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Customer Review

546 of 775 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't quite fit..., July 27, 2012
This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
After watching this film the first time, I wasn't quite sure what to think of it. I knew it wasn't a bad film, but at the same time it just didn't sit right with me for whatever reason. So I went back and watched Begins and TDK and I think I figured out why I didn't really care for it. In my opinion it doesn't seem to fit with the other two films.

Warning: Some spoilers

First there's the setting. The concept of a broken and retired Batman living as a recluse is interesting, but it seems to sort of contradict what we saw in the other films. We learn that he hasn't been Batman for 8 years since Dent was killed, which made me wonder, why is he in such bad physical shape then? Rewatching The Dark Knight, I didn't see anything to show where these injuries came from. Why is his leg screwed up? The last scene of Dark Knight was him running away from the camera. If he hasn't been Batman since then and has been living like a hermit, how did he screw up his leg? Also, why did he stop being Batman? Rises seems to suggest it was stress over Rachel, although that happened midway through The Dark Knight and didn't seem to stop him. He sort of suggested at the end of Dark Knight that since Dent died, he had to be the hero. That was sort of the point of Dark Knight that Gotham's savior had to be either Dent or Batman and since Dent died, it had to be Batman, but then Rises suggests that Batman just kinda went home literally right after that. Rises sort of gets around this by introducing what I consider to be a highly implausible "Dent Act" in honor of Harvey Dent, in which all of Gotham's criminals are apparently just straight locked up with no sort of legal due process, the streets become clean as a whistle, and Batman "isn't needed anymore". The Dent Act also asks you to believe that everyone now believes without a question that Batman killed Harvey Dent, despite having saved him very publicly from the Joker in Dark Knight. I find it strange that things like this are considered realistic, yet more cat features on catwoman's suit are not. Anyways..

Second, the villains. I found Bane to be just plain underwhelming. Physically intimidating sure, but I felt like they had to seriously water down Batman's competence in order to artificially make Bane more threatening. In Begins and Dark Knight Batman would fight using his surroundings. That's basically how he fights, something he learned from the League of Shadows and Ras Al Ghul. "Always mind your surroundings." Yet when confronted with Bane and reminded of the League, Batman simply charges at him swinging like a brawler. No tech, no using the environment around him, just straight fisticuffs. I realize that he's been "retired" for 8 years, but again, that felt forced and unexplained as I mentioned in my first point, which just reinforces my belief that this was done simply to make Bane seem more threatening. As for Talia, she just felt too much like Ras, and a lesser version at that. Not only does she not get the character development that Ras got to make him interesting, but in the end she's only doing it to carry out Ras' will, which just made her feel like a pawn. The main villian and she doesn't even have her own plan. Overall they felt too similar to the Begins villians. In Begins the villains worked within the system, using it to try to destroy Gotham. In Dark Knight the villains worked to try to destroy the system and induce chaos in Gotham. In Rises, I was expecting another progression to give the villains an overall theme to work with, but it just feels the same as Begins. Talia manipulating the system to try and destroy Gotham.

Third, not enough Batman. Having Bruce trapped in a pit for the better part of the film's second half served no purpose imo. I don't think anybody thought that he wasn't going to escape this pit and return to face Bane. I realize this sort of had to happen based on what we know of Bane and Batman in the comics, but the way it was handled only served to take us away from Gotham and Bane where things were getting interesting, and into a dull situation miles away in which we already know the only possible outcome. Obviously the movie won't end with "And then Batman died in the pit" It employs odd and often confusing time jumps that the previous films didn't have, taking away from the pacing and making the film feel frantic. Once Bane starts implementing his plan and things start to pick up, there's literally a 5 month time skip that glosses over Gotham transitioning from normal society to anarchist warzone in favor of Bruce's previously mentioned antics in the pit.

Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!

