I wanted to like “The Dark Knight Rises” — I really, truly did. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it at all.
And that’s why I felt bad writing this review. Not only was I disappointed in myself for being disappointed in the movie, but I was disappointed in Christopher Nolan for dropping the ball on what stood a good chance of being one of the best superhero franchises ever made.
Here’s the thing: It’s not that “The Dark Knight Rises” was a terrible movie. It just wasn’t very good. In the end, I felt like it ranked as the worst of Nolan’s three Batman movies, and the weakest superhero movie of the year thus far (after “The Avengers,” “Chronicle,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man”). Sure, it’s better thanthe really bad stuff, like “Green Lantern” and “Jonah Hex,” but it’s a Christopher Nolan movie! There’s a higher standard here!
But enough of all that, here’s an excerpt from my official review of “The Dark Knight Rises” for IFC:
Along with Jim Gordon’s shift from paragon of urban wisdom to burned-out relic, Batman himself seems to have forgotten many of the lessons he learned in the earlier films. In “The Dark Knight Rises,” we’re presented with a Batman who charges into fights without thinking and overlooks important information, and a Bruce Wayne who shows little regard for the still-living people in his life and callously disregards his most trusted friend. (It’s this last element that relegates Michael Caine’s role to nothing more than a series of scenes in which he cries at Christian Bale for several minutes.) It’s the sort of situation that usually develops when a new director takes over an existing franchise, and seems odd in the continuity of Nolan’s meticulously shepherded Batman universe.
Still, none of these flaws are as destructive to “The Dark Knight Rises” as the film’s villain, Bane, who manages to cause just as much damage to the fictional city of Gotham as he does to the movie itself.
It’s worth noting right from the start that none of the problems with Bane rest on the shoulders of the actor who played the hulking, masked behemoth, Tom Hardy. The British actor does everything asked of him to the best of his considerable talents, and were it not for a number of factors outside his control, he’d likely provide the standout performance in the film. Sadly, those factors are present in the film, and they make Hardy’s character memorable for all the wrong reasons.
You can read the rest of my review at IFC.com.
I’m sure “The Dark Knight Rises” will make a ton of money, but I just didn’t like it very much. I hope you like it, though — I really do.
Because hey, Batman is still a great character no matter what any studio or director does to him on the big screen. Batman will live on.