The Dark Night Rises

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Genre: Superhero movie

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast:  Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway and many others

Duration: 2h 44min

Rating: Just good

The other day I had the opportunity to watch this movie again on tv. This allowed me to confirm my first impression the first time I saw it (a couple of years ago on IMAX): I don’t think this movie was very good. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Nolan and, specifically, how he reconfigured the Batman universe in the trilogy. However, again I had the feeling this movie tries to be more than it is.

As I said, the problem with this film is that it tries to be super ambitious. If Begins introduced us to Nolan’s Batman universe and Dark Night showed how Batman was engaged in a psychological warfare with the psychotic Joker, Dark Night Rises raises the bar by dealing with total chaos and anarchy. This time, it is not a one on one game of Batman vs a villain in a struggle for survival. Instead, Batman is faced with the annihilation of Gotham.

I believe that by trying to do too much, the movie ends up with too little. The first flaw I see in the movie is the villain. Compared to the excellent Hedger’s Joker, Hardy’s Bane seems too basic. That Joker was, without doubt, the best Batman nemesis in all of the Batman movies. He was obscure, devious, ruthless and psychotic being the perfect counterpart to “I follow the rules” Batman. In contrast, Bane is just a big and strong guy with a bunch of thugs wishing to destroy everything for the sake of destruction. He is as shallow as any bad guy in a bad superhero movie.

Also, the storyline is awkwardly constructed. There is not an interest in building a story that flows nicely. People don’t just have normal conversation in the movie but, instead, all the time give big statements about right and wrong, and self-improvement. This is not only a bit cliched but feels totally unnatural (who speaks like this in real life?). Regarding the action sequences, they are okay but not spectacular (don’t expect to see anything like the starting sequence of Dark Night). Also, the movie looses in intensity as it goes by. It starts very strongly and then decays for a long while (particularly, in the long part in which Batman “disappears”) to increase the tension once again towards the end.

A final remark I want to make is about the locations. Contrary to the previous movies (or any other Batman movie), Gotham is not portrayed as a dark and decadent place but as…New York. The particular ambience of the city, as we could see in Begins for example, is gone and New York’s landmarks are easily distinguishable. I simply cannot get why they did this.

I understand it was really hard to overcome the high expectations placed in this last chapter of the trilogy after the success of the previous two movies, particularly the second one. However, I am of the opinion that if Nolan had tried to do less, the movie would have been much better.

 

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