a bat suit, cut, he’s standing on top of a random building in a bat suit, cut, he’s now somewhere else completely unrelated to the random building shot.
    Who’s and where’s that girl? Cut, girl found.

    It was not terrible by any definition of the word but it just felt so… rushed and undercooked.


    and furthermore


    I wonder if the series will continue now with Joseph G. Levitt as Robin. Before I saw this movie, I was it would the last in this storyline but the ending does feel like its giving WB the blessing to keep going without him.

    I actually think it would be smart. You could bring in a new creative team to tweak things slightly while keeping it in the same universe and WB could make it into the James Bond model, where a different actor/character takes up the mantel of caped crusader (be it Batman 2.0 or Robin or Nightwing or whatever) every 3 or 4 movies. This would save us the burden of having to see another damned origin story and also allow the series to grow and mature with different talent.

    That would be a fitting legacy for Nolan, a die-hard Bond aficionado who they won’t let direct a 007 movie because he demands final cut. instead, he’ll have started his own never-ending franchise. Just a thought.

    That or they can just start over in 4 years where we discover that Bruce’s parents faked their deaths to give him motivation because he was always DESTINED to be Batman or some shit like that.

  19. (SPOILERS) (skip ahead, I am just taking up space at the start of my post so that my comments are not visible in jibber-jabber)

    (Almost there, still just taking up space……………………………………………………………………………………………)

    I agree that the whole point was to not just to destroy Gotham but to make Bruce suffer. If you remember the part where Bruce first wakes up in the prison, Bane gives him a long speech about why he kept Bruce alive so he could be tortured by witnessing the downfall of Gotham. Bane also talks about how the opening in the prison to let light in creates a sense of false hope that freedom is within reach for the inmates. Bane & Talya always planned to blow up Gotham but they first wanted to use fear to plunge the city into chaos then manipulate the citizens of Gotham through a false hope that somehow Bane’s new regime would level they playing field and make things better for them but in their minds there was only one outcome. Talya would finish what her father started by destroying Gotham and at the same time get revenge on Bruce by braking his body and spirit. It is just like the mock trials Bane’s regime implements, they give the accused hope that there is more than one outcome but in the end regardless of the sentence there is only one outcome, death.

  20. Chuck, I am not trying to be a dick, but please be careful what you put in the first line of your post. Lets try to be respectful of the people that have not seen the film yet.

  21. My initial comment said SPOILERS and it should be implied that applies to all my posts thereafter. I’m not trying to ruin anything, no one should be reading this far down if they either haven’t seen the movie or don’t want to read spoilers.

    I like the point you make about the mock trials. I think a second viewing will help me come to terms with some of my initial problems. I may like it more. We’ll see…

  22. Chuck, I understand. I am not trying to give you shit, but if you look in the recent comments section you will notice that you just gave away a major spoiler about JGL’s character that is revealed in the films climax. On that note I feel like that was pretty cool reveal I did not see coming. Despite the film’s flaws I do think it is a satisfactory conclusion to Nolan’s trilogy with a strong ending. For a moment part of me thought they were really going to kill Batman (and in a way they did) because if Nolan killed the bat no one could come along after him and try to make another film that continued on the story he told without his input or control.

  23. I was lucky enough to see this today without hearing about the shooting, I’m not saying it’s not a massive tragedy, it is, but I’m not gonna let a psychopath spoil my fun, sorry

    anyway this was the very first movie I’ve seen in IMAX and HOLY SHIT was it mind blowing, at first I didn’t even like it, it’s such an overwhelming sensory overload staring at this giant ass screen that it kind of hurt my brain and eyes to even look at it

    but I quickly got used to it and it was totally unlike any other movie going experience I’ve had before, and on top of the biggest screen I’ve ever seen there was also the loudest sound system I’ve ever heard, it was INCREDIBLE, you could feel the vibrations of explosions, gunfire, the Batwing flying around and Bane’s voice like you were really there , that shit was INTENSE

    and the movie itself? it flattened my balls, it was pure 100% epic, my jaw was hanging open almost the entire time

    and I LOVED Bane, what a great, scary as fucking hell villain, I loved that Shakespearean British accent meets Darth Vader voice of his, in fact my only complaint was I thought he went out like a sucker, I would have rather had Batman actually defeat him then get saved by Catwoman

    man, I had one of the most fun movie going experiences of my life tonight

  24. Vern, the way I took it, Batman kept active for some time after TDK, and at some point must have gotten that leg injury. I don’t think he retired immediately after the second film.

  25. Yeah, you know every town has something like this happen… I remember over in Russellville, old Charlie Bowles, about fifteen years ago… One night, he finished dinner, and he excused himself from the table. He went out to the garage, and got himself a hacksaw. Then he went back into the house, kissed his wife and his two children goodbye, and then he proceeded to…

    Anyway, THE DARK KNIGHT (ROBIN) RISES is, I’m sad to say, almost as much a failure as it is a success.  

    Enjoyable, sure, but this movie doesn’t go 45 seconds without cutting a corner or glazing over some important shit or over-explicating everything.  

    Talkbacker Radiant has it right with her assessment of the narrative editing style.  A lot of bizarre, visually unexplained or poorly earned cuts.  

    The constant musical score didn’t help. Shit was more intrusive than the PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN scores, which I didn’t think was possible. Nolan should study his own perfect, sparsely scored bazooka-vehicle-prisoner transport-chase sequence from TDK.

    I wanted to like-love this movie, but it just fucked up too much, talked too much, keeping my fandom at a distance without the fun & scares of anything like Heath Ledger’s great Joker depiction to keep me interested.  


    Best parts were Anne Hathaway’s curves & flexibility and Gordon’s desperate high speed attempts to stop the bomb.  He really looked like a comic book character there, a real human struggling against velocity/gravity/old age to act heroically, well acted and well filmed.  

    All comparisons of TDKR and THE AVENGERS should be immediately sentenced to death by exile, because such comparisons are on very very thin ice, and Whedon’s marvel is surely drinking everyone’s milkshake in 2012.  

  26. eh, I liked The Avengers, but The Dark Knight Rises is more my style

  27. A few theories:

    Conclusions are inherently less dramatic than origins or regular sequels. Drama is conflict. Conclusions are resolutions.

    I always said BATMAN BEGINS would’ve been great even if it weren’t Batman. Well TDKR took that way further because there’s even less Batman in it.

    The ending looks like a setup for more but I cannot see anyone involved coming back. They’ll throw money at ’em but Nolan doesn’t need it, unless he REALLY needs backing for his next INCEPTION. Commissioner Gordon-Levitt won’t do another one without Nolan. He’s pure artistic integrity incarnate and cares way more about filmmakers than box office. Maybe recast but I bet they just move on. Hopefully not reboot because then we’d have the first ever case of a reboot of a reboot.

    It’s a slow burn Batman movie. I don’t know how they got away with that, let alone pulled it off, because it worked on me.

  28. Okay, seriously. Christopher Nolan needs to get the fuck out of my brain.

    Back in late 2008 I had my first ever pitch meeting. I pitched a comic book to a division of Fox that no longer even exists. It was about lucid dreaming and had a bunch of elements that were very similar to Inception. When that movie came out, I bought the screenplay, and wouldncha know it, Nolan came up with his idea in the same way I came up with mine.

    Of course, Inception was a brilliant film and 19-year old Tawdry Hepburn couldn’t have even come close in quality, but the core of the idea and a lot of the details were very similar.

    Now Nolan comes out with this new Batman movie. And I swear to YHWH, I wrote that fuckin’ NASDAQ scene two years ago!

    Of course, Nolan elevated his better and had a better pay off and he’s a generational genius and I’m just some jackoff on the internet. But we keep having the same ideas, and he keeps getting to make them first, and he keeps making them so damn good that I am forced to abandon similar (and inferior) concepts.

    On the bright side, it’s better than discovering that someone else had the exact same idea and the ‘idea’ in question turns out to be That’s My Boy.

  29. there’s just something I find really, really friggin’ cool about Bane’s voice

  30. I got to admit guys, I expected more chatter

  31. Chopper Sullivan

    July 21st, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I thought it was beautiful.

    Stanley Kubrick couldn’t have made this film. He’d have taken five years just to get the scowling right.

    Anyway, I love the bombardment score, Mouth. But then again I fucking love the score for Aliens. You wanna make a big action movie? Better bring the concussion and relentlessness.

    I had a cigarette out front after the midnight show, and I was giddy to see the four theaters worth of people coming out elated. It was so fucking disturbing to know the next morning that people had gone through absolute horror in a similar situation.

  32. It was a difficult film to watch because of the Laws of Expectations that have debated ’round these parts recently. I thought the previews for this film were a bit underwhelming; seeing Heath’s Joker in the previews for TDK was so tickling, it was like, I actually get to watch an entire film with this shit in it?! So I was all geared up for this film to be disappointing. Simultaneously, my love for TDK is such that I of course secretly hoped it would give me that transcendent out-of-body experience. It’s hard to step away from that and just watch a film and let it work it’s magic on you.

    Watching the film, I at first thought all my worst expectations were being fulfilled. The first third of the film seemed like it was striking out aimlessly in all sorts of directions and refusing to cohere into something with gravity and momentum. The packed theater was shifting about restlessly, dude next to me kept texting (what is WITH that shit, like shining a bright LED on my face from two feet away isn’t going to interfere with my filmwatching?), etc.


    But then Bane makes his Move, and there’s the scene with the child singing the Nat’l Anthem, and suddenly life was good. In fact the entire audience became the film’s bitch from that point onward and you could hear a pin drop etc. It was like playing a chess game, where your enemy’s moves are incomprehensible and random, and then suddenly they have knocked out your queen and have ‘mate in three moves.

    I didn’t have any hope that Nolan could coax another legendary villain onto the screen after Joker, but I absolutely adored Bane. Recalling Vern’s praise of Robin Williams’ Next Level Acting in Popeye for delivering the performance with a pipe in his mouth and one eye closed, I think this accolade should be extended to Mr. Hardy for delivering what he did without the use of most of his face.

    Griff mentioned his voice. Dude, I agree. I will see this film again in IMax just to hear Bane’s voice on a maxed-out sound system.

    There has been some discussion over why Bane doesn’t blow Gotham up immediately. I think this is bullshit. Surely you must not have been listening when Bane explains that why the Prison is so insidious, is that it gives the prisoners the vision of False Hope in the form of the pit’s mouth, and then concludes that this is exactly what he’s going to do to Gotham. Gotham’s citizenry believe they have control of the city and that if they obey Bane’s guidelines, he won’t pull the trigger, but really the bomb is going to blow up no matter what.

    But, look, I’m not really a fan of Batman Begins, mainly because I thought Liam Neeson was a singularly uninspiring villain (and because it was crap to see Comm. Gordon launching missiles from the Batmobile). It’s been many years since I’ve seen it and I’m unprepared to debate the specifics of why Ras Al-Ghul’s whole crusade didn’t do it for me, but suffice to say that it felt really underwhelming to have the second film take a completely different direction, but then have the third simply turn back around and say “We’re like Liam Neeson, only MORE EXTREME!”

    My initial thoughts and reactions. I look forward to arguing about the film with everybody.

  33. yeah, Bane’s voice on the IMAX sound system was terrifying, his voice filled the room and you could feel the vibrations

  34. Sorry, this post is kinda long and rampling, but I need to get this of my chest.

    This movie really pisses me off. I don`t think that the movie is a complete failure. It had good acting, good ideas and several scenes where I wanted to applaud, but also so many flaws, plotholes and flatly directed scenes, that I spent at least 2 hours of it`s running time being frustrated. The beginning and the last twenty minutes are awesome and brought a manly tear to my eyes, but it is far from the best movie I`ve seen this year. It´s a very mediocre movie with some great concepts, that are never used in any fullfilling or interesting ways. And the direction is so flat and uninspired, that it might as well had been made for tv.

    The whole “siege of the city in order to torment Batman instead of blowing it up” is kinda stupid, but I can live with that. The bad guy is crazy and made a crazy plan. Fine. What bothers me is our hero, Bruce Wayne, doesn`t care about the city anymore. He has isolated himself for eight years and clearly states that there is nothing for him outside of his mansion. But then he changes his mind and is all torn up and shit about “his city”. What made him change his mind? A sexy cat buglar? Getting laid? The new toys? Is that what made him go “aw, I love this town and I`ll do anything to save the good people of Gotham CIty!”? It`s a pretty dramatic change for a character who has isolated himself for 8 years, especially when he later sacrifices himself for them.

    Gotham City under siege of the city is a GREAT idea for an awesome batman story, but totally wasted in this movie. And yes, I`ve seen that story done better several times in anime (Patlabor 2 and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series 2, where our heroes has to stop a nuclear device in a city on a island taken over by rebels).
    It`s a brilliant idea for a Batman movie and should have been the meat of the story instead of a plotpoint.
    I would have started with the city on siege, introduced all the characters while they were struggling with a town ruled by the people, while they ponder on what happened to Batman.
    Then we would meet Batman in the prison on the other side of the world (just like BB, see?), where he watches tv and sees Selina Kyle in the background. He starts telling his story to a fellow inmate (a criminal who teaches him that criminals are people too, but with a shittier backgrounds and less money than our billionaire fascist protagonist)
    Then we could have a shorter version of first act with Bruce Wayne being all exentric and stuff, till a sexy cat-burglar awakens his eh.. bat-instincts. He starts following her to get his mothers necklace back and realizes that some shit is about to go down, but too late. Selina has set him up and Bane breakes his back (in a brutal, well-choreograhed, well-shot and well-edited scene with iconic images lifted right from the comic and a awesome sound-design).
    Cut back to prison, where the news shows the upper class of Gotham City being forced to walk the ice and dies. Bruce knows Gordon is next, so he gets his shit together, breaks out and returns.
    And then we could have Bruce Wayne on the run in his own town, getting to know his citizens, taking part in the uprising against Bane and finally deciding to save “his” city. Totally christ-like and Escape from New York- awesome.
    And when the credits rule, it would go.. THE DARK KNIGHT WILL RETURN..in.. THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Oh yeah, how fucking sweet would that be.

    Allright, enough fanfiction. The movie is not a total clusterfuck, but I don`t get the raving reviews. Here is my biggest complaints.

    Direction: The mise-en-scene is really, really boring. It`s mostly talking faces, with a lot of shots of the city. I rewatched OUTLAND last night and it looked like a goddamn masterpiece after TDKR. Dynamic editing between medium and totals, tracking shots, dolly-shots, wide shots.. It really uses the scope too, constantly framing it`s characters from the knees and up, so we get a sense of place and can see the characters movements. 90 % of TDKR is shot from the shoulders and up, just like tv.

    It`s EPIC!: Nope, it isn`t. It wants to be, but we don`t really see anything except for the actors faces. The scene where batman is chased by the police is awesome, but the buildup to batmans return is underwhelming. I kept having flashbacks to THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS..

    BAD ACTION: Gawd, it`s really bad. Okay, I can live with that, except that the entire story is build up around this awesome and brutal fight where Bane breaks Batmans back and it was so underwhelming, badly framed and edited, that I`m at a total loss for words. How can you make a scene where Batman is getting the shit beaten out of him so totally bland and unexciting? What about a crowd of thugs cheering? Or maybe batman tries to escape and is surrounded? Maybe a bit of mud (wow, flashbacks from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS again. Damn.) to make it all dirty and gritty. Maybe a bit of blood? Or Batmans leg suddenly stops working again. And yes, as somebody pointed out, what is the frigging difference between this fight and the later one?

    LITTLE ANGELIC BOY SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM WHILE ALL SOUNDS DISAPPEARS AND BANE LOOKS ALL GLOOMY AND STUFF: I was rolling my eyes. That shit would have been embarrising even in a Micheal Bay-movie. And then he says that a citizen has the detonator and will blow up the city if anybody tries to leave. Really? Why would a random citizen do that? Hey, that`s a really fucking stupid plan, Bane. I don`t get it and I don`t get why the good citizens of Gotham didn`t make a run for it. I would have.

    BATMAN SURVIVES A NUCLEAR BOMB: Unless he didn`t and we all are supposed to argue if Alfred imagined seeing Bruce Wayne in the cafe. Also, if he didn`t imagine it, why did he not go over and say hi? There is no reason whatsoever why Bruce Waynes best friend and only family would just nod and fuck off when meeting a beloved one he thought dead. That Alfred is a complicated dude for sure. Allright, I`ll play along, Nolan.
    Pro Batman is dead: We see him in the bat seconds before the bomb explodes.
    Con Batman is dead: Alfred didn`t know about Bruce getting the hots for Selina Kyle, so why would he imagine Bruce with her at the café?
    Solution: It`s all a dream.

    LOOK, IT`S REAL PEOPLE, NOT CGI!: Yes, it`s nice to see reel people dangling from a plane, but nothing I haven`t seen in a billion bond-movies before. Okay, I really like that Nolan shoots on film and tries to avoid cgi, but how about some practical effects, then? I like to watch cool shit and I like practical effects. The movie cost 250 billion dollars, why not spend it on some effects and stuff. I`m sure that the bat for example looks pretty cool, why not actually show it?

    THE ACTING was pretty good, I suppose, but I didn`t care for the characters (except for Wayne trying to climp that wall in the prison without a rope, that was pretty awesome.) We never get a chance to actually be with the characters at any point in the story. They exist to either explain the plot or advance it. I wouldn`t have minded a 3 hour plus movie, if I actually got a chance to be with the characters. They show up, explain some stuff and disappear again. I would love to actually spend some time with them, get to know them and care for them or see them in situations that didn`t escalate the plot.

    A storm is coming. The poor and unfortunate will rise against the rich and corrupt. That`s like..: Batman against the people he swore to protect. That`s an awesome idea.
    Except.. the people dosen`t really rise. The storm is just another fruitcake who wants to blow up the city with a doomsday-device because his girlfriend had a bad childhood. It`s all about revenge, as in “I will capture my foe and put him in a jail on the other side of the globe while taking control of his city only to blow it up with a nuclear device five months later, and he`ll watch it on the news and feel really bad. (add evil laughter). But first, I`ll invest millions of dollars in a alternative energy-project and it will surely turn into a doomsday-device a couple of years later and then I`ll steal Bruce Waynes fingerprints and gain access to the machine that might be a bomb or something. That will really hurt him. Especially when he watches in on tv in the worst prison in.. wait a minute. They do have tv down there right? Allright, we need to install electricity in that prison. Also, hook him up with a doctor who knows how the only escapee ever escaped, cause.. Hey, another idea! How about luring ALL the police into the sewer and blow it up? Yes, than would be sweet, especially if we can make them use the same entrance. Also, I want to know the exact second that the core melts down and explodes, maybe put a ticking clock or something on it. And don`t forget the detonator, just in case I want to blow it up 11 minutes before it would have exploded anyway. Yeah, that´s a cool plan, what do you think, Bane? What was that? What are you saying? I don`t.. jeez, just nod if you agree, okay? And don`t forget that tv. It`´s important that Batman watched it all on tv, so he`ll feel really bad and stuff.

    Anyway, sorry bout the long rant. I know that I`m being overly critical, but everybody else seems to think that this is the best movie ever and I don`t understand why. Yes, it`s fitting conclusion to a otherwise brilliant trilogy, but I`ve would rather had watched a great movie. Guess people are blown away by the fact that a superhero-movie didn`t suck.
    (I am, off course, refering to people who didn`t see SUPERMAN THE MOVIE, BATMAN RETURNS, MASK OF PHANTASM, BLADE 1 and 2, SPIDERMAN 1 and 2, WATCHMEN, IRON MAN, THE AVENGERS and THE DARK KNIGHT, to name a few actually good superhero-movies.)

  35. dna, wow what a dickish post.

    I saw all those movies (even MASK OF THE PHANTASM in theatres as a kid) and I still liked TDKR, shit still even impressed by it. I’m sure most of the locals who liked TDKR also seen all those movies too. Sorry but you’re almost AsimovLives with that last dickish paragraph. (And I almost would like to believe, naively, he wouldn’t say all that or believe.) I mean wow, you impressed me grasshopper in that Batdickery.

    And for the record, I’m tired of people whining about the movie’s first hour (or two?). I remember alot of people whining that AVENGERS took it’s time to set-up it’s plot, but both movies have in common is….how can I explain it….the magic in the textual cooking of your dinner. That fun in how you watch in how everything unfolds and develops into the BAM! Did some of you really feel bored during TDKR? Unbelievable.

    I mean if STAR WARS came out today, people would bitch that the movie drags on Luke’s desert planet with nothing really happening plot-wise until Mos Eisley. If ALIEN came out today, people would bitch that really the alien on the ship plot doesn’t begin until a hour into the movie. If DIE HARD came out today, people would bitch of how long that movie sets up the hero and the terrorists at the skyscraper.

    No I’m not saying TDKR (or even AVENGERS) is as good as those movies, but….guys, I’m baffled. I’m sorry, but I am.


    Mouth, I thought the same thing. There is a shot where Bats & the Cat are fighting a group of thugs and the camera doesn’t move but Batman looks so slow that the fight felt very staged and artificial. Nolan, is very skilled at shooting elaborate action set pieces, but he seems to have no clue how to handle hand to hand combat. However, he did do a decent job with the fight scene where the bat first fights bane and gets destroyed.

    Also, I think TDKR is a much more flawed film than AVENGERS, but for whatever reason I think I like TDKR better. Maybe it is because I am a bigger fan of the character of BATMAN than I am any of the AVENGERS.

  37. RRA

    Well, I`m glad you enjoyed it. I didn`t mean to insult anybody and I`m not referring to anybody on this sight with my last paragraph. I`m referring to the general audience and most reviewers, who are raving about this movie, calling it the best movie ever and so on. When I read the reviews in my countries newspapers this morning, they were all giving it full score and calling it the best superhero-movie ever, or the best blockbuster ever, or even the best movie of Nolans career.
    When I read users comments on imdb, at least 90% are giving it top score, comparing Nolan to Kubrick and calling everybody who disagree idiots, who is either lying or hasn`t seen the movie.

    I`m pretty sure that anybody, who claims this to be the best movie ever, haven`t seen a lot of movies or are caught in some twisted emperor new clothes psychosis.

    I loved The Dark Knight and Inception and saw both twice in the cinema, something I rarely do. I have seen Memento many, many times. I think that Nolan has a certain style, that works perfectly when combined with the right material. I also think that the guy is mostly incapable of creating real suspense, exciting action, fully fledged characters and a sense of precense.

    But as I also wrote, I`m not ready to pass a final judgement on this movie yet. I didn`t find it boring and I didn`t mind the length. If anything, it was too short and felt too rushed. But despite several really good scenes (as I also mentioned in my rant), I was constantly being pulled out of the movie because of bad dialogue, bad editing, uncreative framing, repetetive music, stupid plotholes and my biggest gripe; a fucking brilliant idea that is totally wasted. Unless mr Nolans point is that the less fortunate are braindead terrorists, who`ll nuke us when they get the chance.

    I believe that Nolan made a brilliant masterpiece with The Dark Knight, an intelligent, well-orchestrated and riveting blockbuster, but might be surrounded by yes-men at this point in his career.

    And please refrain from namecalling. Let`s talk about the movie. It`s an interesting failure imo, but I sincerely hope that somebody are able to point out the mistakes in my criticism, cause it would be great if I was wrong and The Dark Knight Rises really is a brilliant movie. I really wanted it to be.

  38. Spoilers near the end of my comments. Bevare!

    I think the whole “we take over Gotham to give them false hope” might have actually worked if…you know, we had actually seen the regular citizens of Gotham with HOPE. There was a tiny (though fucked up) sliver of that with Catwoman’s friend saying “it’s everyone’s home now” (and a brief moment where the movie comments on the evils of the looter mentality) but for the most part, it just felt like everyone was cowering in fear of Bane. I guess they were Hoping to be able survive his reign of terror but, I don’t know, it didn’t really work, in my opinion. This whole section of the movie felt rushed to me, like they just needed to get to the finale, which is too bad because it’s the part I found most potentially interesting.

    I will say though that the most satisfying theme of the film that really clicked was the idea that “anyone can be Batman”. Gordon doesn’t even want to know his real identity (though everyone else seems to magically know anyway) and Levitt’s character comes from very similar background but without the money, he contributed by doing good detective work, not by being a crazy person born into wealth. I wish the structure of the story allowed Batman and (non-costumed) Robin more screentime together but you know, coulda-shoulda-woulda…

  39. dna, who thinks TDKR is “the best movie ever”? I don’t know anybody including the posts on this site think TDKR is even as good as TDK. Also, I would argue that Batman cares about Gotham but Gotham does not need him at the start of the film. The whole point is Wayne is lost and without purpose since Gotham no longer needs the Bat and Rachel is dead, but then when JGL comes to warn him that there is something dubious going in on Gotham & the Bat is needed he springs back into action. He didn’t become Batman again to peruse Selina, he went after her as Bruce Wayne then later became the Bat again to stop Bane.

  40. I remember over in Russellville, old Charlie Bowles, about fifteen years ago… One night, he finished dinner, and he excused himself from the table. He went out to the garage, and got himself a hacksaw. Then he went back into the house, kissed his wife and his two children goodbye,


    “Clear the corners, rookie.” is one of the best lines of 2012 cinema.

    Chief Gordon flashed a bit of his inner-Clint there.

  41. Chuck – what about Modine’s scene when Oldman confronts him at his home? Usually most people under such dictatorships and occupations try to get on with their lives, avoid trouble (i.e. get shot in the face), and try to ride out this terror. If Oliver Stoen made this movie, he would make that point as subtle as a sledgehammer to the balls. I mean be careful what you wish for/

    I do wonder something: What if Heath Ledger had lived? Would Joker have come back? I don’t know how narrative-wise you would’ve fit those two together in the same plot, but imagine that symbolic battle between Joker (anarchy) and Bane (totaltarianism) and you know you would probably have expected Batman to make an unholy alliance with the Clown. (There is no way Bane would tolerate Joker, nor able to control him.)

    “Well, I`m glad you enjoyed it.”

    dna – no you’re not. :) But if you ever do write a whole fan fiction story of how you would’ve done TDKR, I would gladly read it. Just no Mary Sues, ok? Nor do I want a slash scene where Bane rapes Batman or something.

  42. Chuck, I agree that there are a lot of interesting ideas in the film that they never explored or fleshed out. The story is just so epic and there is so much happening crammed into the film that if they gave the story the time to breath and explore those ideas the film’s runtime would probably be upwards of 4 hours. The story of TDKR is so epic it is almost better suited to be 2 films instead of one.

    (SPOILERS ahead)

    Do you think at the end of the film that Robin was going to take over as the new Batman? I like to think that they could make an awesome NIGHTWING movie with JGL in the lead where he takes over as the protector of Gotham after Batman’s death.

  43. I think we’re at the point as an Outlaw society where we can openly be dicks or openly be fanboys or somewhere in between. No pussies here, no hurt feelings. Free speech, because America, the internet, etc..

    dna makes a lot of excellent points, though personally I try to not assess others’ assessments & the hype when I review & rant about movies (unless I’m serving the noble purpose of defending Kubrick’s status as GOAT, or explicating the existence of well-executed subtext in SUCKER PUNCH).

    I find myself equally drawn to Vern’s positive remarks about TDKR and to others’ negative remarks about what I believe is Nolan’s weakest film. It’s still an above-average adventure/mystery movie.

    -Remove expectations and the Batman trappings and it’d be a decent time-passer, a semi-interesting cultural experiment about a city held hostage by fear. Not bad, I guess.

    +Add some fight training, some Yuen Woo Ping or Larnell Stovall or Steven Seagal, some tripods (Vern broke the news on this magical invention 6 months ago with his HAYWIRE research), and we’d have one of the best movies of the year.

  44. Mouth, that was a good line, and Jim Gordon is a grade A 100% badass.

    PS: I dig your space filling intros to avoid spoilers in jibber-jabber. You should continue the story with each post. I want to know what happens next. What did Charlie do with that hacksaw?

  45. Charles – shit what about a Catwoman spin-off? I’m all for that. In fact I’m surprised has mentioned Hathaway’s escape from the bar.


    I am all for continuing this series with JGL as Nightwing. I’m sure Levitt could be paid enough to come back. There are two things that would keep this from happening, I think:

    -Nolan doesn’t want them to continue his series without him (even though the end of this movie sure seems like he’s fine with it…) and WB doesn’t want to piss off their biggest hit maker

    -It somehow interferes with their plans to do a Justice League movie where they want a different iteration of Batman and it would be too confusing to have separate, on-going storylines with similar/same characters

    IF (big if) they do continue this series, I do ask one thing… No more plots to destroy Gotham. I think we have seen enough variations on that theme. Time for a new motivation for a villain.