Fourth, John Blake. I liked the character and portrayal but I felt the "big reveal" about him at the end was totally unnecessary and handled in the worst possible way. First off... his actual legal name is Robin? ....... I'll leave that at that, but what bothered me more about how this was handled is that again, this doesn't seem to be consistent with the previous films. In Rises we get Bruce spouting a bunch of nonsense about how Batman was supposed to inspire people into action and that "anybody can be Batman" Oh really? What about those guys in The Dark Knight who were trying to help Batman take down Scarecrow and some drug dealers? They tried to be Batman and Bruce responded by kicking the living cr@p out of them, breaking all their weapons and then making fun of their outfits. They did exactly what he's talking about in Rises and he personally beat them up for it. Just seems weird is all.. Also, how did Blake know Bruce was Batman? You can assume that since he's a cop he could've done the detective work and figured this out, but he doesn't say that's what happened. He says he literally figured it out by having met Bruce once a long time ago and recognizing he had the same hidden pain that Blake had from losing his parents? Really?! That's it?! How can you reasonably make such a huge assumption based on meeting someone once and looking at their face?

Fifth, Catwoman. Again, nothing wrong with the performance, but I felt her character was unneeded. Nothing she did in the film seemed to matter, except of course for the fact that they decided to let her be the one to kill Bane. The romance between them felt forced as well imo. I don't see why he would be attracted to her. Her ideology is almost the direct opposite of his. In the comics there's a sense that she genuinely cares about him and a lot of that is due to their long history, none of which we get to see here. I never really get the sense that she saw him as anything other than a 1 percenter or necessarily cared about his well being. When Bane "breaks" him, she doesn't seem concerned about him, just concerned about what Bane will do to the city and how it will effect her. It's all about her and I just don't really see what draws him to her in this film.

Finally, the ending. I get it, he retired. Batman gets to live a happy life in Europe or whatever with Catwoman. Great for him I guess, but isn't Gotham gonna be worse than ever now? Gordon will likely lose his job as commissioner because of his 8 year lie to the public and for knowingly framing Batman for Dent's murder. Dent has been revealed as a murderer, meaning the Dent Act will likely be repealed and all these criminals are gonna come pouring back to the streets, including Joker, who isn't dead and who happens to be the direct cause of almost everything that happens in Rises to begin with. I get that they can't use Ledger anymore, but I for one found it strange that they deliberately chose not to once mention the Joker even though nothing in Rises would be as it is without him.

And who's left behind in Gotham to handle this new mess? "Robin" John Blake, a man who now has Bruce's suit and gadgets, sure, but none of the League of Shadows training that would let you take on dozens of thugs/SWAT officers at a time, meaning the first time he suits up and hops down into a group of 5 guys thinking he's a bad@ss, he's gonna get wailed on. Bruce didn't even bother to train the guy like the real Robin. Not only that, but Bruce only met this guy what... twice, for a total of 10 minutes and he trusts him with the Batsuit? But I guess Bruce isn't concerned with any of that anyways. He's "moved on" and I should be happy that he doesn't have to be the hero and protector Gotham needs like we've come to expect from him over the course of this trilogy, right? I just feel like it sent a strange message where you should do what you feel is right but only until you're tired of it, then you should sit back and have some "me-time" with a foxy lady despite the fact that there's still more to be done. I dunno about you but that just struck me as not very admirable and as something no respectable version of Batman would EVER do...

Overall the film is well acted and looks and sounds great, but it's only mildly entertaining and drags in a lot of places. I also felt it was the least realistic of the trilogy which I found unfortunate since the realism is what drew me to the trilogy in the first place. Things like the Dent Act, an old man in a pit who can heal a broken back by punching it, a usb drive that can erase your name from every computer on the planet and a cheesy imo nuclear bomb plot that emerges somewhat randomly near the end of the film serve to make it the most comic-booky feeling film of the three. All that said, again it's not a bad movie by any means and I'd say it's worth a watch, but it's easily the weakest of the trilogy in my opinion.
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Showing 1-10 of 150 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 30, 2012 9:16:42 AM PDT
Thanks for writing this review. I think you have some pretty valid points. But I don't think the plot of the first two films would hold up under such intense scrutiny either. For instance ... the whole water supply plan in the first one falls apart once you spend five minutes thinking about how that would really work. The cell phone radar in Dark Knight is pretty ridiculous, as is the idea that Gordon could possibly pin Dent's murders on Batman.

