The Dark Knight Gets Semi-Aroused

The Reign of the Kitsch of Death has finally been broken. Director/writer Christopher Nolan has proven you don't necessarily need an actor named Taylor to create incomprehensible muck. One monikered Christian Bale will do as well.

To be blunt, from its opening second, The Dark Knight Rises is so unintelligible, both plot-wise and sound-wise, that at the screening I attended at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13, I'd say nearly a quarter of the dialog was muddled. And if you just want to focus on the lead villain Bane (Tom Hardy), raise that figure to 75%. Believe me!

Whoever thought that a bad guy with his mouth, nose, and ears concealed with a metal contrivance was a good idea should rethink the notion, especially when he has to mumble over Hans Zimmer's generically pounding "music." (Well, admittedly it did work in Halloween, but that psychopath didn't have to hold a discourse.)

Anyway, for the first fifteen minutes or so of this batty affair, some folks have boarded a plane with two hooded prisoners, but then the prisoners take over, and their accomplices, suspended from another plane, tear apart the original plane, and everyone starts shooting at each other. At that point, Bane, who is one of the hooded gents, starts siphoning blood from one of his captors, who is now his hostage, and they jump from the plane together—and you'll have no idea why. Or who's who. Not even after watching the whole two hours and 45 minutes of this dreary, misguided, half-baked enterprise will you be enlightened.

Apparently, if I can unearth the plotline, and this is where the plotline usually goes, the head of the League of Shadows or someone connected to him wants to destroy Gotham City because its inhabitants are reprehensible. After all, they are humans. What do you expect? But who will save the day?

Not Bruce Wayne (Bale), who having a limp (no cartilage in his knees) and an aching heart, has sequestered himself because he lost his true love in the previous film. Alfred (a wretched Michael Caine), his butler of sorts, meanwhile, wants Wayne to bury Batman, find a mate, and get married. How about Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a highly successful businesswoman who has invested in a clean energy product with Wayne and once played Piaf with "No Regrets"? Or why not Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar turned Catwoman, who steals his mother's pearls? Of course, an even better option would be John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a cop who's head of the Bring-Back-Batman fan club.

Not to spill the beans, an hour and a half into The Dark Knight Rises, Bane starts blowing up the city, and that's what we're waiting for. Also, there's a spectacular, nearly witty bombing of a football game, a few killings of Wall Street investors, and unending shots of Wayne trying to climb out of an inescapable underground prison. Think of Sisyphus on Quaaludes.

But what's worse than the dreary dialogue and the one-note performances (only Hathaway and Gordon-Leavitt rise out of these ashes) is the half-baked politics of this "epic."

The Nolans (brother Jonathan is co-writer) seem to be arguing that if the status quo is altered in any way, America will descend either into a police state or a French revolutionary debacle where the rich are battered by the have-nots. Ecologists, too, for that matter, don't get off easy. They really want to nuke us. As for the law, it has to be corrupt to achieve justice, and then poor secular humanism is depicted as more of a quirk of the few than the many.

But who goes to a Batman film for consciousness raising? You want entertainment, don't you? Ably, this Dark Knight will supply you with at least 20 minutes of sound amusement. Just bring your knitting for the rest of it. - Brandon Judell


Mr. Judell is currently teaching "The Arts in New York City," "American Jewish Theater," and "Theater of the Sixties" at The City College of New York and is Coordinator of The Simon H. Rifkind Center. He has written on film for The Village Voice,, The New York Daily NewsSoho Style, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi) and John Preston's A Member of the Family (Dutton). He is also a member of the performance/writing group FlashPoint. Logo - 120x60

The Dark Knight Rises: A Tedious Exercise in Mediocrity

Well, I just loved the review. The movie undoubtedly lacks intelligence !!! IMO, The Dark Knight Rises suffers from a loose plot and an excess of superficial characters. It wouldn't be a hyperbole to say that, given Nolan's usual standards, The Dark Knight Rises is a mere exercise in mediocrity. The typical Hollywood style ending accentuates it further. But, if one overlooks these flaws, the movie serves to be a decent experience. The Dark Knight Rises is definitely not the Batman movie that we deserve, but it surely is a movie that we would find difficult to resist.