  47. Oh and spoilers! Shit, sorry Vern. (thanks for editing my previous faux pas instead of just deleting it, btw)

  48. charles

    Most reviewers and users on imdb.

  49. Chuck – Well in terms of new villainy motivations, how about Hush?

    I mean he’s not so much a Batman adversary as a Bruce Wayne foe, and his whole plan to ruin Wayne’s reputation and life. (somehow by taking bodies and stitch them into himself and becoming an uncanny Bruce doppleganger.)

  50. dna, I tend to stay away from the comments on IMDB so I will take your word for it. I just have not yet heard anybody say it is better than TDK.


    Chuck, I agree that we will probably never see a Nightwing movie starting JGL. Especially one set in the Nolan Batman universe, but I think there is a great movie there if they ever wanted to tell that story. I really like JGL, he was one of my favorite parts of this film.

  51. RRA:
    “Did some of you really feel bored during TDKR? Unbelievable.”

    I wasn’t bored, but I don’t think it would be unbelievable for somebody to have that reaction. You’ve not much of a sense of where things are going in the first act. For me, I’m watching a) the new Batman movie and b) the new Christopher Nolan movie, so boredom is pretty much the last thing I’m going to be feeling just because who knows what might happen in the next frame and I’m on the edge of my seat for that.

    My feelings are that they had this hugely ambitious project, convolutedly recapping stuff from the Begins and Dark 1 (consider how those two exist fairly independently of one another while this third one is a direct sequel to both as it were), before they can get down to brass tacks and unleash the film’s conflict proper. Nolan is no stranger to ridiculously complicated screenwriting, but it felt bumpier to me than, say, the 3498234 twists that are unleashed in the third act of The Prestige. I kept looking for the dramatic pull, and wasn’t finding it.

    This is not to say that it doesn’t work. All of the relationship and circumstance minutia it’s concerning itself with at first have huge payoffs later, so you feel that it’s justified. But it’s not as smooth as it could have been. One thing that comes to mind is a stretch in the middle of Magnolia where there’s this really tense music playing, and all the 95 characters’ storylines are being incremented by tiny degrees, and the whole time it seems like something is ABOUT TO HAPPEN and you’re breathless with antici…pation. Here I was more feeling “fuck I hope he’s going somewhere good with this ’cause it would really suck if this whole movie turns out to be an aimless mess”.


    Actually debating the specifics of why I felt that way would be difficult for me at this point, unlike other commenters on the sight I can’t pick apart shots and edits and deliveries and lines of dialogue and juxtapositions that didn’t work. I’ll need more viewings for that. But some of it comes down to subjectivity: DNA hated the nat’l anthem and I loved it.

    It really had me by the balls from that point out, give or take a few eye-rolling moments (the flashback to Gordon putting the coat on young Wayne comes to mind). But there’s a scene where Catwoman is in prison, watching the catastrophe unfold. Her whole character arc concerns whether she’ll just be in it for herself or will become a Fellow Crusader. At this point I was really feeling the gravity of the situation, and then it suddenly cuts to Catwoman, and she’s obviously thinking, fuck, maybe I give a shit. I bought that moment utterly. I can see why somebody else wouldn’t give a shit, would be like “oh you expect me to believe she suddenly grows a conscience”, but it just hit home with pitch-perfect timing for me and was a Huge Awesome Dramatic Moment. I think much of the movie walked this fine line.

    Mouth: Yeah, Avengers is more consistent than TDKR, but it achieves this by setting its sights significantly lower. Whedon knows what the audience wants and sets about giving it to them with uncanny precision. Nolan is trying to do something far grander and more admirable; it’s more apt to fail and perhaps it does, but to use a music analogy, I’d rather hear somebody play their heart out and miss a few notes than play it safe and not make any mistakes. Of course you and I might hear a different number of missed notes and that makes all the difference, but I think it’s quite evident that Nolan’s is the more ambitious project by a long shot.

  52. Hush, is good villain, but villains like Hush or Clayface definitely wouldn’t work in Nolan’s real world approach to the material. I would prefer that when they make another Batman film (because they eventually will) that they narrow the scope of the story and have him tracking a deranged serial killer using his detective skills more than his gadgets. Also, Batman needs to fight dirtier than he does in the Nolan films, for example when the Bat is getting crushed by Bane he should not have hesitated to go for the eyes, throat or groin to win.

  53. Speaking of the national anthem scene, only Nolan could get away with having a British kid to sing the anthem at an American football game in a Batman movie. We are really fucked as a country if we are now outsourcing the opportunity to sing our national anthem at America’s most popular sport.

  54. Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles Charlie Bowles

    Batman versus Bane
    League of Shadows ninja versus League of Shadows ninja.

    Yet both of their fights look like a black-mummified Shatner-era Captain Kirk (2-fisted punching!) versus Brock Lesnar on quaaludes.

    Compare this to most of the fighting in THE AVENGERS.
    Captain America versus Loki looks like Captain motherfuckin America versus Loki.
    Thor versus Hulk looks like Thor versus Hulk.
    Iron Man versus Thor looks like Iron Man versus Thor.
    Black Widow versus Chitauri actually kinda looks like Scarlett Johansson with alien rifles versus Chitauri, which is somehow better than Black Widow versus Chitauri in my opinion.

    THE AVENGERS fight scenes versus TDKR fight scenes is a computer-assisted all-star team versus a ramshackle junior varsity squad.

  55. Mouth, I agree that AVENGERS has way better staged and executed fight scenes, but I think the opening plane sequence in TDKR is more impressive than any of the action in the AVENGERS. It don’t think the first fight scene between Bane and the Bat was as poorly shot and executed as the majority of the other fight scenes in the trilogy, my biggest problem with it was that it felt out of character for Batman to not try to fight Bane smarter and uses his gadgets or dirty tactics to counter Bane’s brute strength and high pain tolerance.

  56. Yeah, the opening plane sequence is pretty tight, though the gunfight aspect of it wasn’t clearly filmed, and we have no basis for understanding or caring about the poor Bane acolyte who does the blood transfer & sacrifice.

    Nitpick: I’d like to think a CIA asset (and Baltimore politics hotshot from that tv show we’re not supposed to mention) in the field would be more prudent & thorough in the practice of, uh, gathering intel (from the bodies right in front of him on the Uzbekistani soil) before he loads his bird with mysterious cargo. Lot of shallow, misplaced trust in that sequence, lot of secret bad guys granted easy access, while armed, to the smartest, most paranoid people in the world — CIA assets on a secret foreign mission for the US.

    And Bane breaks through his cuffs like they’re nothing.

    And he dodges bullets somehow.

    But I guess that’s what comic book villains do. Makes for shitty action scenes in cinema, though.

  57. Yeah, I imagine no real CIA operative would have ever handled that scenario the way they handled it in the film. As far as Bane breaking his cuffs, I think that is a good example of one of the challenges you run into when you take a fantasy property like Batman and try and put it in a real world context like Nolan did. Sometimes the two conflict with each other.

  58. Nabroleon Dynamite

    July 21st, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Just saw it…

    “The Last Circus” was better.

    On the real, just take the shit (shit being all 3 films) as one long ass movie and it’s a dope jawn!!

    Time to go to Old Chicago pizza and do the world beer tour.

    That sounds like a post-batmany thing to do to me…

  59. The Black White Shadow

    July 21st, 2012 at 2:38 pm


    I don’t know if this can be attributed to Christopher Nolan’s meticulous pre-planning, or just a happy accident (and if anyone brought it up before, I missed it), but when Talia stabbed Bruce, it instantly reminded me of the scene in ‘Dark Knight’ where Lucius told him his new armor was basically bulletproof, but far more vulnerable to knives.

    I hope this compels everybody to add another star to their overall grades of the film…

  60. @The Black White Shadow- Good Catch, I forgot all about that scene. I’ve actually heard people complain about that part but that’s mainly because they probably don’t remember that scene in Batman Begins either.

  61. Shouldn’t the Joker have been locked up in Arkham? It’s probably best that he’s never mentioned in this movie though and understandable given the circumstances. Still,I bet someone watching these films cold with no knowledge about Ledger’s death would find it odd that so many important moments from first two are referenced EXCEPT the Joker.

  62. Personally, I loved it but with reservations. There are plenty of flaws and plenty of flat out awesomeness. But the one bit that is really bugging me is…..


    So Bruce manages to overcome his back injury and climb up to freedom, he is clearly in India as the blue city is in the background. Then the next scene he is strolling up to Selina on the cut-off island part of Gotham. How did he get on the island? The only bridge was blocked to prevent anybody crossing it, and Wayne specifically asks for Fox as he needs his “wonderful toys”, so he didn’t have any specials tricks to get him on the island. Not to mention he was just there at the right part of an island at least as big as Manhatten whe Selina was. And he wasn’t wet so he certainly didn’t swim to the island….shit, maybe he seucessfully walked across the ice.

    And when Gordon and several other cops are walking the ice (I’d be like “fuck off over there, you’re all too close to me and this ice is scary as shit”), Batman comes strolling casually towards them, from the middle of the river, wearing a very heavy suit. Then they proceed to burn the ice whilst still stood on it.

    And apparently you cure a broken back, by punching it as hard as you can. Then doing some sit ups.

    Still loved it though.

  63. Mouth:
    “Compare this to most of the fighting in THE AVENGERS.”

    The Avengers wins for pretty choreography but utterly loses in terms of having any emotional impact, raising stakes, etc. The Iron Man/Thor/Cap’n fight is all about “Oh my god it’s iron man AND thor AND the capn all fighting! Nerdgasm!” It doesn’t even pretend to have an ounce of the gravity of a long-disgraced Batman rising up and just as soon becoming broken. And what does it demonstrate? That despite having a myriad of superheroes in the movie, they all basically have the same skillset and stalemate because of it.

    But it’s fine because you just wanna see these larger-than-life personas trade witticisms and blows. The film has no intention of being a panoramic melodrama, of charting dark ambiguities of the conscience. It can’t fail like TDKR does (if it does) because it doesn’t stick it’s neck out enough. It’s much harder to fuck up a hot dog than getting that filet mignon just the right point of rare, but it’s still just a hot dog.

  64. Here there be spoilers…

    Greetings all,

    First of all, sorry to hear about that tragedy in Colorado. I won’t dwell on it, because the details make me feel ill, but I just wanted to say that I’m aiming some good vibes from over in London to all my American brothers and sisters, and to the families of our fellow film fans who didn’t deserve to suffer like that.

    Onto the film, like most everyone, I liked it a lot with the reservations. I suppose a lot of my thoughts have already been said more eloquently above. The story was definitely looser than the previous two, the objective seemed less defined, there were some holes (how did Bruce get back from the prison? How did he even get back over the ice? I’m not asking to be a smart-arse, I just don’t know) etc. But there was so much to love that, even a day and a half later, I’m still thinking back to it and it has been ruining my concentration on other films since. Two things: The scene of Bane on the steps giving his speech about Dent’s corruption and the plan for Gotham. Anyone reminded of Mad Max 2 specifically the montage where Humongous is shouting and pointing over the shots of mayhem. I think Bane actually had some of the same gestures. Also, the very last scene, (spoiler obviously) reminded me of how Hannibal (the book) ended, with the two main characters vanishing, only to be spotted together as lovers years later. Just random thoughts.

    What I’d like to do now is bore you all with my own connection to the film. Basically, going to yap about myself, so feel free to skip over, I’ll understand. Thanks if you read on though. See unfortunately a lot of my friends and colleagues don’t really give a shit about films, or at least care about them quite as much as I know you guys do, so I don’t really get too much opportunity to talk about them, and if I do I start to get conscious about name-dropping so I tend to self-censor a lot with my buddies.

    Anyway, I worked on this film last year for a week and it really was one of the greatest weeks I can remember having in anything resembling a ‘job’. I started off as a featured dancer at the masquerade ball. The scene where Bruce and Selina meet and dance? I’m bobbing around them for a lot of it. The shot was the two of them talking with the camera slowly circling around them. Me, my partner and two other couples would dance around Bale and Hathaway and then when the camera and crew circled around to us, we would jump out of the way to give it a path to carry on moving, and then, after it had passed, dance back into the circle before we came back into view of the camera. It went on for two days, which may sound tortuous, and at times it was, but fucking hell, I was about two feet from Batman and Catwoman as she warns him of a storm coming to Gotham (a line I just knew would be in the trailer) so complain? No way!

    I was quite happy with my eye mask I got. It was a plain black one (some of the others had some pretty fancy/ridiculous designs) which I approved of as it comes free with the Kato/ Crazy 88 connotations. My dancing partner was the same height as me, but I had had to remove my shoes (the noise was being picked up on the microphone) whereas she was given a pair of protectors to attach to her heels so she could keep her shoes on, of course. Nice. That gave us a good Cruise-Kidman dynamic. Also, her dress was too long to actually dance in, so I had to hitch it up with my hand that was around her waist. This, as the assistant director noted, certainly looked like my hand was delving deep, so on the second day when they moved onto wide shots I had to let the dress hang as gravity dictated. Action! We move. Shoe meets dress hem = I trip over, on camera, and regain composure just long enough to look round and see Nolan looking into his portable monitor, chuckling to himself. That laugh stayed with me for a long while that day, but you know what? Two days ballroom dancing with only one trip? Fuck it, that’s not a bad score (for me).

    Once the dancing was over, I got asked back to the production to stand in for one of the actors. Of course I’ll be back! Like I’m going to turn it down?! So over the next week I essentially got to hang around the set watching the filming. Y’know that bit when Bane says I’m Gotham’s reckoning? I was watching it being filmed from about a metre away, chatting to this beardy guy between takes. Seemed quite friendly. When they were setting up the next shot, he goes over to the grand piano and starts playing a tune. That dream theme from Inception. Just of his own accord. Wanted to see how the piano sounded, I suppose. Turns out it was Hans Zimmer. Nolan went over to him and Zimmer started playing his ideas for possible tunes for this film while Nolan nodded along. My ears had hard-ons.

    (Spoiler: Hardy stood on a box in that scene)

    That was at Senate House (the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in 1984, fact fans!), also where I ended up caught in a conversation between Morgan Freeman and his stand-in (who is almost identical to Freeman and who has worked with him on every film for about 15 years) about golf. Know what I know about golf? Fuck all beyond there’s a club, a ball and a hole, but I managed to nod and grunt at the right moments enough to bluff my way through it. Freeman should definitely laugh more in films. It’s an infectious one for sure.

    They also filmed the scene where Bruce is brought in with the hood over his head and meets up with Lucius and Miranda at the same location. If you look carefully that hall where Lucius and the Gotham citizens are being held is the same hall that the masquerade ball takes place in. Next day, location changed to a giant aircraft hanger where, outside, they filmed the interiors for the prologue. Essentially a plane fuselage on hydraulics that starts off horizontal but could be tilted vertically. Cool as hell. Great thing about the hangar itself was that you could stroll through a number of the locations on the way to the canteen. Weirdly there was an entrance to Arkham asylum (that a braver man than I sneakily photographed and then posted to the internet). Did I doze off during the film? I don’t remember Arkham even getting a mention.

    Y’know, it’s been mentioned in articles that Christopher Nolan kept the last few pages of script a secret, no-one knew what was to be filmed, you had to hand in your phone before reading them, they could only be read while a guard kept a gun aimed at you, etc. Well, I’ve had a printed filming schedule (they call it a ‘call sheet’) for a year that listed two scenes to be filmed. Turns out they were the last two scenes of the movie, I just didn’t know it. Ho ho ho. Lucky I kept my mouth shut about it.

    Okay, that’ll do. I’ve rambled enough. I just wanted to share a bit with you internet folks. I’m really glad to finally see the film a year later. Even though it’s probably not Dark Knight good, or Batman Begins good, it will always be a special one to me. I was very relieved that I made it into the film, as I was at the Waynes’ funeral in Batman Begins but that got edited right down so I didn’t make the final cut, and I couldn’t do Dark Knight because I was ill on the required shooting days, so at least now I have finally wormed my way into the trilogy! Hooray! Since last year I became a daddy so I guess my parental duties will be taking precedence over my film hobby from now on (though saying that I managed to squeeze in being a CIA agent in Bigelow’s Bin Laden film a few months back, so maybe I’ll get a very occasional fix when I can) but I’ll be remembering this one as one of my favourites.

    Oh hey, one last thing. Remember the Kato mask? It led to a weird thing happening a few nights ago. While trawling the internet, I randomly stumbled across a website where the author stated he had good reason to believe that I am Robin:


    (Spoiler: I’m not. Sorry to ruin the theory, internet detective, but thanks for the laughs)

    That’s all folks. Goodnight, wherever you are. Stay safe.

  65. RENFIELD has hit it closest to the mark so far in terms of this movie’s strengths and flaws.

    I just saw it today, and there’s a lot to digest…

    …the best part of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is the ending, but the getting there feels messy. Whether it be the bloated plot (a city besieged, an enemy with a secret plan, a quest for revenge) personal conflict (moving on with your life, letting go) or other, various themes and plot machinations (faith in your fellow man, clean-energy funding, Wayne stock, orphans, using chalk to draw bat symbols, overcoming/embracing your fear, etc.) it just – at times – feels like things are being EXPLAINED too much. I also think the movie relied too much on back story and flashbacks. BATMAN BEGINS had similar flaws, but that was a less ambitious movie, and we didn’t have the same hype going, and thus, didn’t care or bitch about it as much after the fact.

    (Of course, the 2nd movie did these things with much greater skill.)

    Anyway, I was ready to accept more of the Bruce Wayne/Gotham soul-searching in the hopes that Nolan’s skill would continue on its upward trend. But honestly this feels clunkier, like it’s a step down for him. I can’t tell if it’s because of the writing, or because too much time was spent trying to explain everything, or maybe even because it involved the League of Shadows, which I was never really enamored with. Even one of the earlier Alfred scenes felt a little “talky.”

    Final thought: when I left the theater one of the first things I said to my wife (who liked it more than me) was that I feel like they should make a 4th movie – which is to say that Nolan should change his mind and in a few years come back and have a movie with JGL in the lead (and yeah, Batman should probably return). I’m all for bowing out of a franchise before shit gets stale – I just honestly think a 4th movie could be better than this one.

  66. From a story stand-point, I actually dug this one more than The Dark Knight. Just think that the narrative, which of course was far from flawless, was tighter and more engaging. Gotta say though, aside from the “careful what you wish for” moral ambivalence angle, Catwoman came off as pretty vapid. Engaging characterization takes more than just snark and slink. And call me a killjoy, but 5ft nuthin 110lb on a rainy day “Princess Diaries” tossin grown men like dice and deckin em with one swing illicited nothin but smirkin “Riiiiiight”s from me. Yet another example, I think, of filmakers wanting to satisfy the “strong woman” archetype, yet not botherin to dig any deeper in the translation of that “girl power” than having the female emulate masculine physical prowess (which ironically enough, could easily be argued as sexist). But my only real gripe is that but for Nolan’s continuing complacency/ineptitude at filming action scenes, this movie really would’ve elevated itself to awesomeness for me (as opposed to pretty good-ness). It’s like almost no one directing these types of movies appreciates that the ethic with regard to action filmatics is supposed to be “knock it outta the park” as opposed to “just enough to qualify”. I realized while watching the Batman vs Bane fight scenes (which I will say weren’t Greengrassian messy), that the visceral power of the blows was being sold almost completely by the sound effects instead of the actual visuals. That just don’t cut it for me. Not with flicks like “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” and “The Hunted” floatin around out there. But darn it, Nolan knows how to craft just enough of those epic Hans Zimmer score swellin “…And you’ll never have to” moments to invoke nothin short of inspiration in my geek nerve. Eh, if only.

  67. I agree pretty much with Vern’s take on it. I really enjoyed it and felt it was a pretty good ending to the saga, despite a few considerable flaws. I figure TDK is overall more solid, but I Find myself WANTING to like this one more because it’s ten times as ambitious.



    Loved Hardy as Bane. I was worried because Id

  68. Oops, sorry, writing on an iPad and not used to it complely.


    A lot of this film is carried by Bale’s performance out of the costume and I think he did a great job. It was weird how thing he looked for most of it, but I guess that contributes to the feeling of how much he’d just stopped keeping in shape after he quit. I enjoyed seeing him get back into the world and not quite get the hang of it again straight away, insulting Miranda unintentionally and getting pickpocketed. There was a big laugh at him disabling the paparazzi cameras as well. Oldman was as good as usual despite being underused, and I remember someone on here reacting to the original trailer with “oh great, the only character I like and they show him on his death bed”, so it was a relief to see that being the first part of the movie. They could have done more with the reveal he lied about Harvey Dent. JGL was pretty pissed looking, but the next scene they’re shown together in, they seem to have forgotten it already.
    Loved Hardy as Bane. Was worried because I’d heard he “wasn’t as good” as HeathJoker, but it’s apples and oranges. Bane’s exactly what he needs to be in this, a big FORCE Batman can’t get around at first and Hardy did a fantastic job making him this calm, intelligent, matter of fact monster. The first fight was just fittingly brutal despite the limitations of the age rating, and the way it ends is cold shot to the gut even when you know it’s coming. It’s a shame how the character goes out, because when it happened I actually figured the armour he was wearing would protect him and he come back one more time during that chase. It makes it easy to forget Bruce DID beat him alone, before Talia interfered.
    I think the reveal about her should have came a lot earlier btw, as it felt pretty rushed how it was done here, though her knife attack isn’t just paying off the thing about the armour being more susceptible, but Ra’s saying that if someone’s standing in you way, “you just walk up behind them and stab them in the heart” which Talia does one part literally, one part metaphorically.
    Loved Hathaway as Selina. I can’t believe the fanboy whining about her beforehand, when this was the most faithfull version of the character seen on the big screen so far. It was also nice how they included what appeared to be her best friend Holly in there too.
    I liked JGL’s character a lot, and even if he never really became Robin or anything until the final moments of the film, the chemistry and dialogue he had with Batman was very reminiscent of that dynamic(no pun intended) from the comics. Though I only just realised that they totally homage DIRTY HARRY with how his character is a cop who has to save a bus full of kids at the end and then quits the force by throwing his badge in the water afterwards.
    Other nitpicks include some very vague conversations leading to specific outcomes(liked how did Catwoman and Batman know to meet at that exact location when neither of them mentioned it in the earlier scene, how did Bruce know that was the cafe Alfred would go to, and why would Alfred immediately go on holiday after Bruce’s death?) and some some loose ends I’d have liked tied up, like I love that they got Cillian Murphy back, so seeing him involved in that final fight would have been cool, even if just to show Batman nonchalantly knocking him out with one punch. Also Alfred should have still had a presence even after he left Bruce, but I thought it was a great ending, even if I’m left wondering when exactly is he meant to have gotten out of the Bat and where exactly is he in that shot of his face five second before the bomb detonates?
    The lack of distracting DTV stars was made up for the abundance of distracting tv stars in small roles, like Littlefinger from GAME OF THRONES as the CIA guy, Dangle from RENO 911 as the doctor, Quinn from DEXTER as the bridge cop, that guy from RESCUE ME asa the special forces captain, Teal’c from STARGATE SG1 as a one of Bane’s men, and the President from STARGATE SG1 as the President(crossover?). I did like the ending, both for giving Bruce peace and for making JGL the next Batman, though I’m not sure who he’d presumably be fighting? Unless the whole incident led to the Dent Act being repealed, is he going around in mask chasing up overdue library books?
    So overall, not perfect, but a damn fine ending in my book.

  69. Knox Harrington

    July 22nd, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Just watched it this morning. Thought it was pretty damn good.

    My only real complaint would be that the film is so massive and epic in scope, trying to cram so much into one story, that it turns into a bit of a runaway freight train. The negative result being that very little time is spent lingering on the intimate moments.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but I love me some necessary lingering in a movie. You need to set a little bit of time aside to let things simmer. Michael Mann knows this. Michael Bay doesn’t. Nolan seems to walking the line between these two.

    Anyway, on to more important matters: Why the fuck do we still not have a Batman movie where people don’t find out who he is? I swear to God, in every damn Batman movie someone discovers that Batman is Bruce Wayne. He’s the sloppiest mystery man ever. Check this:

    Batman – Vicky Vale finds out.
    Batman Returns – Catwoman and Christopher Walken find out.
    Batman Forever – Robin, Nicole Kidman, The Riddler and Two-Face find out.
    Batman and Robin – Batgirl finds out.
    Batman Begins – Katie Holmes finds out.
    The Dark Knight – That guy who tries to blackmail him finds out.
    The Dark Knight Rises – (SPOILER) Catwoman and Gordon find out (Robin, Bane and Talia didn’t even have to find out. They already knew).

    Seriously, get your shit together, Batman. Not even Superman has that many people who know who he is, and he doesn’t even wear a mask.

  70. Knox Harrington

    July 22nd, 2012 at 8:09 am

    A few thoughts after reading the other comments (watch out for Spoilers. They bite):

    – Speaking as someone who is obsessed with and constantly studies film editing and structure, I have to agree with Radiant and Mouth about this film’s editing. The transitions were poor and the coherency lacking. There was very little sense of time and place at times. Editing is all about knowing where you can take shortcuts and where you can’t. Pacing is everything, but if your pacing makes you lose or confuse your audience, you’re in trouble. Strange, because the editing in The Dark Knight was so good it would have made Hitchcock proud.

    (I don’t, however, understand Stu’s confusion about how Bruce and Selina knew how to meet at that cafe. This is all shit that happened long after the funeral. Alfred didn’t go there straight away, and Bruce and Selina look like they’ve been together for a while).

    – I also agree about the incessant music. That was overkill. More music doesn’t mean more drama.

    – That story of Alfred about wishing to see Bruce at that cafe in Florence was such an obvious set-up, there was no doubt in my mind that the film would end with that little moment. Not a complaint, really. Just a tad too obvious for my taste.

    – I hate that Blake had to be Robin at the end. Just that short mention of “Robin” being his circus name or whatever left a shitty taste in my mouth. Couldn’t he just be John Blake a.k.a. That cop character who Batman chose to be his successor?

    (That said, I did like the Anyone-can-be-Batman idea).

    – Finally, is it just me, or is that Batman statue at the end the ugliest fucking thing mankind has ever made?

    Just a few nitpicks. I still think it’s pretty damn good, but I have a feeling the production schedule was insane for such a massive movie and maybe that’s why the final product feels a little rushed in places.

  71. Knox:

    I hate that Blake had to be Robin at the end. Just that short mention of “Robin” being his circus name or whatever left a shitty taste in my mouth. Couldn’t he just be John Blake a.k.a. That cop character who Batman chose to be his successor?

    I totally disagree with you. It doesn’t mean anything at all in the context of the movie. But it means everything in the context of Batman the mythology, which the audience supplies to the movie, the audience brings it with them to the theatre. It’s a throwaway segue. It doesn’t detract from the movie if you know nothing of the Batman mythology, and it is awesome reveal if you know and love the Batman mythology.

    It’s a question of: should a movie exist in a complete bubble of meaning only referencing itself? Or is it allowed to reference things that only the audience supplies meaning to?

    And of course, much as the parallels with Occupy Wall Street and the like, no movie exists in a vacuum of significance, meaning, and reference, nor should it. It’s not “flying mammal man”, that we know nothing about: it’s Batman. We bring a whole host of prejudicial references to a Batman movie, of any vintage, and this is normal, and natural, and it is perfectly fair to manipulate and tweak that mental baggage to heighten the movie’s meaning and enjoyment.

  72. Knox Harrington

    July 22nd, 2012 at 11:29 am



    Yeah, I guess I’m not a fan of all the fanboy-pleasing comic book references in superhero movies. It’s like those goddamn Stan Lee cameos in all the Marvel movies. I don’t like it when something takes me out of the movie (which is also why I’m usually quite tough on green-screen and CGI).

    Also, it caused confusion. Is he gonna become Robin or the new Batman? Surely he can’t become the new Batman before being Robin? That’s like becoming Captain before being Sargeant (or something, I suck at ranks). The movie toys with that anyone-can-be-Batman idea, sets Blake (not a Robin in the comics, but never mind) up for it… and then tells us he’s Robin. I much prefer the idea of a new character, with no comic book history, becoming the new Dark Knight.

    Anyway, I’m the one who has a problem with it. If others liked it, good for them. I just can’t get the image of Joseph Gordon-Levitt wearing a Chris O’Donnell hard nipple Robin suit out of my mind.

  73. “Seriously, get your shit together, Batman. Not even Superman has that many people who know who he is, and he doesn’t even wear a mask.”


  74. Knox:

    The little Robin mention also serves the function of giving Warner Bros a possible spin off franchise starring JGL, and planting that idea in the minds of the audience.

    Call him Batman or Robin, it doesn’t matter. It creates some continuity with the successful universe Nolan and Bale have established, even as they leave that create endeavour.

