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Matt

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

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Yeah, I was very disappointed. So many things were wrong, done poorly, or just felt out of place to me. Which bothers me a lot, since I enjoyed the first two films in the series.

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I really enjoyed this. Dave and I went to see it last night, and I honestly can't think of any complaints- but, then, I really had no expectations going in, either, so it's hard to be disappointed. I especially liked the tweaks made to canon, and I think it was a fitting end to the trilogy.

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There is a lot to this movie and I'm still thinking it over. A few thoughts in spoilers.

- looks great, of course. In terms of raw craft, I think Nolan improves with every single film; if he keeps this up he might actually be the modern-day Alfred Hitchcock I thought M. Night Shyamalan was going to be. It's something to see, looking back at Batman Begins with its slightly wobbly fight sequences, how tight the direction is on this film. There's nary a wasted line - I got up to use the bathroom at the unveiling of the reactor and I did have to push a little to keep up with it for a half hour afterwards.

- this movie brings to the Nolanverse Batman something very few superheroes get: an ending. It's telegraphed from frame one that this is Batman's last outting - even if he survives the end, he's still not in any shape to carry on. This I like, since it's be super-tempting to keep this series rolling on considering the financial incentive - instead, Batman goes on while Bruce Wayne reclaims the life everyone was gently urging him to grasp. This is Batman taking a different route than the route that led to Dark Knight Returns, where he becomes an old man obsessed with his past glory and waiting to die. Batman in the Nolanverse has always had a clearer head on his shoulders than the snarling maniac Frank Miller gave us.

- maybe I just think way too much about superheroes, but I saw every plot twist in this film coming, except for the most obvious one (Talia Al Ghul.) John Blake, the final fate of Batman, all that. This didn't make them less enjoyable since Nolan did not hit me over the head with how brilliant they were - in fact, it had much of the feeling that X-Men: First Class did, seeing all the pieces that would be around in later films put on the mantle like Chekov's Gun.

- By far, my favorite thing in this movie is John Blake. I had him pegged as "Dick Grayson, Kinda" months ago, but nothing like having a pet theory confirmed. The subtle stuff, like how he tosses his gun away after being forced to kill someone with it; his heroism, and his detective skills. In fact, while I initially thought it was silly that they never revealed his name as Dick Grayson, on reflection, his real name being 'Robin' means he could be ANY Robin - and he does seem to have a lot in common with Tim Drake as he does with Dick Grayson. I really liked Dick Grayson's recent stint filling in as Batman, and I do feel a little regret that we'll never get a John Blake as Batman movie.

- I was not expecting to like Anna Hathaway as Catwoman as much as I did, and she has a much larger role in this than I anticipated. She feels like she belongs in this plot, as the figure who embodies the societal problems Bane exploits, while at the same time being wary enough of Bane - for good reason - that we never come to see him as the hero.

- a lot of hay is going to be made of the politics behind this, so let's get this out of the way: yes, Batman sure is a rich old money billionaire who beats up a lot of poor people with the kind of firepower armies command. That's always been a salient critique of the character, and with the recent rise in class consciousness and the conversation about income inequality, they do have to work at it to frame Batman as the hero and feel a bit defensive about it. They mention his dislike of high-overhead charity functions and play up his history of giving grants to the needy, while illustrating his slide into ennui by having him barely aware that they've since stopped. Moreover, while the problems that Bane builds his takeover of Gotham on ARE real, Bane's solution to them is grotesque - sacrificing a city to an ideal. He therefore serves as both a warning that problems like income inequality are the stuff that revolutions are formed of, and that it is very easy for a revolution or a coup to go out of control by placing one's trust into the hands of someone who knows just what to say but whose goals are not yours.

- that leads me into the broader critiques I had with this movie, such as three thousand cops all going into a sewer because evil triumphs when good is dumb, and how Bane winds up diminished as a villain when you find the power behind his throne. He hardly says a word after the reveal of Talia Al Ghul and is killed via Deus Ex Catwoman. Bane's relatively straightforward plot is in some ways a step down from the multidimensional game of cat and mouse Batman played with the Joker, but this is praise via faint damnation since The Dark Knight was splendid and a high water mark in terms of what a superhero film could be. Finally, for all the talk of the reworking of Bane's voice, I'd say I still missed three lines out of every twenty, and this goes for some other dialogue in the film as well. (This is why I watch blurays with the subtitles on.)

Overall, I'd say it was significantly better than Batman Begins, but a few steps below Dark Knight; not the watershed moment that changed the game, but a very well done superhero film and proof that people will pay the moneys to watch a superhero film that asks important questions of us, as long as there is a flying Batmobile. (I'm in agreement with Chris Sims that a flying Batmobile is the most realistic Batmobile; it's the only one that never gets stuck in the hellish traffic a city like Gotham would undoubtedly have.)

It was also pretty neat watching a whole theatre of teens and young adults go dead quiet for a film about Superman. Next year, gents. Next year.

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Looking forward to seeing this myself, just haven't gotten to it yet. However, I often find that - like Vivi mentioned doing here - I like to go into these movies with an open mind/no real expectations. I find I enjoy them better that way.

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Again, I think Mike hit it spot on. I had a few other nits to pick, but overall I really liked the movie. I'm sad that I deduced all the major plot points, including the one Mike missed, early on- but I'm hardly the average theater goer when we are talking about Batman. I very much would enjoy seeing what happens next, but like Mike, I'm morally certain that we never will.

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Coming out the of theater I really only had one nit to pick:

pick it!
I don't know if I missed something or didn't pick up on something, but I found myself confused as to why Talia and Bane were willing to die when the bomb went off. I suppose it could simply have been fanatical devotion to Ra's al Ghul's cause, but I felt that that aspect of things kinda should have gotten at least a one line explanation.

Overall though I echo much of what Mike said as well, though I admit to completely missing ...

derp

... the super obvious (in hindsight) why that Batman escaped death. How the hell did I not see that coming?

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