I have also written an exhaustive review for my blog which can be read at:

Maybe you just didn't watch

Maybe you just didn't watch it with the right state of mind. This film has nothing to do with Batman. It's about the struggles of Brice Wayne and his need to die for Gotham.

I had to see it a second time to feel like I understood it but the whole film makes sense including the plane scene. They transfused the blood to the dead body that they brought in order to fake a death in the plane crash.

I think you rushed judgement on this film and I don't like that reviewers are looking at the political aspects of this movie and trying to translate them to our society. Not berything has to be mirrored to real life.

It wasn't perfect but it was damn good.

"The Dark Knight Gets Semi-Aroused"

Okay class, everyone please repeat after me: "It's only a movie"; "It's only a movie"; "It's only a movie"...

I disliked it (Flame on I guess)

Seems like a lot of people have issues with criticism of the Dark Knight Rises.
Are we allowed to discuss specifics here? I just saw it and there's so many things that make no sense.

Before I get pounced by fanboys, I've read Knightfall and I'm familiar with League of Assassins (Shadows) story archs, Bane, Ra's al Ghul and his progeny etc. I like comic books, I really do. Especially heroes and villains that have to compensate for their lack of superpowers with wits or technology.

Just wondering, since nobody seems to be wanting to spoil anything specific (aside from the blood siphoning at the start, which was dumb)but it's the specifics that really damn this thing for me.

So...anyone mind if we jump into an autopsy?

Things that i can't

Things that i can't understand,

1. Stock exchange hostage scene was in the afternoon, when batman appears, the sky was dark outside. Did they just did a chase for hours which felt like minutes in the movie?

2. Whats the finger print used for? Authentication to his trading account? Does he even have one? Thought the rich would be served by "brokers" instead.

3. Stock exchange was invaded and they never thought of reversing the trades being carried out during that time.

4. Cartilage all gone, man has to use a device to walk and suddenly he seems to have the device implanted into his leg permanently?

5. The whole movie seems to be building for a climax that never came. I mean Bane is wow, big huge guy who will probably fall with a bat dart coated with some kind of poison right? Yet, Bruce does it the physical way.

6. Cops marching down the street and charges like an army. Marvelous. Where's all the tactical stuff they learnt?

7. Close combat between cops and criminals? They had automatic guns for god's sake.

I think you are being nice on this movie to say the least. I could list tons of nonsensical stuff.

How can you justify giving

How can you justify giving the movie a rotten review when 3.5/5 is 70%, which actually makes the movie fresh?? Just wanting to give it a bad score? Let's hear the reasoning behind this......

Brandon. dont let the fanboys

Brandon. dont let the fanboys get you down. as a star trek fan i faced the same backlash on boards when I said that the new trek movie's plot was a complete mess. some people cant look past their fandom to see all sides. we need people willing to write what they think or reviews are meaningless.

Brett: Thanks for your kind

Brett: Thanks for your kind support. However, negative letters don't get me down. I'm glad folks can get all worked up about a film. It shows the power of the cinema is still alive.

Interesting points

After reading many reviews - both positive and negative - I must applaud you for being the first negative reviewer to do something other than mentally masturbate.

I'm a fan of the dark knight trilogy but can see that many of the points you make are valid: Hans Zimmer's sound effects feel a lot like a pornographic gangbang and the argument made by the Nolan brothers seem like the politically blind phrases made by the doomsday 1%ers who fear a changing of the guards.

I had long been afraid of the main villain being Bain. There were bound to be problems associated with having a facemask on, and as much as the Space Opera fanboys try to assert, the Darth Vader voice is stupid.

That being said, I think we need to give some credit to Christopher Nolan's direction. Every villain in the batman series has a dimension to him. R'as and the Joker are deliciously complex, and I have a feeling that Bain is something more than just "evil." That Nolan can make a deliriously psychopathic Joker have an element of humanity forces us to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mike T: Thank you for your

Mike T: Thank you for your thoughtful response. Have you ever seen Nolan's first feature, Following? It's quite impressive, possibly my favorite of his.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.