    And the imperative of filthy lucre finding a way to make more money trumps all creative considerations!

  75. It’s a SPOILER so let’s treat it as such, but the “little Robin mention” struck me as the equivalent of Marvel’s post-credits teasers, but integrated into the film proper. Huge whoops/cheers from the audience at that scene.

  76. Knox Harrington

    July 22nd, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Gotta say, I’m excited about the possibility of a reboot, if only to see how someone else would approach it.

    One thing’s for sure, Warner isn’t gonna hand the reins over to just anyone. A respected director like David Fincher or Darren Aronofsky or Nicholas Winding Refn is pretty much guaranteed.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a more gothic, operatic version of Batman. A Batman movie that looks more like Coppola’s Dracula would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I think Warner Bros. are gonna stick with the “real world” approach.

  77. That depends, Knox. Nolan will not be involved with any new Batman or JL movie. If the new Nolan-produced, reality-grounded “Man of Steel” (aka Terrence Malick’s “Superman”) disappoints, I would expect WB to pivot to a more lightweight, fun, Marvel-y course for future films.

  78. Knox Harrington

    July 22nd, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Ha ha! “Malick’s Superman”.

    I got the same impression when I saw that trailer, and since I happen to worship both Malick and Superman, I still get a movie boner just thinking about it.

    But let’s be honest, this isn’t gonna be “Malick’s Superman”. Snyder is too much of a Snyder to not indulge in some slo-mo combat porn and probably throw an elaborately cheesy sex scene into the mix, but that wonderful teaser certainly did get my hopes up.

    (Also, let’s be honest, the fanboys would be up in arms if the world gave them another heartfelt, character-driven Superman movie. All they wanna see is Superman fuck some shit up).

  79. There is no way WB will do a Nightwing movie instead of a new Batman series.

    Really guys, isn’t anybody impressed that for once that for an ending that could feed off a spin-off (or two), it was made for thematic reasons and not for necessarily financial ones?

    (You really think WB will make a Hathaway spin-off? No.)

  80. Anyone else think it’s cool that the Joker wasn’t in this movie but Pvt. Joker, Matthew Modine was?

  81. Jack Burton – Hilarious.

  82. Excellent catch, Jack.

    It’s a shame he never got to show Bane his warface.

  83. I realize Nolan has his own style, his own intent, his particular way of downplaying certain moments in the script in favor of overlaying them with other shit going on so it feels to the viewer like we’re absorbing a bunch of stuff simultaneously 

    (previous scene’s dialogue bleeding into music, which becomes the score for a dramatic shot of Anne Hathaway’s lovely curves speeding through Gotham on a bike), 

    and for the most part I like it 

    (cross-cutting the death-by-whiskey and the death-by-car-bomb in TDK; the multi-layered dreams of he last third of INCEPTION), 

    sometimes love it 

    (the understatedly menacing recall to the hats, and the shot of the drowning vats, at the end of THE PRESTIGE).  

    But, other than as a mini-payoff within the mystery portion of the script, this Nolan style tends to have the effect of killing any & all “fuck yeah!” moments.  And superhero movies should probably have some “fuck yeah!” moments in my opinion.  

    (Biggest such moment in TDK, for me, was when Lucius watched the bat-sonar device explode itself.  Or the “please deliver to Lieutenant Gordon” ‘extradited’ hostage dropoff note, but that was more played for laughs.  
    In BEGINS, my favorite was when Batman exits the crashing L train.  Great shot, that.  It had almost a — Dare I break my own rule and say this?!?!?! — Kubrickian symmetry to it that strangely complemented the chaos of the event.  It looked like a great comics panel, and it enforced the notion that Wayne has indeed learned to mind his surroundings while kicking ass, staying calm enough to outwit & defeat Ra’s al Ghul.)  

    In TDKR, we get realism, and darkness, and understated introductions, and somber overhead/skyline establishing shots, but we don’t get the awesome, memorable slow pan revealing the hero’s face for the first time.  And if we did, it wouldn’t matter, we wouldn’t *feel* it, there’d be no contrast with lesser dramatic moments because the music in 90% of TDKR is already cranked up to eleven.  

    Take THE AVENGERS, for example (and a lot of Whedon’s work).  It is brimming with gorgeous, perfectly anticipated, perfectly edited “fuck yeah!” moments.  It’s a 2.5 hour long fuckyeahgasm.  Comic-Con nerds have my permission to use that neologism.  

    TDKR isn’t trying to be anything like the Marvel joints, of course, but I can’t tell if Nolan is even trying to make Batman a hero.  His surprise appearance in the tunnel after an 8 year absence is a confusing sequence.  I like that first the lights go out (using darkness and focused EMP devices is the Bruce Wayne way) and the cops in pursuit get a bad feeling to corollate & contrast with the audience’s excitement.  (Like Loki’s cowardice after seeing the lightning, “I’m not overly fond of what follows.”)  But I can’t tell where the Bat-cycle comes from.  Can’t tell what he’s looking at.  Can’t tell how far away the bad guys are.  Can’t see clearly where Batman is aiming his gun thing, can’t tell what exactly that gun thing does.  And after the movie I barely remember all this.  

    Moving on, the fire rising scene: 
    The audience at this point is desperate to cheer, to celebrate a “fuck yeah!” moment.  We see the Bat-tranq throwing star-bat things down a few thugs behind Gordon on the ice, then a flare.  Then what?  A figure emerges from the darkness, somehow not falling through the ice that had proven too fragile for victims of Judge Scarecrow.  And it’s very understated, bleak, mumbly.  He walks, slowly, when he should be gliding.  We squint our eyes when we should be floating, elbowing our neighbors with excitement, bubbling with ecstasy.  

    The flare luckily hits the flammable trail up a building, making the fiery bat signal, and the inspiration on Pvt. Joker’s face is unmistakable.  It’s a good shot, an okay sequence, but it could have been So. Much. More.  Que lástima.  

    Also, how did Batman nail the lead Scarecrow’s ice death march guy in the side of the neck if he’s directly in front of them?  

    Just my opinions & observations.  I hate to be a “shouldacouldawoulda” hindsight 20/20 armchair quarterback movie nerd asshole, and I don’t mean to compare everything to AVENGERS.  Nolan is among the best at generating suspense and juggling narratives and maintaining “realism” in absurd filmatic worlds.  I just wish he were better at, or more inclined to give me, emotional moments where all I can think is “Batman’s about to fuck some shit up now, fuck yeah!”  

    If he doesn’t want to consult Whedon, may I kindly suggest he watch the end of RAMBO (2008)?  All’s quiet, the music starts to swell. . . Look out, Burmese .50 cal triggerman!  The hero rises right behind you!  Fuck yeah!  

  84. S

    Comparatively short one this… I liked seeing Scarecrow back, but I would have loved it if he had donned his mask when carrying out sentencing, the way old judges would put on the black cloth.

    That’s all.

  85. “Also, how did Batman nail the lead Scarecrow’s ice death march guy in the side of the neck if he’s directly in front of them? ”

    According to Arkham Asylum, the Batarangs travel by a parabolic path, swooping out to the side and then curving back in towards the target.

    But all things considered, I do feel where you are coming from. It’s hardly even a Batman movie; the dude isn’t in it much and the ass he does kick is frustrating in its portrayal. One even gets the feeling that Nolan would rather be doing something else, likes working with Gordon Levitt more than Bale at this point, and a number of other fanboy (nonpejoratively) turnoffs. The best bigscreen spectacle moment for me was the bridges/football field detonating, and I don’t even gotta put “spoiler” for that because it was milked to hell in the trailers.

    I like that Bane explains his a-bomb plan to Gotham as a sort of social experiment, making it sort of a sequel to the prisoner/civilian boat experiment in Dark Knight. But I’m also sympathetic to the idea that Nolan’s bending over backwards a bit to weave it into the film.

    I thought the action in Inception was kinda gorgeous and I’m not sure why it’s not better in this film. I didn’t much care for the computerized nightvision stuff in Dark Knight either, but at least Dark Knight flipped a semi.

    In the long run I don’t really care whether Nolan makes a proper Batman film as long as it’s good, and I haven’t seen anything as chilling and legendary as Bane for a while, so I’m still generally positive on the film. I’m a bit frustrated with many aspects of it, and can very much understand why others are even more frustrated.

  86. The Black White Shadow

    July 22nd, 2012 at 5:28 pm


    It occurs to me that JGL is, like, half Christian Bales’ size. He may need to get his Batsuits fitted before he goes out to fight crime….


    Knox- I was referring to Batman meeting Catwoman prior to the first fight with Bane, as no actual location was mentioned or alluded to in the scene where Bruce visits her place.



    He’s Robin but he’s not Dick Greyson so that’s already mighty different. I love it.

    BLACK WIDOW… Brilliant catch on the knife thing. Makes me appreciate DARK KNIGHT even more.

    Things like where they agree to meet or how Bruce Wayne gets back to Gotham… These are rather pedantic details. It would only be a matter of ADRing “meet in the alley behind the diner” or a shot of Bruce parachuting in or whatever. It’s fun to point out those questions and I sure do it in other movies, but it doesn’t actually matter to me if basic scheduling details are specified in a movie.

    I think Nolan purposefully made a Batman movie without Batman, and I admire that so much.

    I found the timing of sunsets/sunrises very clear and effective in the stock exchange and finale sequences. Can’t remember another movie where action scenes lasted long enough to change the time of day.

  89. Call me cynical but the only thing subtext wise that struck me was that like any modern leader Bane is promising a bunch of nice sounding ideas that he’s not backing up while simply stalling for time until the bomb goes off.

    I am happy Bruce Wayne finally got some closure. 70 years is just too long to beat yourself up for something that happened when you were 10…

  90. “it doesn’t actually matter to me if basic scheduling details are specified in a movie.”

    I hear this. I don’t give a shit AT ALL how Bruce got back to Gotham. We’ve seen him do so much crazier shit, OF COURSE he can get back there, do we need some Indiana Jones sequence with a red line creeping across a map? You’ve already got a 3 hour film on your hands, cut to him being back so we can see what actually happens once he’s there!

  91. Jimbolo, that was a great story, and what tales to tell your kid! I, for one, thank you for sharing, as it helped lighten some of the grumbles I had about how sloppy this movie ended up. Sloppy or no, this movie would hold a dear place in my heart if I had a similar anecdote to tell about working on it, so, cheers.


    There are so many little things that bothered me about this movie; storytelling things, mostly. Like, we have a big speech being given on “Harvey Dent Day” where it could easily be mentioned, “today’s the eighth anniversary of this holiday…”, but instead we have to wait until later and an awkward line reading by the (mostly fine) J.G. Levitt to be informed that it’s eight years later? I know that Nolan’s dedication to realism is so extreme as to even remove titles like “FIVE MONTHS LATER” at the bottom of the screen (“Words don’t fly across the screen like that without crashing into buildings! Get rid of them.”), but there were lots of simple opportunities for dialogue elegance like that that were wasted.

    Here’s the thing. Nolan has done such a good job, for me, at building a plausible, realistic Gotham/Batman universe in the first two movies, that when he does things in this movie that make me wonder how hundreds of cops could be trapped in sewers for five months without growing beards, or how they and the rest of the citizens feed themselves on an isolated urban island with little in the way of apparent agriculture (yeah, the feds trucked in some food supplies with the ill-fated Special Forces team…I liked that reversal of expectations about their fates, by the way…but wouldn’t the starving populace rip each others’ heads off to get it by then?), or the fragility of Bane’s mask, which surely must have had somebody try to damage it before Batman did, or the ridiculous, more-than-two-minute-long farewell speeches Batman gives at the end to Catwoman (plus a kiss! He’s too good for her selfish ass) and Gordon when he has a FUCKING BOMB to get rid of far far away in two minutes….THE NITPICKS BECOME THE MAJOR COMPLAINTS.

    Amid the sloppiness, I liked some things I saw. Any time Alfred appeared, it was surprisingly moving. From the get-go, I suspected Levitt was being set up as Robin, or at the very least as a slowly-boiling Jean-Paul Valley who will be there to ensure that there will always be a Batman, even if it ain’t always THE Batman. Like Shia LeBoeuf at the end of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, I at least pay lip service to the idea of watching a movie about his future adventures. And I thought Bane was a kinda cool villain in general.

    Also, do you suppose that this universe has an alternate version of Rapid City, South Dakota, that’s big enough to field its own professional football team?

  92. Very well stated Mouth. And it may just be time to pump the brakes on the Nolan praise and think about the logical conclusion that those observations add up to. Which is that, end of the day, Nolan is simply not an effective visual storyteller (which, being an artist in the medium OF visual storytelling, is kind of a big deal). This is made painfully obvious in pretty much all of the action set pieces. But thinking back to the prison pit sequence, the only thing that sold the mission impossible arduous ordeal of the climb was the reams of expository dialogue. Ridiculous. Narrative is not supposed to do the job of the visuals, in a visual storytelling medium. For all the narrative build-up, the lacking visuals (coupled perhaps with set design), reduced the challenge of the climb to pretty much just one jump. Which the visuals then didn’t make look like a very challenging jump. Now imagine what a Steven Spielberg (that is to say a competent [in his case masterful] visual storyteller) could’ve done with that scene. When all’s said and done, we’re not talking about some above and beyond extra here, but the bare minimum skillset of the given trade. At this point, I don’t think it’s over the top to ask if Christopher Nolan is worthy of the title of Director. Anymore than a plumber who couldn’t pipe-fit would be worthy of the title Plumber.

  93. I liked the sense of people scrambling for supplies/food in the background without making a whole I AM LEGEND scene about it. And scrounging for supplied is my FAVORITE thing to see in movies, so it’s saying a lot if I got my fix from the limited background scenes in TDKR.

    I also loved Jimbolo’s story.

    I also thought Hathaway was channeling Pfeiffer, which is not a bad thing.

  94. Oh, and as another example of squandered F-Yeah moment potential, remember how during the first fight, Bane takes care to explain to batman that he’s getting his a$$ handed to him because he’s trying to fight like a young man in his prime. All ferocious brawn. Now imagine (assuming competent fight scene filmatics) that during the next encounter, instead of the lame mask gimmick, Batman suddenly launches an explosive fist or elbow smash to Bane’s shoulder. Suddenly Bane finds that arm not so easy to lift. They mix it up some more, and Batman ducks a sweeping roundhouse from Bane’s good arm, catches it at the wrist and smashes an upper-cut right into the center of his bicep. Suddenly Bane finds quite a bit of the juice taken outta the swing in that arm. They continue to mix it up, Batman hammers a heel down into Bane’s knee or ankle with a resounding crack. And point by surgically struck pressure-point, Batman freakin dissassembles this a-hole. And then a devastating 1,2,3, hell 10 piece coup de grace combo. The audience would’ve been roarin in the aisles. I would’ve comletely lost my *ish*. Eh, if only.

  95. Anyone here bother reading Harry’s review at AICN? It’s literally the absolute worst kind of fanboy bitching. It’s almost parody. He does not address one single issue with the actual film, he just complains about EVERY SINGLE ASPECT because it’s not the story *he* would have written. Nothing irritates me more than people comparing a film that does exist to some other film they imagined and complaining that it’s not like that. There’s plenty of problems with TDKR, but if “it didn’t perfectly match the way I imagined it” is one of them, you’re officially never allowed to talk about movies again. Whatever happened to actually allowing movies to surprise you? Why even go if you just want it to be like everything you already know you like?

  96. I got pumped just reading that fight description, Rogue4.

    The ole “knock out the limbs of the bigger, stronger fighter before you go for the knockout” thing has been done before, of course,

    (rebels flying trip cables around the bad guys’ walking weapons’ mechanical legs in STAR WARS 2: STAR WARS 5; Tony Jaa ripping up the behemoths’ tendons with jagged elephant bones in TOM YUM GOONG; Cobra Kai assholes crippling Daniel-san)

    but I’m not close to sick of seeing it.

    And you’ve enlightened me on how much the pit-jump sequences rely on talk talk talk to convey the difficulty of the task, which I didn’t realize before, though I was immediately bothered by the geography & perspective of the pit-jump shots when I first watched TDKR. We can’t see really how far it is, how elevated the difference from one platform to the next cliff or foothold is. Nolan uses repetitive shots from the same angles, set in different times, for a good purpose, and I like how he tells that section of Talia/Bane/Wayne’s stories (ignoring the elderly fellow pitizens with perfect memory and English fluency who happen to be Wayne’s roommates & doctors), but I have to think it would have been more compelling if we could actually see the jump, and how to solve the puzzle of the escape, from a more dangerous, physically harrowing perspective.

    I also thought the prison pit section dangerously approached cheesy ’80s training montage territory, with Wayne’s back injury recovery followed by pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups — add in some “Eye of the Tiger” instead of Hans Zimmer and you’ve got something ready & ripe for South Park parody.

    One other little visual shortcut that bothered me:
    When the Bat descends into the hole in the road, or forked gap between the surface roads, into which Talia’s truck has just crashed, we don’t actually see the flying vessel go through that opening. It appears that the Bat is wider than the hole from the top road to the crash site below, so Batman would have to have tilted his bird at a weird angle and steadily descended at a diagonal. Maybe this happened, but we don’t see it. Nor do we see the Bat ascend, nuke in tow, back up through that hole. IIRC. This is a problem with the logistics of the dimensions of the onscreen elements, and, instead of CGI-ing their way around it, the filmatists decided to just edit out the 2 parts where the Bat has to go through that hole. That’s cheap.

    But I want to clarify again that I still enjoyed TDKR a lot, and plan to pay to see everything Nolan puts in theatres for my entertainment. We have complaints here, and I feel terrible about mentally revising & reordering the movie in my head and publishing those thoughts here as though I’m a better director than a guy who’s actually a successful director, but more importantly I have a new crush on Catwoman. Never really found Anne Hathaway attractive before, but goddamn she can wear some shiny black one-pieces. If I were 15 years younger or 15 beers older, this is the point where I’d crack some bad jokes about re-naming my penis “The Dark Knight” because it definitely “rises” when I see Selina Kyle. And I love it when a girl makes the first move. I don’t give a damn if the bright red timer on the nuclear bomb is ticking below 2 minutes — I have plenty of time for Anne Hathaway to suck on my tongue for a moment.

  97. Whatever happened to action movies knowin how to get the action part right, Mr Subtlety. And why participate in a film discussion forum if you can’t cope with certain types of criticisms of the given film. It isn’t about wanting a given film to be exactly as one imagined. It’s about wanting the filmakers to know how to play up the story elements to their maximum potential. Again, “knock it outta the park” as opposed to “just enough to qualify”. The “what if” examples are just a means of punctuating that point. It’s also about the bare minimum expectation that filmakers be competent at the fundamentals of the craft. It should be a given that a director of MOTION PICTURES know how to effectively translant MOTION. And Mouth, friendo, you don’t have to be an Olive Garden chef to render a valid opinion on a plate of spaghetti.

  98. – Fred

    The carchase in Terminator 3, the final carchase in The Blues Brothers and..eh.. the climax in Patlabor the movie.

    It`s funny to read all these comments, cause I`ve appearently forgot most of the movie already. The bit with Tanja crashing through the hole in the motorway was awesome, but reminded me of the flipping truck in TDK.

    I totally agree with Nolan being a sloppy visuel storyteller, but I think that a big reason for his inability to sell the fuck yeah-moment (or create real suspense) is a bi-product of an hyperactive script. There is so much shit going on, that he doesn`t have time to turn his ideas into good cinema.
    But, his ideas are great, and I think that`s one of the reasons behind his succes.

    I do believe that I`ll enjoy this movie with lowered expectations, when I revisit it.

    At least it made me enjoy Batman; The Animated Series a lot more. I`ve been struggling to get through the first 2 seasons for half a year and finally succeded yesterday. What an awesome show. ( and Hopey from Love and Rockets had a cameo when the penguin has to take a bus after being released from jail. I had to rewind that scene like four times or something. AWESOME)

    I still don`t understand how Batman escaped a nuclear blast with a radius of six miles in five seconds, but according to IMDB there is a perfectly plausible explanition (which I don`t understand because I`m stupid and should watch the movie again till I get it), with Batman hiding the fact that the autopilot is fixed. Batman appearently fixes it several months before he pretends that he needs to pilot the bat manually in order to get the bomb out of the city. In the five seconds before the explosion, he puts the bat on autopilot-mode, crawls into a escape-batpod made out of lead and drops into the ocean. That`s some pretty good planning right there imo.

  99. S
    I loved the fact that, for all the seriousness of Nolan’s franchise, it eventually boiled down to Batman zooming around with a bomb that’s about to go off, trying to get it away from everyone – just like in the Adam West 1966 film.

    I honestly hoped we were gonna see him fly past some nuns on a pier, but alas.

    It was certainly my favorite of the trilogy but yes, it had a lot of issues – including, as others have already pointed out, some awful editing.

    Hey, did anyone else notice William Devane’s little part in there? He was dressed an awful lot like he was at the end of ROLLING THUNDER, which tickled me.

  100. I too enjoyed the movie, even with its flaws. It was a nice send off to the character. One problem that I really noticed with this film was that there wasn’t a great sense of time. It didn’t necessarily feel as if these people were trapped in the city for months on end. It felt like Nolan had so much that he wanted to include that he just sort of crammed it all in there. Contrast this with the scene in part 2 where the Joker ambushes Harvey Dent’s convoy. That’s a great moment because Nolan allows the action to breath a little. There’s actually a pretty lengthy sequence of Batman trying to catch up with the Joker on the batcycle thing, which creates some great tension. We’re just sitting there watching the batcycle tear through the streets of Gotham knowing that we’re about to get a great action sequence, but Nolan makes us wait for it. In part 3 it seems like Nolan is just throwing action at us. You want it? Then here you go. But again, I did like the film, and felt it was a fitting end to the series.

  101. Maybe this has been brought up before, I don’t know, but has anyone noticed the similarity between the end of TDKR and this gripping moment from the 1960’s Adam West Batman movie?


    Nolan pays subtle homage to a lot of different parts of the Bat-mythos with his movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was one of them.

  102. FFS, not even two comments above me. SMH, FML, ETC.

    This is why I leave this stuff to you guys. You’re the heroes we need, not what we deserve.

  103. Rogue4 — First off, I hope you didn’t think I was complaining about your posts (is your name Harry?) — I draw a big distinction between fantasizing about cool stuff (which you’ve been so entertainingly doing!) and complaining that the stuff that *is* there isn’t the same as the stuff in your head. It’s the difference between saying “Wouldn’t it be cool if the new Batman movie had Riddler in it?” and “That movie sucked, it didn’t have Riddler in it!” It’s fun to think about, but its simply not a valid criticism and I get really annoyed when bitchy fanboys complain that it’s not the movie they would have made instead of actually talking about film which exists in the real world. Criticism about the way the movie handles it’s *existing* story elements is a totally different thing. I am always happy when people demand the best possible execution of ideas and action sequences. But that’s different from complaining that the film is bad because, in Harry’s words, “Bullshit… BATMAN doesn’t mope around his mansion unmotivated to participate in the fucking world. He isn’t that kind of person.” That’s not criticism, its just fanboy bitching. Thankfully we usually don’t have to put up with that kind of crap around here. It just irritates me to read it elsewhere.

    Sorry if you thought I was complaining about your reasonable and fun batman fantasy or your legitimate complaints about Nolan’s poorly staged action.

  104. Knox Harrington

    July 23rd, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Gotta agree with Subtlety. It’s kinda like criticizing The Seventh Seal for not having enough car chases. Pisses me off.

    Mouth, nice shout-out to RAMBO there, fella. Now there’s a film that knows how to deliver a perfectly anticipated, perfectly edited “fuck yeah!” moment. I gets chills every time I watch that gem of a movie.

  105. Mr. S,

    I haven’t read Harry Knowles DKR review (and likely won’t ever), but that’s pretty much the reason I stopped going to AICN in the first place. Harry is just not, in my opinion, a real film critic. If you try to pretend that his “reviews” are more like blog entries, then they are passable, if dull and ungainly. But if you try to read them as criticism, they are completely awful. Rather than discuss the actual content about the film, he just issues ejaculations about his emotional response to it. “This was cool!” “This part sucked!” without anything approaching analysis.

    Like a lot of people on the internet, he seems to have confused proclaiming whether or not he likes something with film criticism. Of course, in criticism, it’s not really important if the critic liked something, or if the reader agrees with them. What matters is whether or not the critic has something insightful to say about the film, and if their arguments are well-reasoned. Neither of which are often true in Harry’s case.

  106. Dan — I’ll even tolerate “this part was cool!” as criticism. Not particularly enlightening or well-thought-out criticism, but at least it refers to the actual content of the film, however inelegantly. What I simply cannot tolerate is complaints which literally do not reference the actual content of the film. Harry spends his review whining, essentially that “Batman would never act that way.” As though Batman is some hard scientific principle that can be measured and quantified. Arguing that Batman’s actions seem contradictory given the film’s presentation of him would be a reasonable criticism. Arguing that “Batman is cool and would never go down like a chump” is simply asinine. You can argue that the story works or doesn’t work, but don’t argue that it’s bad because it’s not a different story. In fact, it reminds me of the scene from HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE where Neil Patrick Harris steals their car, but the police won’t believe them because “NPH would never do something like that!” Another example: Harry (and others) complaining that X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE was bad because there were no Aliens in it. There are plenty of reasons to criticize that film (although I’m fond of it) but “It’s a different story than I wanted to hear” is not even close to a worthwhile thought, let alone a criticism.

    Harry is pretty bad about it, but it’s all over the internet. I think my recent experience with PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS got me thinking about the issue.

  107. If I recall correctly, Harry’s review of GANGS OF NEW YORK was an epic example of this. He basically went off on a rant about how he’d rather see a movie about Daniel Day-Lewis’s character when he was younger, and just starts describing this fictional movie he made up in his mind.

    Like you said, that sort of thing can be fun, but it doesn’t count as criticism. At some point, you have to pull your head out of your ass and deal with the actual, objective content of the film you are discussing.

  108. I believe the most classic example of this type of Harry Knowles review was when he slammed The Matrix Reloaded for not having any vampires or werewolves in it.

  109. Many thanks, Mattman and Fred. You eased my ‘shit, was this the right place to download my brain like that’ paranoia that instantly popped into my mind as soon as I hit submit comment.

    Harry’s review of Dark Knight Rises is pretty appalling. A lot of people pointed out on his message boards that the things he complains Batman would never do have indeed been done by Batman at one time or another. I remember his Inception review was also quite poor, his main complaint being that the dreams weren’t dreamy enough, like it would have been better if turned into The Cell, or had skateboarding Freddy Kreuger.

    … And yet I still read his reviews. Just can’t turn my back on the big lug.

  110. Wasn’t his review of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND a bit of this, because it wasn’t at all faithfull to the “Dark Phoenix Saga”? Even though at round about the same time, he was praising the shit out of SUPERMAN RETURNS despite it’s very unflattering portrayal of the Superman character and a bunch of stuff wildly divergent from the source material (the kid, Lois being married to some other guy).

  111. In regards to Nolan’s alleged inability to give good visual, fuck guys I’m not a proponent of Inception but that’s like, one of the prettiest movies I’ve ever seen! I remember one or two bum sequences in Dark Knight, but most of it looks tits to me. The Prestige is an exquisite pulp-gothic steampunk bizarro land. I actually am surprised so much of TDKR looked as bad as it did given Nolan’s past credentials.

    And while we’re on the subject of Inception, “reams of expository dialogue” … this shit didn’t bother you in Inception? Bah. At least in TDKR it’s not a substitute for character investment.

    “I also thought the prison pit section dangerously approached cheesy ’80s training montage territory, with Wayne’s back injury recovery followed by pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups — add in some “Eye of the Tiger” instead of Hans Zimmer and you’ve got something ready & ripe for South Park parody.”

    Totally! Although in South Park wasn’t it “Push It To The Limit”?

  112. From Harry’s X-Men 3 review,

    “Now, if you have never read an X-MEN comic, if you know nothing about the PHOENIX saga and if early 1980’s Honk Kong wirework still looks miraculous to your eyes… then you’re gonna love this movie.”

    HE DOESN’T LIKE WIREWORK! He is excommunicated from nerdom.

  113. And, can the movie hurry up and open in Portugal so asimovlives can tell us whether or not our opinions about it are correct?!

  114. This flick was so dark and epic, but yet the last two seconds was so rewarding and badass which makes it the best in my opinion ending to any super hero flick. So badass….

  115. Mr. s, I’ve been very dismayed at fandom’s fear of anything different. The crowd praising THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was just so happy they got the mechanical web shooters and the wisecracks and Gwen Stacy and didn’t mess it up by adding something that’s not in the comics. Even when I suggested, don’t you want filmmakers to take risks, they said no.

