Comicgasm editors Ade & RJ have finished watching The Dark Knight Rises, the final part of the Chris Nolan epic Batman trilogy. Ade is a huge Batman fan, obsessed to the point of it being unhealthy, while RJ has a vaguely homoerotic obsession with Nightwing. So Batman comes back to Gotham after 8 years. He’s not in the best shape, but he has to stop the biggest threat he’s ever faced. How did the movie fare for these two Batman fans?
WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ONWARDS
RJ: Like our last film review, we did not watch The Dark Knight Rises together. Because Ade is a traitor. A TRAITOR!
Ade: … I knew there was a reason I get to do the lead-in sentence in every review.
RJ: The Dark Knight Rises is the final film of the Nolan-verse trilogy of Batman films. Where the story of Batman was depicted in a ‘realistic’ setting. How did that affect the overall experience of the film?
Ade: I was actually expecting an epic crime drama not unlike The Dark Knight. I wasn’t expecting an epic war film where everything ends. They tried to insert a lot of comic book stuff in this film, more than the first two, and while I appreciated Nolan going all out and utilizing as much fanservice as humanly possible, not everything worked.
RJ: It made the experience much more enjoyable, in my opinion. I liked the change of pace, but yeah, not everything worked. But hey, at least he didn’t do a Green Lantern.
Ade: Let me start by saying that Nolan basically created his trilogy as a huge love letter to Frank Miller. It starts with Year One, and ends with The Dark Knight Returns. The crazy voice, the bats, the non-laughing Joker, the tank-like Batmobile. There’s just so much in this last film, I don’t even know where to start. Oh yeah, this scene too:
RJ: Let’s not forget it’s as much of a love story to Denny O’Neil’s era as a Batman writer and editor. It was a very different interpretation and I don’t really appreciate some aspects of it, but Nolan effectively made his own Universe; based on THE fundamental Batman stories told a damn well story out of it and I respect that.
Ade: Oh man, how could I forget! The well, Bane, Ducard, Ra’s Al Ghul, Talia, Knightfall. O’Neil had under his watch arguably the greatest Batman era! Anyway. The Dark Knight Rises is basically an amalgamation of three of the most epic Batman tales (pre-Morrison, anyway) – Knightfall, No Man’s Land, and The Dark Knight Returns.
RJ: Let’s start with the Knightfall arc. Namely, on how Bane was handled. I don’t understand why people were complaining so much about his character. I absolutely loved Jolly British Bane. It’s like Amazing Spider-Man all over again, just because it’s different doesn’t make it bad. In fact, they got everything RIGHT with TDKR’s Bane. No luchador mask? No Venom? Who the fuck cares! They got the characterization and motivation right with a few good twists.
Ade: I am going out on a limb here, but Tom Hardy’s Bane is the best comic book villain put to film. Ever. Tom Hardy was absolutely totally maddeningly frightening as Bane. Hell, there was no time for me to get scared. I was just watching, slack-jawed, every time he and Batman were together on screen. To think that Tom Hardy only had his eyes and a few hand gestures to work with.
RJ: I love how they stuck with his connections with the League of Shadows and the Al Ghuls. Every scene with Liam Neeson in it made me giddy. I kinda wanted Young Ra’s to still be Liam with make-up coz I really can’t imagine anyone else portraying The Demon’s head.
Ade: Man, when Liam Neeson showed up, I was all “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK HOW WHAT THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE LEAKS” then it was actually a red herring. Well played, Nolan. Well played. Speaking of Ra’s Al Ghul, did you get the Lazarus Pit reference? Making the Lazarus Pit a metaphorical place where Batman restores himself, and combining it with the prison where Bane was formed, plus a callback to the well in Begins?
RJ: Hells yeah, I did. All those little references made the film for me. I looked like an asshole coz I was the only one in the theater laughing at certain scenes.
Ade: That’s because you ARE an asshole, RJ.
RJ: I bet the exact thing happened to you too. Asshole! See, this is why we should watch comic book movies together.
Ade: Well, I was laughing at the CIA agent at the prologue, because that was Littlefinger from Game of Thrones…
RJ: I choked on my lemonade at the Pearl Necklace scene.
Ade: You choked on a pearl necklace? Man…
RJ: … I stepped right into that one, didn’t I? Okay, before this regresses into a discussion about our assholes and pearl necklaces, let’s talk about.. psst Ade, it’s your turn to transition.
Ade: … so, when Gordon was trying to get Foley back into action, did you laugh when Foley told his wife “It’s ok honey, go back to the kitchen?”
RJ: HAHAHAHAHAH-STOP MAKING US EASY TARGETS FOR FEMINISTS
Ade: HEY THAT CATWOMAN GIRL WASN’T SHE A STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER HUH
RJ: A STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER, WITH HIGH HEELS!
WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
Ade: Okay, wait, back to review mode. I had my doubts about Hathaway from the beginning, because I never imagined her kicking ass, but the moment she started talking in that sultry voice, I was sold. She killed it.
RJ: I really liked her interpretation of the character. Though the romance between Selina and Bruce feels off at times, but you can’t deny that there’s a rough chemistry between them.
Ade: Unpopular opinion: I honestly do not care for Bruce and Selina. At all. Not even in Batman Returns, not even in the comics. I have yet to see a comic, TV show, or movie where their romance does not feel forced. I mean, logically they’re perfect for each other, but it doesn’t do anything for me.
