The Dark Knight Rises: Two Reviews

I skipped out of work early the other day and went to a matinee of The Dark Knight Rises, and here are two reviews: one short and spoiler free, and one long rambling spoiler-filled sack of arglebargle.

Here’s the first review:

In The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Batman comes out of a long retirement to face Bane, a supervillain who wants to destroy Gotham City. I thought it was pretty good, though I enjoyed the first two films a lot more.

Okay, onto the SUPER SPOILER plot summary, which contains SPOILERS. SUPER ONES.

Eight years after Batman takes the blame for killing Harvey Dent, crime in Gotham City is under control but Bruce Wayne is sad and won’t come out of his room and won’t do Batman things anymore. During a party in his house, Selina Kyle, a sexy cat burglar, steals his fingerprints. Meanwhile, somewhere else, a hulking criminal named Bane kills a bunch of CIA guys so he can steal a scientist. Also, in Gotham, there’s a cop named Blake who misses Batman a lot and notices that something evil is happening in the sewers under Gotham, and there’s a jerk on the board of Wayne Enterprises, and also a nice lady on the board of Wayne enterprises, and also Bruce Wayne invented a fusion reactor that he won’t use because it could be turned into a fusion bomb, and Matthew Modine is a police captain for some reason.

Bruce Wayne’s stolen fingerprints are given to Bane, who breaks into the stock exchange to use them to bankrupt Wayne Enterprises, because I guess if Bruce Wayne wants to do some stock business he has to go right onto the trading floor and stick his fingers into a computer or something. Bruce Wayne puts on his Batman clothes to chase Bane around, but Matthew Modine hates Batman and wants to catch him more than he wants to catch Bane, but Bruce Wayne escapes in his new flying Batmobile. Bane’s plan works, though, because Bruce Wayne is now broke and no one notices that Bane was doing stock market terrorism at the same moment Bruce Wayne was supposedly sticking his fingers on the DELETE ALL MY MONEY button at the stock exchange.

Alfred, meanwhile, thinks he has done an absolutely terrible job of looking after Bruce Wayne, first by letting him disappear as a young man, then by helping him be a vigilante, then by letting him rot in his room for eight years, and it’s pretty hard to disagree with all that, even though he’s very sweet and his eyes fill with tears and we want to hug him. Anyway, he quits.

Bruce Wayne is kicked out of Wayne Enterprises for having no money, so the jerk on the board is like, ha ha, I WON AT BUSINESS! But Bane is like, no, and kills him. Bruce Wayne has sex with the nice lady on the board who promises to try to win at business but in a nice way, and then Bruce leaves as Batman to track down Selina Kyle, who I don’t think they ever call Catwoman but she’s Catwoman. She traps Batman in a room with Bane, who has been kicked out of the The League of Shadows, who wanted to destroy Gotham City in the first movie, but now he’s running another The League of Shadows who wants to destroy Gotham City in this movie. Bane beats the shit out of Batman and puts him in a pit in India or something, and the only way to escape is by being really good at climbing and jumping, two things Batman probably isn’t very good at, right?

Bane takes over Gotham by exploding everything, including all the bridges and a football game, and traps all of the policemen in the sewers because Commissioner Gordon sent them to see what was going on down there, and he sent them all into the same sewer hole, all at once, in one big group, which was probably a bad idea. Bane tells Gotham he has a fusion bomb, but he won’t blow it up right away because he wants the people of Gotham to feel false hope before they die, and to help them feel hopeful he lets all of the violent prisoners out of jail and gives them guns and holds a lot of executions, which is how you make people feel hopeful, I guess. Also, blowing up football is a good way to win people over, because who even likes football? Nobody.

Batman is healed by nice people in the jail pit and learns a lesson about how to climb and jump out of a pit, which is by climbing and jumping really good, better than he ever has before. Arriving back at Gotham, he finds Catwoman and is like, even though you betrayed me and gave me to Bane to get punched, you’re a hot woman so you’re probably a good person deep down inside, so help me beat up people, and she’s like, maybe. Batman frees all the trapped policemen, who have been in the sewer for two months but are still able to put a smart tactical plan into motion, the plan being, let’s walk down the street in a big group towards a thousand criminals with automatic weapons.

Batman, having learned from their first fight that punching Bane doesn’t work because Bane is way better at punching, comes up with a new plan using a bunch of clever bat weapons, only he doesn’t, he just stupidly walks right up to Bane and tries punching him, and Bane is still better at punching. But then, Batman tries punching even harder, and Bane’s mask breaks, and Bane is like, my mask, that keeps me alive, why did I let Batman punch it so much? Even though I am better at punching he is still pretty good at punching!