    I think it’s up to artists to give audiences something they can’t imagine. I don’t quite know where the masses started dictating it, I think Joss Whedon was great at challenging his audience on BUFFY. I guess it’s easy money to just give EM what they want. We have to support the artists who are blazing new trails, or there won’t be anywhere new to go.

    DNA, thanks for the reminders. Totally didn’t remember T3 in any detail, and been too long since BB.

    And I got the pit just fine from seeing the first failed attempt.

  116. Counter apologies Mr. S, for bein a little quick on the draw. And though, I appreciate that us fanboys can get a bit carried away in our expectation of adherence to the source material, I can also appreciate Harry’s point about diverging to far from a character’s established identity. I mean, I can deal with a switch from organic as opposed to mechanical webbing just fine (provided I don’t have to hear arguments about whats “realistic”). But if the film version of Spider-Man/Peter Parker was a “C” student popular jock with girls fallen at his feet and an impending full-ride athletics scholarship, THAT would make me go, “Now wait a minute”. Though Nolan’s characterization of Bruce Wayne/Batman ultimately wasn’t enough to put me off, I can appreciate the “Now wait a minute” level of departure that a Bruce Wayne who sulks in his mansion for 8yrs in the wake of a personal tragedy represents. The just shy of psychotic nature of the Batman’s obsessive devotion/determination toward “the mission” is a pretty darn integral cornerstone of the character. This follows from another pretty integral characterizational cornerstone. He IS Batman, Bruce Wayne is the COSTUME. Bruce Wayne for all intents an purposes died that night with his parents, and something else was born. And on a side note, as a fan boy who bristles at comics not being given their due as legitimate fictional literature, I always allow myself a big inward grin at the irony of how it’s the “funny books” and cartoons (as opposed to the “obviously” more sophisticated filmatic medium) that have consistently displayed the spine to play up the more darkly tragic aspects of the character. The deftness with which the “funny books” are able to pull off the paradox of the tragedy of a man who’s obsession has consumed him and lost him any chance at a real life, yet by way of that same obsession, by way of his iron focus and commitment to the fight in an impossible to win war, comes off as a pretty stunning imbodiment of hope.

  117. I’m not going to get into this movie just yet but people like Harry Knowles irk the shit out of me as a comic book fan because it’s so obvious that they haven’t read comic books in decades. How is he going to complain about that ending when in the CANONICAL Batman books he recently was presumed dead in a river explosion which lead to Dick Grayson the original Robin taking over the cape and cowl?

    Even if we ignore RIP you still have famous non-canonical tales like THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS where Batman quits because of the death of someone close to him (Jason Todd) like Rachel. In the best media adaptation of the mythos he also retires and gives way to BATMAN BEYOND. The Earth-2 Batman who Harry’s generation should be familiar with in terms of original publication history as opposed to someone like me who caught up retroactively some decades later retired to live a nice domestic life with Catwoman while Dick Grayson kept the crime fighting legacy going.

    I don’t know. This Nolan version of Batman is one of my least favorite versions but it’s just ANOTHER version. To expect it to adhere to the comics and not do it’s own thing is an insult to the imagination of the filmmakers behind that. It’s funnier to complain about it being sin against the comics when many of it’s beats are similar to plot points found in Batman comics in the first place.

    Adaptation is a new perspective on something familiar while adhering to it’s basic themes in the case of Batman it’s duality, obsession, trauma etc. and every director even Schumacher has been faithful to that in their own right. They’ve all told the story in their own unique styles and were pretty faithful in many regards even when they also used their imagination to come up with new ways to interpret certain things. That’s what an adaptation should be. If I want the comics (which are indeed superior to the movies) then I could just go read the comics.

  118. Jareth Cutestory

    July 24th, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Ian: Knowles also said that he thinks the original MATRIX should have used TRON frisbees as weapons instead of guns, which demonstrates pretty clearly that he failed to grasp the nuances of the plot and one of the major themes of that movie.

  119. “Bruce Wayne for all intents an purposes died that night with his parents, and something else was born.”

    This is why the best scene in Burton’s first Batman movie is when V.V. finds him hanging upside down, sleeping like a bat!

  120. I’ll be honest, I never understand complaints about adaptations not being faithful to the source. What is the point of making a new work of art that is exactly the same as an old work of art? Hollywood constantly adapts popular book series and shit like that, and everyone seems to get so excited to see the book they read and loved essentially repeated exactly in film form. Why? What is the point of adapting a work to a new medium if you aren’t going to change it to fit the new medium? Why is it a bad thing if a filmmaker wants to change the story to fit their own ideas?

    I understand that people become attached to certain characters/stories/what have you, but you know… your favorite book or comic or whatever still exists. It’s still there for you to read and enjoy, exactly as it was before. A vastly altered movie adaptation doesn’t somehow retroactively change the original.

  121. I think the biggest issue with Harry’s review was that he focused too much on the 8 years between TDK and TDKR rather than on what actually happened in TDKR. Does it really affect your enjoyment of the movie knowing that Batman did nothing between movies rather than getting into epic fights with Clayface that you are never going to see anyway?

  122. I found this movie pompous and reiterative. And what about Alfred? In this movie he is a whining traitor. What the Hell? I can´t wait for the reboot. Paul Dini should be the writer.

    OK, I´m a fan of Batman comics and Batman TAS. Mask of the Phantasm is the best Batman movie ever, in my opinion.

  123. Dan, it seems like now those adaptation police are being catered to. Before they just had to deal with it. The movie wasn’t like their precious book, too bad. Now filmmakers are actually trying to please them getting as close as possible.

    Man, that guy insisting comic book movies not take risks really irked me. He’ll get his wish. Hollywood will be happy to not stretch and produce art. It’s much easier to sell him the same shit.

    I’ve realized there’s nothing I don’t like about THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I just love BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT a little more.

  124. Detective John Robin IS Above The Law

  125. Thank you for that great and very fitting review.

  126. The Original... Paul

    July 26th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “Even more to the point– if their plan was just to blow up Gotham with a nuclear device anyway, then why bother with the 5 month occupation of the city?”

    I’ll thank you for that, and point out another thing that bugged me – how the hell do they know, to the minute, when a freakin’ fusion reactor will melt down? It’s made very clear that that’s the basis of their timescale. Can you predict something like that, five months in advance, to that degree of accuracy? If so, I’d like them to tell me when my milk’s gonna go sour.

    So… just seen this movie. Weakest Nolan movie by far. I kinda like its ambition but the execution bugs the hell out of me.

    For one thing, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack. (Never EVER thought I’d be criticising that in a Batman movie after “The Dark Knight”.) I kinda like Bane’s theme – it’s the opposite of the Joker’s, where the Joker’s theme is chaotic and monotone, Bane’s is a precise military tattoo – but with that and his voice, I seriously can’t understand a fucking word he’s saying. I got maybe one in three. And my problems with the sound design don’t end there. What’s up with the scoring in this movie? I was straining to hear the dialogue in a fairly silent cinema – what the hell?

    Secondly, if you know absolutely nothing about a character before they do a face-heel turn, IT’S NOT A TWIST. Look at how the resurrection of Ras Al Ghul was handled in the first film – the scarecrow, the slow reveal of the League, the laying out of the plan, the namedropping of Ras Al Ghul as someone who’s still alive – then look at the revealing of Talia in the third one. I have difficulty believing that the same team that managed the beautiful reveal in “Batman Begins” also managed the twist in “TDKR”. How did this happen? Were any of the same writers involved?

    Thirdly, I liked Catwoman at the start of TDKR. After that… she’s pretty much a cypher. She serves no point in this movie except as a serial betrayer, and given that she IS a serial betrayer, many of her later actions don’t seem to make any sense. Why is she even sticking around? What does she feel when she sees Bane break Bruce’s back? Does she feel guilt, pleasure, vengeful? Is she a Robin Hood figure at all or is that a ruse? How far will she go to save her own skin? I don’t think I ever got the “essence” of this character. But I often don’t when they’re poorly-written characters.

    Fourthly, I believe I’ve said in these very forums that the League of Shadows might be the greatest “secret evil organisation” of any film I’ve seen. I withdraw that statement. Yep, TDKR has tainted it. It’s gone from a brillliantly subtle far-reaching all-corrupting evil with its own history and mythology, to a bunch of hired killers led by an evil scientist patriarch and his daughter. Yep, the League of Shadows has done between “Begins” and “TDKR” what the vampire society did between “Blade” and “Blade 2”. Even down to the father-daughter dynamic (although in fairness to TDKR, the daughter never rebels against her father. So there’s that.)

    Fifthly – FUCKING STOP WITH THE AWFUL PUNNING ALREADY. Especially when Batman shows off his toys. And by the way, those vehicle sections were the absolute worst parts of “Batman Begins”, with Batman driving across rooftops while Gordon and random cops made coments like “I gotta get me one of those”. Yeah, we get it, you’re here to sell merchandise, now shut the fuck up.

    I’m being harsh on this movie because I did like it, I didn’t “feel” its running time, and it was definitely enjoyable in parts. I also think it ended really well. But overall it was a frustrating experience, not helped by the awful sound design. Guys, if your soundtrack drowns out the dialogue in scenes, there’s something REALLY wrong.

  127. The Original... Paul

    July 26th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Other things that annoyed me about TDKR: too many minor characters that don’t really have any identifying characteristics. (Remember when “The Dark Knight” did this so well? How even the minor cop and gangster characters were individual and fleshed-out enough to be memorable?) And, of course, Alfred.

    Chris Nolan’s great skill is making a perfect puzzle-box movie of many parts, themes and characters that fit together into a cohesive whole. That Nolan didn’t show up for this one.

    Again… I don’t want to give the impression that I hated this movie, because I didn’t. But after “Dark Horse”, “Juan of the Dead” and now this, this is going from the year of the unknown-but-brilliant film to the year of the overrated one. That’s not a progression that I like to see.

  128. The Original... Paul

    July 26th, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    And while I’ve never read the comic books, I pretty much agree wholesale with Harry Knowles on this one: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/57109 .

  129. You guys have pretty much covered it all. Even the annoying notice ability of the shadow punches. I mean I really can’t think of anything else to add. All I’m going to say is that I don’t think it’s Nolan’s weakest (that would be INCEPTION if you ask me) but it’s definitely probably his second worst (have to rewatch his INSOMNIA remake someday but I remember not thinking much of it back then).

    If I had to rank it against the Batman movies that I watch the most it’s definitely in the bottom tier

    Mask of the Phantasm
    The Dark Knight
    Under The Red Hood
    Batman Returns
    Batman Begins
    The Dark Knight Rises
    Batman: The Movie
    Batman Forever

    and even the two I rank beneath it could be more entertaining at points especially the ’66 movie in all it’s excellence. I think BATMAN BEGINS is a really flawed movie (the over expository and boring ass monologues where every 3rd word is FEAR, pee colored camera tint, Rachel Dawes, miscasting for IMO key supporting players like Alfred, the score, Falcone, Thomas Wayne and Flass, the third act, the shitty fight scenes, Rachel Dawes, this version of the Scarecrow at his hammy worst). I honestly think you could make a way better Batman origin movie then this. Maybe someday somebody will; who knows?

    However it also has the most heartfelt live action performance of Batman/Bruce Wayne to date. As well as some good internal logic which isn’t really something I can say about TDKR. So I can’t really get how some people think it’s better than BB. It’s definitely the worst of the trilogy. However I still think it’s better than most superhero movies despite the disappointment. I certainly had a much better time at this one than that other superhero movie I saw this summer (the one that made over a billion dollars).

  130. Chopper Sullivan

    July 27th, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Wow. I actually hadn’t read aintitcool in a while. Thanks paul for reminding me there’s no reason to go there.

    Harry’s review is:

    “It ain’t the Batman I wanted! Boo hoo!”

  131. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Chopper – you don’t agree with him, then, that Bruce Wayne just letting a thief jump out of his window is bullshit? Or that Batman taking on Bane a second time in a straight fistfight, when he’s proven no match for him physically before, is bullshit? Or that the “twist” with Talia Al Ghul (that, as I pointed out above, isn’t a twist because we know NOTHING about this character) is bullshit?

    If so that’s a pity, because I absolutely do.

    Again – didn’t hate the movie, even rather enjoyed the movie in parts. But it’s so far below the standard of the second Nolan movie, and even ranks below the first Nolan movie (which is definitely flawed – I agree with Broddie pretty there although I would disagree on Alfred, Falcone or anything about the Scarecrow being bad) that it ended up being a big and frustrating disappointment.

    Plus I CANNOT FUCKING UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CHARACTERS ARE SAYING HALF THE TIME. Was I the only one who found this? Did you guys have a different cut of the movie where Zimmer’s music didn’t drown out the dialogue?

  132. Paul – I don’t think that the bullshits that you listed are bullshit. I think it is bullshit to call that shit bullshit.

    I’m gonna go in reverse order.

    3. Twist Al Ghul – this is clearly a twist (no quotes) not just because of the revelation of who she is and what her relationship is to Batman and his origins going back to movie 1, and of what has been going on in the movie in regards to how Bane knows the whereabouts of other characters, etc., but because of Nolan’s magician trick with the gender of the kid in the prison. I’m still not sure if they switched kids or not. It was well played.

    2. Second fist fight – not physically believable because of his back injury, but the movie takes great pains and screen time in explaining the logic of this victory, with Bruce having to learn the mental state necessary to climb out of the pit and defeat Bane.

    1. I saved this one for last because it’s the most obvious: Bruce let her jump out the window because he wanted to. He was obviously into her from the moment he saw her. He had a tracker on the necklace, there was no reason to hurl his gimpy ass out the window. By letting her go he gives himself an excuse to track her, use a little of the ol’ detective skills, check her out a little. And it works out extremely well. He knows what he’s doing.

    So I call bullshit on you and Harry calling bullshit

  133. Chopper Sullivan

    July 27th, 2012 at 2:03 am

    The Nolan Batman don’t give a shit about sexy thieves. The Nolan Batman exists to bust the mob. He don’t care about Joe Chill. He’s smoking the motherfucker that made Joe Chill. At the end of Dark Knight, both Joker and Two Face killed some top mob guys, and Joker burned their money up.

    Batman’s job was done. He came out of retirement to wrestle a motherfucker and to bang some chicks.

    Good for him.

  134. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Vern – I give you #1. I forgot about the tracker. Point partially withdrawn (I’d like to know how Wayne knew to put the tracker on the jewels in the first place, or why Alfred let Selina into Wayne’s bedroom, etc. But I assume there was a plan of some kind there.)

    I don’t have a problem with the gender switch in #3 either, as it’s shown to the audience. But Bruce Wayne was supposed to have spent five months in that jail, are you telling me that in all that time, he never found out that the only person ever to escape it was a girl? But that’s not really the main problem I have, it’s just a plot hole. The Dark Knight had plot holes to spare, and I loved that film.

    My main problem is with the character of Tate. We know literally NOTHING about her. She’s just sort of there. We don’t know her history. We know she’s trusted enough by Bruce Wayne that he hands her the key to the bomb, which is problematic in itself – what could inspire that kind of trust? She slept with him once, I guess? Has Bruce Wayne really gone through an Etha Hunt-type change, from the stealthy guy who uses his brain and his observation to defeat his enemies, to some thug who’s just led about by his dick? Because this is the only reason I can think of why Batman doesn’t come up with a better plan to defeat Bane. (Which I guess also deals with #2.) What happened to the Batman who used intelligence, guile and stealth? Who stuck to the shadows? Who inspired fear by the fact that he could be anyone and anywhere?

    And this is the League of Shadows (or at least, claims to be). One of the bits of the movie I DID like was near the beginning (come to think of it, the movie was so much better at the start than later on) was when all the unnoticed minor characters drew weapons and started acting as soldiers. It had a more League-of-Shadows feel to it than most of the movie did.

    Y’know, that’s as good a summary as any I’ve thought of.

    The League of Shadows has gone from being the vampire society in Blade to the vampire society in Blade 2. Not an improvement.

    Whereas Batman has gone from being Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible to Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible 3. Again, not an improvement.

  135. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 3:29 am

    On a side-note, I can’t believe I’m ripping into a Chris Nolan movie for its bad structural choices. Yuuuuck.

  136. Chopper Sullivan

    July 27th, 2012 at 3:29 am

    She was a useless character. I’ll give you that. Even after the reveal she was pointless.

    But sexy as hell.

    Good movie though. Even Jesus thinks so.


  137. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Marion Cotillard had about a third of the screen time in “Inception” as she did in this one, yet was in my opinion a far more interesting character, in spite of (or possibly because of) the fact that she wasn’t actually real.

    And oddly, given how much I’m ripping into this, I did have fun with this movie. It definitely had its good points, it’s just that the negatives were so frustrating that they’ve stuck with me more.

  138. Jareth Cutestory

    July 27th, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Marion Cotillard is a genius when it comes to making a big impression with very little screen time. She basically stole A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT out from under Amelie with only three crucial scenes and five minutes of screen time to work with.

  139. I think she’s a terribly bland actress with no type of engaging screen presence whatsoever. At least in her English language roles. I saw BIG FISH again recently and had forgotten she was even in it because she was so freaking dull in it. She was also the worst part of the otherwise excellent MIDNIGHT IN PARIS hands down. I just don’t get the hype over this chick. At all.

  140. Broddie, you don’t like Marion, but you think MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is excellent? I have nothing…

  141. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Broddie – nah, man, I can’t give you that. I know a lot of people on this site don’t like “Inception” and a few actively despise it, but that doesn’t take away from Cotillard’s performance. It’s a fantastic example of a character who’s totally unhinged – metaphorically and literally removed from any kind of reality – yet the menace that she exudes is portrayed in nothing more than the way she observes, the way she moves. It’s a fantastic performance of a character who is both in total command of herself and yet at the same time completely divorced from whatever is or might be “real”.

    I didn’t see “Midnight in Paris” (although given some of its reviews, I kinda wish I had now) and I didn’t think she was that memorable in “TDKR”. But I think she has a lot of talent and I think “Inception” showed how much she could do with a relatively small role. So I gotta go with Jareth on this one.

  142. “Fourthly, I believe I’ve said in these very forums that the League of Shadows might be the greatest “secret evil organisation” of any film I’ve seen. I withdraw that statement. Yep, TDKR has tainted it. It’s gone from a brillliantly subtle far-reaching all-corrupting evil with its own history and mythology, to a bunch of hired killers led by an evil scientist patriarch and his daughter. Yep, the League of Shadows has done between “Begins” and “TDKR” what the vampire society did between “Blade” and “Blade 2″. Even down to the father-daughter dynamic (although in fairness to TDKR, the daughter never rebels against her father. So there’s that.)”
    I thought it was clear that this WASN’T the League of Shadows that Bane/Talia were leading, but a splinter group? Hence the totally different methodology, what with Ra’s’ League being a gang of ninjas utilising a fear gas derived from a rare plant, and Talia’s being a paramilitary organisation who are staging a coup and simply going to set off a nuclear device. Bane even points out how worthless the League’s tactics of “theatricality and deception” are when used against him. Earlier in the movie Alfred says Bane is meant to have been too extreme for Ra’s, and if you compare the respective plans in both movies, you can see that. Ra’s tried to be subtle at first and bring Gotham down with economics, then when that didn’t work, he took aim at the people with the fear toxin, and all along he was working to keep their existence secret. Bane was far more direct and far more cataclysmic in that he wanted to wipe Gotham off the map, not just “restore balance”, and he didn’t care that the world knew who was responsible. And even if this IS The League, it’s just a matter of what it’s BECOME, not what it always WAS, so I don’t see how it taints the earlier version.

  143. pegsman – MIP was one of the most creative and witty movies I’ve seen in quite some time. Definitely the best thing Woody has done in ages. It is infinitely more interesting to me as a whole than any of the average performances by Ms. Cotillard.

    Paul – As one of those that actively despises it lol I can’t really be bothered to ever rewatch INCEPTION. I will say this though. Off memory alone I was more impressed by the visual aids used to point us to her character’s significance than I was by her actual performance.

    Things like having her wearing these dark colored outfits which represents that she is the darkest element of the psyche of Leo’s character. How she basically is a manifestation of his greatest regret and how that is nicely communicated by that visual prop and how Pfister framed a lot of her shots.

    Like how when the camera shifts to her the lighting is slightly off kilter showing how she’s not only a ghost haunting the man’s psyche but an unstable deeply rooted manifestation of his conflicting emotional guilt.

    If the movie had not clumsily chosen to then EXPLAIN all that later through needless exposition long after the visuals had already established it for the audience I probably would’ve appreciated it much better. But that’s Nolan for you a lot of times like in TDKR the guy despite how gifted he is just doesn’t really comprehend the importance of subtle nuances. My point though is that the technical visual elements is what sold me on the importance of that particular character much more so than her actual performance ever did.

  144. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Stu – the thing is that the League started off, in both “Begins” and “Returns”, as an organization that was working undercover. (Literally so in Bane’s case.) Probably my favorite part of TDKR was the invasion of the trading floor, with the kitchen assistant and the janitor and the homeless guy suddenly revealing their part in it when previously they’d been completely unnoticed.

    And Bane never publicly declared his allegiance – only did so to Batman, who’d know anyway. Which raises the interesting point of how Alfred knew so much about him… anyways… At one point Bane says clearly: “I am the League of Shadows”. (One of the few things he actually does say clearly. Seriously, not being able to understand so much of the dialogue just killed huge parts of the movie for me.)

    But that’s a side-issue anyway. Whether it was the League or a completely different organization, the fact remains that it was clumsily portrayed. The structure wasn’t clear, the motivations of the people involved weren’t clear, and if I hadn’t seen the first film I don’t think I would’ve had a clue what Bane / Talia were even trying to accomplish, let alone their followers (none of whom we really meet in any detail; the only one we know for certain was deceived was Daggart, who dies early on in the movie.) And even then… when Ras Al Ghul had the weapon needed to turn Gotham inside out, he used it instantly. Bane and Talia wait five months to set off their bomb? Why? Can somebody explain that to me?

  145. The Original... Paul

    July 27th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    And Broddie… honestly I don’t think it’s worth arguing the point on Cotillard because you don’t like “Inception” and I haven’t seen “Midnight in Paris”. I think Nolan’s great strength as a director has always been in his onion-skin style structuring of the narrative of his films. Everything in them – down to the smallest, most insignificant scenes or character interactions – is part of a bigger whole, everything fits together. Occasionally he drops the ball (the introduction of “limbo” in “Inception”, which was far too late and somewhat mishandled in my opinion, being one such case) but generally the strongest part of Nolan’s films is that everything in them has purpose, everything contributes towards the bigger vision. Well, that’s what I didn’t get from “TDKR”.

  146. SPOILERS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    “And even then… when Ras Al Ghul had the weapon needed to turn Gotham inside out, he used it instantly. Bane and Talia wait five months to set off their bomb? Why? Can somebody explain that to me?”

    This has been discussed a bit earlier in the thread, but the short answer is: to psychologically torture Bruce. Bane uses the metaphor of the prison pit, where the sun shining from above is the worst shit of all because it gives the inmates the false hope of possible freedom. He is going to do the same thing to Gotham’s citizenry: promising them self-determination and “follow my rules and I won’t blow you up” but then blow them up anyways, and Bruce gotta watch the city fall into anarchy and mob rule and can’t do shit about it.

    All of which is for me one of the awesomer aspects of the film. Grandiose gothic melodrama!

  147. I guess I broke the whole sight with that ellipses. I thought it would wrap around, but now my “recent comment” extends way to the right beyond the known universe…

  148. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13H_4XOFn28

    Hard not to be frustrated by the melee combat in TDKR when compared to this…

  149. I have now seen the film a second time and have to say that the pacing issues seemed less of a problem. It just seemed to flow better than I thought when I originally watched it. Maybe I just got overwhelmed by all the information and action and exposition and characterisation the first time. Also, the ending gave me a lump in my throat again, specifically when Batman asks Catwoman why she came back and she says ‘I guess we’re both just suckers, aren’t we?’ I love the resigned delivery of that line.

    The ‘why didn’t they just blow the bomb straight away?’ question has been answered repeatedly already. Bane states that the worst despair is accompanied by the illusion of hope, being able to see the sun in prison makes the suffering worse. Let’s say Bane disagrees with Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption, and goes with Red’s theory that hope is a dangerous thing, hope can drive a man insane, etc.

  150. caruso_stalker217

    July 27th, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I wonder if Bane played a mean harmonica as a younger man?

  151. With his ridiculous voice and accent, I was really expecting a twist where they would have taken off Bane’s mask to reveal that he was Sean Connery.

    Anyway, I know some people have already said they didn’t care about that particular unbelievable plot point, but I would really like to know how Bruce Wayne, who at that point has no more Alfred, no more Lucius, no more money, no more gadgets, still manages to take a plane back from Middleofnowheristan to America and sneak back into occupied Gotham City in a matter of days. I’m all for suspending disbelief but pulling off something impossible like that actually sounds like something so potentially awesome that it would be worth showing it in a Batman movie.

  152. Jareth Cutestory

    July 28th, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Broddie: I can’t disagree with you about BIG FISH; I have no memory of Cotillard being in that film. I remember her accent undermined her performance a bit in PUBLIC ENEMIES.

    I was thinking almost entirely of her French language films, particularly LA VIE EN ROSE. I’d be willing to argue that Cotillard’s performance in that film is as committed and moving (and her transformation as dramatic) as Charlize Theron’s performance in MONSTER. Whether that kind of stuff appeals to you is open to debate.

    Cotillard also gave the performance I liked most in CONTAGION, but it’s not a fireworks show like when she portrayed Piaf.

  153. About TDKR, to quote Adame West:
    ‘Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!’

  154. Sorry, should have read Adam West.

    Just got back from TDKR (ugh). It was a bit talky, had some dodgy editing and many contrivances (dna’s post seemed spot on to me in that regard).

    But it was all utterly satisfying to me. It made me unreasonably happy for them (the powers that be) to finally give Bruce Wayne a bit of his life back, after all he’s a comic book man! But I was thrilled that he got the frickin’ girl and went off to the South of France or wherever. And if they get short of cash, she can always nick something.

    Well done to those guys.

    What brought me out of it for a brief moment was that the shootout between the guerillas and the cops had sparks shooting everywhere but if you watch closely very little hits and then in the brawl there is some of the very worst film-extras-comical-pretend-crowd-fighting ever committed to the screen.

    There’s a similar daft shot in BATMAN BEGINS where one woman in the Narrows crowd is waving her hands madly in the air. Don’t look for it; you’ll never not see it again.

  155. I would like to propose that Bruce made his way from the Pit back to Gotham by means of one simple phone call to his old pal Richard Branson, the rebel billionaire.

  156. caruso_stalker217

    July 28th, 2012 at 10:31 am


    Because he’s the goddamn Batman.

  157. Can’t be Branson, he’s flying the space shuttle in SUPERMAN RETURNS.

    Either that or he’d crash his boat/balloon on the way.

  158. The Original... Paul

    July 28th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Yeah, the “illusion of hope” is put forward in the film. Trouble is it makes NO FUCKING SENSE. Bane’s not a sadist, he doesn’t want to torture Gotham’s residents, he wants to fulfil the destiny of the League of Shadows by wiping the seat of corruption off the map forever. He has the means to do this in the palm of his hands and yet he doesn’t do it.

    If he kills everybody, then everything Batman ever did for Gotham would be instantly wiped out. Everyone Batman knows would die (apart from Alfred who is God-knows-where, but presumably Bane doesn’t particularly care about him) and the city Batman told Ras Al Ghul was under his protection would be destroyed.

    So yeah, I get the point about the greatest torture being the “illusion of hope”. I just don’t buy it in the film itself. Does anybody other than Batman ever seem tortured? Have they given up? When do we even see most of the ordinary citizenry anyway? There’s no devestation, no looting (which in itself is pretty weird given that the entire prison population is released in one fell swoop); in fact the only sign we see that I can think of of anybody being “tortured” as a result of this is the show-trials that the Scarecrow puts on. And it’s not like that guy was exactly sane in the first place.

    What Talia and Bane are effectively doing is postponing the purge of Gotham to keep hope alive in one man that both of them hate. And that man has sworn to stop the purge, and is completely powerless to do so. You see why I’m not buying this?

  159. Bane’s not a sadist? That’s why he gives Batman a drawn out pummelling while at the same time critiquing and mocking his fighting techniques. Nope, nothing sadistic there. His illusion of hope torture makes as much sense as it needs to.

    I really don’t get why so many people are trying to pull apart every tiny little detail of the film. Can I put forward a nit-unpick for one of the nitpicks that I’ve read?

