"The Dark Knight Rises" Review and Discussion Thread (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JacksonArcher, Jul 10, 2012.

?

How do you rate "The Dark Knight Rises"?

  1. Excellent

    147 vote(s)
    58.3%
  2. Good

    61 vote(s)
    24.2%
  3. Fair

    26 vote(s)
    10.3%
  4. Poor

    12 vote(s)
    4.8%
  5. Terrible

    6 vote(s)
    2.4%
  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    Didn't have time to reply to this over the weekend, hence my brief reply Friday, but, shall I count the ways? :)

    1. The hero: Banderas' Alejandro is a wittier, more active and more engaging hero. Unlike Bale's Wayne, he has more than one expresssion and tone of voice.

    2. The heroine: ditto the above for Zeta-Jones vice Cotillard or Hathaway's paper-thin, dubiously motivated ciphers.

    3. The villain: Rafael Montero is trying to steal California from General Santa Anna by buying it from him with money that ought to be his. As such, he's an underdog in his own right, which I find a lot more interesting than the League of Shadows' totally unexplained fixation with annihilating Gotham. (They don't like it because it's corrupt? More so than every other city in the world? How so?) Montero also shows signs of guilt over his actions on several occasions. He's a richer character than anyone in TDKR.

    4. The script: Mask's is much more focused, funnier, and internally coherent. It's also better-paced, shorter, and doesn't go off on useless tangents (like the Gotham infiltrators who are introduced only to be wiped out) nor make its heroes look like idiots (Gordon still not realizing who Batman is).

    5. The action: from the magical opening sequence to the thrilling horseback chase to the delightful map theft and the awesome showdown, the action sequences in Mask are more exciting, better-made, more original and more emotionally engaging than Nolan's.

    6. The dances: Mask's is better. No contest.

    7. The burning symbol: it may strain credulity in both films, but the one in Mask isn't done by a time-wasting main protagonist, and serves a specific function as both a taunt and a distraction to the villains.

    8. Overall quality: Mask offers more fun in a shorter runtime, and didn't bore me or insult my intelligence (a bomb that degrades over a period of months has an accurate-to-the-second timer countdown? A USB stick contains a program that will give a known criminal anonymity, despite the existence of paper records and the fact that she's a super hottie, the sort of face people would remember? A little girl can make a jump grown men can't, no matter what mumbo-jumbo theme purpose that concept serves)?
    I acknowledge my opinion to be a likely minority one, and personal preference definitely factors in, but I nevertheless hope you can "imagine" it now. ;)



    Ah, but the "letter of transit" felt consistent with the movie's world, much like Bruce's mechanized leg brace speeding his recuperation or a harsh sentencing law cleaning up much of the city's crime. The magic back-fixing, on the other hand, came out of nowhere, as did the physical feat a little girl could perform but grown men couldn't.

    More to the point, however, I don't think many would argue that Casablanca's depth resides in its admittedly melodramatic plot, but rather in the dilemma Rick faces, and the slow, unlikely emergence of Captain Renault's bravery. Where, in your opinion, does TDKR's depths lie?
     
  2. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Location:
    Lost in the EU expanse with a nice cup of tea
    Nope. +1 :techman:
     
  3. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Maybe it is a minority opinion, but I'm right there with you. +2
     
  4. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Location:
    Morrowind
    Somewhere there's a post complaining about the believability of her very clear motivation. Imagine if it were the same post. Hah! That would never happen.

    Nope, no characters showing guilt to see here. Move along...
     
  5. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    I thought I was clear in meaning that the the League's motivations were dubious because they made little to no sense even by their own standards, not that they weren't clear.

    Take the Joker. He wants to bring out the barbarian in everyone, to reduce society to heartless chaos. A one-dimensional goal, but an honest one for a madman. The League, on the other hand, wants to annihilate Gotham because they're "corrupt", i.e., unjust. Their belief system rests on a moral code, but why they consider mass murder to uphold morality to be virtuous is never explained - hence the dubiousness.



    Not from the villains, there ain't - and guilt is far more interesting and rarer in villains than in heroes, where it's pretty much ubiquitous (hell, even Luke Skywalker felt bad about his aunt and uncle getting murdered). But Ducard, Joker, Crane, and Bane/Talia display no guilt or humanity whatsoever. Magneto showed more compassion in X2, and he tried to kill almost everyone on Earth.
     
  6. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Location:
    Morrowind
    What's the difference? The Joker is LOS in all but name. Wanting to watch the world ( but specifically Gotham ) burn isn't fundamentally different from wanting to destroy Gotham. Bane's methods, pitting one group of Gothamites against another, are not so different from when the Joker does the same thing. Only the outcome is somewhat different.

    There is from Selina, who starts as a kind of "villain" only to become a hero later on.

