nenena: (Default)
nenena ([personal profile] nenena) wrote2012-07-30 05:04 pm

Spoiler-free thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises.

But first, I need to say something about The Dark Knight. For me, the best scene in the entire movie - the scene that made the entire film work thematically on so many levels - was the scene in which the people of Gotham foiled the Joker's boat plan. That scene, more than anything, carried the entire film for me. The rest of the film was typical Nolan movie stuff: as a suspense thriller it worked beautifully, as a rumination on the nature of superheroes and villains it was full of shallow and at times downright sophomoric fluff, and goddammit Christian Bale what the hell happened to your acting ability. But that boat scene. Oh that beautiful boat scene. If not for that scene, the entire movie would have fallen apart, thematically as well as emotionally.

And I'm sorry, Commissioner Gordon, but I think that scene proved more than anything that Batman is the hero that Gotham deserves. You can't include a climax like that in your film and then end with "we need a savior even if we don't deserve him." But you do. Y'all DO deserve a savior. It was the people of Gotham that ultimately undid the Joker, not Batman punching him in the face. (Well, to be more accurate, it was the people of Gotham surprising the fuck out of the Joker that caused him to lower his guard long enough for Batman to be able to punch him in the face, but you get my drift.)

Now, about The Dark Knight Rises.

1. I liked it. A lot. And even though it lacked the wham!moment in which the city en masse proved the villain's repeatedly-stated view of human nature wrong, that theme was still very much present in the film via the individual character arcs of Selina, Blake, and even Foley. ETA: And I think that what makes the idea that, as Batman says, "anybody can be a hero" particularly powerful in The Dark Knight Rises is that at the end of the day, true heroism is demonstrated by the unlikeliest of individuals: An aging cop past his prime, a man whom the audience was led to believe was a self-interested coward, a naive young detective who should have been helpless in the face of an adversary that outmatched him in every way, and - above all else - a career criminal. That it was this particular handful of characters who rose to acts of selfless heroism - not only saving Gotham City but proving the villain's view of human nature to be fundamentally incorrect - is really a much more powerful statement about the nature of heroism than anything in the film related to Bruce Wayne or Batman. The same was very much true in The Dark Knight, too: in the end, it was the unlikeliest group of individuals - a boat full of ordinary citizens fearing for their lives, and a boat full of convicted criminals - who decided collectively to commit a selfless act of heroism, thereby ultimately foiling the Joker's plan and allowing Batman to defeat him. Like I said before, I really found that moment in the film to be a much more powerful and interesting statement on the nature of heroism vs. evil than any of the tired, clichéd exchanges between Batman and the Joker. And the same is true for The Dark Knight Rises, too. I mean, come on: Weren't you all way more interested in watching how Gordon, Selina, and Blake dealt with Bane, rather than watching Bruce Wayne go through the exact same freakin' character arc that Nolan put him through in the previous two Batman films? I know I was.

2. I think we've reached the point in superhero movies where comic readers are going to be prematurely spoiled for awesome, beautifully set up, carefully crafted, and genuinely shocking plot twists. Because I was able to pick out the spoiler reveal in the third act of the movie the moment that a certain character walked on the screen. :( And that's kind of no fun, because I think that Nolan set up the shock of the reveal really well. Unfortunately it wasn't a shock to me, and I think that it probably wasn't a shock to anybody with even a passing familiarity with Batman comics.

Related to number 2: I can't help but wonder what the hell Marvel is planning to do with the Winter Soldier movie. I mean, it's not like the identity of the Winter Soldier is one of the most infamous (and genuinely shocking) spoilers in the entire Marvel comics canon or anything.

3. I'm sure I wasn't the only person watching this movie who was able to predict the culmination of Blake's character arc fairly early in the film, but the predictability of it in no way detracted from the HELL FUCKING YES!!!-ness of the moment when it finally happened.

4. As usual, Christian Bale was the weakest of the actors in the film. Which is still so weird to me because... He's Christian Bale. In his other films he ranges from decent to actually good acting. But in Nolan's films he just sucks. And it's not just because of the horrible Batman voice, either. His Bruce Wayne is just so flat and lifeless, even during supposedly intense scenes when he's struggling to ~*~overcome his inner turmoil~*~ or deal with a broken spine or whatever the fuck. Blargh.

5. I cried exactly three times during the movie. All of them were during Alfred's speeches.
ruuger: (New beginnings)

[personal profile] ruuger 2012-07-31 09:42 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, the "we don't deserve Batman" thing was really weird, but I think the idea that Batman can be anyone that was at the center of this film fits the trilogy perfectly exactly because in both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, the true heroes were often people other than Batman.

Unfortunately it wasn't a shock to me, and I think that it probably wasn't a shock to anybody with even a passing familiarity with Batman comics.

I had actually been spoiled of both the big twist and Blake's arc, but was so caught up in the movie that both still came as a surprise to me :D

I cried exactly three times during the movie. All of them were during Alfred's speeches.

Same here. Alfred didn't have much screentime, but Michael Caine really made the best of every second he had.
arionhunter: (Batman - Punks)

[personal profile] arionhunter 2012-07-31 12:44 pm (UTC)(link)
#2 so much. I had my suspicions, but the minute there was sexytimes, I already knew exactly how the movie was going to play out.

Also, this came up in a conversation with a friend, and I agree: The bloodlessness of the "revolution" montage (as he noted, "it didn't show one person hurt/starved/or otherwise hard-shipped by it") was deeply disappointing. I had hoped Nolan would have the courage of his convictions, but it felt very "blink and you'll miss it."

Also also, the montages. There were so many montages in this movie.

(Anonymous) 2012-08-03 04:11 am (UTC)(link)
For the record, I have no knowledge (at all) of the Batman comics. I'm really just a person who goes to see the movies because I like the movies themselves, not necessarily the franchise/comics/anything else. I'm but an easily impressed, regular teenager; if anything, I look at the films more from a tech/acting POV, since I'm more of a theatre geek than anything. (And I completely agree with your views of Christian Bale as an actor.) Even then though, I really just go to see the movies for a good time.

I love the concept both movies had of the civilians or unexpected individuals being the true heroes as well. When I saw The Dark Knight, I was also so in awe of the pair of ships scene. Although, for me, I felt it was……pretty unrealistic. I just don't think that humans have the capacity to really think past their own individual lives and families and such. To be honest, I'm not sure that, if I were to be in either of those ships, I'd have the willpower to be so strongly grounded as to say, "No, we can't just blow up an entire ship of people" (especially considering how the Joker, if my memory is right, told both ships of people that he'd blow both of them up if one didn't do so to the other). Still, it was really touching.

All of them were during Alfred's speeches.

Yes yes yes yes yesyesyesyesYEEEEESSS. Oh god, oh goooood. I was desperately trying not to sob like a baby since my friend I had gone with would have assuredly made fun of me or teased me about it later. Oh Alfred. Ohhhhh. I barely kept it together from laugh-crying at the very last scene with him.

As a normal viewer who had kept herself away from spoilers, when Blake's "identity" was revealed, I just threw myself back into my chair and whispered "OHHHHH". I felt like a complete idiot for not realizing it sooner, but mostly I was so happy that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be playing *** in the future films- not necessarily because I think he fits the character well (again, I have never read a page from the Batman comics in my life, nor actually even seen any other forms of media) but because I have practically been in love with him as an actor since seeing 500 Days of Summer.

(And I'm surprised Gordon has still got so much kickassery in him. Wow. He's been around the block more than a few times.)