Note: Originally published on Comicgasm
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
Ade: Oh hey, I totally forgot about The Dark Knight Returns part. I didn’t like how they dealt with Bruce’s total lack of cartilage in his knees with a magical gadget and never speak of it again. Hey, I know it’s the future, but what the fuck was it that Bruce put in his knees?
RJ: I like how he went from needing a cane to destroying brick walls with a single punch. Totally realistic, Nolan. I would have preferred Bruce to be grumpier, or (again, the Morrison fanboy talking) have a Zur-En-Arrh moment at the Pit.
Ade: Oh, Blake’s orphans. They totally reminded me of The Mutants. I know they weren’t deranged killers or something, but hey, you just know Nolan put a bunch of kids in there for that reference.
RJ: I loved how well they combined the No Man’s Land arc with The Dark Knight Returns. Using the Bat-symbol as graffiti, Gordon’s troops having a blue motif, etc. Then sending it off with a blast, literally. Which was a JLU reference, btw.
Ade: I am disappointed they didn’t make Batman ride a horse in the snow, leading the resistance, like in The Dark Knight Returns. That would have been fucking epic. Okay. Now. Let’s get to the character that I absolutely loved. John Blake. Discuss!
JOHN BLAKE, BADASS MOFO
RJ: Unbelievable, an awesome amalgam of the Robins in the Nolanverse. Being an Orphan was emphasized of course; Dick being the idealistic cop that people relied on, Jason struggling with anger, and Tim figuring out who Bruce was. I would like to think that they left Damian’s character out because Damian’s already in Talia’s belly. Shut up, it might happen.
Ade: I love how Nolan just kept throwing all these clues that, yes, this guy is going to be Batman. The fact that Bruce just does not hesitate to talk to Blake about Batman, the scene where he throws away the gun after he kills those two guys in the pier, when Batman tells him that he needed a mask, and finally, his disillusionment with the system after the cops blow up the bridge. Guy had no other way to go but to become Batman.
RJ: Now that Bruce has successfully established that Gotham needs a symbol, Blake really didn’t have a choice but become that symbol, become the legacy. And this is what made TDKR awesome, it successfully completed –
Ade: Beware, the casual fans insisting that Robin’s real name is Robin are coming.
RJ: While I literally cringed at that scene, I believe it was necessary to have his name be so blatant. Using any other name would fly past the casual viewer and they would miss the point that Nolan was trying to make.
Ade: Also, Jonathan Blake really sounds like Timothy Drake, so, yeah, that’s enough for me. And that scene where Blake enters the Batcave, and then suddenly the platform rises and everything fades to black? PERFECTION.
RJ: I was laughing so hard at that part. The Dark Knight RISES, gais! Get it!? Geez, Nolan.
Ade: AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Know what else I laughed at? Jonathan Crane as the judge. Man, I wasn’t expecting him to show up there, and it was awesome.
RJ: You can tell that Nolan had that scene with Ledger in mind, but Cillian Murphy killed it for me. Killed it. Death by Exile is one of the funniest and most memorable scenes in the film for me. People eventually gave be weird stares for laughing so hard in a ‘serious’ film; but Nolan filled it with fangasmic scenes, you can’t blame us for fangasming!
Ade: Second-funniest scene: “So that’s what it feels like.” This was a serious film, but Nolan sure went out of his way to give the fans something to laugh at.
RJ: The Killer Croc reference was also subtly effective, but I enjoyed the Red Hood one far more. It’s those little things that made the film so much more enjoyable for fans, and unlike Green Lantern, Nolan executed it effectively in his serious business film. THAT is how you make nods and references.
Ade: The inclusion of Holly even if she did nothing. Daggett, a character from the animated series, appearing. These little things add up and were executed so perfectly.
RJ: We totally forgot about the series regulars, Ade, you fool!
OK LET’S TALK ABOUT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CAST BECAUSE YOU SAID SO
Ade: Michael Caine’s Alfred. Seriously, whenever he cries it’s like a million babies in Indonesia just died or something. Just absolutely amazing.
