Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Dark Knight Rises is an easy movie to recommend. Christopher Nolan has created another must see for anyone who has watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and so there just isn't really much to say that will help anyone decide whether they're going to see the movie or not. The cinematography is good, the characters are good, all the actors are good, the action is well paced and explosive, the toys are cool, the ideas are even good, and the movie as a whole is pretty good, even though after all of this is where it starts to fall apart a bit. This movie with a very difficult to shorten name is probably around as good as Batman Begins, maybe a little worse, maybe a little better depending on your tastes and which problems bug you more.

I really want to emphasize how much I like this movie early on, because it's where I come down finally and officially. It's a good movie, and I enjoyed it on a number of levels, and I really want that to stick when I say what I have to about this movie. The basic setup for this movie without giving away anything that isn't in the trailer or the first five minutes is that Batman has well and truly retired from crime fighting. His crime fighting actions seemed to be unnecessary after legislation was passed in the name of Harvey Dent, based on the lie that he died a sane and not criminally insane shining example of all the great qualities the city needs, legislation that allowed Gotham to lock away the entirety of its mob problem into Blackgate Prison. Selena Kyle(who is never once called cat woman, which was kinda cool) is running around the city as a bit of a wildcard, and Bane arrives with some dark motives.

The opening starts off with some great ideas. The entire peace of Gotham based on vigilantism and lies being a reckless and fragile peace, and there is a lot of promise there. Unfortunately, this and a lot of other great ideas that develop in the movie tend to fail to come to a really well executed fruition. Maybe about five of eight great ideas are solidly delivered. A lot of the problems are built into the execution, and I honestly don't know what happened, but some of the execution just felt lazy. The opening of the movie is just a one two punch of characters looking at each other and asking overly verbose questions that spell out the important events from previous movies. It's not like this sin has never been committed by a good movie before, and it certainly doesn't drag this movie down much. The reason I mention it is because it's just a good example of the way the movie tends to slip up when it does.

There are some passing ideas about class warfare and some picket sign statements about the excesses of the wealthy in there for motivation, but they're never really given the touch of importance that makes them significant to the movie. The pacing is off a bit, and in one or two places that I simply can't talk about it, they did some things that were supposed to be a nod to fans of the comics, but they even managed to make that feel heavy handed and wrong.

All that said, while it's a bit of a mess, it only feels that way in that the ideas that didn't work or come together well were so good that you can see how great this movie would have been if they had. It's like it was one off of being a cut above even The Dark Knight. None of the problems are glaring though, and the Dark Knight Rises is still very easy to recommend to anyone as an enjoyable movie overall.
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