Sunday, July 22, 2012

So that's what that feels like.

I went to the movies at 9 in the morning. Pretty sure that's the earliest screening I've ever been to. Anyway, when I came home, my son immediately punched me in the balls. Honestly. I think he was trying to give me a hug, but was looking away, and he slugged me right in the junk. Likely, he meant well, but his grand gesture of adoration went awry and ended up a painful moment of shock and disappointment.

If you haven't gotten it by now, I was crushed with disappointment after seeing The Dark Knight Rises. Oh, that was obvious? Well, if you've seen this movie, you know that everything must be explained and shown fully to occur. I'm just following suit.

I went into full-on internet lockdown when it came to reviews (or even images) concerning the third film in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. This was going to be hands down the movie of the summer, if not of all time. You can laugh at the absurdity of that all you want, but I was f--king hyped. And when I left the damn-near three-hour epic, I was in shock not only because the movie wasn't even close to being that good. Honestly, for a minute there, I thought it wasn't all.

In the hours that have passed, I've come down a bit from that movie sucked, to more of a blaming myself. I scrolled through Rotten Tomatoes and saw one glowing review after another. One guy even was calling for Best Picture. Best. F--king. Picture. Did I miss something? Did I see a workprint by accident? Because the version I saw was one of the most illogical and hollow great movies I've seen in a long time. Just thinking about the final third of the film baffles me. Completely.

Look, I'm no professional here. Not by a long shot. And I know that if I truly love a movie, it doesn't matter what you say about it. You won't change my mind. But while I'm always open for a discussion, I don't think you'll ever convince me that this flick isn't insanely ridiculous (polite way of saying stupid). Yes, we're talking about a comic book movie, got it, but Nolan had elevated Batman to a level of legitimacy and awesomeness that both surprised and floored me. Shit, judging by box-office numbers, us. I know my own impossibly high hopes are responsible here, but so too is Nolan for creating two excellent films prior.

When you first heard Bane speak, what were you thinking?
In light of everything, I'm not in the ballpark of being mad or whatever (getting pissed either way is foolish). Just, as I've said, disappointed. I wanted to go out with a bang, and this feels more like a thud. I genuinely love everyone involved and think that there were some really cool parts and some clever exchanges between characters, but my f--king brain wouldn't let me enjoy it in the end. Despite what Commissioner Gordon says, there were too many coincidences, too much spelled out and entirely too many scenes void of any semblance of logic. Read on if you dare, but there are plenty of spoilers ahead. And guano. Lots of guano.

Might as well fire up the ol' Bat-Signal and break this one down. Here are the masked Yays and gravel-voiced Boos, Maybe-Nolan-was-just-tired style.

