Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Christian Bale
Yeah, I finally saw the new Batman movie, though… it’s not really about Batman, is it? He only shows up twice, and both times all he does is punch people. Hell, not even Bruce Wayne is in this movie all that much, getting overshadowed in screen time by the villains and that kid from Third Rock From the Sun. You’d think less Christian Bale would be a GOOD thing for a movie, but it turns out you have to replace it with something better to make it worthwhile.
Batman has been absent from Gotham for eight years since he took the blame for the death of Harvey Dent, so as to keep the public unaware that he was actually a crazy Two-Face baby killer guy. This other guy who was trained by Ra’s Al Ghul (remember? Liam Neeson in Batman Begins? Continuity!) named Bane comes into town and breaks the Bat, leaving him to run all of Gotham. The only thing in his way is a young detective and I guess a lady catburglar is kinda sorta involved too, barely. Will they be able to stop the roving street gangs from ruling the city, or will Bane blow the place up with the bomb he found??!
The first half of this two-and-a-half hour long movie is boring as watching paint dry. They spend a lot of time introducing Bane and Catwoman and Gordon-Levitt’s character while specifically staying as far away from Batman/Bruce Wayne as they can, because he’s been a whiny hermit for a decade. Without giving away any spoilers, there are really two interesting things about this film: first, Batman is not the main character. Our protagonist is the young cop, who does WAY more and actually has a story arc and shit like that. I actually think knowing that going into the movie would help a lot with the “WHERE’S BATMAN?!” feeling you get. Secondly, they basically end Batman as a character with this film, and that’s a ballsy and unique move for a comic book movie to do. So far they’ve all been much more serial, like the medium they’re adapted from. I’m not necessarily saying that I think they should end Batman movies forever or that this is a good send-off for the character (it definitely isn’t), but it is something new and different. Obviously, these two things aren’t nearly enough to make the rest of the film worthwhile, and you end up with a sense that you’ve just been wasting your time. Tom Hardy as Bane is okay, but you don’t get a lot out of his performance because he’s wearing a goofy mask and his voice sounds like a cross between Boris Badinoff and Baron Underbheit. And Anne Hathaway… well, she turns in her usual ability to be pretty and that’s about it. Gary Oldman probably does the best he’s done in any of these movies, but Commissioner Gordon is ultimately unimportant to the story, so it doesn’t really matter.
The Dark Knight Rises is a must-see for comic book fans… and that’s about it. Definitely don’t go expecting any Heath Ledger as the Joker quality stuff in here.