RJ: James Gordon’s scenes in the No Man’s Land arc was absolutely fanfuckingtastic. His scenes with Blake, and how the GCPD were essentially crippled without him, how he kept his guilt about Dent and how it affected his life… Hell, Oldman was just perfect.
Ade: We were expecting Gary Oldman to be excellent as Gordon and leave it at that, anyway. Dude was fantastic. I was disappointed they didn’t give Gordon a head of white hair like in the comics, but that’s nitpicking already. It would have been nice though. It’s, what, ten years after Begins?
RJ: Gordon’s character in the trilogy is arguably more developed than Bruce’s, in my opinion. The guy had more shit happen to him than Batman, and he soldiered on and made Gotham a better place, by sanctifying the man that tried to murder his family. And when it ended up in hell anyway, he got up, kicked ass and did his part. James Gordon is a badass.
Ade: When Batman finally told Gordon that he comforted Bruce as a child, fucking tears. I never saw that scene coming. It was amazing.
RJ: Lucius Fox is another integral character. I love his Q moments in the previous films and I loved it here.
Ade: I’m kinda bummed that he was more integral in this film than Alfred, but then Fox has been sidelined for most of the first two movies. We needed to see what he can do.
WHERE DOES HE GET THESE TOYS?
RJ: Can we talk about the gadgets now? Coz I loved how Fox’s armory was raided and used against Gotham. But what impressed me was how it showed while Batman relied on Fox’s gadgets, he isn’t defined by them. That said, Batpod was totally awesome! Hathaway’s ass-scenes aside.
Ade: Batman’s magic “turn the lights off and destroy all electronics” gadget was pretty awesome, too, until Bane kicked his ass.
RJ: The Bat easily outshined all the other Bat-vehicles in the Nolan-verse, I like it better than the Tumbler.
Ade: I love how they managed to make a flying Batmobile (like the one Dick Grayson used when he was Batman) work in the Nolan-verse.
RJ: Fucking yes!
Ade: Speaking of the Bat, did you see that scene leading up to Batman’s sacrifice coming?
RJ: That reminded me of a JLU episode, actually. But more than anything, it reminded me of this:
Ade: I don’t know if it’s poetic or just plain funny that the entirety of Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the darkest take of Batman on film yet, and the result of almost a decade’s hard work, culminates in a homage to Adam West’s Batman. I just wish they threw in “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb” in for good measure.
RJ: I can’t imagine Bale saying that in his Batman voice. GJG yelling “Holy…!” would have been nice though.
AAAAAND WE’RE COMPLAINING AGAIN
Ade: As much as I loved that scene where everyone sees Batman flying off to the bay to get blown to smithereens, that scene also contains my biggest problem with the movie. It kind of undermines the entire movie for me, actually.
So we’re assuming that Batman escaped the Bat by flying low and jumping on the buildings he just blew up. So we see the Bat flying over the bay, and THEN it cuts into a scene of Batman still in the cockpit. Nolan actually admitted that he edited that scene in to mislead the audience. That was supposed to be right before he jumped out. Seriously. That is cheating.
RJ: I just chalked that up as a ‘Goddamn Batman’ moment, like how he made it back to Gotham without any explanation. Oh, and how he fixed his leg after 8 years of using a cane and how he fixed his back by getting PUNCHED. I personally find it hilarious whenever I see these things that breaks the suspension of belief; the “realistic” feel of the Nolan films never really worked for me, so these GODDAMN BATMAN moments sorta made up for that.
Ade: … now I just realized that TDKR fucking cheats a lot. Goddammit, Nolan. Just because you have a legion of adoring fans who are more than willing to suck your cock doesn’t mean you have to cheat them!
As for the spine-fixing punch, I think it’s better than the comic book explanation of how he got his back fixed. Remember his doctor girlfriend who used some new age shit to restore his spine and the effort breaks her sanity and she regresses into the mind of an eight-year-old and is never heard from again?
