Topic: "The Dark Knight Rises" Review By Squiggly_P - Spoilers
Trust and deception.
The Dark Knight Rises is a bit of a mess and has some pretty large plot-holes, but as messy as it gets, it never strays too far from these two words.
The film opens with a scene where some mercenaries hand over a Russian scientist to some other dudes. I honestly can't remember who they were working for. As a bonus, these mercenaries also hand over some blindfolded guys they captured who are apparently working for Bane. On the plane, these apparent organized crime goons open the doors and then threaten that they will toss the blindfolded guys out of the plane, one by one, until one of them talks about Bane. When the first guy doesn't talk, they fire a gun out of the open door and then throw the blindfolded guy to the back of the plane and NOT out the door. Then they say "Well that guy didn't fly so well" and grab the next guy.
However, it turns out that Bane is actually one of the captured guys. They take control of the plane, grab the scientist, plant some evidence that everyone died in the crash - including one of Bane's men staying on the plane to die in the crash - and we exit the scene.
In the very first scene of the film, we've got three deceptions and one plot hole. The plot-hole lies in the fact that this was obviously some kind of set-up by Bane to get the Russian scientist, but if the mercenaries who handed Bane over to the goons were working for Bane, then they already had the scientist, so why the elaborate plane escape scene? Just to fake his death? Seems like overkill to me.
The rest of the movie plays out like that pretty much all the way through. There is a lot to like in this movie, but also a lot of things that can be picked apart. Several scenes can be removed entirely, and I have a feeling that no one noticed a couple of moments where some apparent re-shoots and creative editing were used to alter the sequence of events in this film. One of the characters is apparently in two places at once. Like I said, there are a few plot-holes in this movie, and a few things that I don't really understand as far as character motivations.
Anyway, the trust / deception thing is happening in literally every scene, but subtly most of the time, and it wasn't until I walked back to my car and started thinking about what the overall goal of the film was that it dawned on me that it was happening that often. There are a few scenes that are clearly about those things, but those themes run through every scene and every character arc. Not really much I can say about it. If you've seen the movie already, then you either noticed it and you're thinking "fucking DUH!" or you didn't notice it and now you're going through the movie trying to think of a scene that proves me wrong
Were it not for the plot-holes, I would probably love this movie a lot. Beyond the opening scene, there are a few other moments that bothered me. This is the point where Spoilers are going to happen in full force, so if the warning in the thread title didn't catch your eye, here's another warning for you. Spoilers and stuff.
We spend the first half of the film watching as Bruce places more and more trust in Miranda while simultaneously trying to figure out Bane's methods and motives for trying to ruin him. Selina Kyle lifts Bruce's fingerprints for one of Bane's guys. Bane then uses those fingerprints to verify stock transactions that bankrupt him overnight. But it turns out that Miranda is, and always has been, behind Bane's actions. So why does she need to go through Selina Kyle to get to Bruce's fingerprints? The answer in the script is "Because he's been a recluse for 8 years", which to me is a very sloppy answer. This isn't necessarily a plot hole, just a very contrived plot point.
Bruce gives Selina Kyle the bat-bike thing and has her go blow up a barricade blocking a tunnel so people can escape from the city. Then Blake, a cop who is privy to this plan and who Batman uses to get the word out about the tunnel being opened, attempts to flee the city with a bus full of kids via the bridge that is being monitored and which has been rigged to blow. I have no explanation for this logic. Why not drive the bus through the tunnel? The tunnel never comes back up. No one goes through the tunnel. You're meant to assume that Selina escaped through it, but she obviously doesn't. That bugs me a lot, cause they devote about ten solid minutes of the film to this before they drop it entirely.