The three films are more or less the same in that regard. I just suggest you don't worry about it. Nolan and Co. did their homework so that the things we see in the films are at least rooted in reality, but that's about as far as it goes.

I wonder if people are just disappointed that it doesn't top the Dark Knight? It tells a different story and tells it in a different way. I think there's less action, less humor, and less Batman. That doesn't necessarily mean it's less of a film. (Heath Ledger's performance notwithstanding--there's just no way to match that, let alone improve on it.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2012 12:09:38 PM PDT
SuperHiro says:
I agree that Begins and Dark Knight have "realism issues" just like Rises, but they don't have the other problems I mentioned as well. I think my biggest issue with Rises is that the villains were both weak. One was a re-hash of Ras, and the other was only threatening because Batman had been retired for 8 years. I still prefer Begins over Dark Knight and really wasn't all that impressed with Dark Knight outside of Joker so I don't think that's the reason. I just feel Rises is just plain a weaker movie than the other two. Character's motives are shaky make little sense. This was a problem in Dark Knight as well, but not in Begins. I also felt the pacing in Rises was easily the worst and least engaging of the 3. Scenes are cut and edited in a weird and jarring way making the movie somewhat confusing at places, particularly when time skips are employed. In the end I just thought it was sloppily executed.

Posted on Sep 17, 2012 5:51:37 AM PDT
So you believe Batman survived the nuclear explosion, and that the scene with him and Selina in a European cafe was not Alfred's illusion?

Posted on Sep 26, 2012 9:05:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 26, 2012 9:23:14 AM PDT
I agree on every level... It just didn't feel right. Batman didn't feel smart at all. There were almost no gadgets and no detective work. So the things that make Batman great weren't in the movie. And the street battle-scene was just weird. Batman fighting alongside cops and dare I add IN DAYLIGHT!?? Dark knight, hello??? The costume only doesn't look ridiculous when it's dark.
I love Nolan but this was his worst movie. As a huge fan of the batman I would like to see in the reboot (if there is gonna be one) a more psychotic batman. Enough with trying to be realistic, please. Nolan's attempt of portraying a realistic Batman was great but I think it would be better if it was more in line with the SIN CITY movie for example. Let's make it more dark! Maybe give Tim Burton another shot at it! I really liked the decors of those movies. Gotham City a la Art Deco. If you make it more sci-fi or fantasy like the games you can add more colourful villains and the suits wouldn't feel misplaced. MAKE A BATMAN & ROBIN MOVIE, one that makes us forget the awful schumacher one, based on the Grant Morrison serie, with a bloodthirsty Damian Wayne! That's what I think WILL happen eventually. Damian will find it's way to the big screen. Why else was there a love scene between Bruce and Talia in TDKR? Ok, she's dead but the League can recover the fruit and develop it further in the lab. This could be even incorporated in the nolan story line. You can have John Blake train and operate in Blüdhaven as Nightwing. (Nightwing movie) Then u can let him come back to Gotham for some reason to claim the cape and cowl and Damian could make his entrance as Robin. (Batman & Robin movie) I don't know how to tie it with the justice league movie but it would be amazing for fans to see that become reality.

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 3:52:20 PM PDT
Oliver says:
well written review -- I totally agree with you.

you hit the nail on the head when you said it felt the most comic-booky of any of the three. And yet somehow it's also way less fun than the other two. It had not-very-good comic book storytelling, and yet took itself way more seriously than the other two. The other two had jokes. Alfred was always wise, but also had a sense of humor.
And... I didn't think of that -- What did happen to him physically? He was fine at the end of II? And -- he went on to get the joker and two face after rachel died... then he turned his back on batman?
doesn't quite track?