    Someone said that Bruce didn’t learn anything between the first and second fight that could lead him to beat Bane. Balls. He learns about Bane’s mask from the inmate in the prison. At the time of the first fight he has no idea what the mask does, so doesn’t aim any punches at it. When imprisoned, the inmate specifically tells him the mask stops Bane’s pain, so that’s what Batman attacks in the second fight, knowing it’s Bane’s achilles heel. Nit unpicked satisfactorily?

  160. The whole mask thing is pretty stupid… Like Batman really couldn’t figure out it by himself. “WHAT? Punching the guy in the face will… HURT HIM? NO WAY!”

  161. The Original... Paul

    July 28th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Jimbolo – not really, since it still doesn’t explain why the hell Batman is taking this guy on fist-to-fist in the first place. The first time I can understand, since he was trapped. The second time, not so much.

    And I didn’t say he doesn’t HATE Batman. He and Talia plainly do – him for Wayne’s treachery, Talia for him being responsible for the death of her father. I understand why Bane wants this guy alive and suffering and rotting in jail with a broken back. I don’t for the life of me understand why they would risk everything they stand for, plus the opportunity to destroy Wayne’s life’s work at a stroke, in order to give him the “illusion of hope”. It’s one of those things that bugged me a bit while I was watching the film, and the more I think about it the more dumb it sounds.

    Again – didn’t hate the film, just didn’t think it had much of the things Nolan does so well. I’m strugging with which film is better, this or the “Avengers” movie… I had major problems with both but there were definitely parts of both that I really enjoyed as well. On the whole, if I had to pick one of them to rewatch, it would probably be “The Avengers”, simply because the bits that were fun were a LOT of fun. I didn’t get much out of this movie. And it depresses the hell out of me that I’m saying that.

  162. Paul, since I’m no big fan of Nolan perhaps you could explain to me just what he “does so well”?

  163. I’m still waiting patiently for Mr. Majestyk to weigh in on DARK KNIGHT RISES. Howabout it Mr. M?

  164. Nope. Staying out of this one. $13.50 is a lot of money to pay for something there’s no reason to think you’ll like, just to have an opinion on it. I’ll see it someday, when Batman’s not so heavy a subject.

    Thanks for the interest, though.

  165. I paid 15 bucks a seat for comfy leather rockers, good sound, and a big screen. I was quite happy with it. Not afraid to admit I like it better than Begins but not as much as Dark Knight. I thought a few things about the ending and the twist were a little obvious and telegraphed early in the movie, but that still didn’t stop my enjoyment.

    I agree though that the issue of timing was a bit strange. Time passing in the city while under siege worked for me, but I didn’t realize how much time had passed between Bruce seeing Catwoman steal the pearls and the actual time he wet back to being Batman until they mentioned he worked on the Bat for months before the final explosion. And I had no problem accepting Bruce could fly the Bat (It’s Bruce fucking Wayne!), but Catwoman on the cycle bugged me a bit.

    Anne Hathaway was wonderful, as was Tom Hardy. I would also pay to see a JGL Nightwing movie.

  166. Oh, I didn’t catch that about the time passage. Maybe that would convince me of the flying abilities. I’ll pay attention to that when I get a chance to see it again.

  167. I just thought that Bruce Wayne had these skills because he would pretend to be a billionaire playboy in the mould of Thomas Crown and so learn to glide, fly, sail, drive and play polo like Steve McQueen. Who wouldn’t? It would all help him anyhow.

  168. I think they said seven or eight months before, which means he had two or three to work on it if you minus the occupation time of five months.

  169. Watched TDKR a few days ago, enjoyed it even more than the previous ones. Thought it was the best Batman yet. The movie is a mess, its all over the place….crazy fucking movie. I love it!

  170. The Original... Paul

    July 30th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Pegsman – I think he’s the strongest filmmaker out there for making a particular type of movie that requires a very strong structure. Every scene and character has its use and its place. Everything is well-defined, everything fits into an overall vision. It’s always clear where you are, geographically and chronologically speaking. All of this leaves you free to concentrate on the movie, not trying to work out what’s going on where.

    “Memento” had this. “Batman Begins” had this, although to a lesser extent. “The Dark Knight” had this (and note that TDK had plotholes coming out of its anus, but it almost didn’t matter because the film was so well-made). “Inception” had this (although it fell down a bit on the concept of “Limbo” not being introduced until the heist.)

    “The Dark Knight Rises”… didn’t have this. At all. Marion Cotillard’s character never really seemed to have a “point” until the twist was revealed. And even after that, she didn’t seem to actually do much that Bane couldn’t have done also. The passage of time wasn’t clear, the locations in the big finale weren’t clear, many of the characters were forgettable (again, going back to TDK, is there ANY character in it with a speaking part that doesn’t have a clear, distinct personality? Think of all the mafia guys of different backgrounds, all the cops, Reece, the TV anchorman that pops up sporadically throughout the film before his death, even the people on the boats at the end.) I was struggling to figure out things that I should have known without having to think about them. It took me out of the movie.

    Damn, I don’t think I’ve ever critiqued a movie I actually quite liked this much. I guess if “Star Wars” has taught us anything, it’s that frustrated fans are the most vitriolic of critics. Oh well…

  171. Paul – Well said, I agree with almost all the points you make. Sadly though, unlike you I can’t quite look past them and still really like this thing. It’s just too messy, too unwieldy, so many plotholes and things that didn’t click for me. But what bothers me the most is the patented Nolan-style non-action. I still can’t figure out whether the guy is just really bored with doing action but wants to do it himself anyway, or that he actually likes doing that stuff but just doesn’t understand a single thing about how to make it work. The weird thing is, it’s probably the latter, seeing as he added that whole snow sequence to Inception because he would love to do a Bond film. Let’s just hope he never actually gets to do one, huh?

  172. The Original... Paul

    July 30th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Mike – I didn’t have a problem with the action scenes in “Inception” (which is kinda weird for somebody who doesn’t like slow-mo. Then again, I don’t like UNNECESSARY slow-mo, and that wasn’t.) My problem with the fights in TDKR was that, again, I didn’t understand why they were there. With regard to the fights between Batman and Bane, I think your “non-action” is a good way to describe it… even the moment when Bane breaks Batman’s back didn’t seem to have any really visceral “impact”. Why that was, I’m not sure, there are other people on this site who I’m certain could do more justice to that topic than I can (so many action filmography discussions here!)

    And I didn’t “really like” this film. “Quite like” I can say, because it had some good spectacle, if nothing else, and I do like a film that strives to be ambitious even when the execution is flawed. But I also feel as though “Batman Begins” beat it in terms of creating a consistent “theme” and a really great antagonist secret society, “The Dark Knight” beat it in terms of a great memorable villain and just telling a fantastic story that takes the audience on a journey, and “The Avengers” beat it in terms of having moments that were just plain fun. It just didn’t do anything special for me.

    And yeah, I don’t want to see Nolan do a Bond film, although if he went for something like a “Living Daylights” feel (my personal favorite “Bond” movie) I think it might work. That film was heavy on plot, intrigue, and some really great villains – and as such would’ve played right into Nolan’s strengths IMO.

  173. Thanks for the insight, Paul. I agree with you in that Nolan’s no action director – much like Burton and Schumacher in their day, why can’t we get a director who can do some decent action in this series? – but I would still like to see him do a Bond movie. If Mendes’ Skyfall turns out as good as it looks in the trailer (trailer #2 later today), I think the Broccolis will open up for high profile directors who want a Bond movie on their cv. Though I would much prefer Soderbergh over Nolan.

  174. Something occurred to me as I pondered TDKR today.

    Sort of Spoilers—

    If Bruce Wayne was in the prison for even a couple of months, how did he have any kind of repeat conversation about the escapee without at least noticing some discrepancies in gender and possibly identity? Especially considering one of them was translating for the surgeon. They can’t have continually referred to ‘the child’ as ‘the child’. Nobody talks like that, even in comics. I can imagine Chris Nolan determined he had to be very parsimonious with those wee talks between the inmates.

    Either that or Bruce Wayne was not at all curious as to how the escapee escapee’d.

    Still thought it was excellent, though. It must have been very fulfilling to film the final scene, I think

  175. The Original... Paul

    July 31st, 2012 at 10:41 am

    “If Bruce Wayne was in the prison for even a couple of months, how did he have any kind of repeat conversation about the escapee without at least noticing some discrepancies in gender and possibly identity?”

    A question I asked myself in the thread above. But I can top it. If Ras Al Ghul appeared to Bruce Wayne in a dream, how the hell did Bruce connect him with Bane at all?

  176. The Ra’s cameo was vague enough to suggest he was a ghost or in a dream but yeah,you’re absolutely right – those actually makes no sense as he actually imparts information to Bruce.

    I like to think it WAS Ra’s and he’s gone all Obi-Wan on us.

    In other Batnews, the trailer for The Dark Knight Returns – Part One hit the net today – check it out:


  177. Original… Paul

    I missed that in your posts, but I’m glad it wasn’t just me thinking it – at least my brain is still partially working.

  178. That ´escapee´ discrepancy is one I am willing to forget, but I tip my hat off to The Limey for acknowleding that. The Ras Al Ghul hallucination connecting him to Bane has more to do with Wayne´s own imagination,since that probably made sense at the time for him.

  179. It might also have been a plot device to throw off the audience

  180. As to how Bruce gets back to Gotham so fast…well for one, I’m reading elsewhere that there was actually 23 days left on the clock when he makes his final attempt. Can’t really confirm that without seeing the film again. But after he gets out of the hole he DOES toss a rope back down inside. It’s entirely possible that he helped other prisoners get out, and they, either out of gratitude or awe of him making the escape, simply helped him get back to the States using their contacts. As to how he got into the City…well, while Gotham CITY is isolated, is Gotham COUNTY? The Manor is out in the countryside, beyond the city limits, and probably over one of the bridges that got destroyed. It’s part of the mainland. So all the resources he’d have at the Batcave would still be available. Including The Bat, if he didn’t leave it in the City before Bane broke him. Even if he did, he’s got a grappling gun, ninja skills and a cape that allows him to glid, so I’m sure you can imagine how they could be used to cross UNDER one of the bridges back into the city.

  181. It is quite possible that “the child’s” gender was hidden from other prisoners. I know that as a mother stranded in a prison full of men (Um, not that I am in that situation. Just saying.), few outside my protector and maybe the addict doctor would know that she was female. Already enough issues with “the child” being a child in a prison most likely full of sex-starved men, some of whom may actually be criminals of a perverted nature. The doctor may have been so used to concealing her identity that it never occurred to admit in the stories that she was female.

    It may also be a cultural thing, but I’m not getting into that aspect. Or the simplest answer: They just didn’t.

  182. So, our pal Dan Prestwich pointed me to this Nolan quite:

    “We throw a lot of things against the wall to see if it sticks. We put a lot of interesting questions in the air, but that’s simply a backdrop for the story. What we’re really trying to do is show the cracks of society, show the conflicts that somebody would try to wedge open. We’re going to get wildly different interpretations of what the film is supporting and not supporting, but it’s not doing any of those things.”

    In other words, the reason the subtext about these movies seems so murky and ambiguous… is because it’s not really subtext, its just ideas some ideas they were tossing around and figured they’d throw in somewhere, why not. But wait, does he honestly think that’s a good thing? It just means the movies are even more superficial than they appear… and to me, the superficial stuff is the most problematic, what with the action sequences being all over the place, the plot holes being numerous, the narrative being torturously convoluted. I liked it better when I thought they were jumbled movies about something, rather than jumbled movies about nothing.

  183. Haven’t seen DKR yet, but at least in terms of DK someone (not me) could make the argument that the films have a certain zeitgeist element, trying to capture the spirit of the times in a powerful way, even if the films don’t actually comment on the issues they raise.

  184. The Original... Paul

    August 1st, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Karlos – I actually hope the “Ras Al Ghul is immortal”-sayers are correct. But unfortunately it didn’t come through in the movie itself.

    Mr S – Given that I referred to the Dark Knight (second film) as “a perfect puzzle-box”, I think Nolan HAD to have been working with a very strong plan from the start in terms of what to do with the characters, how they are portrayed, and how they relate to the main themes and storyline within the movie. But that Nolan quote definitely sounds like “The Dark Knight Rises”, and I agree, it’s not a good thing at all. “Superficial” seems like a good description actually… again, I did like “Rises” somewhat, but that pretty much explains all the major problems I had with it.

  185. ANoniMouse

    Good point – perhaps they were protecting a kid from harsh times and got used to it. Yes, I can accept that, not that i had a massive problem with it – movie logic doesn’t have to be real for me. Thank you, though – that has improved it no end!

  186. This movie is very good. Really good. Christopher Nolan good. Top notch.

    It’s nny to se so much divided opinions on this movie, and yet manyclaim the movie before as great and the best, but the ting is, when THE DARK KN IGHT was releasethere was divide opinons among the geekry as well then. ears later an the geekry seems to have forgotten about that an now it’s almost unanimously claimed the bet of he saga. el, given past history, i say it’s too soon to make a definitive statment. Let’s seewhat they will say about THE DARK KNIGHT RISES a few years down the line.

    Bu the movie is damn good!

  187. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Asimov – damn, I didn’t even hate this movie. I thought it was ok. I certainly didn’t think it was anywhere near as bad as “Prometheus”. And yet it seems “TDKR” will be to me what “Prometheus” was to you.

    To recap my previous posts, I thought TDKR was: dumb, badly-directed, badly-scripted, and bizarrely had the worst sound design I’ve heard this year (bizarrely because I think “The Dark Knight” had probably the BEST sound design of its respective year, and it was done by the same guy) to the point where I couldn’t tell what half the characters were supposed to be saying, and when I DID hear the dialogue it was either “Lord of the Rings”-style pomposities, scene-stopping exposition, or painfully bad one-liners. The fights weren’t good, the characters weren’t memorable, the twists were shoddily done, Batman hardly appears, and the whole thing just stank of high ambition but bad execution. Yep, “Prometheus” again.

    Again, I’m sure I’d be a lot easier on this film if it wasn’t Christopher Nolan making it. Thing is, I’d call every film of his that I’ve seen “great” without hesitation, except this one. Which is merely ok. Hey, I gave freakin’ “Rush Hour”, by Brett Ratner, a pretty positive review, having gone in with low expectations and having had them pleasantly exceeded. And had this been by Ratner I probably would’ve been saying the same thing. Trouble is, it isn’t by Ratner or one of his ilk – it just feels like it is. It feels like the rushed work of a studio hack who’s been paid to get the thing done in three months, regardless of quality, so that they’ll get the summer crowds in. Feels like Nolan just lost interest in where this was going.

  188. I’ve finally seen THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and can fully agree with OriginalPaul’s statement. I like the movies of Christopher Nolan and would have never thought that he was able to do something so bad.

    It sounds like hyperbole if you start listing everything that was wrong with this movie. Most things are already said and I don’t have much do add to the as always very thoughtful discussion.

    I just have to admit that I and my friend, a Christopher Nolan fanboy if there ever was one, startet to laugh till the terrible finale. We just couldn’t hold it back.

    Until the finale I was already very disappointed with the pointless and redundant story that was told, the messy and powerless way the story was told, the awful editing and the not much better directing, especially if you view film as a visual artform.


    But the showdown was hilariously bad, with Batman sending the police in the battle without giving them air backup with his highly armed Bat, instead landing somwhere to start a fistfight. This was just such a dumb and unresponsible move, such a medioce superhero cliche.

    Then came the final fight with Bane, that was so underwhelming in it’s impact, so badly filmed and so dumb in it’s solution with Bane’s mask. Batman didn’t even kill Bane, I don’t know if anyone did because I just saw that he was thrown away from the blast of Catwoman’s shot. They couldn’t even show the death of Bane?

    But the comedy hadn’t even started. We had to endure the terribly staged and terribly slow chase after the truck with the the nuclear weapon. The truck finally crashed to show us the death scene of Miranda Tate. I haven’t seen such a terribly directed and acted death scene in a professional motion picture for years, but we were not the only one’s who couldn’t hold it back and started to laugh.

    We didn’t stop laughing during Batmans flight with the nuclear bomb an the children in the schoolbus screaming “It’s Batman!”.

    I had tears in my eyes when the people of Gotham appplauded when they watched the explosion of a nuclear bomb in sighting distance.

    A really mediocre movie with a really bad finale.

  189. ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE????!!!!

  190. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    August 6th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Ok, I didn’t read this before I posted anything above, but this guy gets it. He points out how TDKR does basically none of the things that Nolan does best, which is what I thought, but then goes into so much more detail about it:


    I love the Film Critic Hulk. He takes what I’m thinking and articulates it better than I ever could. And don’t get me wrong, I love me some Vern, but get him on “Kill List” or me on “Blade 2” to see just how much our opinions can differ. Which is good; I’m a firm believer that it’s good to read opinions that don’t match your own. Keeps you thinking, stops you from getting too complacent. (Although recently it’ll probably cost me about a hundred pounds’ worth of re-watching various films: Alien 3, Sudden Impact, Alien Resurrection, some Todd Solondz…)

  191. S


    I was not the biggest fan of THE DARK KNIGHT, I consider it a flawed movie with some remarkable moments and performances. This movie pales in comparison. Where TDK’s villian is scary, brilliant, twisted, and dangerous, Bane is not a whole lot more than an intimidating physical presence. There are a few attempts to make him seem like an evil genius of sorts such as him sitting around a bunch of computers in the sewers, uploading viruses to the Stock Exchange (wait that seemed to be his henchman who was in charge), coming up with a devilish plan to seal off the island and hold the entire city hostage, etc. But in retrospect these all seem to be the work of his boss. The Joker was a lone wolf who drew in accomplices through deceit and cast them away with frightening speed as they outlived their use. The fact that he could get so much done with so little resources required showed his brilliance. Bane seems to have thousands of loyal followers who are willing to die for his cause. It doesn’t matter a whole lot that he’s big and powerful. It just allows him to beat up Batman a few times but who cares? In the meantime he gets on your nerves making preachy speeches in his ridiculous Sean Connery accent.

    Speaking of which, I have become more and more irritated with Christopher Nolan’s sound design. Every single conversation has to be soooo dramatic that it requires that same deep brass section droning building up in the background. Nolan got a lot of grief for the Bat-voice, which we are thankfully spared in TDKR for the most part, but instead we get Bane’s super amplified and distorted voice. I could barely understand him half the time. Why would a anasthetic gas distributor or whatever that thing is on his face make Bane sound so loud? You would think it would be the opposite (quieter). Does he have a loudspeaker built into his mask?? It doesn’t matter, Nolan seems to just think that highly modified voices are cool so there ya go.

    The most interesting thing in TDKR (to me anyway) was the meditation on aging. Batman’s knees are shot and Alfred looks like he’s got one foot in the grave. After the first hour (which I found much more interesting than the last 2, contrary to most people’s opinions it seems) this is sort of hand-waved. Bruce Wayne’s long recuperation after getting beat up by Bane doesn’t seem affected by his age or worn-down body. He just needed to believe in himself, or something. Or just go without the safety net.

    Another thing that bothered me about the movie was the overuse of movie cliches. You can’t climb the wall unless you let go and work without a net. The loyal servant must resign as an attempt to save his master’s life. The mercenary can either take off and save her neck or maybe possibly (who knows!) return at the last second and save the day, perhaps even with a wry joke as icing on the cake. That one was painful.

    My opinion on the series…

    BATMAN BEGINS: Good reboot but doesn’t age particularly well — tiresome on re-watch.
    THE DARK KNIGHT: Fantastic but flawed, worth a re-watch any time for its fantastic set pieces and action scenes and for its main villian.
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Okay. I doubt it will age well, and I don’t have any desire to ever see it again.

  192. Man, I hope not. That is just a terrible, terrible idea. Let the Nolan movies continue to exist in a world with no magic flying green man with a space ring, as I’m pretty sure that was what they were going for, was that it doesn’t take place in a world with that.

    And no disrespect to Mr. Gordon Levitt, but if anybody right now wants to see Superman flying around with a young, short, not-Bruce-Wayne Batman I don’t think they’re gonna still feel that way 3 years from now. Leave it alone, people.

    Dolph for Batman.

  193. I find it hard to believe that JGL wants to do that. He doesn’t need the money and they wouldn’t have a contract on him. Nolan wouldn’t have allowed the movie to be set up that way.

  194. Is it gonna have Anne Hathaway as Catwoman? Cuz I would like to see more of her in that role. Best supporting actressing of 2012 so far.

    Actually, I wish she had had a bigger part in TDKR.

    Actually, I wish she had had all the parts in TDKR somehow.

  195. “I find it hard to believe that JGL wants to do that. ”
    I dunno. He DID play Cobra Commander.

  196. JGL’s reps have totally denied that report.

  197. Well, here it is, fellas. The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

    For the first 470 minutes of this 685-minute motion picture that I watched out of completism/masochism, I was pretty sure I was gonna have my standard Nolan-era Batman reaction: well produced, overscored, boringly shot, tediously plotted, stultifyingly portentous, unaware of its own ridiculousness, good vehicle stuff, shitty hand-to-hand, laughable leading man but great supporting cast. In general, much ado about not much. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t eventually kind of win me over. (SPOILER: I will not be damned. It did kind of win me over.)

    I think the difference is that the other ones started great but ended shitty, leaving a general bad taste in the mouth. This one started shitty (Never was a simple “ticking time bomb” plot set up so laboriously) but ended great. Even though there was a less favorable minute-by-minute suck-to-badass ratio than THE DARK KNIGHT (I still find BEGINS to be an almost complete waste of time), at least it stuck the landing. I actually got a little bit choked up when they unveiled the statue, even though I knew damn well that Bruce Wayne still had a date with an espresso and biscotti in his near future. Up until the big climax, I was pretty sure I would have liked the movie more if Batman hadn’t been in it (my general feeling about the whole series being that Nolan would have preferred it that way, too) but the ending finally secured the character’s place in his own franchise. So…congratulations?

    Anyway, I’m glad I can finally sort of kind of maybe be a little bit onboard with the rest of the world’s previously inexplicable adoration of these movies. I’m glad they quit while they were ahead, though. I don’t need to see Nolan’s version of Killer Croc.

  198. The movie taught me that one man really can make a difference, as long as he has an invincible heavily-armed hovercraft.

  199. I think there’s a little invincible heavily-armed hovercraft in us all.

  200. So are you gonna do a full on review, a counterpoint to your epic slugfest with THE DARK KNIGHT, or are you just gonna leave it at that?

  201. Nah, I’m done. I don’t care about what the movie has to say about These Times We Live In, and there are a million plot nitpicks and stylistic complaints, but really, who gives a shit? It’s not worth it. The climax had momentum and scope and a little gravitas and catharsis. I enjoyed myself. The franchise is offering me an exit ramp, and I’m taking it while we’re still uneasy allies.

  202. I doubt I’ll re-watch any of the Nolan BATMANs for many years, if ever, other than the heists/chases/extractions in TDK and the Nurse Ledger bit.

    The cartoon versions of the funny books continue to interest me, though. I don’t know why. I’m actually just about to see cartoon BATMAN: YEAR ONE (2011), which is a story I enjoyed in paper form.

  203. Yeah I saw Batman: Year One on Netflix Instant – there’s some good stuff in there, but I definitely lean towards the more fantastical animated DTV’s if that makes any sense. I saw some report showing the declining disc sales of those movies, and I can see why – not only are they always on Netflix (and I appreciate that) but they’re almost always barely more than an hour long. It’s just nothing I’d ever see myself owning, even though most of them are very very good.

    Speaking of other DC DTV’s on instant – Superman vs. The Elite is like an awesome superpowered remake of Magnum Force, and there’s a very good Justice League movie with James Woods, I forgot what it’s called. They’re all good. Easily the best one of them is All-Star Superman – it’s a bunch of vignettes and very episodic, but it’s got a great overall story and is very emotional. Hopefully the live action one next summer comes close.

  204. BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD is good too, as it has good action, but is a story about Batman being questioned on his rigid code to knock kill vs. the cost of it.
    JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER is my favourite DC animated movie because it melds the issues of the era with the goofy silver age stuff so well, and it focuses on the second tier characters more. I recommend the comic though because it just has MORE in it though, like the prologue on the island culminating in a suicide bombing attack on a T-Rex.

    I liked Superman vs. The Elite with the exception of how they pointlessly tweaked the ending from SPOILER

    Black making Superman think Lois was dead and giving him all the more reason to use lethal force, only for Superman to hold true to his convictions and take him alive,

    To instead have Superman be the one who tricks Black and fakes everything, because that doesn’t really prove Superman can’t be broken.


    I think the sales are declining on those have more to do with the fact they’re doing so many adaptations these days instead of original stories, and they’re so slavish to the source material a lot of the time it can be a bit redundant to watch the movie. Also, they really ought to give more movies to characters besides Batman, Superman and the Justice League. I’d love a Flash one myself.

  205. I haven’t seen the newer animated ones, but the original Batman animated series (with Kevin Conroy as Batman) is in my opinion something of a masterpiece, particularly before the animation style changed and Poison Ivy got less buxom. Not that those two have anything to do with each other. Ahem. But seriously, the series is defined by a very serious interpretation of the comics that also doesn’t apologize for it’s more fantastical elements. The animation is evocative, unique and beautiful, and it has a fantastic cast including Mark Hamill, David Warner, Ron Perlman, Roddy McDowell, and John Glover. Easily better and more consistent with the source material than any live action attempt to date.

  206. I was thinking about Batman recently and what a lot of people expect him to be. And most people think that he should be portrayed as dark as possible, but I then I hear people say this: “Batman does not kill people” and then I thought what kind of middleway halfassed bullshit is that? Either you go dark or you go kiddie. For me its no middle ground and now I´m actually starting to hate Batman , because he is just a pussified Punisher without a license to kill.

    So, why can´t Batman kill? I don´t think I have ever truly understood the character at all when this shit confuses me.

  207. Most superheroes don’t kill. It’s part of the code they follow that supposedly sets them apart from simple vigilantes. Of course, from a practical standpoint, it means that they can keep the same nemeses around for 80 years. You can’t go around murdering valuable corporate trademarks like that. Punisher is actually the anomaly, and other superheroes are always giving him shit about it. They think he’s just as bad as the criminals he kils, but it’s rare when Big Pun has to fight the same guy twice, whereas Batman has been waging war with the Joker since 1940, with collateral damage somewhere in the low six digits. So whose code is actually more beneficial for the public at large?

  208. When Batman started out in the 30s, he killed. Sometimes in really fucked up ways for a kids funny book(he once put down a rampaging man by flying over him in a gyrocopter and throwing a noose around his neck). But there was a whole thing about comics being seen as a corrupting influence, so they became more kid friendly. The modern in-story reason for Batman not wanting to kill stems from a couple of reason
    1. He got into this to stop anyone else from dying. The promise he made was to make sure no one else ever had to go through what he did, so he’ll beat on villains, but not go too far
    2. In general, his parents raised him better. His dad was a surgeon and his mother was a humanitarian. He knows on some level they’d disapprove at least in some of his methods, but if he was a lethal force user, it’d be a real dishonour to them
    3. Batman (and most superheroes) act within the tolerance of the authorities. In Batman’s specific case, a lot of even the goods cops have been shown to be at least mildly resentful of Batman doing their work for them and making them look bad, but again, they know they need him and they at least accept that he’s got a code he works by. If he started killing people, he’d go from being a borderline outlaw to a full fledged wanted vigilante. Gordon’s even said so explicitly.
    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRiX5Mh2YCo (SPOILERS for Under The Red Hood)

  209. To be fair, it’s something they depict him as struggling with every now and then and the way it’s written it could be seen as a major character flaw, as his related characters do follow the same rules, but are much more vocal and conflicted about thinking that killing these guys. There was a story where Joker was on trial for a crime, and usually he just pleads insanity. He insists he didn’t do it though(it didn’t help that he showed up at the scene of the crime to commit a seperate group of murders), so instead pleads not guilty. He’s found guilty and sentenced to death. In the lead up the execution, Batman starts to believe Joker and looks into it, while Gordon and other allies have the position that even if he was innocent, he deserves to die for everything else he’s done. Batman responds that even so, if he’s innocent of this, then there’s someone out there who committed murder and needs to be brought in. Of course he finds who did it and stops the Joker’s execution in time, but of course, it’s not a happy ending, because he knows that things would probably be a lot better if Joker had died.

  210. Stu – that´s a pretty cool story. The morally ambiuity of it is fascinating. I hope they kind of deal with a similar story in future Bat-movies. That would be really nice. Without a “685 minute” -running time

  211. I thought UNDER THE RED HOOD did a good job of dealing with Batman not killing the Joker. I kind of hated him for it, but his explanation of it sending him down a darker path that he wouldn’t come back from worked for me.