    Guilt is appropriate if you're talking about the kind of character who starts good and turns to the dark side. It's appropriate for conflicted characters. For Palpatine types, not so much. You may like the idea of conflicted, guilt-ridden villains, but not every villain has to be conflicted and guilt-ridden. And if all villains were that way, it wouldn't be "interesting" anymore.

    It's already come up that you forgot all about "Ducard"'s backstory as described in BB. And from a general perspective transcending the Nolanverse, I don't know what your "guilty Joker" character would even be. It certainly wouldn't be the Joker.

    Now read that sentence again and tell me what part of it makes sense. Magneto shows no guilt, and doesn't display genuine compassion, other than in his familiarity with Mystique - he only appears compassionate toward another mutant who he hopes to recruit into his ranks.
     
  7. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    It's not the actions. It's the motivations behind the actions. The Joker wants to watch Gotham burn because, well, he's fucked in the head and likes watching things go crazy. Chaos is his motivation. What is the League's motivation? They want to cleanse Gotham of its corruption and immorality. The problem is that in order to do that they have to become giant hypocrites. Their actions render their motivation meaningless.
     
  8. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    Maybe not, but what about the planet's other cities? Joker would like to see the whole world burn, but I never got the sense that the LOS was intent on destroying, say Honolulu. Kinda makes a huge lot of difference if you happen to live in Honolulu.



    Yeah, not really. A mischief-maker, sure, but hardly a "big bad"-level villain. Especially when it's revealed that she's more afraid of other criminals than she hungers for power for its own sake.


    Agreed, but a movie with one-dimensional villains is rarely "deep" or "sophisticated". Palpatine is not a complex character, nor is Bane. I don't consider ROTJ deep or sophisticated, either. TDKR, like Star Wars, is fable-level storytelling. Nothing wrong with that, but call a spade a spade.


    I forgot about it because it wasn't important. What does "losing his one great love" have to do with justifying mass murder in a foreign country based on an unexplained system of morality? If I've missed something important, please point it out, but I think you're dealing in trivia here.


    Exactly. He proves to be a total monster, yet still comes across as more sympathetic than any of Nolan's big baddies, because, as monstrous as he may be, he at least believes in something - a world free of human-on-mutant oppression. I agree that adding dimension to the Joker would have diminished that character, but the fact remains that Mask's Montero is a deeper and more "sophisticated" character than Talia/Bane. And I do think, for that matter, that Mask is thus deeper and more sophisticated than TDKR. (And Casablanca more so than both.)


    But again, if I've missed some profound themes here, I'd genuinely like to hear about 'em.
     
  9. Jax

    Jax Admiral Admiral

    Just saw this and had to post it...

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enOHraf3LEk[/yt]
     
  10. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    Among other problems, the letters of transit are described as cosigned by General de Gaulle. And one can't treat the reality of Casablanca as quite as arbitrary as a genre film. They are a nonsense plot device, pure and simple, and the film works in spite of them being nonsense.

    Guilt certainly is not necessary for believable, interesting villains - my mind turns instantly to Akira Kurosawa's modern day adaption of Hamlet, The Bad Sleep Well. Even if one hasn't seen it the title elucidates the point perfectly - some people really are not bothered by the ethical implications of their actions, and that lack of concern is part of what makes them a villain.

    As far as belief goes, it's manifestly obvious that Ra's al Ghul believes that what he's doing is for the good of humanity, that corruption and decadence is a sin that needs to be purged. He's the most uncomplicatedly principled of the antagonists in the Nolan Batman films, which probably makes his role as an unsubtle terrorist stand-in all the clearer.
     
  11. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    Awesome - I love me some badman. "I hadn't showered that day... and I fight crime in a rubber suit!" LOL! :rommie:



    I find it interesting that you use the term sin, an inescapably religious concept, for a group that appears not to have a theological dogma. Yes, their belief that Gotham is too corrupt to be kept alive is clear, but it's not at all clear why they feel that way. Imagine if Seven's John Doe hadn't had his Old Testament attitude - what would be left of him?
     
  12. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    I used that word deliberately, as al Ghul's condemnation of Gotham had a distinctly judgemental attitude. It's just a judgemental attitude rooted in secular notions of civilizational decay rather than religious ones.

    And if you take away a character's life, obviously you're left with a very different character.
     
  13. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Location:
    Morrowind
    If Heath Ledger had lived, do you think the third film would have been called Joker Does Honolulu?

    How "deep" or "sophisticated" is a conflicted villain by virtue of being fashionable?

    It suddenly becomes important again when you start talking about the character having no humanity.

    If only Nolan's villains believed in something, such as a world free of corruption, or, failing that, free of Gotham.
     
  14. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I'd never seen the Badman video before. Very funny stuff.
     
  15. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    I have no idea, and am genuinely curious, as to what Nolan would have done vis-a-vis Joker had Ledger lived. To me, the fact that he disappeared from TDK after saying that he and Bats would be "doing this dance forever" suggests that he might have been even more done with the character than he was with Dent.