The 'court' scenes all feel very unnecessary and pointless. They don't really add anything to the movie, beyond a cameo by Cillian Murphy. You could most likely cut all of these scenes from the movie and replace them with a scene where Bane just orders them all to be killed, or to 'exile', which would likely make more sense in the film, seeing as how he himself was exiled from the League Of Shadows, which was the organization that Ra's Al Ghul ran in the first film. The "exile" scenes didn't really do much for the flick either, tho, so maybe the best option would have been to just cut all of that entirely and replace it all with a scene where Bane kills the one wormy dude and a scene where Bane orders the cops to be killed while taking Miranda / Talia 'prisoner' to some other location.
Getting a bit further into themes and comparing the film to The Dark Knight, I felt that The Dark Knight definitely has a clear sense of 'chaos' going on, and that the Joker is basically a personification of the idea. People have said that Bane also represents chaos, but I think he was supposed to represent control. Where the Joker wanted to turn Gotham into pure anarchy, Bane wants to control it with an iron fist. He frees an army of hardened criminals, turns the people against the police and Gordon, kills or imprisons anyone of power besides himself and then threatens the destruction of the city if anyone enters or leaves or challenges his rule in any way. They talk about his goons going around executing any cops they find. He hangs cops from the bridge as examples for others.
Unfortunately, I don't think that the film nails the 'control' thing as well as TDK nailed chaos. There's a lot of chaos going on in the city, and Bane seems to create quite a bit of it himself. Further, you never see him use force upon the people in the city, aside from Bruce's various cohorts. There's no scene of Bane's men putting down a riot in a brutal, dictatorial sort of way. He doesn't play into the 'leader' role, beyond running his little militia of guys. The scene where he recruits people from the prison is essentially an anarchic scene where he even uses the word "liberation" and says he's going to free people and allow them to choose and stuff. I don't really get that. I can only assume that they just had certain scenes and didn't care if those scenes didn't play into a particular theme. Maybe the goal wasn't "control", though I feel that if it weren't then they failed to see an obvious opportunity to give the film a direction.
I think this film would have been vastly improved if it had been allowed an R rating for violence. It's one of those films where you really need to see some people being lined up and executed to fully appreciate the totalitarian sort of state that Bane has apparently created. You get some expository dialogue about people being rounded up and shot, about how scared this cop is to go out, etc. You get scenes where people are stealing from rich people, but then just kinda shoving them into the street while their house gets ransacked for no particular reason other than to just ransack a rich dude's house. Not like all that crap's gonna help you survive on an island that is now cut off from the rest of the world.
The city is like this for months, apparently. How are these people getting food? Why are there not gangs roaming the streets and fighting over turf? Gotham should look like a war zone, but aside from a few parts of the city where it got blown up, it looks like a big, deserted city. Most of my issues with the movie are fridge logic stuff like that, tho.
The Dark Knight had so many great moments in it, and I think that's where this movie suffers the most. There aren't a lot of specific scenes you can point to and go "THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!" the way you could with the pencil scene or the 'hit me' scene or the two-face car scene. It's still a decent film, tho, and it feels like it fits into the trilogy fairly well. It definitely improves toward the end of the film, raising the stakes and such, though even then there are still bits in there that feel kinda silly and unnecessary. I dunno.
The only other negative thing I can think of is the way the film climaxes. The third act isn't playing the characters against each other, but is about Batman trying to keep a bomb from going off. Bane is dispatched in a very anticlimactic sort of way, and Talia isn't really the villain after that. She's just some crazy bitch that wants to blow shit up. After Bane dies, the film loses it's menace.
I'd say that it's a pretty decent flick and a fun watch that doesn't really live up to it's older siblings, but which still has a lot going on beneath the surface that gives it that extra bit of depth that most other big blockbuster flicks lack. The performances are pretty good overall, the story isn't bad and the visuals are great. There's just none of those moments where the movie really grabs you by the balls, which is kinda odd considering how Nolan tends to be really good at getting scenes that do that into his films, and the film deflates a bit in the middle and toward the end. I'd say that some of the best bits of the film belong to Blake and Gordon.
But even at it's worst, it's still a god damn Chris Nolan batman movie, and they're all good in their own way.
Last edited by Squiggly_P (2012-07-21 03:19:36)