Posted on Oct 10, 2012 5:10:02 PM PDT
Thanks for the review, I tried so hard to love this film as much as the others. I've actually seen it 10 times. Paid good money to see it because I kept wanting to see what so many were seeing. I loved Begins and Dark Knight really grew on me (I always loved Joker but the lack of Batman and some confusing plot points held me back for a while),

This film does have nearly all the issues you mention. People obviously all see them to differing degrees but I think you make valid points that everyone else seems to shrug off. "Oh the others had issues too" or "well this is the story he was telling" but my biggest problem is one you speak about. The notion that Batman just retires, supposedly after learning something, but what? It's left up to incredible amounts of interpretation other than that he decides Gotham will never be good for him and that he regains his fear of death. He just decides to get out now? Eight years of peace and NOW he leaves? When the city will be (like the random cop shouted in Dark Knight press conference) "Worse than ever!", Gotham is going to be more overrun, the people will have less faith and all they've learned from his efforts is that some lone legendary figure can show up and fix things for people who have no clue.

Blake, I like JGL, but did anyone notice that in one scene he kills the guys and tosses his gun in disgust, obviously a big hint to him being similar to Bruce, but in the very next scene after his car crashes he's carrying a shotgun storming into the hospital?
Then like you say, the idea that anyone can just have the batcave and be a hero is ridiculous, remember Bruce first getting his armor from Fox, he set of the dagger things and almost cut up his face, now Blake is gonna what? Read all the instruction manuals? Also like you said, if anyone can be batman why not the hockey pants guys? So anyone can be batman who has millions of dollars or a company with their name on it whose R&D they can raid.

Disappointed that they only vaguely hint at Gotham's upheaval, since this was a major plot point and they cram it all into one montage with Bane giving a speech. Then they waste time showing Gordon and the cops constantly meeting and discussing exposition that is confused and overcomplicated because of Bane's ridiculous plan. Why not just blow up the city right away? Why let it happen over five months from overheating? I infer that Talia/Bane wanted Gotham to stand as a symbol of what happens to decadence but that was never discussed. The film would've fared better if they hadn't tried to keep the Talia secret that most of us guessed and had that reveal be when Bats first faces Bane. If Talia had stepped up then and revealed herself then she and Bane could've had more time discussing their plan and explaining its over complex purpose to the audience. So instead of feeling bad about the city's situation we watch a bunch of moron cops meeting up discussing how little time they have but doing nothing at all until the last minute, while a bunch of other morons are in the sewers (apparently shaving because they get out with no beards). What use does Foley serve? He's a moron cop, lets Bane get away and then hides in his house, we have to watch Gordon argue with him and in the end he dies while every major character remains unscathed.

In the end, I was also let down by all the hype by Nolan and others that this was the end, this would be a fitting ending. To me its just a rushed ending, or if its well pulled off its not an ending inherent to Batman/Bruce himself, even as set up in these films. To be honest I would've liked it better had he sacrificed himself, after I first learned the third would be the last... years before release, I was certain the ending would be Bruce realizing there was no way out, that he "had started something" and that now he would have to spend his whole life fighting it. I don't mind that they wanted him to retire but I do mind that it was rushed and at the most inopportune time he could've ever retired. Also seems like a cowards way out when he could retire but stay in the city and work to help Blake and be a philanthropist.

Lastly, I hate that now every film I see every major sequence is shown in the trailers. I thought when I saw the traiers, wow Gotham being torn apart, the rich being pulled out of their homes, Batman and Catwoman teaming up, the Batwing flying through the city, all these were shown in the previews and I thought they were small snippets of what would surely be more in a three hour movie. Instead every single scene of action (other than Bruce and Bane fighting inside the building) was revealed in the trailers. There was no escalation when I saw the film, just a piecing together of all the pieces already revealed. Almost no new bat footage, other than it flying past McD's and fifth saks a hundred more times shot from different angles, and no new scenes with Bats or catwoman other than the rooftop.

