The Dark Knight Rises : ? / 10

Snuck away from child rearing today, and drove 50 minutes down to Eugene to see The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. Here are some quick thoughts, as I try to piece together an opinion.

Maybe I was just tired (averaging 4 hours of sleep for days now, since we just brought my son, Robin, home from the hospital). (I mention that my son’s name is ROBIN, because. well. yeah. I fucking love Batman).

Anywho. Maybe I was just tired, or sick, or something – but I didn’t think the movie was any fun. It felt more like an exercise in bleak human unhappiness. I’ve felt similarly cold when exiting other Christopher Nolan films. I think the Red Letter Media guys nailed it when they pointed out how Nolan eschew’s the usual big “Here Comes the Hero!” shots. But, almost every other Nolan movie has still left me buzzing with excitement. Despite the bleak raw just-there-ness of the film, I usually want to sit down and watch it all over again immediately. This movie, eh. meh. I’ll know I’ll buy it and watch it a few more times. but. no thrill to take it all in again. (not yet at least. maybe with some more meditating on it?).

TDKR just struck me as ending. Cleaning up it’s trilogy toys and getting out of town. “we’re done here. ok? everything wrapped up? ok. yep. bye now.”

Maybe it’s because two of the big character twists were ruined for me, by geek culture. (SPOILERS FOLLOW: I’m talking about John Drake and Miranda). Hey Geeks, “Read this headline to find out whether so and so is playing such and such classic batman character” ruins it. Fuck. As soon as someone starts to feel like the rumored classic batman character, i’m done. “yep, that rumor must have been true.” I thought I’d sussed our Miranda early on, then was relieved to find out Bane was actually the character. And then I was ultimately LET DOWN when it was revealed that she was in fact that character after all. bleh.

i guess I shouldn’t blame geek culture for blowing it’s wads constantly, in the air over all our heads, like a million spastic masturbating robots… not sure that’s the proper metaphor. eh. … but. anyway, fuck geek culture. That is my point. and also, that having these twists ruined probably hurt the movie. Would love ot know if it hurt the movie for others. So i got get a good mad on.
eh. well. clearly if I want to enjoy modern movies, I need to stop visiting geek websites, and following geeks on twitter and facebook. bleh.

… guess i’m just ranting at this point, and it’ can’t be interesting. a public diary entry? barf. I’ll try to reel it back in.

Here’s what was on my mind : (SPOILERS)

Was this ultimately a movie about orphans? I spent the first half being confused by the plot. and the second half thinking “oh, THAT was the plot this whole time?”
I’m still slightly confused about Bane’s origins. he was born in the jail? but so was Talia? or was it just her, and his origins are obscured? huh.

I assume Talia’s climactic mention of Bruce murdering her father is meant to be a “I so just owned you” moment. Because bruce was defined by the murder of his own father. But. what what are they saying in this moment? That bruce is shit? huh.

Bane’s gambit to let “the people” run the city, while quietly planning to make the city meltdown – struck me as very political. The message was clearly : you can’t trust the people to run themselves. people who offer this to the people, are using it as a distraction. They likely have a secret agenda.

Catwoman’s revelation that she DOESN’T actually want to see the rich people robbed of all their wealth/identity also struck me as very political.
I think it’s implied that she gave up her burglarizing ways and settled in with bruce in the end. Makes more sense than assumiong he gave up his right and wrong ways and became a theif for her. So the message I take from her character is : it’s fun to steal from the rich and be a rebel. But when everybody becomes that sort of rebel, it’s no longer fun. you have to grow up and lament what you’ve lost, when the rich are all out in the street and society crumbles.

The shot of rich old people confused and homeless, being rounded up in the streets by sewer dwelling terrorists – struck me as heavily echoing the holocaust, and brought tears to my eyes. I deeply wonder how others viewed that sequence. I couldn’t believe I was watching it in a summer blockbuster comic book movie.

Also, was it maybe political that Talia, a pure energy proponent, just wanted to do evil with the tech?