    Anyone else see the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS adaptation? Part two is coming out pretty soon, and while a lot of the geeks nitpicked part one I thought it was the best Batman thing I’ve seen outside of the Animated Series.

  212. I liked part one too. Only disappointment with it was that they didn’t go with the voiceover narration. Also I would have liked Michael Ironside to reprise the voice from when they did a little short tribute to it in BTAS, but Weller was a fine choice too.

  213. If you like the DC animated stuff you NEED to watch Young Justice. The Justice League make their sidekicks like Robin, Miss Martian etc. into a sort of black ops team. Batman (voiced by Bruce Greenwood) gives them their missions, Black Canary trains them and is their psychiatrist. I didn’t think I would like a show about Superboy and characters like that, but after watching the first season I think it’s easily the best DC show since Batman. It’s structured like Buffy, with standalone stories that start building into a larger story over the season. The characters develop, relationships evolve, they pick up new team members (and pets), villainous plots unexpectedly tie into each other, and you get really invested in it like a soap opera.

    There’s this scene where Robin is doing gymnastics training and he’s in a bad mood because of jealousy over Batman working with Aqua Lad on something. Alfred figures this out and tells Batman, suddenly he comes in as Bruce Wayne and tosses Robin a basketball. I teared up.

    They’re really good about giving each of the heroes things to do in the action scenes, plus they all have their own emotional torment to deal with. For example Superboy is a clone of Superman and wants him to be a father figure, but Superman doesn’t know how to talk to him and gives him the cold shoulder.

    I love the Bruce Timm animation style, but it’s so imitated over the years I like that this show is a little more detailed and less cartoony.

    Even Aqua Lad is cool in this show! He might even be the coolest one.

    Unfortunately there’s only 2 seasons and they haven’t promised a third so far.

  214. Stu is right that JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER is the best Batman (or “favourite [sic] DC) cartoon yet. Probably my favorite Batman movie period.

    I haven’t read whatever book[s] that’s based on, but that’s the one cartoon comic movie I can unreservedly recommend to anyone.

    The scenes with The Flash are pretty amazing, and the outer space fight scene involving human Green Lantern & Superman (iIrc — I need to re-watch.) is fucking breathtaking. Like, I had no expectations at all, expected it to be boring & silly if anything, but I was blown away by a lot of this movie.

    And neal2zod is spot on with the other analysis. The new Batman cartoon movies are too literal, a little uninspired, and the voice work often abuses the imagination by unilaterally insistently replacing with particular [star] actors’ voices whatever vocals you had in your head’s concept of the dialogue from your personal reading of the text.

    But the one good thing is that the action & fight scenes in these cartoon Batman movie versions are more fully realized than anything in the funny papers. So we actually see the punches, kicks, tosses, explosions, and shootouts in fluid motion, with real point-A-to-point-B-to-point-C continuity & consequences, real punches landing, something resembling real action (and never post-action), instead of the panel-to-panel-to-panel format that tends to favor shortcuts & choppy expressionism.

    Other than that, yeah, the books are better.

    I’m putting off seeing the ALL STAR SUPERMAN movie, b/c I just started reading it in my local Barnes & Noble. I’m on chapter 4, I think. Lois Lane just put on a Super-costume.

  215. I really like too how the NEW FRONTIER comic manages to pull off making a bunch of vignettes worth being there and not really breaking up the flow of the story. Like for instance, the boxing match in the first Flash scene is a whole thing unto itself:
    And John Henry gets some more scenes:
    Dawrwyn Cooke also has a collection of his Batman stuff (written and drawn) called “Ego and Other Tails”, which has the excellent Catwoman heist story “Selina’s Big Score” which is a big Parker homage(not surprising that he went on to the Graphic Novel’s of The Hunter, The Outfit and The Score).

  216. UNDER THE RED HOOD is a good Batman yarn, but I really hate that whole ‘dark path’ explanation for Batman not killing. I prefer to think Batman doesn’t kill because he’s got a moral code (even/especially if it’s flawed or illogical) rather than that he’s a murderous vigilante barely keeping himself under control. I mean, I like the Punisher more than any man should, but please keep him away from my Batman. Yes, I know he used a gun and killed back in the 30s, back when he was a transparent, one-dimensional rip-off of The Shadow.

    ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is my favourite Superman comic ever, combining Silver Age creativity, genuine human emotion (a single, manly tear may have rolled down my cheek at some points) and one of the best portrayals of Lex Luthor in any medium. The animated movie is pretty good but pretty redundant if you’ve read the comics. Plus James Denton was a pretty terrible Superman. I like ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN too, but for altogether different reasons.

  217. Man, Dark Knight Returns part two kinda stunk. Awful stuff from Peter Weller.

    Ah well, you can’t win ’em all.

  218. So thoughts everybody on Bale returning for JUSTICE LEAGUE as [Redacted] with Nolan/Snyder producing with Snyder possibly directing? At least thats what Latino Review is swearing last night.

    Cynically and artistically I can question the logic and whether this is even a good idea or not, but my inner nerd is doing cartwheels. I’ll admit it.

    God, 2015 will be Year of the Nerd won’t it? If this JUSTICE LEAGUE happens, we’ll also have AVENGERS 2, ANT-MAN, STAR WARS Episode 7, FANTASTIC FOUR reboot, and more more more…

  219. Wow. I doubt that’s true (Latino Review also got the “scoop” that Harrison Ford will play Han Solo again, a story that no one else has backed up nearly a month later), but if it is, way to think inside the box that’s inside the box, conveniently located inside another box, Warner Bros. I’m sure Bale and Nolan’s approach to the character will fit perfectly in a film about an alien in a red cape who hangs out with a bright green Martian and a chick in a star-spangled bikini.

    They do realize that one guy doesn’t draw every comic book, right? This habit of handing over the reins of the entire universe to one pretentious Brit is the reason I stopped reading DC Comics in the first place.

  220. In any case, I’m sure the final decision won’t be made until after MAN OF STEEL’s box office receipts come in.

    I used to be excited for that movie.

  221. I don´t know if I should laugh or get depressed watching the trailer for MAN OF STEEL. Depressed because its so bleak and depressing or laugh just because it seem to be bleak and depressing. Anyway, i am not excited for a dead serious Supermanmovie, since I´ve had a hard time taken him seriously in the first place.

  222. I just wanted to see what Snyder could do with the action sequences. I never thought Nolan’s involvement was a good idea.

  223. I believe Nolan should go back and do smaller films instead. Like MEMENTO REVERSED or such.

  224. No wait ,that was already a feature on the MEMENTO dvd wasn´t it?

  225. caruso_stalker217

    March 4th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    How embarrassed would you be if you were taken into custody by THAT guy.

  226. At least he has respect for traditions. He is clearly a Neal Adams fan.

  227. The rumor mill also has it that MAN OF STEEL is going over well in screenings, is full of action and fun, and is not as gloomy as the trailer makes it seem. I don’t know, I like the idea of Snyder doing The League of Justice, but I would rather move on to a new Batman. I don’t think poor Nolan needs to have to figure out how the fuck to do Green Lantern. On the other hand at least he finished his trilogy so we can separate this in our minds from that, knowing that that Batman would never live in the same world as all these aliens and shit.

  228. well that is good news, since I was expecting the ghost of Ingmar Bergman having a hand in this.

  229. “I don’t think poor Nolan needs to have to figure out how the fuck to do Green Lantern. ”

    Vern – are you assuming he tried to “figure out” Superman’s powers?

    One can take away Ra’s Al Ghul’s immortality and Bane’s venom and the Joker Gas, but Superman….is Superman. You can’t get away from the fact that he’s an alien, practically indestructable, his most down to Earth adversary is Lex Luthor and when not a cliche white collar criminal, he’s a mad scientist. And oh yeah, that suit and red cape.

    I’ll say this: Remember when I cried like a bitch when Zack Snyder got hired to direct MOS? What if he does prove me wrong and actually make a movie I actually liked? Well fuck me. I would rather eat humble pie and get Superman back at the movies regularly than be proven right and be so goddamn obnoxious with the I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO! that Vern will be trigger happy with the Ban button on yours truely.

    I think we can all agree on that. Lets do the “Controversy” prayer and hope it doesn’t come down to that.

    Mr. Majestyk – has your love for FUCKER LUNCH gone spoiled?

  230. RRA: Oh, hell no. Just gave it to my little sister for her birthday.

  231. Mr. M – Yet you have little faith in Snyder, less than mine?


  232. Well, who do you think has more power in this relationship: the guy whose superhero trilogy has made like $6 billion or the one who’s had three big-budget flops in a row? I still think Snyder is the right man for MAN OF STEEL, but is the studio gonna let him do his thing, or are they going to want more of the same recipe that made the Dark Knight movies so successful? Either way, I was being melodramatic. I still want to see MAN OF STEEL. Vern is saying he heard it’s full of fun and entertainment (you know, like children’s comic strip adventure pictures should have) so that’s heartening.

    Anyway, I was more complaining about the potential for another decade of Bale as Batman. As much as I’ve talked shit on these boards about Nolan’s Batman movies, they have a lot to recommend them, and I understand why people like them so much more than I do. I’m not opening that can of worms again, but I’m pretty fucking sick of Bale’s flavorless take on the character. I want new blood and a new feel, one that fits more with a world of color-coded spacecops and shapeshifting Martian detectives.

  233. Mr. M – Fair enough. But you know the Internet. If MOS works, its because of Nolan. If it fails, its Snyder’s fault.

    What I find odd is that Batman really is WB’s James Bond. The character has a inter-generational fanbase and after Nolan’s movies (padded by the big money made in the past by Burton and Schumacher pre-Mr. Freeze) making billions across the world, I don’t think Bale is that necessary to bring back to sell the character and JL for that matter.

    If LR’s report is accurate (“if” is the magic word), then this does sound like WB really really wants JL to finally happen and make that toy money.

    Of the summer 2015 movies, wouldn’t be funny if the FANTASTIC FOUR reboot is the one that was mostly ignored by the Internet only to break-out and erase people’s memories of those cheap 00s movies?

  234. I’ve been watching bits and pieces on HBO lately. That kind of disjointed viewing really goes a long way in confirming and remembering the first viewing of something special. I felt the same way about TDK. Just speaking about the series in general, I remember how thrilled I was after I’d seen THE DARK KNIGHT that I wasn’t seeing simply just a sequel but the epic 2nd act to which I eagerly awaited the finale.

    It was a bit of a different reaction than the one when I first heard Nolan was doing the next Batman movies. I figured it was his “Welcome To The Machine” moment with Hollywood and we’d be deprived of dark and thought-provoking thrillers like MEMENTO and INSOMNIA, only to be replaced by less-interesting blockbusters. I may have still felt that way after BEGINS, I liked it and I connected with what was going on much more than even Burton’s BATMAN. But I wasn’t immediately excited for a sequel.

    Until I started to hear the initial reviews. I don’t even remember the trailer that much, just that it was being compared to movies like HEAT, THE DEPARTED and a few others. Then I started to get excited and hopes were raised that this would be pretty good. My expectations were fully met, when it came to THE DARK KNIGHT. I would say even exceeded. It managed to be a wonderful concoction of the big movies I loved as a kid, along with shades of Mann, Scorsese, Fincher, and plenty of other filmmakers I love now. Most of all, it was a coherent enough story (for this kind of flick at least) that made me excited for where it would go in the final chapter.

    Which brings me to RISES. I personally feel it’s the weakest of the three, but by a thin margin (I revisited BEGINS not long after TDK, and I re-evaluated it and now feel it’s quite strong). My major disappointment was how downplayed the Harvey Dent revelation was (however I didn’t mind much that The Joker wasn’t even mentioned, I had always had the strong feeling that in the interim 8 years between the end of TDK and the beginning of RISES, that he was killed by someone in Arkham for the ferry thing, most likely by Tiny Lister’s character). This plays a little into what Vern was saying, wishing that there were more scenes of how the citizens of Gotham were coping with the Bane takeover.

    Besides that, I liked it. The little touches of continuity (the opening flash of the logo, Scarecrow, the disappearing act turned around on Bats, etc.), the smaller supporting roles (especially Matthew Modine, continuing Nolan’s method of casting people we haven’t seen on the big screen in awhile), Hans Zimmer’s score (although James Newton Howard’s absence is missed), and the action all made for a close-to-perfect finale for this series. It’s never easy for the third to be good and impossible for it to be the best but this is comes damned close for me.

  235. caruso_stalker217

    July 5th, 2013 at 3:26 am

    I’d say out of the three BEGINS is really the only “comic book” movie of the trilogy, so that helps set it apart from THE DARK KNIGHT and RISES. But when I watch these movies it feels like none of them take place in the same universe. TDK brought Batman out of the comic book world and dropped him into a Michael Mann film. And RISES is all over the place, I don’t know what the fuck to call it, so it’s the GODFATHER PART III to me (minus Sofia Coppola).

    In a sense, and also for a fact, BATMAN BEGINS is the only real “Batman” film in the trilogy. It has all the Batman-y stuff, like being a scary motherfucker who hangs people off buildings or sneaks up behind them to whisper in their ear, like what Batman would do. Also there was the fear toxin stuff that made everybody hallucinate that Batman was a kite with red glowing eyes. It has comic book type one liners, like “I gotta get me wanna those!”

    Really, where RISES screwed the pooch was gutting the two core relationships that were the fucking heart of the first two films: Bruce/Alfred and Batman/Gordon. Alfred is always there to prop Bruce up and tell him war stories about tangerines and fire. He is Bruce Wayne’s rock. Nicolas Cage described him in much the same way in the weather man movie, THE WEATHER MAN. Like a Rock. And Bruce helps Alfred live a little longer by giving him shit to do. Otherwise Alfred would have retired by now and probably died from a Lack of Purpose.

    In BEGINS Bruce recognizes that Gordon would make a great ally for the Batman, because he once gave him a coat and also he is not corrupt like every other cop in Gotham. He has integrity, a mustache, and also possesses qualities comparable to rocks. This relationship is at its strongest in THE DARK KNIGHT when Gordon and Batman are shown to be a solid fucking team when it comes to smashing crime. Plus, I get a raging mega huge boner during that scene on the rooftop between Dent, Gordon and Batman and they’re all talking about busting Lao and Dent is busting Gordon’s nuts and Gordon’s like “Fuck you” and Batman is just waiting it out because he’s Batman. That was a pretty good scene, I thought.

    So I’m saying it really hurt the third film when they took Alfred out of the picture and Gordon spent half the movie in bed, like Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN 2. It is a palpable loss that is very palpable and real. Like Robert Duvall not being in THE GODFATHER PART III. It just isn’t the same and George Hamilton has an asshole face. I guess Matthew Modine is Hamilton.

    I think you guys know what I am saying. You don’t need me to tell you.

    In all honesty, though, full disclosure, the truth: My favorite villain of the trilogy? Ra’s Al Ghul, hands down. Jesus, that scene in Wayne Manor alone, the interplay between him and Bruce. Fucking magic. He has the air of danger and authority and a presence. He gets to say cool shit about balance. He is played by Liam Neeson. He doesn’t need makeup or an apparatus on his face or a cartoony voice. He is one smooth motherfucker. And that scene when he and Batman come face to face for the first time and they have a little back and forth and Batman is like, “I can’t beat two of your pawns?” and Ra’s is like “As you wish.” And then there is a fight.

    It’s late and there has been a heat wave and I haven’t slept much the last three days. I apologize.

  236. man, I haven’t seen BATMAN BEGINS since 2005, it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up post TDK and TDKR


  238. You know those irritating ‘Everything wrong with…’ videos on the youtubes? They did one about TDKR, of course. Some guy responded with an ‘Everything wrong with “Everything wrong with The Dark Knight Rises”‘ video. I like this guy.


  239. Recently watched this again n HBO. Wow! This movie is a total piece of shit. Plot holes galore, boring action, great actor (Hardy) in a terrible role, etc etc etc. I think that this might be my least favorite comic book movie ever. And I’m even including Corman’s Fantastic 4

  240. You like it less than Spawn, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, The Fantastic Four, Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Spirit, etc.? I can’t relate.

  241. I liked TDKR better than TDK. I was completely engrossed, and I dug Hardy’s Bane more than Joker. I know I’m clearly in the minority on both counts.

  242. Skani – I like Hardy’s Bane even better than Ledger’s Joker too

  243. I like TDKR better than all those movies Vern mentioned. Such are the divisive times we live in that a onetime hardliner like myself is now a moderate.

  244. No denying that Ledger’s Joker was an instantly iconic creation. It’s an inspired, ballsy, stroke of genius, where all the gonzo affectation serves and discloses the essence of the character.

    And I feel pretty much the same about Hardy’s Bane. Hardy’s Bane is more restrained, duh, because that served the character. He embodies and conjures Bane differently than but every bit as effectively as Ledger, but Hardy’s performance is necessarily less bizzare and attention-grabbing,and Hardy’s Bane lacks all the baggage and subtext that comes with Ledger having died shortly after having wrapped up shooting.

  245. Bane has such a cool and intimidating voice, especially in IMAX when his voice shook the whole damn theater whenever he spoke

    that’s what gives him the slight edge over the Joker, in my opinion

  246. I re-watched this recently and was, actually, impressed by how GOOD it is. My memory has tainted it. No, it’s not “The Dark Knight,” but that was lightning in a bottle, man. Also, I love Bane’s voice. What a weird, inspired choice.

  247. I still hate how the ending dethrones Bane and takes away all his power. With that voice, he should’ve been the true mastermind. The ending reduces him to a Schumacher crony.

  248. yeah, that part did bother me, for such an absolute badass as Bane, who actually managed to whip Batman’s ass Wesley Willis style, he did kinda go down like a sucker

  249. “takes away all his power. ”

    Umm Patrick, did Talia break Batman’s break and school his ass like a bitch down in the sewers? No? Oh right.

    Besides with your logic, Batman is a crony too because Talia played him as well. (Except with Bane, Talia’s power over him is mutual love between psychotic terrorists. But none the less, two “great” men dominated by a woman.)

    Griff – TDKR: The greatest ROCKY III remake ever. Nobody ever complained about Clubber Lang going down like a sucker.

    Did you?

  250. “No denying that Ledger’s Joker was an instantly iconic creation. It’s an inspired, ballsy, stroke of genius, where all the gonzo affectation serves and discloses the essence of the character. ”

    Skani – I do wonder though: If Ledger had lived, would Nolan have brought him back for TDKR?

    Didn’t Goyer somewhere say that he would’ve been back if he hadn’t died?

  251. RRA: It wasn’t so much about a strong woman being the mastermind. I would’ve felt that way if it had been Ra’s al Ghul, too. I just hated seeing Bane reduced to second-fiddle, since in his ’93-era introduction, he was the mastermind of Batman’s downfall. (I officially put my hand up and pledge that strong women exerting dominance is something about which I have no concerns. The question of why I was so invested in a second-fiddle supervillain retaining his power, however, is a good question for my therapist.)

  252. RRA. Good question. One would think we’d have gotten at least a cameo out of Joker, but then again, he didn’t really tie back to league of shadows plot the way scarecrow did. Who knows, maybe it would have gone in a whole other direction.

  253. One thing I heard was that part of what was planned would be that the third movie would be in part about Joker’s trial. But like I said, I’m glad they didn’t refer to him at all in TDKR. It became obvious to me at a certain point that he was a dead man once he entered Arkham.

  254. didn’t the novelization say he escaped from Arkham and nobody has any idea where he is?

  255. Yeah, nothing quite like Bane purring, “Mr. Wayne…”

    From the opening scene to the football game, TDKR builds an ever-escalating level of foreboding and tension. Hardy and Hans Zimmer are big contributors to that. Neither of the previous films achieved a sense of stakes or gravity on the scale of TDKR, at least not for me.

  256. Griff: I wouldn’t trust that as canon. What’s on the screen is what matters. Personally, I like that the last we see of Joker is hanging upside down by his foot. It’s a good end for him.

  257. must…try…not to…chime in. Re-watched TDK…a few…days ago. Saw…parts of TDKR…on pay…TV. Don’t…wanna…spend my weekend…discussing that…shit…

  258. I believe Goyer said at one point that the Joker would’ve had sort of a Hannibal Lecter role where Batman has to come talk to him Arkham to get some kind of information out of him. But that was probly before they even decided what DARK KNIGHT RISES was about. I don’t think much of the story was made up until after DARK KNIGHT.

    Or maybe that was a rumor anyway, but it sounds logical.

  259. Early on, I think after the release of BEGINS, Goyer said in an interview that the trial of the Joker would be a huge part of the third movie.

    After TDKR was released, some websites reported that the Scarecrow cameo in this movie (I assume there was one. I haven’t seen the.) was originally intended for the Joker, which doesn’t really make sense to me, unless they wrote the script (or at least an early draft) before Heath Ledger died.

  260. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 6th, 2013 at 7:22 am

    RRA – I don’t think Rocky III comparison does TDKR any favors, if only because Nolan doesn’t have the stones to set Batman’s training and escape montages to Eye Of The Tiger. Shit, I’d have settled for a Joe Esposito song

  261. Was I the only one who thought the Ben Affleck/Batman news was a joke at first?

    I don’t know what to think honestly. I like the guy, but I don’t see him as either Bats or Bruce Wayne. But hey I’ve got 2 years to warm my ass up to him. As fucked up as this sounds, and the locals (especially Mouth) will lynch me for saying this, but I rather wished he was directing this instead of Snyder. That would’ve really made my weekend more than Daredevil joining DC.

  262. The Original... Paul

    October 8th, 2015 at 1:44 am

    So I’ve rewatched this one… and it’s not as bad as I thought. I’m more where Mouth is on it.

    Don’t get me wrong though, there’s still a helluva lot wrong with it. The sound balancing is still “off”, hugely so. The score is way way way too loud. In the cinema, it drowned out the dialogue, leaving only shouted pomposities audible. Now that I can hear the stuff that’s actually being said in normal tones… it’s still bad, but not quite as much so. Bane’s a hugely intimidating villain (even with the voice).

    It was Alfred who connected Bane to Ras Al Ghul and the League of Shadows. So that’s one plothole disposed of. Like the bugged necklace it raises rather more questions than it answers – for example, how the hell did Alfred know about that connection when even the freakin’ CIA didn’t?

    As for the character of Miranda / Talia… I still don’t think Miranda’s “alias” is established anywhere near enough. She basically has no reason to be in the film except to turn traitor. Re-watching the film though, I do appreciate some of the clues that point at her. Not just the fact that she puts the tracker on the wrong truck (which I missed on first viewing) but also some of her comments about “suffering building character” and “restoring the balance”.

    If this film existed in a vaccuum, I think it would be ok but flawed. Unfortunately I watched BATMAN BEGINS immediately afterwards, and the massive difference in quality between the two films is horribly apparent. As is Batman’s complete abandonment of the way of the ninja in RISES. And the ending… it was worse the second time around. In particular the single soprano voice when “Batman” flies off with the bomb. Hideously cheesy.

    But still… not as bad as I thought.

  263. I tell you what, there is so much heart in it, though. Part of Ledger’s joker is this sense of randomness and anarchy, that there is no greater meaning or purpose to his work, except to demonstrate that there is no meaning or purpose to anything. TDK works as a wonderful, gritty crime drama, as a character study, and as comic book iconography meets greek tragedy. It’s a great film. But TDKR has so much heart, full of characters of iron will, resolve, and almost fanatical black-and-white purpose and calling. If any TDK film was a Rocky film, this would be it. This film ratchets up the stakes, returning to the mythos of the original film to somehow make it all feel like a saga (whereas with 1 and 2 alone, it felt more episodic). The series as a whole increases in significance and weight due to the backward reflection of the TDKR and its climax onto the previous entries.

    Plus, I could watch Tom Hardy as Bane chew scenery all day. Thinking about what a unique and captivating character Ledger created, and with his death and the fact that Joker is the most colorful and notorious Batman villain, it’s hard to understate what a ballsy move it is for Hardy to take on the role of Bane, and yet I believe he brings every bit as much novelty and inventiveness to Bane, and yet it’s a completely original creation. It’s never like he’s trying ape Ledger or out-Ledger-Ledger as far as the quirks. Everything he brings to Bane feels right and cohesive, and as a fully realized and actor character, he’s got to be one of the most compelling things I’ve watched.

    And every other casting choice and performance is pitch perfect, down to all the little details (Rupert Thorne and his assistant, Matthew Modine, the CIA handler guy, all of them). The film is all heart, and this film’s Batman is the hero we need.

  264. Trailer for Matt Reeve’s THE BATMAN (2021)

    The Batman - DC FanDome Teaser

    Robert Pattinson is #TheBatman. https://www.instagram.com/thebatman/ https://www.facebook.com/thebatman https://twitter.com/thebatman http://thebatman.com Fr...

  265. I don’t know. It just looks like more generic intensity to me. If you told me this was the trailer for a TV show, I’d believe you. I guess we’re back to pretending we’re not all huge nerds if everybody in our children’s comic strip movies wears leather. That’s how you know a movie is for grownups and not babies, because somebody has to tell you that a guy is the Penguin because otherwise he’d be just another guy in a dark coat acting tough. Why should a comic book movie take advantage of the visual splendor of the comics page when you could make it look like a Fincher knockoff from 1997? I stand by my belief that the more “realistic” you make the surrounding world, the dumber Batman looks standing there in his adorable pointy little ears. Also, I’m suddenly remembering that Reeves, a competent if unexciting director with one tone at his disposal, was an Abrams protege, because “What if Batman fought a guy who acted just like the Joker but the big twist is SPOILER he’s not the Joker?” is giving me real J.J. vibes. Never a good sign.

    I think I just don’t know how to be excited about Batman anymore, you guys. I’m starting to forget what I even liked about the character in the first place. Compared to the glorious technicolor weirdos they got over at Marvel, the guy’s kind of a drip, isn’t he?

  266. I am sick and tired of Batman myself.

    More looking forward to THE SUICIDE SQUAD by James Gunn next year.

  267. Agreed. Batman is all “ooh scary face paint” and Gunn is like “Ha yeah that’s great Matt one of my main characters is a talking shark.”

  268. Yeah, I gotta admit I’m a little bit nonplussed why those who are (rightfully) mocking Snyder for his embarrassing “this is for grown-ups” comment, and thought JOKER’s muckraking was a threat to everything we’ve ever worked towards are seemingly excited by this particular slab of grimdarkness and sadism. Am I missing something? Or is it all embedded in weird film nerd tribalism and there’s no point in me trying to understand it?

  269. Eh, I won’t watch it until it hits pay TV either. Getting a new Batman movie isn’t as exciting anymore as it once was, but Matt Reeves got my trust from the way he turned THE UNNECESSARY PREQUEL OF PLANET OF THE APES series from “Holy shit, this is a dumb movie, full of dumb people doing dumb things” to “This is the dark, gritty and realistic version of the beloved property from your childhood, but it’s actually seriously damn great!” once he took over, so I refuse to write this movie off based on the trailer alone.

  270. His APES movies were good, but I kind of forgot about them. I called him “competent” earlier but he’s better than that. That was a cheap shot. Anybody who could come back from that horrible first APES movie has talent. I stand by “unexciting,” though.

  271. The APES movies are good, but I wouldn’t say we’re at a point with Reeves where we can say we “know” it will be good because he’s involved. I’m not sure there’s any “Reeves stamp” to look for because his successes all involve building on, remaking or continuing previous works (dating back to UNDER SEIGE 2).

    Don’t get me wrong, this is just a teaser, and it’s certainly possible later trailers will win me over, let alone the film itself, and there’s no way I won’t see it, but as an indicator of where they’re going it doesn’t inspire me.

  272. Apologies to Vern, who I know is really excited for this one. I’m not onboard but I think we can all agree that we’d all be a lot more psyched if they’d cast Andy Sirkus as Caesar as The Batman the way I suggested a few years back. Think about how awesome the reveal would be. Gordon’s pacing around the overly art directed crime scene, shining his flashlight on various clues and whatnot, suddenly turns to someone off-camera and says, “What do you make of all this?” Camera pans. BAM. Monkey man in a batsuit just standing there. Nobody bats an eye.

    Also think of how much sexier he would look in the black eye shadow than whatshisface. I’ll try to stay open-minded but I think they missed an opportunity here.

  273. I’m actually just glad to see the black eye shadow because it’s always been a pet peeve of mine that it’s so obvious he’s wearing it behind the bat mask but when he takes the mask off it’s magically gone.

  274. I think this looks like a good new Batman and I’d be inclined to see it in the theatre, where I normally don’t see any superhero shit any more. I didn’t see any of the Snyder stuff with Batman in it. But this looks pretty cool, although Penguin should look more Penguiny. They should have cast someone like Peter Dinklage, he’s an imposing actor but if he was being called Penguin it would be a more cutting insult and you could see how that would burn him up inside. Could you imagine if Dinklage played that character, dressed well because he’s a businessy mobster, but has a limp and they called him Penguin? But when he called shots you’d believe it because he’s so awesome an actor. At least they did makeup on Farrell.

