I’m sure that by now you’ve all read my review of The Dark Knight Rises and also listened to the episode of SEND MORE COPS where I talk about it. In case you haven’t done either of those, what are you waiting for, ya dummy?! Well, even after reviewing the movie and recording some after thoughts on the podcast, I had a few more thoughts that I didn’t feel like recording onto another podcast, nor did I feel like including into my review. I was totally willing to look back on this movie with those mixed emotions of it feeling kind of like a let down, but I recently revisited the movie, in IMAX no less, and it brought about some feelings that I just needed to express. FEELINGS, GUYS! WE’RE TALKING ABOUT FEELINGS HERE!
When I first saw The Dark Knight Rises, it was at 9am. Something that you guys might not know, not having worked in a movie theater, is that cleaning crews come in over night to give the theater a thorough cleaning, but they don’t typically get there until midnight and don’t typically leave until 8 or 9 in the morning. What does this have to do with anything? IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH SOMETHING! The point I’m actually trying to make is that since the cleaning crews were still cleaning the theater as the audience was filling the theater, the cleaning crew accidentally left the lights on. Nobody noticed it until the trailers were over and the theater was supposed to be completely black, but instead, it was bright as shit. This means that the whole opening sequence, I was distracted and wondering how long it would be for someone to get up to alert the managers. Having been able to see that scene again, and seeing it in IMAX, I must say that it was an awesome way to start a movie. Despite not really knowing what the fuck was happening in that scene, it was really intense. And don’t care how fucking cool you think you are for making fun of Bane’s voice, but when you heard these people talking about Bane, similarly to how the thugs were talking about the Joker in The Dark Knight, and then you finally heard him growl some lines of dialogue, it was pretty intimidating. It seems kind of silly to point this out, but I also really enjoyed Hans Zimmer‘s creation of that rhythmic chanting. Granted, it sounds like they’re just saying “JABBAH JABBAH CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP”, but I think that sort of primal, repetitive chanting helped evoke the power that Bane had over his followers. Sure, it was also kind of silly that first time Bane told that guy he was going to die and that guy asked about a fire, and to hear Bane respond in his accent with, “Yes, the fire rises,” after knowing what this “fire” was and how far Bane was willing to go to ignite that fire, it added a lot more to that scene, especially as the chanting was reaching a crescendo. Also, as I’m sure you all know, Hans Zimmer’s work on all three of these Batman films has been incredible, and every other comic book movie composer might as well call it a day, as it’s unlikely anyone will ever compose a score so powerful and iconic as the score he created for this trilogy.
“How do Batman use iPad when me got gloves?”
Shortly after this movie came out, good old Wolfgang sent me a link to a list that was similar to my initial review, which pointed out very specific examples of what needed to be fixed about the movie. One of those points, which was on my list as well as this other website’s list, was the scene where Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s character basically says, “I know you’re Batman because I’m an orphan and you, Bruce Wayne, are an orphan, and we’re both angry, so obviously you’re Batman, but I gotta go right now so we’ll talk about that later.” After having seen the movie once, that scene STILL MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. However, the next time that these two characters are together, Bruce Wayne openly admits to being Batman, which seemed insane during my first viewing, however, this time I noticed that every scene after that between these two characters, whether he is dressed as Batman or not, involves Bruce passing on SOME sort of advice. Whether it be advice about the legend of Batman or how to protect the ones he loves through a mask, he’s giving him information that he’ll need when he takes over the cowl. It’s possible, in theory, that from that first insane leap of logic on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s part, that Bruce knew he was going to hand over the mantle of Batman to him, so he was a little bit more open about admitting he was Batman. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s just something I noticed. Another point on that other website’s list was about Bruce Wayne escaping from the prison that Bane put him in, and how it was ridiculous to throw the rope into that pit to allow all the prisoners to escape. Sure, these people helped him escape, but why would Bruce want these crazy people getting out? Well, it’s never said that it’s a judiciary “prison”, just that it’s a prison. We know that Talia al Ghul’s mom was thrown in there by a warlord, we know that Bane spent time in there for some reason, we know that Bruce Wayne was put in there by Bane, and we hear one inmate refer to it as “Bane’s prison”. Based on that information, even though it’s referred to as a “prison”, for all we know it could be a hole that some asshole built to put people he doesn’t like in. Maybe not all the people potentially freed should have been released, but it’d be wrong to assume that all the people in that “prison” were people who had committed atrocities, for all we know is that they wronged someone strongly enough to be put in there. And as far as any complaints about how Bruce could get back to Gotham without any money and wandering through the desert, have we forgotten the fact that in Batman Begins, Bruce was able to LEAVE Gotham and go to other countries without having any money? THINK ABOUT IT!
