#61: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

When and how did I watch this?

January 4th, 2016, on Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?

Yes, about two years ago.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion to the Nolan-directed Batman series.  I remembered a group of select scenes — mainly the opener and the dramatic prison escape — that provided some memorable moments.

What do I know about it now?

The film was terribly underwhelming compared to Begins and Dark Knight. You could feasibly compare it to the final installment of Return of the Jedi — I think there’s an assumption that we’re supposed to be in awe of the conclusion automatically.  And yes, we are.  Plots are tied, characters come full circle, and there’s relative catharsis regarding the state of Gotham. The effects are out of control; nothing looks like it was generated with a keyboard and mouse. We’re thrust into a reality we’re forced to accept, and we’re quickly immersed in it.
But like the superhero movies, occasionally the human is overtaken by something like gods, and the opposite for those who should be more capable.  How does Bruce Wayne return from who-knows-where overseas with no supplies, no money, no connections, presumed dead, with no ability to travel, and through heavily guarded streets and busted bridges?  How do 3,000 police officers, with all of their supplies  — including pistols (which they miraculously did not have in their final charge) — not contrive something to get out of their underground prison? How does Catwoman fall out of buildings with no means of suspending herself or slowing herself down?  What legal loophole does Bruce Wayne exploit to keep his house, and therefore access to his secret stash of Batman-themed stuff? Why does Talia’s stabbing suddenly slow down Batman when he has taken far more abuse previously? It’s too much for me. We’re expected to believe it all happened, however, and everything turns out okay, including a dramatic reveal in the end. Common knowledge stuff is thrown out as well.  People magically know who Batman is, including evil folks, but somehow no one else knows his identity. I’m not a fan of convenient plot devices. This film is full of them. Frustrating.

What are some themes in the film?

Justice, destiny, technology, revenge

Did this affect me personally?

The football scene is sort of funny to me. The opener is pretty perilous, especially the first time seeing it. Alfred’s departure is very emotional.

Why is this ranked #61?

Because it’s a Nolan/Batman film, the finale to the otherwise amazing trilogy. The special effects, though not innovative, are solid. The sound is very Batman, thanks to Hans Zimmer. In fact, everything is very Batman, down to the bumbling cops and superhero one-liners and their shenanigans.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She was hesitant because Dark Knight gave her nightmares.  This one was far tamer.  She was somewhat bored.

Would I watch it again?

Nope.  This Top 250 ruined it for me.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

They’ve all seen it, and they probably all like it.  Sorry bro.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Absolutely not.  Perhaps if you graft it to the previous two installments, it works, but as a standalone film, it’s something awful. Sure, it works by itself, but you have to justify it for it to work as a story.  “It’s Batman,” or, “It’s Nolan,” or, “Did you see Anne Hathaway’s butt?” might be excuses. It’s fun and thrilling and occasionally intense, but sometimes bloated and often incomprehensible. It belongs alongside Avengers in the category of “Box Office Smash Superhero Films That Are Fun But Can’t Be Taken Seriously As Art.”

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