The nice business lady then reveals that she is the evil daughter of Liam Neeson from the first movie, and she’s mad at Batman because he killed Liam Neeson when all Liam Neeson ever did was try to murder everyone in Gotham with insanity water. And also, Bane wasn’t really kicked out of The League Of Shadows, so ha ha, Batman, you were slightly misled about the specific link between Bane and The League of Shadows! Your humiliation is now complete. Evil lady stabs Batman and leaves to go blow up the bomb, and Batman is about to be killed by Bane when Catwoman shows up and shoots Bane with a motorcycle. So, Bane is dead, I guess.

Batman flys his airplane thing around trying to get the bomb back to his bunker to be defused, but that doesn’t work, so he crashes the truck the bomb is on and decides to fly the bomb out of the city. While the bomb ticks down to zero, everyone stands around watching the evil lady slowly die from her truck crash injuries, then they all chat a bit, then Batman and Catwoman talk a little and smooch, then Batman reveals himself to Commissioner Gordon, the one person left in the city who hasn’t figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and the audience is sitting there like, HEY, DID EVERYONE FORGET? BOMB. Batman finally gets around to flying the fusion bomb out over the lake where it explodes, killing him.

Then, a million things happen in five minutes, such as Blake quitting the police and going to the Batcave and also revealing that his name is Robin, ooh, and Wayne Manor is turned into an Orhpan Home for Orphans, and Alfred sobs over Bruce Wayne’s grave because Bruce died the same day as Batman which isn’t suspicious at all, and then Alfred goes to Italy or something and Bruce Wayne is there with Selina Kyle and everyone is happy except for everyone who died and those who survived and now live in a rubble-strewn city next to a lake with a bunch of fusion in it.

So! How was it? It was pretty good. It fit in perfectly with the first two movies, though that’s maybe a problem: it fits in so well it doesn’t really give us anything new or different. Batman is still a gloomy gus, Alfred is worried and weepy, The League of Shadows from the first movie is back, the city is under siege like it was in the second movie, and it all feels like the same basic thing, which is not a bad thing, just a similar thing. Bane is an intriguing villain for a while, but after snapping his fourteenth neck he gets a little dull, and he’s never as interesting or compelling or fun as Joker was. Also, there were no colorful, cartoony gangsters, which I think Batman needs: I like him fighting crime more than I like him fighting fusion terrorism. Basically, TDKR is the first movie plus the second movie minus Joker minus gangsters.


  1. This is supremely humorous and makes many laugh. Evaluating Hollywood movies is a tug of war game between tired anger and genuine amusement.

  2. Awesome review, almost beat out by Dan there.

  3. If there’s one thing I didn’t like, it was the (BIG SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERS) artificial twist that Bane wasn’t the real but instead was Miranda. I mean, the background for the main bad guy worked really well for Bane and it gives him backstory and characteristics. However, you then hand that over to Miranda/Talia, who’s really killed off a couple of minutes after the “I’m evil” speech. Bane then loses that backstory and is now just some bodyguard dude. We basically have one villain with lots of personality and no backstory and another villain with no personality and lots of backstory. That’s my main problem with the film, along with the time skips, although it was still awesome.

  4. Eh, I thought Bane was a fine villain. It felt like there wasn’t much they could do with Heath Ledger dead and the story is less villain-centered than TDK, which is probably a good thing.

  5. It’s nice to find someone reacted to this film the same way I did, I was beginning to wonder if maybe I was just too cynical a guy with quite a few of my friends raving about what I felt was just a decent film.

    Some other stand out incongruous parts –

    1) Robin/Gordon Levitt Cop figuring out Bruce Wayne was Batman due to the look in Bruce’s Eye when he visited his orphanage. I mean, that’s a pretty tangential thing, seeing that someone else is also an angry orphan but then deducing that this must mean they’re Batman. But then his brief glimpse of someone’s eyeball a decade ago is apparently strong enough grounds to drive straight up to a billionaire’s house after his boss is shot and confront Bruce with his suspicions. And Bruce figures, hey, this is a fair cop, I can’t really deny this to what is effectively a complete stranger.

    2) How long Evil Lady held that knife in Batman’s side for. There was a good 5 minutes of exposition/gloating with Bruce just stood there, stabbed. Maybe he just digs that sort of thing from chicks.

    3) After finding out what makes you really good at jumping is jumping good, Bruce manages to travel from Pit, India to Gotham City, America. I’m quite jealous of his ability to globe trot on what is zero dollars and a broken back.

    What you mention here reminds me of this though, which is amusing if you haven’t seen it already Chris –

    • Christopher says:

      1) It’s kind of funny that in the Batman universe, someone looking at Bruce Wayne and figuring out that he was Batman qualifies as a plot hole, while in the real world, that’s something we would all immediately do. I mean, who the hell else could Batman be, besides Bruce Wayne, the guy who is rich enough to be Batman and whose timeline coincides perfectly with Batman’s comings and goings?

      2) Yeah, you’d think Batman might have, say, pulled the knife out before sitting quietly for her entire backstory.

      3) I didn’t have a problem with Bruce Wayne getting back to Gotham, really. If we know anything about the uber-wealthy, they have secret bank accounts everywhere and they’re never really, truly broke.