This review contains spoilers. A lot of them. So if you don’t want to know anything, live with the fact that the movies is good, not great, and the weakest of all three Nolan Batman films. And now, for the rest of you: The jump!
Batman Begins set the bar for comicbook movies very high. Chris Nolan introduced us to his world of movie realism and gritty violence. The movie had its flaws and was as far as removed from the comics as one can get away with, while still caling it Batman, but it was a fantastic piece of cinematography and movie history.
The Dark Knight was hailed by many as the holy grail of comic book movies, and it is easy to see why: Heath Ledgers performance was so fantastic, it is hard to imagine any other Joker ever. However, the movie itself was long, overly complicated, convoluted and actually not as good as Batman begins, but we tend to oversee that simply because of Ledger who, when he first got cast, got a lot of hatemail from moronic fanboys without any imagination.
The same fanboys have turned ever since to laude and praise every decision Nolan makes. To them, he is a god that can make every movie work, regardless the premise. And truth be told, while The Dark Knight Rises is a good movie, it is also a very silly one. Nolan took the films premise and title to the max. It almost feels like he tried to make two movies and ended up editing them together to one. The result is less than stellar, with a few plotholes, gaps in logic and horrible pacing problems. Bane as a villain just does not work. Not only is this Bane not the same character as in the comics, but the comicbook Bane existed only to break the Bat to begin with, and had little to no impact after that.
The movie version has nothing in common with the comic book version sans the name. I wondered why Nolan called him Bane anyway, while refraining from calling Selina Kyle Catwoman. She never gets called Catwoman, however, she undeniably is the best part of the movie. She does not outshine Ledger, but comes very close. Her version of Catwoman reminds me a little of Julie Newmar from the looks, but she, even though she is the best part of the flick NOT for the obvious reasons, also just barely works.
I have been saying it for months, but in todays age of technology, a burglar who has her hair open, be it real or not, her face little to not at all covered, wearing metal high heels that may be deadly but are also uncomfortable, unpractical and noisy, just does not make much sense. And then, when you think “Wow, Nolan pulled her off despite all that!” he throws a curveball and makes her another love interest. And it feels forced.
You see, Batman already has a loveinterest in this film: Miranda Tate, who casically robbed him blind and took over everything he has, has her way with him after he became a poor man (literally) only to show up in the end as Talia, the Daughter of the Bad guy from Batman Begins. And then Batman dies.
Bruce Wayne has a hard life in this film, since not only does he rise in the first hour of the Film to face Bane, he also rises again after Bane breaks his back and has him imprisoned, only to die when a nuclear bomb safely explodes above the city (phyiscally impossible, but… oh well…) just that he is not dead, he left with Selina for Europe, leaving the Batman duties to John Blake, who is actually named Robin and set to rise as Batman… AGAIN…
When this already reads overly complex, well that is not even half of it. There are subplots en masse in this film, but unfortunately, no subtext. Everything is as straight up as it can get, the characters spend a lot of time explaining their motivations and actions but not showing them. Showing is better than telling in a film, and this film just does not show enough. Sure, it is a solid film with fantastic actors, great production values, an outstanding score and all of that we came to expect from Nolan but in the end, the film is, long, overly convoluted and ultimately: shallow.
I make it sound worse than it is, and that is not my intention. It is a good film and close the trilogy nicely, however I can’t help but thinking that beneath all the hype, this film could not stand on it’s own. Horrible pacing, boring fight scenes (a problem Nolan generally has) and an illogical and dull plot makes this the worst of the Nolan Batman Trilogy.
Not a bad film by any merits, but not a good one either.