Wasn’t sure if all this was being slipped in, subtle like. or if it was actually rubbing our faces in it, and your average modern liberal just didn’t notice. I dont’ see these things mentioned in the movie’s reviews. Critics seem to think it was cute how the movie “was playing with dark things”. Nobody mentions it was a deeply pro-rich and pro-conservative. baffling!

(full disclosure: i like to waffle between enjoying certain bleeding heart liberal demands of being civilized, and certain cold realities of conservatism. I get uncomfortable when either side gets on a soap box).

Anywho. There are clearly echoes of that dinner debate in the previous movie, where Harvey Dent noted the need to elevate one man to a position of power to save the people, in a time of crisis. Not sure what this movie was saying about that need though. It seemed to be shitting on that need? and/or it was shitting on the whole idea of need cops and government? sometimes you just need a vigiliante?

Also disturbing that John Drake (the most likeable character in the movie?), ultimately throws his badge off the bridge. He decides being a cop is bullshit, after he and his gaggle of orphans was trapped by an idiot in a uniform who was just following orders. I assume there was more going on there with John’s rejection of his job. but. i dunno. creepy moment. Was I supposed to cheer?

I did love the notion that He’ll be the new Batman. and when he’s done, there’s a whole mansion full of other fucked up orphans waiting their turns. cool idea. but not enough to let me leave the theatre thrilled. hmmf. makes me feel more sad.
And again, i see Bane and Talia (and maybe Selina Kyle) as other lost orphans. the movie seemed to say “the war between damaged orphans will continue! but if they don’t die, they can retire! yay!”

eh. blah.

well made movie. Not sure if what I Was taking from it was really intended. curious what you think, anonymous reader.

p.s. Half in the Bag mentioned two plot holes, that apparently are driving prepubescent geek orphan kids crazy. they both strike me as purposeful story telling, not mistakes, so I wanted to mention:
1) Wayne runs into Alfred in a cafe with his girl. how could this wild coincidence have happened?
A: Alfred told him exactly where he went once a year, to indulge his fantasy while Bruce was presumed dead. so, it makes a certain sense that Bruce would engineer the encounter as a thank you. it’s not a mistake. it’s making a point about bruce’s character.

2) While gotham is locked down, Bruce just shows up in the mist.
A: Again, this tells us that he’s a fucking bad ass. He has weapons and gear stashed all over the city. It’s not a big leap to recognize that he has ways in and out. cripes, people.

… however the note that the stock exchange program needed 8 more minutes, and then it suddenly became night time was a great catch. I totally missed that. yikes. THE DARK NIGHT RISES INDEED!

p.p.s. thA few other things I remmeber being bugged by:

– There were two scenes where I thought “there is too much score in this movie”. (one of which was the post sex scene with miranda. the other… I don’t recall right now. maybe Drake talking to an orphan kid? i just remember these quiet scenes could have played with room sound, but instead hammered you over the head with drama music. weird?

-also, I was confused by Bane’s hell-prison. it didn’t strike me as remotely hellish. and why did they shoot it in that artsy escher-esque staircase place from The Fall? weird. It’s pretty, not scary.

– why was Dr. Crane the judge? that made zero sense (was it originally a Joker cameo idea?). Crane just seemed to show up and say “remember me? wee!” no mention of fear or scarecrow shit as far as i could tell. weird.

– the first movie had Falcone. The second movie had Maloney. and this movie had… some other guy. They got that indignant old man board member back, but they couldn’t get Eric Roberts back?

– The thug who defened the weaselly money man struck me as interesting and weird looking. At one point I got excited, wondering if we’d see a finale where a dozen batman baddies showed up. Somebody dropped a specific name, and I wondered “who is that? is that a setup for hard core comic nerds? wha?”
I think that would have been a more exciting ending, if out of the sewers came Killer Croc and mad hatter, clayface, etc. If the message was “no more one-at-a-time bad guy, mr. batman. The flood gates are opened.”
but i guess that would have been too audience pleasing for Nolan. hmm.

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