I wonder how many real farts vs. fart sounds from Anne Hathaway’s thighs rubbing together there were on set.
A lot of people were wondering which comic book movie would “win” the summer, The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers. Winning the summer is pretty subjective, because on one hand, The Avengers earned millions upon millions more dollars the TDKR will end up making, and The Avengers generally had more positive reviews. Even though there were quite a few movies that built up to it, this was still the first movie in the franchise, so it wasn’t expected to meet any sort of quota, other than the success of some of the previous movies featuring these characters. The Dark Knight Rises, on the other hand, was a sequel to one of the most financially and critically successful movies of the past five years, not even to mention out of all the comic book movies of ALL the years. Anyone who thought this movie could do as well as The Dark Knight must be insane, because there’s no way that would happen. I think this movie lost the box office because of not just the emotions and feelings connected to the Aurora Massacre, but also the much more mature subject matter than The Avengers. This movie had dead bodies hung by their necks from bridges and mirrored themes of our current political climate, like encouraging the have-nots to strike out against the haves, compared to a big green monster punching a guy in a funny helmet. The fact of the matter is that even though both movies were rated PG-13, one was FAR more kid-friendly, and one was The Dark Knight Rises. Even though there was one clear winner financially, I’d have to say that cinematically there was a different winner. This is just my opinion, but there was so many more memorable shots in The Dark Knight Rises that instantly evoked emotions in me, which is more than I can say for The Avengers. I somewhat recently tried to describe the plot of The Avengers to someone, and it was basically, “There’s an action scene, then witty dialogue, then another action scene, some more witty dialogue, an action scene, some witty dialogue, then a REALLY big action scene, and some more dialogue.” All of that stuff was really fun, and there were some memorable lines or moments, but let’s just take a look at these shots from The Dark Knight Rises that, at least for me, instantly engage me:
Granted, these are all images from the trailers that were released to build up towards the movie, so it’s possible that my overall excitement for the movie and willingness to absorb any marketing around it has biased the artistic merit of these shots, but still, seeing those images on the big screen again, in IMAX no less, still gave me chills. The overall tone of The Avengers was of fun and excitement, but nothing really stands out as visually interesting.
I’d also like to say, that after a second viewing, Anne Hathaway still did a really, really good job. I was talking to someone who brought up the point that she didn’t really NEED to be in this movie, and although I reluctantly agreed with this sentiment, I’d like to now point out that there’s a LOT of things that happened in this movie that weren’t absolutely needed to move the story forward. So yes, you could have removed this character, but you could have also removed Matthew Modine’s character, or maybe remove one of the two guys in the prison and combined those lines into one person. The point is, I don’t want to get caught in the “Well if I was the one making decisions…” train of thought, and I’d rather just say that Anne Hathaway did a great job. Also, for as awesome as it was to see Bane breaking Batman’s back, or to see all those cops fighting all those thugs, but I think one of the coolest fights was Batman and Selina fighting those assholes on the roof. Both characters had a different fighting style, one much more powerful and one much more graceful, and the way that Nolan shot it and edited it made it so that whichever character was the central focus, you could still see the other character fighting people in the background. The juxtaposition of the fighting styles and the way the weight of the scene kept switching back and forth almost, for as lame as it sounds, made that whole scene a lot more three dimensional without needing those annoying fucking glasses. For as enjoyable as the action sequences in The Avengers were, it was typically “watch Hawkeye do something cool HERE, and now let’s watch Captain America do something cool THERE”, and I feel like they missed some really cool opportunities to exploit the diversity of those characters. I only saw the movie once from start to finish, and saw random scenes here and there while at work, but I don’t remember seeing characters working together in such an enjoyable way as Selina and Batman.
“NO ONE HUGS BANE BUT BANE SO LEAVE BANE ALONE!”
WHEW! I feel a lot better. Thank you guys for putting up with me as I got these (hopefully) last few thoughts off my chest. So who’s the winner? Well, it’s absolutely no contest that The Avengers won the financial and critical success, and continues to make a shit ton of money. However, the other movie still has me thinking and talking about it six weeks after it’s initial release. Compared to that other box office blockbuster, which I stopped thinking of probably a week after seeing it, then there’s definitely a few ways in which The Dark Knight Rises won. Joss Whedon is an incredible writer, and Christopher Nolan is an incredible director, and I think both filmmakers had the opportunity to show off their strengths, and I think that when it comes to comic book movies, people still prefer the story and dialogue over the way something looks. Kind of strange, isn’t it? I’m a guy who has said over and over again that I’d buy a comic book that had terrible art if there was a great writer, but I wouldn’t buy a book that gad great art and a terrible writer, and here I am choosing the aesthetic value of a superhero movie over the cleverness and cohesion of a story. I GUESS I’M FULL OF SURPRISES!