Hathaway is hot, but I loved Pfieffer soo much.
  • The secondary cast. Very solid. I think Hardy gets the shaft, but Gordon-Levitt was rather solid. Freeman is always great, even with little to do. Cotillard actually improved her status as hottest woman alive. Those aren't real, are they?
  • The iconic scene of Bane holding Batman over his head was well done. I was wondering what would break first...
  • As was the devastation of Pittsburgh Gotham. The lingering shot from above was silently awesome.
  • Anne Hathaway was a decent Catwoman. So sexy, with or without the ears.
  • I know some people hate it, but I love the score. Makes me want to chase something and fight it.
  • It was goofy, but I loved Gordon's escape maneuver in the sewer. Brilliant! 
  • Same can be said for the ricochet kill.
  • Batman's initial chase was very cool. The electromagnetic gun was gigantic, but cool.
  • I loved the term practiced apathy. Suck on that, actually-caring Bruce Wayne.
  • Ooh! Though short-lived, I had a nerd-boner for their descent into the sewer. Yeah, it's silly you can just walk down there, but they were having fun toying with those lame henchmen. He's behind you. Who?
  • The Honorable Judge Jonathan Crane presiding.
  • I liked how everything came together in the end, even though it was so obvious I was waiting for them to announce what was happening over the PA system, just to make sure everyone understood what was going on. On that note...
It got really cringe-worthy on that bridge.
  • This movie is too long. Why? Well, there's an explained reason for everything. Why does Blake talk to Cement Truck Guy? Just wait. It'll mean something in an hour.
  • I swear Alfred is in a different movie. He's in a poignant BBC re-imaging of Good Will Hunting. Everybody else is in a much better Dark of the Moon.
  • I defended it in the first two, but Batman's voice is ridiculous. And then we've got Darth Vader at High Tea to deal with, too.
  • Rope Guy. You're climbing out of Hell? Go see Rope Guy. He'll take care of you.
  • And on your way out, give it up for Overenthusiastic Cheering Old Guy! He's rooting. For you.
  • The original Joker, Matthew Modine, is the worst. A one-note douche if there ever was one.
  • Evil sidekicks! Catwoman's heterosexual life-partner was annoying, Daggett's hench looked as if he were an alien wearing a human mask, and Bane's Dude was a worthless stoner.
  • CONTINUITY. In more than one scene day became night instantly. In another, it's snowing in one part of Gotham and not in another. It's nitpicking, but it's also inexcusable.
  • Okay, the last third. This is where the wheels really fell off for me.
    • Why can't people leave Gotham? It doesn't seem under that strict of rule. It's apparently very easy to get on the island, right Bruce?
    • The trapped cops. Really? They can't get out, but we can slide notes down on a string? 
    • And when they do come out, what kind of formation was that? Okay guys, let's all bunch together and walk into incoming fire. 10-4, Chief.
    • But wait! Batman's here. In his jet-thing. He'll help. And by help, I mean shoot one turret on one Tumbler.
    • How many times was someone saved at the last possible second? I know that's part of these movies, but at the end of a trilogy, how about we lose somebody along the way?
    • Blake, we don't need you in the battle, we need you to start evacuating Gotham, okay? Okay. I'll go get a dozen orphans and a school bus.
    • I could keep going, but I'll stop, because I'm even annoying myself.
      • But...last one! The final shot of Alfred in Italy. We should have been out after the nod. We didn't need to see who he was looking at it. It's okay for us to figure things out. I don't think that one was a real brain-buster.
  • And is it a coincidence that Ben Roethlisberger is in this? Because I left feeling dizzy and violated.
    Look, for many of you, I'm telling you your baby's ugly. Not cool, I know. But I am at such a loss to the universal love bestowed upon this one (it has the highest user rating I've ever seen on IMDB, right now). I don't know what to say. Maybe I was in a bad mood, maybe I'm an idiot and an asshole....or maybe...

    Maybe, I'm right.


      1. "Darth Vader at High Tea"

        I LOL'd at this. And then I thought about Spaceballs.

        Anyway, at least the pain of being hit in the balls goes away.

        1. You're right, it does.

          Oh damn, totally forgot about Dark Helmet. Good call.

      2. Caine was made to look like a hack by Nolan with his painful expositional dialogue.

        1. And that's a huge disservice to the awesomeness that is Michael Caine.

      3. Awesome review. Loved the kick ass (or should I say punch balls?) first paragraph. I'm not really a fan of tDK or Inception and I'm shocked at their rating on imdb, so I'm sure when I see this one I'll be shocked too. Nolan has the craziest fanboys in history.

        1. You always lose me at your anit-Inception stance, but I'm fully buying what you say about Nolan's diehards (which I may be one of, all things considered).

          And as for punch balls? Yeah, you should always say that.

      4. dude you are 1000% correct. The people who defend this movie for not just being good ( which its not) but saying its great-- are the same people who scoff at the idea that 911 wasnt part of a massive conspiracy.

        DKR was a BAD movie. monsterous plotholes that make it laughable.

        1. First, I love being 1000% correct. Let me show this to my wife.

          As for the 911 bit, well, that's for another day, another blog.

          Building 7 Dollar Cinema, perhaps?

      5. I was burying my head in my hands. The logic of this movie. The reveal at the end was nonsensical.

        The Dark Knight debuted on the top 5 when it first came out and remained at #8.

      6. Yes! Me and my friend looked at each other and just shook our heads. We were stunned. If we hadn't been so angry, we might've hugged it out.

        If you remember when Blake pulls his partner (Lineless Asian Guy) and he immediately gets shot, that's when our screening almost turned into a bootleg MST3K episode.

      7. Great review M. This was a near-perfect flick for me and I'm even more glad that Nolan decided to end his story of Batty, the way that he did. Couldn't have asked for anything better from a superhero movie, and for that, I'm very grateful. Favorite film of the year, so far.

        1. Dan, I don't understand the gratitude. The title on JoBlo, is 'Thank You, Christopher Nolan.' When did it become a favor?

          Look, I'm as passionate about movies as the next guy, but are we getting carried away with this?