    I agree with Mr. M though, that the more realistic the world looks, the sillier it looks when Batman shows up. Like that shot with a room full of cops and they’re like what do you think, cuts to Batman and it looks hilarious. No one did Batman asthetically like Burton, Batman really melded. I think you could od it realistically, but having Batman mingling with regular people looks weird, he should be in a corner or in darkness or something. I remember seeing Dark Knight Rises with friends and we all were laughing when they went to the roof and Batman and Catwoman were fighting bad guys and Bane is there and we’re like “three movies in and this finally seems like a comic book, this is really weird now!”

    But Suicide Squad 2 looks GREAT. Never saw the first one, looked shit.

    Maggie you’re dead on with the eye shadow. The funniest bit was in Returns where you see Batman talking to Catwoman and he looks normal, then it cuts to Catwoman. Cuts BACK to Batman and suddenly he looks weird, and you realize there’s no black around his eyes. And even though I was a kid I was like “oh looks like he’s going to take his mask off” and then that’s what he does. So funny. They could have cut right when he strated ripping it off and you wouldn’t have noticed!

  275. I’d probably be over the moon for this trailer two or three Batmans ago. As is, Batman is in the same category as The Terminator for me now: No matter what amazing new angle you think you’ve got on it, it’s still just the same old shit again. From all the casting announcements, I held out hope that maybe this would be the first one to actually feel like the comic book, with Batman already an established presence in a fully formed Gotham City (truly the main draw of the comics, if you ask me), with all the weirdness and history that entails, but nah. Gothamites are still like “Who are you?” more than 30 years after Michael Keaton was asked that exact same question. Is there some reason Hollywood only wants us to see the start of Batman’s career? The one time they let him be the wisened veteran he’s been in the comics for half a century and they act like it was a bad dream we all need to forget about so they can do BATMAN BEGINS AGAIN. I thought I was just making a joke about the Penguin being just some guy in a coat but it turns out he’s actually in the trailer and he’s actually just a guy in a coat. Nearly a century of visual reference and this is the best they can come up with.

  276. I just remembered, wasn’t there around 10 years ago a viral video or article or whatever that asked the question “Why do we like Batman?”, that analyzed the character and its history and coming to the half joking conclusion, that Batman is actually lame ad shouldn’t be as popular as he is? I’m too lazy to google it.

  277. BATMAN BEGINS was 15 years ago, so, it’ a fine time for a new stand-alone iteration, and this one looks more than satisfactory. I’m in. I’m even more in for Michael Keaton reprising his role in the FLASH movie, and I haven’t even seen JUSTICE LEAGUE.

  278. Well Mr. M, the Batman movies HAVE done what you’ve wanted, have Batman as a true established character who everyone knows and considers a hero and uses all of the visuals of the comics.

    Kudos Joel Schumacher!

  279. Careful what you wish for, I guess.

  280. I did appreciate the Nolan version though, because it WAS cool to see for once where Batman got all of his shot and how he put together and operation. Yeah in comic book terms it’s fine that he’s rich and even though it’s just he and Alfred he somehow has a custom made Batplan and Batmobile and everything…but it was cool seeing him build his operation from the ground up. Also cool seeing a Bruce Wayne who was an act, and Batman was the real person. I love love LOVE Keaton but as Wayne, he totally seems like someone who might dress up like a Bat. Although he did a nice scatterbrained thing, so he was able to make a difference. But you felt they were two halves of a whole, but in the Nolan movies there’s really only Batman and Wayne is an empty shell.

    MAN I want to see Keaton back as Batman, fuck the Flash…give him his own real sequel.

  281. I think that’s the main reason why, for all of their admirable qualities, I’ll never fully embrace the Nolan trilogy: Bale’s opaque take on the main character. You have a protagonist who is half fake Bruce Wayne persona and half laughably unconvincing fake voice in a clumsy rubber suit. One is an amusing caricature and the other is an awkward parody. There’s no real person there, which means there’s nothing human holding all of Nolan’s clockwork plotting and portentous foreboding together. There’s no reason to care what happens to Bruce Wayne or Batman because neither of them feel like a character. They’re both put-ons, and they make the films feel, to me, unsatisfying. They have a hero-shaped hole in their center.

  282. What?? So that was Penguin in the trailer? With the question marks it will obviously be Riddler, so we are gonna have two villains? That almost never works out well. Even TDK in my opinion is diminished somewhat IMHO by the demise of Two Face at the end, which I think is too much and should have been saved for a sequel. This is a science at this point, no need to divert from a known pattern, set up next movie villain at end of your movie, get people excited and butts in the seats.

    It’s okay to eat fish cause they don’t have any feelings….

  283. Agree wholeheartedly Majestyk, Bale’s Wayne is too much American Psycho artificiality and his Batman is almost like another Bane. Just a big gruff guy with black and white principles with a funny voice. Both seem false and the character doesn’t gel. Keaton somehow made the same thing work. You could see that his Wayne was an act, but it had heart and humor, and the same soul was in his Batman.

    In BATMAN BEGINS there is a lot more character development and backstory to work with and the character works, mostly. In TDK it starts unravelling but the movie is owned by Ledger’s Joker and it doesn’t matter. By TDKR it all falls apart.

  284. I see that reading, but it’s not how I experience it. It’s certainly very plot-driven filmmaking, but the films pretty consistently paint Bale’s character as someone driven by discomfort with his inherited privileges and a fair amount of general purpose misanthropy and nihilism, who is driven to become his own man first and then to confront the question of whether his quest to become his own man is itself a special kind of douchey rich-boy vanity project, inasmuch as he has abandoned his home and forfeited the tremendous resources that he could be using to help others, following in the footsteps of his father. Along the way, he is inspired and challenged by Rachel Dawes, Alfred, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent — people who cut against his sulking cynicism and ultimately selfish individualism. At one point, he tells Rachel, “I am more.” That’s the question that haunts him: Is he, though?

    As Rachel tells him, it’s not what he feels or believes — the high-minded ideals and rationalizations that sent him packing from school and off to the Far East and elsewhere maybe were just another form of entitled bullshit. It’s his actions and their fruits. Does he transcend self and embrace service. Does he beat back his cynicism and hurt to embrace service, hope, friendship, and even love.

    So, I think there’s a ton there. A ton to the character that is cohesive and is explored throughout.

    As for the the put-on Batman voice, yes, that is a problem for some. I kind of like that it’s a low-fi affectation, basically, a kid playing dress-up to conceal his identity. The voice works for me, as I like the goofy earnestness of it.

  285. That comment was in response to Majestyk’s and re: Bale/Nolan Batman, if that wasn’t clear. rainman snuck in there!

  286. I agree with pretty much everything Mr. Majestyk has written here, but I’d add that in addition to looking out of place, the more realistic the world of the Batman movies, the more Batman is out of place logically and narratively as well.

    In the comics, you need superheroes because regular responses aren’t really apt to deal with an evil giant starfish from outerspace. But in realistic or quasi-realistic movies, Batman makes no goddamn sense. There’s just no argument to be made that the answer to the question “how do you deal with real world crime and systemic corruption” is “Batman”.

    That’s probably the reason why both Batman movies and the Daredevil tv show essentially, for all their realism, have to pretend American cities are the dystopian nightmare people imagined as an extrapolation of their present back in the 70s, and ignore the real world drop in crime rates, or that the violent, heavy-handed, anger-and-reckoning based approaches these superheroes symbolize tend to make matters worse (countries that use more humane systems – a more Superman approach, if you will – tend to do better. No wonder Metropolis is such a nicer place to live).

  287. Egon, you’re not wrong…but generally Batman has not really gone against giant space starfish, he was taking on basically weird criminals. The cops could have caught a Pegngun or a Riddler or a Joker…you didn’t NEED Batman for them. Superman and characters like that, yes.

    rainman I get what you mean but don’t necessarily agree…lots of movies have used several villains very well. I’ll just just Batmans to illustrate:

    Batman Begins had basically THREE villains…Falcone, Scarecrow, and Rhas. But it worked because Falcone was a minor guy to get taken out, and Scarecrow was basically a henchman. So you had a heirarchy. I could also make a case for The Dark Knight but I do agree it strains a bit.

    Batman Forever is NOT a good movie, but two villains worked pretty well there. The best scenes are The Riddler and Two-Face, and had Schumacher not SUCKED, he could have really pulled it off. Let Carrey be funnier and weird, but have fucking Two-Face be serious and scary, not a lame cackling asshole. Had he done that, you would have had the scary and the funny, the brains and the brawn and it works.

    Batman Returns…iiiis creaky but works pretty well considering Burton doesn’t give a shit about story. But there are THREE villains in that one. Although Catwoman is always sort of dubious as a villain, like if you count her as one in Dark Knight Rises, that movie also has three villains. The biggest mistake in Returns was having her and Penguin team up for five minutes…why? If anything, the shitty dumb thinks he clever writer of that movie should have tied in Catwoman’s origin with Penguin, which would have made more sense. What if he’s running for Mayor, she finds out he’s planning evil shit, and he kills her? Then she’s out to murder him. So you have two villains at war with each other. Makes more sense don’t it?

  288. Here’s my hot take- I like Batman and I like pretty much every Batman movie for very different reasons. Batman can be gritty and down-to-earth or crazy campy over-the-top; it’s all good to me, baby.

    The new trailer looks interesting enough, I like Robert Pattinson and I like the idea of maybe a movie focusing on the “World’s Greatest Detective” element to his character, which is often neglected on the big screen (Nolan’s superscience nonsense aside- I’m not impressed when Batman has a big fancy Amazon Echo that does all the thinking for him).

  289. I liked the idea of it having all those villains because they already exist in Gotham, which maybe is not the case (Reeves says it’s a year and a half into him being Batman, and Penguin and Catwoman are not really Penguin and Catwoman yet). I wish it was like this world but with Mr. Freeze or Poison Ivy or some of those people, to be drastically different from Nolan’s take. But I think it looks cool and I like the idea of it being an actual detective story. (Though wouldn’t it be cooler if we actually didn’t know who was behind the mask?)

  290. It’s the feeling that they’ll be sticking to Nolan’s sandbox (with maybe a Snyder action figure in there) that’s most off-putting to me. It’s a fine Sandbox (even if it got overfilled and sand started seeping out towards the end), but there’s a whole beach going unconsidered. (I could be completely wrong on this of course)

    Without meaning to trigger any TVTSD that’s one reason I really enjoyed the first two Seasons of GOTHAM, it had utterly shameless takes on characters like Mr Freeze and Hugo Strange of the type I thought I might never see again, along with an appropriately pulpy tone to match.

  291. Unlike volcanoes, I absolutely love it when long dormant comments sections bubble back to life.

    Re-watched the Nolan trilogy recently, and Batman Begins is still my personal favorite. The most tightly plotted and cohesive one in the trilogy and where Batman/Bruce Wayne is front and center and vital to the narrative.

    TDK & TDKR play like epic, sprawling crime sagas that happen to feature a man dressed as a Bat shunted to an increasingly supporting role in his own franchise.

    For all it’s well documented poke-you-in-the-eye flaws (An OWS movement in a city that’s supposedly enjoying a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity? People in thrall to a masked behemoth who snaps a man’s neck in the middle of a crowded stadium? ) I didn’t even mind TDKR and found myself enjoying most the non-Batman scenes, which for this film, is the bulk of it’s run time.

    But my heart goes out to Batfleck. A ferocious, world weary and goddamn terrific take on The Dark Knight that’s still waiting for it’s own movie.

    And Skani…great read on Bale’s Wayne/Bats persona!

    As for the Bat-inson? Mood: (very) cautious optimism.

  292. I maintain that Batman v. Superman contains the single best Batman scene of any Batman movie–when Batman clears the warehouse to save Superman’s mom. Snyder’s action chops are on full display and he uses every gadget in his utility belt. It was like The Raid, but with batarangs. Batman should have complete technological, physical, and psychological dominance over his adversaries, which is why he actually succeeds in terrifying the criminal underworld, and only Snyder seems to get that. Much more enjoyable than Nolan’s hand-to-hand combat scenes which basically involve a guy with a gun charging batman and immediately getting punched out. Guns have bullets fellas–you don’t need to run at the guy you want to shoot!

  293. Totally agreed. That scene is the first and last time I ever really felt like I saw Batman in action.

  294. I haven’t seen the whole movie, but I saw the Batman warehouse fight and I agree it’s the only genuinely great Batman fight out of ALL of the movies. And I really like the simple punch-ups in the first Keaton.

    I also saw the scene where some people are in a dark old building and Batman is hiding on the ceiling or something. That kind of creepy stuff is good for his lore amongst criminals. Although Keaton’s first appearance was awesome too. Burton got that Batman should be scary to criminals and shot him like a horror movie.

  295. Alright, you guys caught me- I don’t really like BATMAN V SUPERMAN all that much. The warehouse fight is cool to watch for sure, but I just don’t like that he fully kills a bunch of people. Part of the fun of Batman to me is that he *isn’t* killing people. Sure maybe that’s not “realistic” or whatever, but I’m not watching a superhero movie for a documentary portrayal of combat. I want the fantasy of the dude who’s *so badass* that he’s not gonna kill *anyone*, but he’s still gonna win. Every other action hero kills people- gimmie just one who doesn’t!

    Also, if I’m totally honest with myself and with y’all, I think the warehouse fight with Nick Cage’s Batman knockoff character in KICK-ASS is a better, snappier, cooler version of the BVS warehouse fight.

  296. If I recall, Batman doesn’t exactly kill people…he like, knocks them down but the dude was holding a grenade so he blows up or whatever. But like, when he has a knife he stabs a guy in the shoulder instead of the face or anything. Which is a little more realistic…not going out of his way to kill people, but let’s face facts…people are gonna diiiiie.

    It’s like those Japanese movies, I forget the names but the hero doesn’t want to kill so he carries a sword that’s blunt. Yet he still hits people in the head with full force with it. I’m like, I guuuueeessss that’s an okay idea but hate to break it to ya…a lot of those guys probably are dying of a brain hemmorage.

  297. I don’t really get the whole “realistically, people are gonna die.” I mean, realistically, yes, people in a real life Batman warehouse fight would have died – namelly Batman. He’d be dead. If we can already accept the fantasy of Batman, we can accept that he could fight people non-lethally, right? I mean, out of all the implausible stuff about Batman, why is that the one that needs to be changed? It’s not even close to being the most implausible one.

    Honestly, it seems to me people like Snyder just think Batman killing people is more hardcore or whatever, and they use realism as an excuse.

  298. Batman killing people isn’t anything new, he killed lots of henchmen in the Burton films. The only time it bothered me was in BATMAN BEGINS when he kills Liam Neeson after explaining to him that intentionally letting him die doesn’t count as killing. Stop looking for loopholes in your own rules, Batman.

  299. I just think it shows, despite how his fans want you to believe that he is the most adult thing to ever adult, how adolescent Batman is and should remain. He’s the smartest, toughest, baddest, coolest-car-havingest rich guy stud in the world and whenever bad guys get in his face he’s like “Hey, you talking to me?” and then he’s just like BAM! and punches everybody in the face but he never like kills anybody because that would be bad. He just shows ‘em who’s boss (Batman. Batman is boss.) and throws around weapons with his super awesome logo on them like the one I drew in my Trapper Keeper for my band I’m gonna start as soon as I learn how to play guitar then he goes vroom vroom back to his mansion and his butler makes him a sandwich and he takes his shirt off and flexes and thinks about all the hot chicks who want to be with him but can’t because he’s too busy being a hero to get with them even though they all totally want to and also his parents are dead which is amass but also awesome because now he can stay up as late as he wants and they can’t tell him they can’t afford the badass car he wants which is the only thing he ever asked for but does he get it NO thanks for nothing DAD

    I’m not knocking it, but it is an incredibly adolescent fantasy and should always be treated as such. Applying any kind of adult psychology to this morass of teenage masochism, rage, and savior complex is a fool’s errand and just points out how childish the source material is.

  300. Personally I think the most current-day egregious thing about the character is his status as a billionaire, because there are no good billionaires. Other than that, Batman’s no more or less adolescent a power-fantasy than *any* action hero shy of maybe Mad Max (which is to say: yes he is an adolescent power fantasy, but no there’s not really anything inherently wrong with that), and I think it’s perfectly valid to treat a story featuring the character with as much or as little adult psychology as pleases you. Hell, that’s why they make so many Batman stories, because the basic premise supports an awful lot of potential interpretations.

  301. One of the reasons why I don’t like SPL but admire it is their takedown of violence in media. I know punching a dude that hard would give you brain damage in real life but I don’t really need reminding of it in a movie. Yet I think it’s important to show that stuff every now and then. Man SPL is such a bummer of a movie.

  302. I have no problem with Batman being an unrealistic figure of adolescent fantasy. That’s what a superhero is. What I have a problem with is the insistence that, actually, no, he is a gritty, realistic, mature character who offers deep relevance to our modern times. He does not. He is just wish fulfillment for children from an era when people actually believed that rich people deserved their power and could be counted on to help the rest of us. The more seriously the character gets treated, the more ridiculous and/or monstrous that fantasy seems in a world where 17-year-olds go out into the world armed with assault rifles because they think they’re the only ones who can beat back the tide of vicious thugs coming to take their shit. I am not asking for return to the Adam West treatment, but setting the character in a world that’s as adolescent as he is would at least let us just enjoy him as a pulp badass with no ties to reality.

  303. I don’t really think Batman killing people is amazing awesome cool, I just don’t really give a shit all that much. I think it’s better when he doesn’t, but I’m also no comic book guy who screams “NO BATMAN DOES NOT KILL HIS HANDS ARE CLEAN!”

    But to dig on Snyder for having Batman kill people, I’d still say that in that warehouse fight Batman kills people (or they are killed by their own screw ups) in the process of fighting off a horse of thugs, or in the process of saving someone. Where how pissed are people at Burton, who’s Batman straight up MURDERS people? He kills a number of bad guys he easily doesn’t have to, and does it with sadistic glee. He even burns one to death as a funny gag when he’s 100% safe. In Burton’s movies, Batman is more sadistic than the worst Seagal movie where in the end Seagal would torture a nerd for three minutes before finally delivering the sweet release of death.

  304. Muh- in the Snyder example I’m thinking of, it’s actually just before the fight, where Bats strafes a bunch of dudes in technicals outside the warehouse from his plane and they all blow up. He also makes the flamethrower guy explode at the end of the fight. So, at least a few absolute no-question murders. It’s just something that kinda annoys me, is all, but it’s not, like, *the reason the movie is bad* to me or anything like that.

    And you’re absolutely right that Batman kills people in the Burton movies too. That used to bug me a lot more when I was younger and dumber, but now I enjoy those movies more as a Burton-esque interpretation of the character. Also, I think it’s easier to take an “imperfect” interpretation of a character when it’s clear that’s won’t be the only and definitive cinematic representation of them. Time heals all wounds, as they say (except for the wounds caused by Batman exploding you).

  305. Ah, I don’t remember that part. I know I saw some of the Batman scenes of that movie but never the whole thing, superhero movies are not really my jam.

    I think in the first Batman movie he kills people but it’s pretty justified…he’s blowing up a warehouse full of chemicals used to murder people, and he’s blowing up guys who are actively gassing the city with death gas. So it’s like hey, ya ride behind a horse, ya gets the poops.

    But I do think they went way sadistic in Returns, where Batman just reeeeallly enjoys killing people. The burning was way over the top.

  306. Snyder’s justification for that was “He’s shooting the vehicles, not the people, so it doesn’t count,” which is half an awesome fuck you to the nerds and their stupid rules and half foreshadowing what a disingenuous dick he revealed himself to be over this fucking Snyder Cut thing.

    I’m getting too worked up over this. I need to just keep reminding myself that I don’t really care about Batman anymore. That’s the old me. If this is what the Bat-nerds want, this joyless slog through whispery sadism, that’s no skin off my balls.

  307. I’m so torn between wanting the Snyder cut to be awesome and fail miserably. Cognitive dissonance over a comic book movie, what a world.

  308. What’s disingenuous over the Snyder Cut? I don’t pay attention to comic book news too closely. I know it makes no difference to me how good it supposedly is, I won’t be seeing it.

    I am curious about Suicide Squad 2 though. I could see watching that one.

  309. I’m not sure this is what Majestyk was referring to, but I don’t like how at first Snyder was all praise and thanks for Whedon finishing it for him. Then he was all coy with his, oh, no I could never, when the rumblings of Release the Snyder Cut started. And now, after his fans screeched and moaned for-fucking-ever loud enough to make it really happen, he’s all, yeah, it was total shit. Frankly, the whole thing is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, including the accusations that Whedon was a nightmare prick during the reshoots.

  310. Yeah, I find it hard to imagine ever sitting down for a 4-hour long re-edit of a reshoot of a reshoot even in the best of circumstances, but the main thing at this point is I don’t really care for how Snyder seems to be enabling and feeding off the impulses of some of the most toxic and entitled fans on the internet.

  311. What Maggie said. I was actually psyched to see his version until he, you know, started talking about it.

  312. Saw TENET yesterday. What a truly epic and ambitious experience. It doesn’t have the emotional resonance of Inception though.

    I strongly recommend you watch this in theaters.

  313. I live in America. I’m never going to another public event ever again.

  314. You’re never going to see a movie in the theater ever again?

    As far as Tenet goes I think Nolan and the studio were such babies about the release of it I want to pirate the film and watch it on my phone.

  315. It’s most likely not as good as the new PHINEAS & FERB movie anyway.

  316. Apparently after a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the late Rock Hudson was said to have remarked, ” Can someone tell me what the hell I just watched?”

    Having just seen TENET, I now know what Mr.Hudson felt

  317. Sterny: It’s possible that I was being hyperbolic for comedic effect but there’s really no way to be sure. All I know is there’s two plagues out there: COVID and stupid. And at least one of them ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  318. I have been itching to get out more, but in the US, I still think it’s net socially irresponsible. There are a couple of recent pieces on the subject that I saw — one in VULTURE, the other at AV Club — that seem to come to different conclusions on that matter, but the general idea of otherwise geographically dispersed strangers coming together in small enclosed spaces for hours at a time does not seem like a good bet in the current climate. We keep wanting to push on and rationalize doing the things we would like to do, but so far that’s consistently been against better judgment. Too bad, as this clearly does sound like a big screen experience. A worthwhile sacrifice to make, though, I think.

  319. Mr. Majestyk – Snyder being triggered by that one film critic on Twitter (who didn’t even say anything negative), claiming how his JL is for “grown ups” just reveals himself to be a pretentious middle age man-child douche that reflects unfortunately a good number of his fans online. I hope his fans (well the decent, well-behaved ones anyway) are pleased with that new/final version.

    Reminds me when I and so many others finally got Richard Donner’s mythical “director’s cut” of SUPERMAN II, only to meet reality when what we saw and realized (1) Donner was fired after only shooting most of it, so there is no lost cut of his despite online infamy (2) its less a DC and more like those TCM reconstruction edits that channel puts out for old silent films ala GREED where they use fragments/stills/etc. to give one an “idea” of how that completed film might’ve been like and (3) If Donner had made his film without being screwed by the Salkinds, it would’ve been better than the Lester version we have. But as it is, after all that time/hype? Eh. (How Leser/Salkinds threw away that scripted scene of how Lois outsmarts Clark to revealing his Superman gig in favor of tripping over a rug is some “da fuq?” mentality that reminds you why later on SUPERMAN III by those same chaps was a mess.)

    CJ Holden – I’m glad to hear that about P&F. I mean BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC being good* in spite of being a decades-later sequel and a comedy sequel at that already made my summer as far as I’m concerned. So if P&F and TENET also deliver, hey its gravy for me at this point.

    *=Jesus that ending, the fact we got it as optimistic/sincere as it is without modern cynicism/snark is a minor miracle.

  320. I’ve never been much for socializing, but I used to occasionally feel the need to venture out into the world. America showing its full ass over the past year has cured me of that particular affliction. I’ll be perfectly happy never being in the same room with more than four other people for the rest of my life.

  321. RRA: Yeah, it is a real bummer to me–one of those reasonable fans who just happened to like the way Snyder shoots and never felt the need to start a culture war over it–that Snyder has revealed himself to be exactly the embarrassing douchebro his detractors always claimed he was. I am against anybody who thinks what this divided world needs right now is for somebody to invent more stupid “us against them” bullshit to further his career. I just like it when dudes in capes punch each other and shoot lasers out of their eyes and shit. I don’t fucking need this tribal crap.

    SUCKER PUNCH is still probably the most underrated movie ever made, though. He’ll always have that going for him.

  322. Mr. Majestyk – Unfortunately we’ve all liked filmmakers who are/can be assholes.

    As much as I love spandex stuff, the way some people built their lives around it is unfortunate and obviously nothing new, just on a bigger global scale. Worse is when (as you put it) “tribal crap” makes it into brand associations and all that stupid shit. We like what we like, regardless if Kellogs or Post makes the damn cereal.

    But on that hyper-focus point: It’s a legit question to debate what Marvel/Disney do with that Black Panther franchise/character/whatever going forward after we lost Boseman, but was that the pressing topic that needed to be dealt with after that news dropped? Not “Jesus we lost a movie star who had more decades of good work ahead of him, not to mention an iconic ground-breaking role” or “a family who just a loved one” and so forth, but basically “how does this impact my toys?”

    Reminds me a story my old man told me after John Lennon was shot. He was watching Monday Night Football when that news broke national, and as a Baby Boomer that obviously fucked with him. Next day at work, he informs a co-worker who didn’t hear the news and her first (distraught) reaction was “oh no, the Beatles will never get back together now!”

  323. I think in this case, such crass speculation (which I couldn’t help partaking in) might be a little more warranted in this case. In my opinion, the massive success and cultural penetration of BLACK PANTHER had less to do with the merits of that particular film and more to do with the fact that the world NEEDED a hero like Black Panther and a concept like Wakanda. And it still does, now more than ever. I’m sure Boseman would have been the first to tell you that what Black Panther represents is far bigger than him and needs to go on. The people most inspired and thus most devastated by this loss need to know that Wakanda really is forever, and if some shameless clickbait speculating about a multi-billion dollar film franchise’s casting options keep that hope alive, then maybe it’s a necessary evil. That’s not why these culture vampires were pumping out these articles, but maybe the effect they have will end up being a net positive.

  324. I’m with Maj on movie theaters, at least until there’s a vaccine.

  325. I would love if JUSTICE LEAGUE turned out to be really good, but I can’t at all understand the faith these people have in it. It’s an unfinished movie being stretched out to double the length it was intended to be, using outtakes plus new footage done three years later without the actors and during a pandemic. By a director who has always been better at imagery than storytelling. But it’s the ugliest movie he’s made, cheesy looking at the time and already badly dated, with some of the characters being better fleshed out and given improved looks in subsequent movies by other directors. I mean I’m sure there will be something interesting in it, I look forward to borrowing someone’s password to watch it, but after all this I’ll be surprised if it’s much better than the “that wasn’t as bad as they said, actually I kind of like it” (and then instantly forgetting everything about it) of the theatrical cut.

    And I’m mad at Nolan. I was very excited to see TENET when it was a new movie and not a gamble with human life. I’m sure it’s a good movie but even HOLY MOUNTAIN is probly not good enough to sacrifice human beings for. At least with DARK KNIGHT RISES there was no way to see it coming. TENET was a deliberate decision. Human lives will end and the misery of our panic will be prolonged because of this push for people to come back into theaters. All the experts besides Tom Cruise agree. I would like them to be upfront about that. “We realize that people will die, but we think you’ll agree it’s worth it, buy some nachos!” I hope Nolan can find a cool backwards way to go fuck himself.

  326. “with some of the characters being better fleshed out and given improved looks in subsequent movies by other directors”

    Isn’t ‘some’ just Aquaman? Or are you counting Mera as a Justice League character?

  327. Turning JUSTICE LEAGUE into a TV show also helped kill my enthusiasm. The movie already looked chintzy as shit. It’s gonna look like fuckin’ HERCULES THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS after they stretch it out with two hours of TV budget filler. I think I’ll pass.

    And Nolan can go fuck himself. I was already tired of his wannabe aristocratic ass when he shit-talked every filmmaker who couldn’t afford to shoot on film. It is now clear that he sees all of us as unwashed masses whose lives have little meaning unless our uncultured eyeballs can feast on his masterworks of unbridled genius. I can live without a new Nolan movie. I can’t live without my lungs, you fucking fop.

