Watched Jul 22, 2012
Corey Pierce’s review:
An exhausting, sensory assault. When it was over, much like after Inception, I let out an audible sigh of relief like one would after a rollercoaster that just kept getting faster. It's all because of the Hans Zimmer score. This series had made film score it's spine, and I tend to believe everything would fall apart without it, because more than anything, this trilogy for me has been a visceral experience that allows me to set a number of very valid nitpicks aside and take it as a ride.
This segment of the ride though, left me feeling sick to my stomach. In the process of effectively building up Bane as an unstoppable monster, I felt all the joy inside me being sucked out of my body and I felt more horrified and terrorized than I would have ever expected. Without Bale running around in a Batsuit for so long, I was able to get sucked into a very nihilistic, frightening vision of pure anarchism that salutes the fascistic, Elite Squad-ish underbelly of this series. This Gotham resembles Padilha's modern Brazil more than the United States of America, abandoned to chaos, and the presentation of these further extremes being carried to fruition in North America is often too much to take in. (Aside - Padilha being hired to do the Robocop reboot now makes a hell of a lot of sense. What Padilha could do using modern Detroit - Damn.) And not just in the wake of Colorado, which I'll speak no more of, but just in general. Nolan's Gotham has ultimately become something I wouldn't want to show a 12 year old, and the outcome of closing this satisfying trilogy is a desire to immediately pop in the 1966 Batman and watch Batman run around with a bomb rather than fly one off into the sunset. Nolan broke my back, and Adam West is the stone I'm diving for.
Back to ahem, the actual movie and more technical storytelling details. It's messy and complicated and most of the time Batman is just a guest star in his own series. Hathaway is stellar, and Hardy delivers the best performance behind a mask this side of Hugo Weaving. Bale is still grumbly and ridiculous, with his mouth agape when it shouldn't be, and still doing the voice even in situations where it is unwarranted. His Batman is bruised and broken yet quizzically scaling the tallest point of bridges for no apparent reason other than to look cool in a movie for 3 seconds. Oldman is still the battered soul of Gotham, Caine is emotionally beaten to a pulp which is hard to bear, and Freeman's role is far less essential. Levitt has an obvious but satisfying arc, and Cotillard is kind of meh, but I will admit I was caught of guard about where they were going with her character.
As a whole, DKR ties the trilogy together in a way that feels complete and definitive, however again, it is so serious and has gotten so extreme that I am happy to move on from it and now more openly embrace what happened earlier this year with Avengers. Avengers is a pop hits compilation and this is... Antichrist Superstar? Okay, I'll run with that - Showy, overblown, smart, incredibly disturbing, something to possibly point to and question as a milestone of where we are culturally, but also fantasy, laughably ridiculous given enough time to deconstruct and snark.
By the time I finished writing this, the '66 Batman Blu-ray was in my player, and Joker was dancing around in front of the United Underworld logo. I feel better now.