The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) is right up there with The Avengers as one of my favourite movies of 2012. It had action, it had suspense, it had some heartwarming and heartbreaking moments, new alliances were forged and betrayed, and it had a very fitting ending for one of modern cinema’s greatest trilogies. It was a very good movie.
That said, no movie is without fault and for all the awesome that Christopher Nolan gave us with TDKR, there were a few issues in there that continue to niggle at me and have resulted in this movie sharing my top spot with The Avengers rather than blowing past it. Caution, the rest of this post will be packed with spoilers.
1. Villain Motivations – After the dust has settled, and you look back on this film, you start to realise that Talia al Ghul, the villain behind the scenes pulling the strings, orchestrated the five month destruction of Gotham to avenge her father. A father that she hated for ex-communicating her and Bane from the League of Shadows for being too extreme. A father that she despised right up until he was killed by Batman in Batman Begins. I haven’t lost a parent, but this reaction just seemed to be a bit over the top for me, and didn’t really fit in with the way Talia was portrayed in the movie. Yes this was a brutally effective way to truly punish Batman, making him watch from prison as the city he spent over a decade protecting tears itself apart over the course of five months, but the obsession with destroying Gotham in the name of Ra’s al Ghul seemed like a short sighted interpretation of a grand plan. Ra’s al Ghul wanted to cleanse the whole world and remake it in his image, and Gotham was just the beginning. Talia didn’t seem to have any plans for the rest of the world, and Bane, blinded by his love for Talia, never tried to push the envelope. I understand that Nolan probably had to do limit their ambitions to keep the length within three hours, but I wish I had been given some sort of sense that these villains had a plan that involved the entire globe.
2. The Joker – Everyone gets a cameo in this movie. Every hero and villain from the first two movies plays some sort of role in TDKR. Except for The Joker. It’s kind of like the elephant in the room, nobody wants to acknowledge it because of Heath Ledger’s death. And this really grated on me because The Joker played such an integral role in breaking Batman’s psyche. He forced Batman to break his rules, he fostered the dark side of Harvey Dent, he terrorised Gotham to point where they were forced to take extreme measures and introduce the Dent Act. Even if it was just a bit of reminiscing, the Joker deserved to be given at least a mention.
3. Final Fight With Bane – This had an explosive beginning, Batman and his army of police against Bane and his League of Shadows / army of thugs. It was a very physical encounter until Batman finally started to exploit Bane’s big weakness – his respirator. And after a few quick blows to the respirator, Bane is down for the count, whimpering in pain as Batman is about to do his victory dance. Maybe it was all an act so that Talia could get close and deliver the knife to the ribs, but I don’t believe that. And then, just as we are about to get another big battle, Catwoman arrives and gives him a good ol’ cannon blast from the Bat Bike. A very weak demise that was not befitting of the very strong and intelligent villain who was the main antagonist for the whole film.
4. Send All The Cops Underground. All Of Them – This was a big plot point that just felt so contrived. Nolan needed a way to give Batman an army on demand so he gets Commissioner Gordon to send every last cop into the sewers and flush out Bane… which coincidentally happens at the precise moment Bane chooses to blow up the stadium and all the entrances to the sewers. A force of 3000 trapped underground for a few months just waiting to be freed by Batman so they can take back the city. Nolan you are better than that.
5. The Dent Act – Nolan has gone to a lot of effort over the course of this trilogy to add a layer of realism to his version of Batman. In TDKR, Nolan shows that Gotham exists in a world almost parallel to our own, with the same continents, same countries, and same styles of government. The U.S. President says that they will not abandon Gotham. Gotham is made to feel like it is part of the global community. But then comes the Dent Act, a law that we are lead to believe was passed by the Gotham local government, a law that has special meaning only to Gotham residents, a law that contreves a bunch of global treaties and human rights conventions, a law that couldn’t possibly be supported by U.S. Federal or State governments and has no right in existing. We are missing eight years of history between TDK and TDKR, so it is quite possible that The Dent Act was deemed to be entirely legal and necessary during that time, and maybe I am thinking about it too much, but I think with Nolan giving this film a global flavour, he had to address some of these global issues in a way that let us know what type of world this is and exactly where Gotham stands in this world order.
So what do You think? Did you have the same issues as me? Did you have different issue to me? Or was this film so good that all these issues are deemed insignificant in the greater scheme of things? Let us know in the comments below.
Article by Ryan Lawler