An Assortment of ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Thoughts
I mean really, OBVIOUSLY spoilers.
Chris already dug deep into the meat of the movie, so I’ll be providing a light, summery sorbet of casual bullet points, nerdy “Hey did you notice…?” and whatnot.
So let’s get started with a NON-spoilery bit before we start talking about Things:
Were the volume levels as screwed up for everyone else as they were for me, or was the musical score oppressively loud? For all the complaints about understanding Bane, I actually had a tough time catching large swaths of dialogue for all the BUM-BUM-BUM-BUM-BUM-BUM-BWWAAAAAAAA on the soundtrack.
So how come Juno Temple’s character’s name wasn’t Holly?
I mean…she was playing Holly. Obviously, a more age-appropriate Holly than the teenage hooker introduced in Batman Year One, but…that was Holly Robinson:
For that matter, why give an oily businessman the last name Daggett and then have his first name not be Roland? Especially when you’ve got another John in the movie?
I understand not wanting to be slavish with the comic book references – when they’re distracting. For instance, if I’d heard an announcement in the hospital, “Doctor Kinsolving…paging Doctor Kinsolving…”? That’s distracting. But they’re playing characters with obvious comic/TV counterparts, so what’s the harm?
(I had this same problem with Keith Szarabajka not being called Harvey Bullock in Dark Knight, though in that one I assumed that having two guys named Harvey in the movie actually MIGHT be a bit distracting so I let it slide.)
Oh Yeah, About Dr. Kinsolving
For those of you wondering about the comics influences this installment borrows from, it is in part a mash-up of Dark Knight Returns, No Man’s Land, and Knightfall.
Thankfully, the resolution to Bruce Wayne’s broken back – while not IDEAL spinal surgery (“We’re just gonna shove that vertebrae back in there – POP – okeydoke, now you go ahead and learn to stand again”) – is STILL better than Knightfall’s Dr. Shondra Kinsolving, Bruce’s physical therapist who becomes his girlfriend who also turns out to have telekinetic healing abilities and an evil brother.
Which she uses on Bruce (the powers, not the evil brother), which somehow reverts her mentally to a child, so she forgets he’s Batman.
Yeah. So, score points for not playing too much in that particular sandbox.
On Last Year’s Spoilers, And How They Can Affect The Movie
Remember when they were filming the football stadium sequence, and a bunch of morons filmed it on their camera phones and posted it online?
The end result of that: While Bane is threatening Gotham City with nuclear death, all I could think was, “Somewhere up in those stands, there’s a dude with a camera phone telling his buddy he just accidentally sat in some nachos.”
This Could Have Been a Two-Part Movie
Generally, I am not a proponent of splitting a finale-movie into two parts, a practice previously employed in the last Harry Potter film and the final two Twilights, and reportedly the plan for the last Hunger Games.
(Actually, that’s not entirely true – by splitting Mockingjay in two, they’ll hopefully give fans of the book a chance to “opt out” juuuuust before things get too oppressively dark. “I’ll be your Mockingjay!” Katniss will say. “Great! Good luck with that!” I will say, happily pretending it all shakes out okay.)
The difference between DKR and Harry Potter/Twilight? DKR isn’t front-loaded with the boring set-up bits.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1: The gang wanders around the woods being snippy at each other; Dobby dies and I try not to fist-pump in the theater.
Twilight – Breaking Dawn, Part 1: Edward and Bella have the most boring-ass honeymoon ever (barring one truly fucked-up sex scene); a mannequin werewolf falls in love with a baby; werewolf and vampire fighting is generally shoved off for the next movie.
On the other hand:
DKR Part 1 – Batman returns, chase scenes, start of Bane’s plot, then everything goes to shit with Wayne Enterprises, and Bruce gets his ass handed to him by Bane and dumped in a pit while Bane takes over Gotham.
THAT would have been one hell of a cliffhanger, and waiting on part 2 would’ve been pretty excruciating.
“But How Did Bruce Get Back Into The City If He Was Broke?”
I’m going to agree on Chris’s “Well…He’s Batman.”
I’m also going to point out that there are some questions you probably shouldn’t ask yourself regarding this movie series, such as:
- “How come everyone notices the Tumbler tearing through the streets during a getaway, but nobody noticed that there was a tank driving around town in the first place?”, and
- “Yes, it’s pretty cool seeing Batman standing on the tops of those buildings, but did he just scale the damn thing? And did nobody notice him from their window?”
But if you need more of an explanation, how about this? Remember in Batman Begins, where Bruce reclaims his company by creating a bunch of shell corporations and trusts and such to buy up the shares? Given that kind of secret corporate ninja acumen, I imagine Bruce has stashed a few emergency accounts here and there in case his Bat-activities ever got him stranded somewhere without his usual resources.
I mean, that’s what I would do, if I had a lot of money and was thinking of maybe being Batman at some point.
So, That Ending…
Even as a guy firmly in the camp of the “Batman will keep doing this until he dies” school of thought, I’ll admit that giving the guy a non-death ending – Bruce Wayne can finally let go – is well-earned for the final part of a trilogy, particularly if it makes Alfred happy.
(Though in my reading of the scene, Selina is just taking a vacation with Bruce for a while until she gets her shit together. Or maybe Bruce just said, “Look, just pretend you’re my wife for the afternoon, my butler has kind of a thing going on and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”)
And given how much screen time the audience spent with John Blake, I’d even be pretty happy watching a fourth Batman film with him in the role.
But again, regarding names, while the “His full name is Robin John Blake” line was cute, if a bit of a groaner (it’s a testament to the rest of the film that after hearing that I thought, “OK, you can have this one, movie.”), I wonder if any consideration was ever given to naming the guy John Gray, and then having his full name revealed as Richard John Grayson?
I get that the character is actually an amalgam of Grayson (orphan whose faith in Batman saves him), Jason Todd (orphan coping with rage issues), Tim Drake (deduces at an early age who Batman really is) and even Jean Paul Valley (left to protect Gotham on his own against Bane after Bruce’s back is broken). I just kinda wish they’d nailed that one a liiiittle better.
Anyway. If wishes were fishes.
Now Then, Let’s Talk About The NEXT Movie!
I’m sorry. We don’t have to. It’s just, we KNOW Warner’s already prepping the post-Nolan Batman franchise.
Me, I’m rooting for option a: Blake/Robin fumbles at first while practicing his Batman skills (perhaps in some kind of Nightwing-type costume at first), building up to a full-Batman while solving some kind of Riddler-related mystery. A smaller-scale detective movie would be welcome after all this bombast.
Or an option b: That Justice League movie actually happens, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Batman. There’s no explanation as to who’s under the cowl, since the audience would already know, and the other leaguers wouldn’t be privy to that info anyway.
And then there’s the dark, mean part of me that wants them to dust off Frank Miller’s absolutely gonzo Year One script so I can see an entire audience watch it and then do this:
Enough of my blather, it’s your turn – what do you want in the next Batman franchise?