Monday, August 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I think enough time has passed that I can safely post my review...

I hate to say it, but I was pretty disappointed by this film.
I had so many problems with this movie, and I thought that it failed to deliver in almost every way.

I've thought a lot about this film in the weeks since its release, and I have discussed it at great length with many of my close friends.
So far, everyone has agreed with the issues I had with the film.
For some, those issues weren't enough to make them dislike the film, and for others, those issues totally ruined it.  I'm not going to say that you have to agree with my assessment, but there is no question that the film is seriously flawed.  If you are able to look past the flaws and still enjoy TDKR, then I envy you. I really wanted to like this movie, but I just couldn't.
Basically I felt like all of the coolest scenes were shown in the trailers and TV spots. This is usually a sign of a pretty weak film.  For me, the full version didn't add anything but length and frustration.

I don't want to bore you with a lengthy review, and frankly, I don't want to put in the effort to write instead, I will just link to reviews that adequately cover how I felt about the film. Also, doing this will affirm that I am not alone in my dislike of TDKR.

And here we go...

1. This is a link to the best all-around review I have read. I agree with everything he says. The only difference is that while he was never bored, I actually got bored enough to check my watch twice during the movie.
Anyway, he gave it a C rating, and I feel that this is completely accurate.
It's worth noting, that there are no spoilers in this review, so if you haven't seen it, this is a safe read.

2. If you want an article that actually does talk about some of the specific problems with the film, and does contain spoilers, this is a good one.

3. In fairness, here is a rebuttal to that article.
In my opinion, the rebuttal article fails to adequately address the criticisms from the original article. They only seem to give a surface explanation of what happened, and completely overlook the deeper problems.  I think anyone who is used to evaluating films and books, beyond just their outermost layer, can easily see that TDKR is a pretty poor film.

*I had one other problem with the film that wasn't discussed in either of these articles.
One major thing that bothered me, is that Batman never actually defeats Baine. Catwoman comes in right at the last second and just shoots the guy with the canon on the batpod. To me, this felt very cheap.  It felt as though Batman never did 'rise' to save Gotham.  Ultimately, he failed, as he feared he would.
Throughout the three films, Batman is put up on a pedestal for his vow to not take a life, but when his own life is about to be taken, it required someone who was willing to take a life in order to save him.  It kind of felt like they slapped Batman in the face and proved that killing actually is necessary. And so if killing Bane was the solution all along, then somebody should have just done it earlier and saved lots of people a lot of trouble.  Honestly this whole resolution felt extremely disappointing. It felt like it contradicted the great purpose of the other two films.

4. If those articles are too long for you, here are some brief excerpts from other reviews that I agree with:

Others will see it differently, but for me this is a disappointingly clunky and bombastic conclusion to a superior series -- Nolan's biggest and worst movie to date. -Tom Charity (

What worked beautifully in "The Dark Knight" seems overworked and almost ridiculously grim in "The Dark Knight Rises." -Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

This is the problem when you're an exceptional, visionary filmmaker. When you give people something extraordinary, they expect it every time. Anything short of that feels like a letdown. -Christy Lemire (Associated Press)

Groping for shape and substance in the long shadow of The Dark Knight, this movie is an unexpected disappointment. -Kurt Loder (Reason Online)

The Dark Knight Rises is by far the worst of the trilogy and surprising in its ineptitude. Lifeless and overlong, one can't make many excuses for this dull, empty, unfocused mess that is a sad end to what was a wonderful ride. -Diva Velez (

Moments are stretched. Every recollection must be illustrated by a flashback. Character motivations shift on a dime, and if you understand even half of what's going on -- not generally, but specifically -- you'll be doing better than most. -Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)

(All excerpts taken from

There you have it! If you took the time to read through all of that, you will now understand how I felt about The Dark Knight Rises.

I've actually seen all of Christopher Nolan's films; so just for fun, here is a list of his films, ordered (by me) from best to worst.
1. Memento
2. The Dark Knight
3. The Prestige
4. Batman Begins
5. Following
6. Insomnia
7. Inception
8. The Dark Knight Rises

Yes...I really did just say that TDKR is his worst film so far.

1 comment:

Emmy said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't like TDKR. I actually really enjoyed it (although, it was nowhere near as good as the other Dark Knight films-- OR Memento and The Prestige, which I just LOVED).

There were a few things that bothered me about the film as well. I won't go into detail, but I thought it could be better in several areas. Still, I thought it was worth the $5 I paid to go to the theatre.