The Dark Knight Rises (like a flaccid dick)
Following 2008’s critical and commercial smash, the superfluously popular The Dark Knight, London-born auteur-in-waiting Christopher Nolan let his mammoth ego spin wildly out of control. Exhibit A, Nolan’s follow-up feature length production, the vastly overrated, drunk on its own ambitions, vanity project Inception. The inherent flaws of that movie run deep (like have you ever wondered why only Prince Leo’s inner-neurosis manifests itself as a train yet no one else’s seems to factor, and what about Marion Co… look never mind, I’ll be here all week) and I am genuinely sad to report (read as: thrilled, feeling validated) that the epic climax to Nolan’s reborn Batman trilogy continues-on from the trend of that movie’s failings by exhibiting all the qualities of a bad film. [PS y’all following on from this assertion I welcome all death threats. Exhibitions of fan boy angst manifesting itself as ugly and violent attacks from keyboard warriors amuses me. I’m like the Richard Dawkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZuowNcuGsc ) of film criticism.
Why did I hate it you ask? First things first then, TDKR (second only to Quantum of Solace in a top 10 list of worst film titles of all time) is a supremely confused movie. For example its predecessor was one of the more nuanced and interesting examinations of post-9/11 America in pop culture but TDKR has its politics all messed up. The script’s insistence that Batman must prevail over the communist-leaning baddies is hyper-conservative nonsense. It’s a movie that doesn’t believe in the concept of social reform. Structurally as well the film is all over the place, exhibiting a supreme lack of narrative focus especially in the opening hour. The seemingly perpetual introduction of archetypes (Nolan rarely deals in characters) is also distracting as almost none of them are given time to develop personalities on screen. Sure you can argue that this is a subversive comic book adaptation, promoting intense portent and ominousness over fundamental silliness (as was the norm pre-Nolan) but TDKR is tonally a confused entity at its core; simultaneously po-faced and ridiculous. Surely I cannot be the only one who found Liam Neeson’s cameo to be one of the worst things ever?
There are positives here for sure including a breathtaking prologue involving Bane’s siege on an in-flight CIA jet and Selina Kyle (never referred to as Catwoman because you know Nolan’s cool like dat) is badass and played with superlative finesse by the imitable Anne Hathaway. In fact the performance’s all round are universally solid but it has often been a trick of Nolan’s to conceal his flaws with supremely talented casts and with this film it is more blatant (and arguably necessary) than ever before.
So TDKR then is as bad as Bane’s frequently lol-worthy voice and distorted motives suggests. The emotional hollowness deprives the film of its merits and ensures it is well and truly crushed under the weight of its own, admittedly commendable, ambitions. The excessively bloated near-three hour runtime also left me feeling like Christian Bale after a day on set with an insubordinate director of photography. Christopher Nolan, I am your reckoning.