    Eh, a tossed-off expository line about once having had a girlfriend doesn't strike me as compelling evidence that the character actually seen in the movie still retains any of that (alleged) humanity. And it's a lot less interesting, to my tastes, than Mask of Zorro's Montero wishing he didn't have to kill a large number of innocent workers to secure his personal wealth and status.



    I'm honestly befuddled by this question. You're saying that by not writing complex villains, the writers were bravely bucking trendiness? And that anyone who does try to write a nuanced villain only does so out of groupthink?



    Here's the League's mission statement, if you will, from BB:
    Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries. Gotham... must be destroyed.
    [shrugs] ... I guess this line either strikes one as totally moronic, a screenwriter's overt refusal to offer anything but the flimsiest and most inane pretext for one-dimensional evil, or it doesn't.

    Myself, I find the notion of a fanatical, millenium-old apparently secular organization devoted to mass murder to be utterly at odds with virtually all of human history, and thus about as sophisticated as a Power Rangers big bad. I'm curious as to why the League considers Gotham to be more full of "suffering and injustice" than any other of a number of cities, from Mexico City or Pyonyang to Moscow or Mogadishu. And I really don't understand why the League didn't attack Gotham several decades ago, when crime rates across the US were significantly higher than they are today, unless, of course, the Nolanverse's history of 20th-century America is intended to be utterly at odds with recent history as we know it, in which case it well and truly is a fable as devoid of sophistication and contemporary relevance.
     
  16. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    He compares Gotham to Rome and Constantinople. The issue is not just which city is the most corrupt. The role the city plays in the larger civilization is key. In the Batman universe, Gotham plays a central role in economics, culture, organized crime, etc.

    Rome and Constantinople weren’t necessarily destroyed at the height of their decadence either. There are probably a lot of considerations that influence the timing of the attack.

    In both BB and TDKR, the LOS’s agenda encompasses more than the destruction Gotham. Their purpose is to change civilization globally. In order to accomplish that, they plan to make the people of Gotham show the world why they deserve to be destroyed, and then destroy them. One possible reason for attacking now instead of several decades ago is that they believed the demonstration would be more effective in the internet age of 2005/2012 than in the less connected world of the 80’s.

    Another possible reason is that they were waiting for circumstances to be right to advance their agenda. In 2005, they took advantage of the cutting-edge technology of the microwave emitter, and possibly the fear gas was a recent invention as well. In 2012, they took advantage of Wayne Enterprise’s nuclear reactor. Neither of these plans would have been available several decades ago.
     
  17. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    No offense, but sense none this makes. Are you saying the League predicted the rise of the Internet, and decided to hold off on their attack for that reason? If you are, then let me point out that absolutely nothing in the movies suggest anything of the sort. Such apologist explanations for why the League is anything more than a source of Eeeeeeee-vil are heavily steeped in pure speculation and extra-textual invention.


    Thousands of residents of 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki probably wouldn't agree with you there.
     
  18. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Location:
    Lost in the EU expanse with a nice cup of tea
    Apropos of nothing, I fell asleep during Batman Begins.
     
  19. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Of course it’s speculative. That’s what “one possible reason” means. I advanced a couple of plausible explanations. There are many more. We don’t know exactly what LOS’s thinking is, and since the story is told from Bruce Wayne’s perspective rather than the LOS’s perspective, we don’t have to know exactly what their reason is.

    The general point — that LOS’s goal is not only to destroy Gotham but to teach the rest of the world a lesson in the process — is pretty clear.

    It’s not at all implausible that the LOS could have foreseen the world becoming more connected. Considering that their purpose is influencing global civilization, it would naturally be a subject of interest for them, and they have some very smart people.

    Even if they didn’t specifically foresee the rise of the internet, it seems to be the case that they are patient by nature and wait for the right time to strike, even without necessarily being able to predict exactly when that right time will be or what will make it right.

    It seems that you have decided, solely on the basis of higher crime rates a few decades ago, that crime rates are the only factor that influence the decision of when and how to attack; that LOS could, should, and would have made their play when crime rates were at their highest; that any other story is implausible and that the story is “devoid of sophistication and contemporary relevance” because LOS’s attack isn’t synchronous with maximum crime rates. It’s ridiculous.
     
  20. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    Neither Rome nor Constantinople were 'destroyed.' Both have been sacked at different times in their history, and both have changed hands between differing national and cultural forces.

    But both cities have been the focal point of a declining empire, whose desecration symbolically with the former and literally with the latter signalled an end to that empire. The fear of Gotham's decline is thus - intentionally or not - linked to the idea of an American decline, the city's endemic corruption and crime emblematic of the broken social contract.

    Yes, but this is a superhero movie. Thus, it's basically a pulp story. And this organization would have not been more believable if it had a religious origin, nor is it really much more preposterous than the ridiculous science or the idea that one man with unlimited funds could really turn himself into such an effortless one man army (and that this rich man's fantasy would seriously be the best way to combat crime).
     

Share This Page