OH WELL, I suffer from here on out in silence because this may have been the movie we deserved but its not the one I needed right now, or maybe that's vice versa?

Posted on Oct 10, 2012 5:20:35 PM PDT
Also, did everyone see the How Dark KNight Rises SHould've ended? I now don't see why Fox didn't just flood the chamber when Bane wanted him to authorize the machine the first time. I suppose he didn't want Miranda and the other board exec to die, but killing himself and two innocent lives surely would've been better than risking the entire city?

One other thought, I wish instead of all the cops beign trapped under the sewers that Bane had simply started collecting the cops for trial, thus forcing remaining cops to stay hidden. Then when Batman comes back (painting that ridiculous flaming bat signal on the brooklyn bridge somehow despite a ticking clock to doomsday) he could've inspired all the cops to come out of hiding and stand together for the city. Instead the cops just sit on their asses trapped and then get out and fight no problems.
Also would've made more sense, as online reviewer confused Mathew says to have Bruce not be able to make the jump, or not be willing, until he sees on the news that Gothams citizens still believe in and need the batman. If on the news they showed home made batsignals everywhere (not only would that have been a great counter point to when they smashed the real batsignal at the end of DK, but it would've been more organic motivation than some old man telling him he needs to find the fear again, or they could've also added that but his motivation to get out of the pit should've come from the people too).

Posted on Oct 10, 2012 5:26:40 PM PDT
Last, last, thing,

I was always bothered by the shot of Batman in the cockpit at 5 seconds left. It's first job is to trick the audience, but after 10 times I finally accept that what Nolan must've been trying to do was showing Batman making the decision to live -- with some difficulty. They show him in the Bat piloting it with a thoughtful expression and its meant to seem like he is deciding to die, but I suppose what it is is Bats deciding to live, like in the pit, (an equally hard decision for him as posed by the film at least) and his remorse over leaving the city behind. Him clearing the blast in under 5 seconds I'll just let go as someone pointed out to me the time logic of him flying all around the city in eleven minutes is pretty tight too, so theoretically the Bat could easily clear the blast since it cleared the city in seconds too.

I really wish the film was tighter and showed more of its themes instead of getting caught up in cheap tricks and frills (Talia reveal, Dagget getting played, people being sent out on the ice, Foley's entire antagonistic relationship with Gordon)

Anyone else notice Blake tells Gordon if he goes on TV they'll kill him, then in their next scene Blake says we just need to keep moving you until we can get you in front of a camera? LOL so did Blake just decide Gordon might as well be dead?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2012 12:44:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 11, 2012 12:48:05 PM PDT
Steve Austin says:
Remember, there is always the "Lazarus Pit" to revive Talia.

Posted on Oct 14, 2012 8:35:07 PM PDT
Holy smokes! That "Dent Act" sounds disturbingly fascistic! Without due process, anybody can be hauled away for reasons arbitrarily set by state and law enforcement. What if Batman had to fight THAT corrupt system, that would have been awesome! What if Dent survived in the second and became a corrupt D.A. That would have been a real villian! Harvey Dent's whole character revolved around viewing the world as arbitrarily set between positive and negative and no objective way to define justice. But no, there's only good, goody-goody law abiding citizens and baddy-baddy-bad guys who are all the same and should be rounded up for our protection.
Garbage. Maybe we've been desensitized to big government running our lives?
Also, what a lousy sounding script. Christopher Nolan is such an overrated director and after the abomination that was Inception I really didn't expect much...
But this is worse than I could have imagined!
I'm so glad I didn't see this garbage now. The first two were at least decent, even if they don't hold a candle to the 90s Batman TAS. That was for kids and was more intelligently written! I think cinema as we know it may be dead. Just flashy FX and muddled, confused philosophical exegesis.
Thanks for the review. People like you do a public service by deconstructing garbage like this.
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