The Dark Knight Rises 2012 ½

This review reportedly contains spoilers.
I can handle the truth.


  • I watched this movie for the first time in at least a year. I had watched The Dark Knight on a Friday, Batman Begins the next day, and so I figured why not finish it out.

    But going into it I was having all these thoughts that I knew this movie was logically dogshit. And as I watched it I was pointing them all out. Going back to your review I realized that these points you made and I read 2 years ago never left my head as I picked them out one by one as I watched.

    And yet I didn't want to shut the movie off. And I was puzzled at what keeps me intrigued with movies and what I think is important to a good movie. And I just read this part of your review:

    "I understand that different people put greater importance on different aspects of film. Some people like this for the spectacle and intensity of the sound design and production design, and that's fine. It's easy to enjoy this film in that regard. They are without a doubt this film's most appealing traits. Other people, such as myself, put greater importance on the actions of the story making sense, and having a cause and effect relationship. Those people can't watch a movie like this - which throws structure and plot and character development and basic logic completely in the garbage - and simply accept every single absurd notion, because there are just too many to even count. People who greatly value the common sense approach to storytelling and quality of screenwriting can still be bored by a well-told story if there is not enough drama or conflict working to keep the story entertaining. That's where we draw the line. But...where do the people who enjoy the spectacle draw the line for lack of coherence? This movie just absolutely punishes suspension of disbelief for nearly three hours full-on. What is Nolan *not* allowed to do in terms of the actions of the characters and the believability of the plot? It seems like he can do whatever the fuck he wants, regardless of how unbelievable, illogical, or simply impossible it is. Why must it be that way?"

    And it took me back to my thought process while watching. My thoughts were that the sound design, the spectacle, the intensity were all really fucking fantastic. And that's…

  • Wow, thanks for your comments. It's nice to see a level-headed reply when discussing Nolan.

    But I must at once disagree that I am a nitpicker. Nitpicking is complaining about trivial things, like Batman having nipples. But as you said yourself, the problems in this film's writing robs the viewer of seeing the story's full potential, and anything that has a direct negative impact on the story is not a nitpick. Quite the opposite. They are major problems born through weak writing, and they need to be addressed when passing any judgment that hopes to be fair. If it's there, I'm pointing it out and explaining why it's a problem for those (many) who don't see it.

    It's okay to watch a movie for the style, but people should understand that it's the style they find appealing, not the writing or directing or storytelling or anything of the sort. Nolan makes stylish popcorn flicks - I have no problem with that. But I have a major problem when people are naive enough to proclaim him to be the next Stanley Kubrick. That's a joke.

    If you're interested in reading more, might I suggest my review of The Prestige. I also suggest you approach with a lot of free time on your hands, because it dwarfs this review in terms of both its length and the level of detail used when explaining why Christopher Nolan is not only a poor writer, but a wholly unimpressive and mediocre-at-best director.

  • Of course I used the wrong word in trying to praise someone for their time invested. Looking back what I'm really trying to say instead of "nitpicker" is "someone who put as much time and thought (or more) into each detail of the script as the person who wrote it". My mistake.

  • No harm, no foul. :)

  • To some up your question, I'm perfectly willing to accept that bruce wayne is the most intelligent person in all of gotham. I'm willing to go along with the notion that he creates a magic cripple healing leg brace in his cave basement. I'm even willing to believe that the crime rate in gotham was zero percent in the 8 years between the Joker's Massacre and Bane's Takeover. And do you know why? Cause It's fucking Batman!!!

  • ^this came up recently. it was answered with this:

  • Thanks, Jon...but the question was what would you NOT accept?

    You have to draw the line. Where do you draw it, and why there?

    "Batman." is not an acceptable excuse for such catastrophic bumblings in telling a story. Using him as an excuse only serves to prove the point that you are not judging the film based on its storytelling efforts, but by the mere inclusion of a brand name that you like. In other words, you are not judging the film.

    This goes back to what I have said many times before - it's okay to enjoy the movie, but know what it is that you are enjoying. This is a Batman movie. That alone may be enough for you to draw pleasure from this film, but for anyone else, for the people who require good writing and good storytelling to draw pleasure from a movie, it's not even close.

    The people who say "Batman." as the reason these movies are great are no different from the people saying "Nolan." as the justification for why they believe his movies to be great. Which is in no way different from someone saying "Brett Ratner" as a legitimate declaration of greatness in his movies. It tells us nothing. It doesn't matter. What matters is the job these people do within these movies, and while that may not factor into your own personal enjoyment, it absolutely factors into why these movies are bad.

    I am not, have not, and will not argue that people are prohibited from enjoying these movies because "Batman." (I use "Tolkien." as as excuse for enjoying The Hobbit films, which are very obviously not free of flaw), but when so many people behave this way regarding Nolan's films (among others, but as the most egregious offender, his name practically functions as shorthand for this crime), it calls into question the importance those people put on quality writing and quality storytelling. This behavior tells me that writing and telling the best story possible means nothing.

    Nothing good can come of this. Movies are only going to get worse if the most common message being sent is "Dear Hollywood: Fuck story. Just give me brand names, tone, explosions, and the silliest humor imaginable. Forget about where to put these ingredients; just fucking do it. We are revoking your need for actually doing work. This is all we require now for…

  • Honestly I'm not sure where I would draw the line when it comes to a logically consistent screenplay, partially because I'd draw it in a different place depending on what kind of movie I'm watching and I'm never sure how to categorize especially dour, self-serious comic book movies. However:

    "Why not have JGL try to stop the bomb, and have Gordon do something more in line with his character? Swap their roles and it suddenly makes more sense. JGL is supposed to be the next action hero of this world, right? Put him in an action scene! Let the guilt-ridden 60-year-old man try to save the school children to atone for past mistakes before he dies. Why is all of this backwards?"

    I would say out of all the problems you enumerated this one is actually the worst. If a movie fails to deliver on this front then it's not going to work as well as it could have whether it crosses the line of internal logic or not.

  • I'd just like to say, that while I still very much enjoy the film, this thread is one of my very favorite things on the internet.

  • Even as someone who liked every other Nolan film I did not care for this much.

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