RJ: Speaking of forced, how many people did you think looked at Hathaway’s ass instead of the giant fucking explosion when she opened the tunnel for the PoPo? I can name a few people, the seven people next to me in the theater. Who were my friends.
Ade: Dude, let’s not cheapen Nolan’s masterpiece with sexist jokes. Nolan is an amazing director who has made so many accomplishments in this film. Number one being getting Hathaway to sit down on the Batpod for 20 minutes while showing nothing but ass shots-
RJ: Okay, back to the review. For real this time!
Ade: So I just scrolled up and I thought this review was off to a promising start. What the hell happened?
RJ: Off to a promising start? That’s what she said!
THE BREAKING OF THE BAT
Ade: Okay. I know you’re itching to get to this scene. The one where Catwoman betrays Batman. The music dies. Bane and Batman face off. The Breaking of The Bat. Discuss.
RJ: I was rooting for Bane the entire time! That scene was so powerful and well-made, I didn’t care how loud I was anymore. It was the one scene we’re all excited to see in the big screen and god damn was it awesome! That scene was the height of the movie for me, bar none.
Ade: I had a feeling Bane will beat Batman, but the scene where Bane breaks Batman’s back was so iconic, I never expected Nolan will actually do The Breaking of The Bat. And when Bane lifted Batman up, I just fucking shut up, sat up straight, and waited for Batman to fall. Man. That scene was the most epic of the trilogy. Not even the truck flip in The Dark Knight could beat Bane and Batman going mano y mano. I swear, they could’ve ended the movie right there and made us wait for a fourth film, AND I WOULDN’T MIND.
RJ: Who knew it would only get BETTER after that? Again, the Pit was pure genius. But when they started with the No Man’s Land arc, I was just giddy with joy. I really liked how the GCPD were trapped, it gave Blake and Gordon a chance to shine with their own story of the only decent cops in an entire city.
Ade: I love how the GCPD were portrayed as idiots who couldn’t function without Gordon leading them. Which explains why Gotham was shit in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
RJ: I love how Gotham became a ‘good city to live in’ after The Dark Knight. Only because of Gordon’s little lie; and how easily the city crumbles around itself without him.
Ade: And here’s where I put my analysis of the entire trilogy.
HERE’S WHERE ADE GETS PRETENTIOUS (AGAIN)
Ade: In Batman Begins, Bruce was looking for a symbol to galvanize Gotham into action against evil and corruption. Hence, Batman. In The Dark Knight, he found the logical way out of being Batman in Harvey Dent. He thought that Dent would lead the city into salvation, but Two-Face happened, and in order to save the city, he and Gordon had to make that lie. Now, in Rises, eight years have passed and the Dent Act broke so many constitutional rights that it was pretty obvious that creating that lie was a mistake. Then Bane happened. Batman rallies Gotham to action, and finally becomes the symbol he was out to create in Begins. Once where everyone was afraid to stand up to evil, now you have unarmed cops rushing to an armed band of mercenaries, even if it meant their death. In the end, Batman won. Gotham was no longer afraid.
RJ: I didn’t really enjoy that clash between the GCPD and the criminals. I was really expecting Nolan to make it into a full street war with military tactics. All we got was “WE HAVE GUNS? LET’S PUNCH THEM ANYWAY!”. Sure we needed that Batman vs Bane rematch, but I feel that the fight that would dictate Gotham’s future could have been better executed.
Ade: I was all “HEY IDIOTS AREN’T YOU COPS AREN’T SOME OF YOU FROM SWAT TEAMS WHY ARE YOU ATTACKING LIKE DUMBASSES WHERE IS YOUR FUCKING STRATEGY” but then if they used civilians, and then having them die like that, it would be unnerving. Hey, I loved the rematch. Apparently, it is a cliche to have the rematch be less epic than round one, but who cares – Batman was able to beat Bane. And he beat Bane in the most Batmanly way possible – he fucking used his brains this time.
RJ: … And then Catwoman shows up and shoots him. TAKE THAT, OPPRESSIVE MEN!
Ade: … I loved that scene, too. Okay. Wait. We skipped the big twist!
RJ: OH! OH! OH! I LOVED THAT PART! I kind of accidentally spoiled the twist to Ren coz it took me 2 seconds to figure out that Miranda was Talia, so I was yelling “THE MAKING OF DAMIAN WAYNE” when they made love.
Ade: I knew Cotillard was Talia the moment they announced her casting. The Bane red herring threw me off, thanks to a really deceptive scene with Liam Neeson, but I am glad they did that. It made sure that us fans who knew about Ra’s Al Ghul’s family were kept in the dark.
RJ: Like Bane’s death, I didn’t really enjoy her death scene. I would understand why Nolan did that, but I was expecting more OOMPH for these iconic characters.
Ade: It was a cheesy, cliche-ridden death scene, but hey, it was “OMG GAIS 5 MINUTES TO NUCLEAR EXPLOSION DIE ALREADY TALIA SO WE CAN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT SCENE”
RJ: I really really really wanted her to escape, then imply that she’s carrying Bruce’s kid. But that’s just the Morrison fanboy in me talking.
Ade: But that’ll open up a possibility of a sequel, and with Nolan done with Batman, they’d get Schumacher all over again…
RJ: Oh god, don’t remind me of Bat-nipples.
There’s more to come. Wait for the second part of our epic The Dark Knight Rises review on Comicgasm! We actually get to talk about things we don’t like.