I got a rare invitation last month to see a private screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 19, the night before the opening. It turned out to be a fascinating experience.
I could bring a guest, so I invited my daughter who will turn 18 in December. She came down early and we had a lovely lunch in which I totally over-indulged on pizza. Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to abuse food when eating out with friends and loved ones? I am sure I consumed about double my normal lunch calories. Once again, I sympathize with you folks who have to eat out on your job. I will note, though, that neither my daughter nor I had dinner. So that kind of balanced the overindulgence at lunch. We went to the film later that afternoon and did eat some popcorn.
As it turned out if I had known the content of the film beforehand, I am not sure I would have taken her. It was mind-numbingly long and ponderous. The cinematography was spectacular, but just short of three hours? Sorry, too much of a not very good thing.
Christian Bale reprised his role of the angst-ridden caped crusader. And Michael Caine brought back Alfred in all his caring ways. Anne Hathaway was a welcome relief to the story as Catwoman. She brightened the screen every time she appeared. Tom Hardy, looking like a refugee from pro-wrestling played the heavy – Bane. More about that name later.
Here are some notes from critics: Roger Ebert said, “The film begins slowly with a murky plot and too many new characters, but builds to a sensational climax…” and “…a dark and heavy film; it tests the weight a superhero movie can bear.” Indeed.
Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, “The Dark Knight Rises features its share of incoherence, too — mostly in the form of too-busy back stories and alternately Machiavellian and muddled motivations. With a running time of nearly three hours, Nolan’s valedictory indulges in flashbacks and explanatory montages that begin to feel like three films in one. ”
The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips said, “For me The Dark Knight Rises tips the story elements so far into apocalyptic severity, after a strong first hour it begins to lose its way. The grimness is precisely what some critics resisted in “The Dark Knight“(2008).”
My personal favorite was Chris Tookey of the Online Daily Mail. “The Dark Knightmare: It’s bottom-numbingly long, the baddie is a mumbling bore and the plot is a pretentious mess – even Batman can’t escape this disaster.”
On a positive note, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a solid 86%.
I was personally troubled by what I felt were strong political inferences. These words were whispered into Bruce Wayne’s ear, “You’re all going to wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” Who whispered this sanctimonious pap? What character claiming the moral high ground would say such a thing? Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, a convicted thief. No contradiction there, a thief berating a successful business man for … succeeding and enjoying his earnings.
Since when is living large any kind of crime? Making a lot of money. In the America I grew up in, we wanted to be a success. We admired folks who had succeeded. We hoped to be able to live large someday ourselves. Suddenly that makes you inherently evil. Seriously?
So sad that many in this country consider having wealth to be some kind of criminal act. I still can’t believe we have a president who said, and meant, “You didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen” and went on to explain that the government built the roads, etc, so the government is ultimately responsible for the success that individuals may have achieved.
Also, in the movie, there is a scenario where hostages are taken from the stock exchange and used as human shields as the bad guys make their getaway. This is clearly in character for the villains, but it was the filmmakers who chose to show the stock exchange people as cowering weaklings. Mobs ransack the homes of the wealthy also.
Isn’t it fascinating that the villain, a brutal sadistic giant who talks through a voice box that makes Darth Vader seem positively cheerful by comparison, is named Bane. Gosh, what a coincidence. Sounds the same as Bain Capital that the president’s rival for the top office worked at. Oh, no, it’s spelled differently. Couldn’t possibly be any reference to Romney’s Bain.
Last night I dashed off the following after the movie, “Horrible mishmash of brutality and anti-capitalism. Everyone who makes money is a villain.”
Someone on my elevator told me they were scalping tickets for $300 to see it the first weekend. There is no question that it will do boffo box office business. It will be interesting to see how long its popularity lasts.
I know there are a lot of Dark Knight fans out there. I still consider myself to be one. I grew up reading the Batman comics avidly. I just felt really let down by this latest entry.
Feel free to comment, after you see it for yourself.