          But hey, glad you liked it. I wish I did, too.

      8. The two guys I saw it with on midnight didn't like it. Everyone else who lives in my house did. Some things we talked over and settled, such as that one horrible line at the end of the movie..what was it..oh yeah. "Robin." I had to be delicately coaxed out of my anger-tree with that one.
        But yeah, man. I didn't like it. I just didn't. I'm glad we can agree on this one.

        1. I just don't know. I wanted to love it soooo much, then I end up borderline hating it. Then, THEN! The whole world loves it uncontrollably. Makes me feel stupid, like I didn't get it.

          I think 'delicately coaxing people out of their anger-trees' is a skill growing up in our family. Well done, those guys.

          As for the movie, I just think there were so many missed opportunities. And, as I said, waaay too much spelled out. Maybe it's a comic book thing, but the 'let me tell you everything before I kill you (wait, I mean 'keep you alive so you can suffer' bit) was so overdone.

          Maybe, I'll sneak into in after seeing something else...even if just to see parts of it again.

      9. I'm with you Brownsy. Total disappointment. However, scenes if Pittsburgh were sweet (Big Ben too). Ha!

      10. I'm not sure which one of you this is, but I'm soooo glad we agreed.

        Hell, that might be the first time.

        1. Really? Who else would be a Pittsburgh supporter and call you Brownsy?

        2. C'mon now, there's one other person. She has Pitt ties, but she's a Skins supporter.

      11. I feel like everything fit in regard to the story, and within this universe that Nolan created. I'm not a Nolan diehard, seeing as I've been trying to come to grips with Inception since its midnight premiere, but I really saw this as well done. Also, I don't understand peoples' problems with long movies. I hate the ones that hover around 90 minutes. 2 hours honestly isn't enough either. Of course, the story has to be engaging, but with this one, I was actually wishing parts were longer. This microwave, "get in, get out" generation of moviewatchers are going to kill the long form movie one day...

        1. Good to see a little dissension on here, finally. And I agree with almost everything you said. I can't recall something that seemed out of place, I just think things were, as I've said, vastly over explained, or not fleshed out enough.

          Personally, I like shorter movies (at home anyway), because I can watch them in one sitting (theatrically, it doesn't matter). That said, your point is all that matters. If it's engaging, who cares how long (or short) it is? TDKR lost me at the end, and therefore it felt too long to me. If you are buying everything Nolan is selling, than, Hell, it could've been 3+ hours.

          My favorite movie of the year so far has been Moonrise Kingdom. It was 94 minutes, and seemed just right.

          But, you would have to admit that movies are getting longer and longer as a trend, yes? I think 100 - 120 is where it's at, but we're seeing more and more around 140-150 lately.

          At least it seems that way...

      12. Truth be told, I can't help but agree with everything you said. However, it doesn't affect how awesome I felt leaving the theater after watching it. It has it's flaws, agreed. The movie was definitely long, yes, but I felt as though this movie could've been 4 hours long and I would've sat down with my mouth open in awe. The movie was simply too ambitious for the scope of what's acceptable in cinema especially because movies over 3 hours aren't often made, which is what this movie needed given all the plot holes and inconsistencies.

        It's not without issues and definitely my least favorite of the three, but this entire trilogy is still amazing. Even more amazing is that Nolan and the gang was able to pull off such a great ending for any super movie [or even the best third movie in any trilogy, save lord of the rings].

        A respectable review M. You don't seem like you're trolling the internet seeing as you come up with good points, which is a nice change up from a lot of the people complaining about this movie.

        1. I've definitely come down from how disappointed I was initially, and I'm thinking about seeing it again.

          I think your point about the trilogy is an excellent one. Even with my reservations about the last one, as a whole it delivered. Nolan and crew created the best superhero trilogy we've ever seen, hands down.

          I just went into jilted lover mode. TDKR was like a girlfriend that dumped me. All of a sudden I'm pissed about all the little things, but before I looked right passed them.

          Oh well, thanks for stopping by, Patrick.

      13. Thank God, finally, I have come across a blogger review that doesn't praise The Dark Knight Rises to the high heavens - and I really good one at that.

        I'd say that a lot of your yays (Catwoman in particular) would have definitely been in my boos, but my god, there were SO many loose ends that couldn't even justify it being a story, the third act was a disaster, oh, the list could really go on.

        As said, great review!