  328. Man, I just basically agree with nearly everything Mr. Majestyk writes. It’s disturbing. Except I don’t much like either Nolan or Snyder, though there are aspects of their films I do enjoy (like the sense of, for lack of a better word, material reality Nolan brought to his superhero movies. Or Snyder’s touch for iconic comic book images – I don’t like Batman v. Superman, but those shots of the two title dudes facing each other feel like something mythological).

    But like Nolan’s movies or not, trying to push people into going to theaters in the country posting the worst numbers in this pandemic (though I’m pretty sure the real numbers in Brazil are worse) is just low.

  329. That’s really nice of you to say, Egon. Sometimes I worry that I’ve become the sight’s new Paul so it’s heartening to hear that some of my opinions are occasionally shared by other humans.

    Man, I miss Paul. Now there was a good-hearted lunatic you could have a civil disagreement with.

  330. Was Nolan actually pushing for the quick, theatrical release or was it just the studio? I admit to not caring much for TENET, so I didn’t follow the news about it, although “Will it be released in theatres?” seemed to become a running gag in every single article written about anything else.

  331. Yes.

    ‘Tenet': Christopher Nolan Pressuring Warner Bros. To Go Forward With Release — World of Reel

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why the WB delayed “ Tenet ” from July 14th to July 31st yesterday. They relayed all the pressure of being the first studio to release a major blockbuster over to Disney and “ Mulan ,” which is set for release on July 24th. Expect it to be delayed ver

  332. There’s exactly ONE scene I liked in The Fault In Our Stars. 2 teenagers who idolize a writer finally meet him in person and realize the guy’s a certified prick.

    Why am I saying this?

    Because, it is my considered opinion that 99.95% of artists are, away from the glare of cameras and the scrutiny of social media, assholes you wouldn’t want to spend more than 5 mins with.

    Meaning, their douchebaggery isn’t going to keep me from appreciating their work, only it’s lack of quality and it’s utter failure to engage me on any level.

    Meaning, Roman Polanski diddling an underage girl isn’t gonna change my opinion that CHINATOWN is an absolute fucking masterpiece, Woody Allen’s sexual peccadilloes isn’t going to make me hate ANNIE HALL, MANHATTAN OR CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, Russell Crowe flinging a telephone at a concierge isn’t going to make me bin my blu-rays of GLADIATOR and MASTER AND COMMANDER, Jackie Chan’s recent Pro-China stance which make him sound like a paid stooge of the Communist Party isn’t going to stop me revisiting POLICE STORY or DRUNKEN MASTER or FEARLESS HYENA or Mel Gibson having been established as bat-shit crazy isn’t gonna change my opinion he’s one of the last of the great MOVIE STARS and an AMAZING director who understands the visual power of images.

    Meaning, Zack Snyder can talk all the shit he wants, and I’m still gonna watch his JUSTICE LEAGUE, because like him or hate him (I mostly like him), the man’s a true auteur who got fucked over by WB, had the movie taken away from him, then FRANKENSTEINED by Joss Whedon (now THERE’S an overrated hack I can’t stand. Let’s be honest. The Avengers fulfilled the Comic Book Geek’s fantasy of realizing the first fully successful SHARED UNIVERSE, and most of the quip-heavy dialogue landed, but there’s not a SINGLE visual in it that approached the majesty of the Watchmen credits, Superman hovering over a roof as a flood-stricken family reaches out to him, or Batman clearing out a warehouse full of scum) into a cinematic abomination.

    Because if I don’t separate the artist from the creation and stick to watching outputs from the media-tagged NICE ones …well, what can I say? There’s only so many Tom Hanks and Keanu Reeves movies to go around, you know?

  333. Eh, fuck that guy then.

  334. And everything I wrote above…applies to Chris Nolan

  335. Eh, I got no real problem ignoring the work of big-time rapists and racists. There are in fact plenty of artists and creators who are neither.

  336. And I got a big fucking problem contemplating clearing out more than half of my book and DVD shelves because it’s creators don’t live up to my lofty standards of human ideal. I can love the art and hate the artist.

  337. I can separate the art from the artist to a point, provided the art is good enough. But that’s not what my current distaste for Nolan is about. I’m not boycotting TENET for his past crimes, but because he is currently and specifically advocating for putting human lives at risk just so his precious fucking masterpiece could be seen on a bigger screen. That pretty much guarantees I’m never, ever, fucking EVER going to give him what he wants. I’ll stream this motherfucker on a potato before I do that.

    Since I got you here, KayKay, maybe you’re the guy to explain to me something that has long vexed me. What is the big deal with CHINATOWN? To me it’s just standard issue L.A. noir, no better or worse than 40,000 other examples but certainly more boring than many. The only scene that stands out is the nose-cutting. What am I missing?

  338. I personally don’t find the idea of *not* being a racist or rapist to be some “lofty standard of human ideal”. I got no problem with someone being a jerk in their personal life, that’s whatever. But there’s a line of personal behavior for me that I don’t want to endorse financially or engage with artistically. Who has the time? But hey your dvd collection is your thing, I’m not trying to tell ya what to do with it. We’re all just commenting on a website with our personal views is all.

  339. Majestyk, with regards to Nolan, I absolutely agree that if he is indeed encouraging viewers to seek out his latest in the cinemas, then that’s an irresponsible tack to take and he should be called out on it. My own personal opinion above was prompted by my observation on some of the comments which seem to take a line of:


    Which is something I disagree with. Hence my screed on keeping art separate from the artist. Meaning Nolan is a prick for saying it, but I’d still watch TENET as I’m fan of his as a filmmaker. But I need to also acknowledge and respect the opinions of those who feel an artist’s irresponsible behavior negates whatever joy or revelation their art may bestow on the viewer.

    Here in Malaysia, the pandemic is kinda, sorta under control barring the flare up of certain isolated clusters. Selected cinemas are open , I deliberately chose one in a smaller mall, wore an N95 mask, and there was a grand total of 5 people spaced out across the theatre for the screening of TENET I went to. But that was a PERSONAL choice and I respect anyone who chooses not to set foot in a cinema hall until a vaccine is available and the pandemic all but wiped out.


    What can I say? Christie, Chandler, Hammett, Ellroy are still my comfort reads on vacations. I dig Crime Noir, am jazzed on Procedurals and adore Mysteries.

    And Chinatown is such a pitch perfect combination of all 3. There’s a savage efficiency to it’s screenplay even as it’s central mystery keeps you hooked with enough red herrings while never making the classic mistake of hiding vital clues from the viewers. There’s an economy of narrative which should be on the syllabus of any Screenplay Writing Course. 2 scenes with Nicholson’s PI, the start where he interacts with Burt Young (still playing a Paulie!) and an outburst at a barber’s shop which tell you all you need to know about JJ Gittes, his quirks, mannerisms, sympathies and moral line without resorting to tacked-on sections of plodding exposition.

    The amazing performances by a uniformly excellent cast is just the cherry on top.

    As a slice of cinema from a filmmaker operating at the peak of his directorial prowess, it’s dynamite. As a stark meditation on the powerlessness of individuals against monstrous evil, it’s amazing. As a screenplay, it’s damn near flawless.

    Have watched it more times than The GODFATHER, which is saying something because I fucking LOVE THE GODFATHER.

    You’re right. CHINATOWN follows in a long cinematic tradition of film noir. It honored them while kicking it up a notch to another level.

  340. That makes sense. You think it’s the platonic idea of that kind of story whereas I think it’s pretty boilerplate. There’s a fine line between those two distinctions. I pretty much live for hard-boiled fiction (I did an oral report on Hammett in college that made the whole class applaud) but I’m less enamored of that kind of material in film. Maybe that’s why I’m so-so on C-TOWN. It does what it’s supposed to for that kind of story but never blows me away. Perhaps it’s too tasteful. I am not a fan of tasteful, and nine times out of ten, Polanski’s style is too polite for me to take notice.

    Now REPULSION, that’s the kind of directing job that can make you momentarily forget that the guy who made it is walking human filth.

  341. JTS – I was thinking Wonder Woman too, because I was thinking it came out after JUSTICE LEAGUE. But I think the point still stands, since he was making his movie before Jenkins’ movie was finished.

  342. The Kurgan, my apologies for being curt in my response. I sounded like a prick, and that too with NO deathless piece of cinematic art in my resume to justify it.

    I respect your ability to draw a line of acceptable behavior beyond which you refuse to engage with a creator’s work. I find it a lot harder, is all. Yes, Rape is a vile and abhorrent act. So, if I draw a line there, then is drunken anti-semitic rants or racist invective spewed at your girlfriend excusable? What about profanity laced tirades at a DP who ruined your great Method Actor moment? Condoning and sympathizing with a Communist Regime for cracking down on protestors demanding greater reforms? For me, that slope is just a little too slippery is all.

    And it doesn’t help that the more I read about geniuses and visionaries, expanding out from the world of movies, the more I realize those traits don’t always come pre-packaged with some good old-fashioned decency, moral rectitude and compassion.

    The man who gave you Alternating Current also believed in Eugenics, the composer of Ride of The Valkyries was a committed Anti-Semite, the man behind the Theory of Relativity was a shitty husband, the guy who put a 100,00 songs in your pocket denied paternity of his daughter after a confirmed DNA Test and history’s great Humanitarian and Pacifist engaged in creepy sexual behavior with young nubile women.

    Separating a vile creator from his magnificent creation is sometimes the only way to reconcile this shitty dichotomy, for me at least.

  343. KayKay- no apology needed, but it’s appreciated anyway! Yeah, I definitely agree that sometimes bad people have put good and irreplaceable things into the world- hell, Bayer and IBM were straight-up Nazi collaborators, but I still need to take aspirin and use a computer sometimes. I think all we can do is figure our own personal comfort level with this kinda thing in a case-by-case basis.

  344. I think Chinatown is also considered so classic because it took what was a pretty dead genre at that point…that was also considered sort of b-movie fare…yet brought it back with A-list Hollywood talent. We think of The Maltese Falcon as a classic, but at the time it was made fast and cheap, it was considered disposable entertainment.

    Also the idea that unlike all the other movies, it had a downer ending. Yeah in the older movies maybe the woman the hero kind of likes turns out to be the killer, but in the end justice is restored. Even something like L.A. Confidential which I had heard was so dark, ended up not really being so…the bad guy makes a very good case for just going along, and I thought the good guy was going to do it. But nope, the bad guy gets a shotgun in the back, good wins even though it was a bit messy. But Chinatown didn’t play all that, it took the expected ending and just simply didn’t do it at all. And the original script DID have a typical happy ending, but Polanski had already been through The Manson murders, he thought that was just too trite.

    But that’s kind of the thing you can do with a lot of genres, like The Raid…anyone could say what’s the big deal about it, yeah there was good fights and all but they’re been doing great fights in HK for 30 years. And frankly The Raid’s fights aren’t as good as the very best of Jackie Chan or Sammo Hung or Lau Kar Keung anyway. BUT, it came at the right time, had a different style, added some more tension and suspense in between fights, and there ya go. And now it belongs in the Greatest Martial Arts Movies Pavilion (deservedly).

  345. On Nolan/TENET, reminds me that Edgar Wright on Twitter more or less supported people seeing it at IMAX. You’re not helping, dude.

    But on that note, reading about how drive-ins in certain markets aren’t allowed to show TENET because WB/Nolan didn’t want to piss off certain theater owners lent me down a weird random rabbit hole when I’ve noticed that as much as online cinephiles preach about the theatrical experience (which fair enough I agree with) they sure seem to write “theatrical experience” in terms of IMAX or Alamo Drafthouse or any of these fancy high price theaters, which are relatively a recent development in that field or as Paul Schrader mused awhile back on Facebook, theaters like Drafthouse trying to emulate the home viewing experience.

    Drive-ins (though not as numerous/ubiquitous as they used to be) are part of the theatrical experience and they’ve made a slight comeback with the pandemic, in part because they’re the safest course of action for folks who want to go see movies with a crowd (notice I didn’t say it was safe, but it’s a better alternative to a crowded indoor room where everybody is breathing the same air.) Plus most drive-ins in general are indie operated.

    In short, fuck you too Nolan.

  346. One modern thing about the Internet film culture that annoys me is its inability to like somebody (well somebody’s work) and still pimpslap them when warranted. I like Spielberg and certainly a childhood hero, but the shit he did to help keep certain subordinates of his (cough Frank Marshall) from being investigated (and potentially get in legal trouble) on the TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE* accident by flying them overseas on the guide of scouting film locations for TEMPLE OF DOOM puts things into perspective that one has to deal with.

    I am tired though of people (whenever a famous creative/artist says/does something bad) chime in to say well they never liked that work/artist in the first place. Yeah douche, make it about yourself.

    On JUSTICE LEAGUE/WW: I wonder if Snyder’s film will (like his BVS and Whedon’s duct taped-up JL) undermine that character? I mean for all the BVS complaints that’s been beaten to death online (including Snyder’s silly brainfart to have her not be a hero for a century or whatever nonsense) I’m surprised the implication WW going back into action because of Batman’s guilt tripping angry email didn’t really become a thing. Why couldn’t she have just done that because she’s a superhero? Its her dayjob. Or JL when Batman knocks for not getting over her dead boyfriend. (I get the sense that Patty Jenkins in both of her films is just going to ignore that BS in her sandbox.)

    *=Out of print, but OUTRAGEOUS CONDUCT by Stephen Farber is worth reading about that tragedy. Not the most flattering portrait of the Beard, which the book deemed (at least in circa 1982) to be a spoiled man-child. Like that whole story about how after that TZ tragedy, he wanted to get his episode done ASAP and basically filmed it super quickly with very few takes (in case you wondered why it’s probably the worst thing he’s ever directed) and apparently was more worried about making the Royals-attended premiere of E.T. in the UK.

  347. KayKay- Not a Whedon fan, but I sort of feel like the 360 team shot in THE AVENGERS is one of the more iconic shots of the last decade. But maybe that’s just because it’s been used in about 100 commercials and probably literal thousands of YouTube videos since 2012?

    I don’t think anyone here would claim Snyder is too “problematic” to deal with in the scheme of things. He just makes the odd silly or slightly petty comment that’s fun to goof on. If the worst you can say about an artist is that they’re occasionally risible or embarrassing in public they’re not doing too bad.

    I will say I do think a lot of the opprobrium over the Snyder Cut is basically because there are a lot of people who think Snyder’s films are “dumb and should just go away”. I feel like if a similar wave of support had been around the vision of a “socially acceptable” director, Rian Johnson perhaps, the fans could have been every bit as obnoxious and there wouldn’t be nearly as much hand-wringing. There does sometimes seem to be a lot of sharks who come out whenever there’s the slightest hint of blood in the water that a film might appeal to “the wrong kind of person”. Hopefully it’s a phase that will pass.

  348. Oh yeah I have no real problem with Snyder as a person, and there are definitely movies he’s made I like a lot (big fan of his DAWN OF THE DEAD, for instance). Also, I have absolute sympathy for his reasons for leaving JL in the first place, I can’t imagine how awful that must have been, but I personally just lost interest in the whole debate and debacle around the re-cut a long time ago. It became an annoying white noise to scroll past on the internet occasionally, like a more-tolerable version of any debate about THE LAST JEDI.

    But then…here I am talking about it now, so I guess the whirlpool drags us all down eventually!

  349. CHINATOWN is fantastic, but it wasn’t an unprecedented shock. Lots of noir movies had bleak, bleak endings. Lots of them were top of the marquee (THE MALTESE FALCON was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture). CHINATOWN didn’t start the trend of neo-noirs — THE LONG GOODBYE, for instance, had come out the year before.

    Mr. Majestyk is onto something when he says it’s “too tasteful” (although me, I’d cut the “too”). Jake Gittes gets compared a lot to Spade and Marlowe, but consider: We’ve got (a) heavy psychology, (b) long-buried family secrets, and (c) environmental despoliation in (d) Los Angeles. It’s not a Hammett story. It’s not even really Chandler. It’s Ross Macdonald. And as with Macdonald’s books, it’s got a serious-minded Gothic tone with the pulp mostly strained away. It could have been just an exercise in stylish nostalgia. What makes it special is the atmosphere — the rot that starts off at the periphery, but by the end is oozing from every frame of the film.

  350. RRA: one of the grosser things I’ve read lately has been the transcript from a story conference between Spielberg, Lucas, and Larry Kasdan over RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK where they discuss how the past relationship between Indy and Marianne needs to be when she was a child and he was a 25 year old man. We’re talking under 16, because 16 was too old, but that it’s okay because she was promiscuous and came on to him. I think I read that somewhere other than here, but my apologies if it was discussed on here and I’m dredging it up again. It isn’t going to make me never watch any of their movies again and probably won’t even ruin RAIDERS for me. It just reminded me that sometimes people are the worst, the past sucked (although the present is giving it a run for its money), and don’t have heroes. Not that any of them were my heroes. I just mean, don’t blindly trust in people.

  351. Yeah I didn’t think of Long Goodbye, although that almost seems as much as an exercise as anything. Maltese Falcon is almost like Psycho, in that it transcended what it was to become a classic and get those Oscar noms…cause it was so great. It was John Huston’s first movie and it was low budget. WB wanted George Raft but Raft wasn’t going to work with some first timer. Little did he know.

    I’m trying to think of film noirs with bleaker endings…they DO exist, but they’re usually a noir about a criminal who gets justice in the end. Even something like D.O.A. which has some poor guy get poisoned and he dies at the end, still gets his revenge before he does.

  352. That reminds me, I *am* excited for Snyder’s next new movie, ARMY OF THE DEAD! That sounded like a cool premise a million years ago, but it might be a blessing that it waited for Dave Bautista to become a movie star before going into production. It will have the weirdness of a character replaced in post due to cancellation, but Tig Notaro seems like cooler casting than Chris D’Elia anyway. Garrett Dillahunt and Hiroyuki Sanada are in it too.

  353. THE MALTESE FALCON wasn’t low budget. It was mid-budget — around $400,000, which is double what they’d spend on a B-picture. Bogart, just coming off HIGH SIERRA, was a rising star, and John Huston was directing for the first time but already a top screenwriter. It’s true that it was a bit of an experiment, and paved the way for more expensive films like DOUBLE INDEMNITY and LAURA.

    Bleakest noirs? Let’s see. SCARLET STREET. ACE IN THE HOLE. DETOUR. THE SEVENTH VICTIM. THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? And yeah, CHINATOWN is up there. One thing the neo-noirs could do that the Hays-Code-era movies couldn’t is to show murderers going unpunished (though SCARLET STREET does this too … sort of).

  354. Wouldn’t call it the bleakest, But John Dahl’s The Last Seduction (1994) was one of the best of the modern era noirs, IMHO. Sensual and gripping, right up to it’s uncompromising ending. And a note-perfect performance from Linda “WHERE THE HELL DID SHE GO” Fiorentino.

    Special mention: Carl Franklin’s ONE FALSE MOVE (1992)

  355. The weird thing about Neo-Noirs in that 70s period that I’ve not seen many people notice: they were being cranked out when general cinephile attitude was gee movies aren’t (whatever) like they used to be from a golden era, when they were nostalgic for that golden age of Hollywood movies from the 30s/40s. You’re seeing that now but replaced with the 1970s (see JOKER dry humping that aesthetic), ignoring that cool shit was being made before and after that decade.

    Pacman2.0 – I’ll say this for Whedon and AVENGERS. It says something that when Marvel cooked up ENDGAME and decided to indulge heavily in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 2 “revisiting past events from a new angle” gimmick, they picked AVENGERS because obviously the whole world had seen that film, and for a generation coming up as kids in the early 2010s that was a big film for them.

    You might have a point about THE LAST JEDI. Of course that’s a film where people on both sides of that debate have just dug in, investing emotionally in it being a masterpieze or a war crime or whatever. Can’t it just be a decent SW joint? Can we just fast forward to a decade or so when people mellow out like some have regarding the Prequels because there’s new SW films to bitch/moan about?

    MaggieMayPie – Wow I forgot about that…transcript. Yeah.

  356. For no other reason than the fact that it is a very good, but somehow “forgotten”, Burt Reynolds flick, I will give a shout out to SHAMUS. It’s more or less a remake of THE BIG SLEEP, but with more action and sex.

  357. I haven’t seen Scarlet Street, I’ll have to check that out.

    RRA, it’s true…the funny thing is really, when you look at what a lot of the new Hollywood guys were doing, they were basically remaking older style movies but with a new attitude and budget. Star Wars is just Flash Gordon (which Lucas couldn’t get the rights to). Godfather is a good old mob movie. Jaws is a b-trash monster movie. Scorsese makes a big musicial, Bogdanovich was kind of doing John Ford movies, DePalma doing Hitchcock, etc.

    Last Seduction was good…although I think Dahl already topped himself with Red Rock West, that is one of my favorite movies. I remember a friend rented it and it looked to me like a typical made for video boring movie, then it ended up being AWESOME.

  358. Matthew B – you missed a bleak ending which also just happens to be one of the greatest fucking movies ever made – KISS ME DEADLY (though it depends on which version of the ending you see and/or how you interpret it). I’m going to look into the other ones that you mentioned as I’m due for a good noir binge. Unfortunately, streaming options for old movies are limited here and the DVDs are pretty expensive.

  359. While we’re on the topic, the best combo of noir and kick ass martial arts ever: SPL. Which given the cast, had one soul-crushingly bleak ending

  360. SPL as a whole is a huge fucking bummer. It’s the reason why I’ve never revisted it. Movies are an escape and I don’t need to be reminded that in real life an awesome punch that would look cool in a movie would probably leave lasting damage to a person in real life. Sure I’ll watch movies with a gut punch but I’m usually not in a rush to revist them.

  361. I thought SPL sucked. Felt like a dreary late-period Seagal movie.

  362. Hallsy: Yeah, I almost mentioned KISS ME DEADLY, but as you said the ending’s ambiguous. A great movie regardless. Kind of the STARSHIP TROOPERS of its day, in that Aldrich and his screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides clearly despised the source material.

    One thing that I don’t see mentioned much: The truncated cut with the apocalyptic ending is actually closer to Spillane’s novel than the film’s original release version. The book ends with Mike Hammer shot with a .45 in a burning building, unsure whether he’ll be able to crawl to safety. Spillane had intended it as the final Hammer novel. He wouldn’t write another for ten years.

  363. Kiss Me Deadly’s actual ending is them escaping…Aldrich said that was the real ending, and no one seems to know how them escaping got cut. It’s a dark movie but still lines up with the general idea, bad guys are punished, heroes get away. Noirs with bleaker endings were about criminals. But I still tend to think Chinatown was the first movie where the hero just straight up loses…no evil is punished.

  364. KISS ME DEADLY…that’s another one I just don’t get. I’d been hearing about it for years. Darkest noir ever! Ahead of its time! Inspiration for PULP FICTION! Then I saw it and it just bored me to tears. I’m no fan of the novel—or Spillane in general; his embarrassing purple prose and performative manliness are the best arguments against pulp as an art form ever put on paper—but it definitely could have used some of Spillane’s go-for-brokeness. I saw nothing of the ludicrous but distinctive Neanderthal Spillane created in that movie. Mike Hammer is many things—a caricature, an anachronism, an author’s self-mythologizing fantasy—but what he’s not is just some milquetoast honkey in a suit. This is another one that I guess you had to be there for.

  365. It’s maybe not bleak in the sense of everyone winding up dead, but one of my all-time favorite movies is THR THIRD MAN, and in that one it’s pretty clear that the main character has accomplished nothing more than getting his best friend killed and making everyone else absolutely hate his fucking guts. My favorite ending shot in movie history, tbh.

  366. My favorite ultra-bleak ending is BLOWOUT. It’s not just that Travolta SPOILERS gives up his quest for truth and uses his lost love’s dying scream to soundtrack a cheesy slasher movie; it’s how everyone praises him for it. There’s no tragedy that can’t be turned into product. You don’t get much more cynical than that.

  367. I think Blowout’s ending is really try-hard and I usually love DePalma. I don’t see any way he uses that scream.

  368. Every criticism of Mike Hammer ever made is correct, but those books move. As Lawrence Block put it, “In one sentence he’s stuffing some chap’s head into a men’s room toilet; a sentence later he’s clear across town shooting a girl in the stomach.” And they’re not without self-awareness. Hammer acknowledges in ONE DEADLY NIGHT that he might be psychotic. There are a hundred better mystery writers, but I still like those books.

    I think the cult of KISS ME DEADLY (the film, now) was largely built around the ending, back when people thought that the hacked-up edits on the circulating prints were intentional and Aldrich had made some sort of proto-ZABRISKIE POINT. (The theory now is that a negative got mangled, and someone clumsily tried to fix it.) The real ending isn’t necessarily happier, depending on what you think caused that explosion, but it has a very different feel to it.

    I like Ralph Meeker in it. No, he’s not that much like the guy from the books. I don’t think Aldrich worried much about that. The movie’s Hammer is more a critique of the character and of the people who identified with him. He’s a thug, and an asshole, but he’s also kind of square.

    Getting back to CHINATOWN …. No, it’s not the first movie where the hero loses and evil goes unpunished. Even just sticking to noir, there’s BLAST OF SILENCE (though the “hero” there is himself a killer) and SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (some of the murderers are caught, but not all). The day before CHINATOWN opened was the premiere of THE PARALLAX VIEW.

    I love the ending to BLOW OUT. Would a real-life guy in Travolta’s position choose to flagellate himself in that specific way? Who knows and who cares? On screen, in the moment, it works.

  369. Those Hammer books definitely move like their ass is on fire. If you’re looking for shameless macho pulp, they deliver what you’re looking for on an express train. That’s not nothing. I respect that. I liked the first few books well enough for what they are but then I got to the one where Spillane is like “You know who’s great and totally right about everything? Joseph McCarthy.” And suddenly it hit me that this Mike Hammer is just the same boring reactionary tough guy asshole we have ruining everything nowadays, and suddenly I found Spillane’s shitty prose and shameless boasting a lot less charming. Haven’t read one of his books since.

  370. That particular novel is paranoid and borderline fascist. But it also — is anyone going to give a shit if I spoil the twist? — makes the Joe McCarthy character into a commie double agent.

  371. Matthew, you’re correct about bleak endings…frankly that’s partially why I think Jaws and Star Wars did so well because they were becoming a dime a dozen. They would even stick endings in to movies where it didn’t make sense, just to seem current (I’m looking at you, Lawman).

    But Chinatown isn’t just a noir, it’s a detective story, and that’s a big difference. Again, most of these noirs you mention are about criminals. The “heroes” are murderers, thus they are not good guys so when they get fucked over, that’s just dark justice. U-Turn is a fun modern noir with a bleak as shit ending, but everyone got what was coming to them. They are not heroes. Gittes is a good guy. And he solves the case, but loses. Even at that time, a loser ending was a little old hat (I mean we had Bonnie and Clyde, Parallax, stuff like Easy Rider, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry). But I think Chinatown just stuck because it was a classic detective story, without a guy like Altman doing Altman stuff like spending ten minutes on getting cat food. Just a straight up, clean, 40s style detective movie. May seem less special now, but then it was what it was. I like it but I’m not like this is one of the best movies ever. But it’s certainly a very good movie and deserves its place.

  372. See, the only ending of KISS ME DEADLY that I saw was the DVD version that I have, which is the “real” ending where they get out of the house. But I always interpreted that, yeah, they got out of the house but the apocalypse is kicking off so they’re dead anyway. I think I probably read about the other ending before I saw that which coloured my interpretation. Either way, the ending kicks ass but it’s a great movie from start to finish.

  373. I never got the sense that the box was causing an apocalypse. Just that it was some unstable shit and it blows up the house, maybe more but basically confined to that.

  374. I think Blowout’s ending is really try-hard and I usually love DePalma. I don’t see any way he uses that scream.”

    Yeah, I could never quite tell if the ending of BLOW OUT is “Travolta uses her dying screams in the movie” (which I agree, I can’t believe his character would do that) or “Travolta goes back to work, but every time he hears women screaming all he can hear is Karen Allen’s screams echoing in his head” (which works for me).

  375. make that Nancy Allen (I always DO that…)

  376. The movie doesn’t make it seem like the latter…but if it WERE that it totally works, pretty damn well actually.

  377. Mr. Majestyk: I’ve been reading the comments like a creep for a while before starting to comment. It’s also one of the reasons I became so fond of this place, in addition to Vern, of course. And yeah, I find I usually agree with you. Not just on movies. Though I have to say: I really, really like Chinatown. But I’m a negative person, the kind who finds it way easier to talk about what they don’t like in a movie than what they do, so I can’t really articulate why. And not just with movies either. Gotta work on that.

  378. Unless you run into somebody with Covid and you yell at each other for 15 mins I don’t see how drive ins aren’t safe? They don’t pack in the cars and you can keep your distance or just never leave your car.

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