Weekend Muvie Revue
The Dark Knight Rises
When I listen to music, I pretty much just look for emotion. I don’t really care how on-key the vocals are or melodic the tune is as long as there’s a bare minimum of listenability and beyond that all I want is to make my cold, dead heart feel feelings. Other people are the opposite way. If the singer is off-key or track isn’t polished enough they just can’t get into the music. They don’t necessarily avoid emotion, they just can’t feel it unless everything else is perfect or they get caught up in the details. What a bunch of fucking idiots.
I can say that because I am one of them, just with movies instead of music. I don’t care how great your performance as an actor is in a single scene if the scenes before and after it don’t make sense. everything needs to flow rationally together. The movie is telling a story and stories are a series of decisions and circumstances leading to a climax. That’s probably why I don’t particularly like Christopher Nolan’s films. He is a very emotional director. He gets amazing performances from his actors and builds his films around a solid set of conflicts and ideals. He’s so good at evoking emotions that he kind of gets to cut corners. Even if it doesn’t really make sense for a character to feel a certain way, he does such a great job of making it seem like they do anyways that you find yourself not really caring.
That’s also kind of the problem. People who don’t like Christopher Nolan aren’t idiots, they just can’t ignore the fact that while he’s an amazing director, he’s a terrible writer. And yes, some of them are also idiots. The fact is, Nolan does cut corners when it comes to storytelling and he does it way too often. Have you noticed how most of his movies aren’t better the second time? That’s because the first time you watch them you’re being overwhelmed by the emotion. Then you watch it again and you know all that stuff is coming. You get desensitized to it. That’s when you start to notice the cracks.
This is all just a really long, word-count satisfying way of saying that if you like Christopher Nolan you’ll like The Dark Knight Rises and if you don’t you’re better than those other people. Overall I’ve gotten to a place where I’m pretty ‘OK’ with Nolan’s work. I know what I’m getting and which parts of it I will hate enough to mitigate the damage they do to my viewing experience. So I’d say I came to TDKR with a pretty healthy, positive attitude. And I was still disappointed. The cracks are still there – I knew to expect that. It’s just that for this film his flaws were so much more evident and in-your-face that even having prepared myself for them, they took me right out of the movie. So I tried to bear through it and wait for the great stuff to come. I knew that if I could get past the fact that nothing about the plot or the way this world works makes sense there would be a scene where a room spins or someone fights in a tube or something that would blow my mind.
It never came. It’s understandable that the plot would be a bit messier than usual. It’s the final film in a massively successful trilogy. I knew to expect that. I just also figured that the action and dramatic climax would be even greater to make up for it. I don’t think Nolan has lost his touch or begun the downward spiral of his career but I do think if you look at it objectively his heart wasn’t in this the same way it is his other work. Rises is campier than its two prequels when it should be darker. It tries to conclude the series while throwing new characters in at the last minute. It crams important emotional moments into tiny little spaces to save time. And the whole story really ‘zooms out’ and focuses on more on Gotham City as a whole, which kills a lot of the personal touch.
This movie is Chris Nolan at probably his absolute worst and it’s still pretty watchable. It just doesn’t deserve all the accolades it’s receiving and in a few months that will start to show. People will stop being excited about how it’s Batman and actually watch the fucking thing and they’ll notice all the stupid mistakes and things that don’t make sense and characters that didn’t need to be there. Then they’ll keep it to themselves because they don’t want to sound like some hipster asshole but deep inside they’ll know this movie’s all Ewoks and Ackbars.
NOT BETTER THAN THE AVENGERS (out of ****)
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