        1. Agree with the loose ends bit, obviously, but Catwoman? C'mon! She was a bright spot.


        1. You must have been pretty happy that someone else was with you on the whole 'inaudible sequences' point you were so pissed about!

          Dude brought up some interesting points, though.

      15. It must suck going through life not being able to simply enjoy 2.5 hours of a movie.

      16. ... that was probably one of the worst (poorly written) movie reviews ever. His only point is, "I honestly felt for a minute that it wasn't good at all". Okay, his subjective point is valid, because it is a subjective opinion, but what lead him to that decision? "Rope Guy; Catwoman's heterosexual life-partner was annoying; Matthew Modine, is the worst; Batman's voice; yada yada..." He was TRYING hard to come up with things to not like.

        I am not joking, there were no substantiated claims made that focused on anything near the meat of this movie. 

        1. I'm glad you're not joking. This is serious business, movie reviews.

          I will give you some credit though, my arguments against the movie are fairly weak (especially the ones you singled out), but the fact that that compelled you enough to write this is baffling. Why not just move on? Regardless, for me, the devil is in the details, and there were too many little things that got in the way of me fully enjoying the movie.

          Oh, and what's with all the 'his' and 'him' madness? Who are you talking to? The people who also posted comments? Are you trying to sway them?

          And lastly, put your name on your work. Maybe your fantastically glowing review would change my mind. I'm serious.

      17. Actually, Brown, I liked the flick. I also agree with your assessment, but I felt it was a fantastic flick anyway. I think the main problem is Avengers. There are two sides of comic books, and the Nolan flicks tell us the darker, less-fun side. I think two big comic book movies in one year was a bit much for us.

        Sadly, looking at your comments, you seem to have fallen victim to our country's inability to just agree to disagree. Online, people who hate the flick call those of us who like it "stupid" or "Nolan cultists." And those of us who like it call the haters even more stupid or just wishing Batman and Robin was re-released in 3D so they can see the nipples on the batsuits better. Sorry about the other people's posts in reaction to yours. As for me, I loved it, and I will still love it, and everyone else can have their own thoughts and that won't impact me one bit. The flick might hit 1 billion bucks, so Nolan and company don't care about our online complaining.

        Have a great rest of the summer!

        1. Thanks, Andrew. Your point is well-taken. I tried to be clear in my 'this is the opinion of one idiot' stance, but I guess not everyone gets that. Oh well.

          The box office haul is another interesting bit. It's pretty hard to argue against something the entire world is devouring relentlessly. The big two in box office bucks are Avatar and Titanic, right? I walked out of both of those convinced of their greatness and have grown to see, in my opinion, they are vastly overrated. Maybe I'll flip flop on my views of TDKR and end up loving it. Or maybe, I'm ahead of the curve.

          Anyway, thanks for the comment. Enjoy what little we have left it as well.

      18. your just picking apart a great movie

        1. It's weird. I'm going in to detail about the parts I didn't like. Almost like I'm trying to justify and explain my disappointment.

          Regardless, you liked it, right? That's cool.

      19. So, six months late, I finally got around to watching this! And wouldn't you know, I really liked it! I borderline hated Nolan's first two, as I was still clinging to the memories of Batman Forever and just didn't like how serious and depressing the new ones were. I honesty think that I'm much more of a simpleton when it comes to movies, as the final third was my FAVORITE part! I loved how everything was fully explained and neatly packaged. And of course I'm a big Joseph Gordon Levitt fan, and thought he was awesome. I will say that I shared many of your boos throughout the flick. For example, I swear Bane walked into the stock exchange in the morning, and then suddenly when he came out, it was evening. Also, I had a heck of a time hearing the dialogue, and still think that Batman's voice is ridiculous. And apparently Bruce Wayne/Batman can recover from ANY injury. Yeesh. But like I said, overall, I really enjoyed it, even though I was checking the time frequently towards the end. And I couldn't help thinking of Charlie Gordon every time Matthew Modine was on the screen!
        So I'm curious. Since you wrote this review, have you gone back and watched it again? And if so, have your feelings changed at all?

        1. You know, I'm tempted to go back and revisit it, because I really think the events of the prior evening were weighing on me that morning. I'm all for changing my opinion, or at least revising it, but that movie is a time investment I'm not sure I'm willing to consider again.

          Maybe when Matty's old enough...?

          (Yeah, Charlie Gordon pretty much destroys Matthew Modine's cred forever).
          I'm gonna be a gene-ass! Ugh.