RJ: Eh, I love me some GODDAMN BATMAN moments, but I really wish Nolan incorporated more detective work in his films. They’re basically CRIME DRAMA with a dude in a bat-themed armor, why not make him investigate crime? Huh, Nolan, huh? I am so glad Blake (under Gordon’s guidance) did actual detective work. How he should have figured out how Bane’s mask is his weak spot? NOPE. Sure, he needed to be beaten and broken, but it really bugged me how THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE couldn’t even put that together.
WHY BLAKE IS NOT NIGHTWING AND BRUCE IS ALIVE
Ade: Blake was more of a detective in TDKR than Batman in the entire trilogy ever was. Hell, Batman didn’t even figure out the identity of Ra’s and Talia in two fucking films. It’s a little issue that I have no problem accepting, though, since this is an alternate take on the GODDAMN BATMAN. What I can’t accept, though, is shit like this:
RJ: Okay. If you’ve been following this blog (yes, the both of you), you’d know by now that I am a HUGE fan of Dick (teehee). Nothing would make me fangasm more than a Nightwing appearance in film (except Batman & Robin, fuck that noise), but PLEASE UNDERSTAND: Blake is NOT Nightwing. Blake is NOT Dick Grayson. He’s three Robins put in a blender, not just Dick. He’s a Robin smoothie.
Ade: … now, that doesn’t sound like a deviant sex act, at all…
RJ: That’s why they made it painfully obvious when they made his name literally Robin. He represents Batman’s legacy, a symbol that can never be stomped out of Gotham, the idea that ANYONE can and should protect the city. ANYONE can be a hero.
Ade: And the trilogy makes a huge deal about Batman being a symbol. Heck, it even hammers in, without subtlety at all, that ANYONE CAN BE BATMAN, as long as they’re not wearing hockey pants. And then Blake becomes Nightwing? Really? Bruce’s time as Batman is over. He’s won. And he also found a worthy successor in case Gotham needs Batman again. The city is indebted to Batman. It won’t make sense that this Nightwing guy suddenly shows up and punches criminals in the face.
Also the last scene had Blake on the platform, rising, fade to black, and then THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. That was pretty much in your face.
RJ: Also, people thinking that Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina in that cafe was just his imagination, because INCEPTION LOL. Yeah, Nolan pretty much spoon fed the info that he FAKED HIS DEATH. You know, like in The Dark Knight Returns? They kept making jokes on the autopilot not working, and Fox learning later that Bruce already had it installed. Bruce is alive and well, knowing that he successfully made his symbol and left his legacy in capable hands. The only part that had me disappointed was the cafe being in Florence instead of France. Coz we don’t get to make LE BAT jokes. :c
Ade: Damn Michael Caine’s sexy accent, mispronouncing Florence. 🙁
SO HOW DID WE FIND TDKR?
RJ: So after all that rambling, how did Comicgasm find The Dark Knight Rises? Was it absolute perfection like The Amazing Spider-Man or a steaming pile of turd like Green Lantern?
Ade: For me, it was The Dark Knight > The Dark Knight Rises > Batman Begins. They could have done away with the #OccupyGotham subplot, because, really, that shit was convoluted, but I got what Nolan was trying to say. I loved it, and I don’t want to compare it with the other two parts of the trilogy, because I feel that this trilogy should be analyzed as a whole. It told a story about Bruce Wayne from start to finish in a way the comics never could, unless DC Comics wants to end their cash cow franchise. Heck, Batman finishing his war on crime happily? Who would have imagined that?
RJ: I will admit that The Dark Knight was the better film overall, but I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises than the first two films combined. It felt like an actual Batman story, with some parts missing, but it was the closest out of the three. There were a lot of ham fisted scenes, confusing characterization, bad cutscenes and I STILL dislike Bale’s batman voice, but I enjoyed this film way more and that’s really what matters to me: the experience.
Ade: This was a very satisfying ending to the Dark Knight Trilogy, albeit a flawed film. But it’s just so good that we’re willing to gloss over TDKR’s bigger mistakes.
RJ: Overall, I disagreed with a LOT of Nolan’s concepts in his Trilogy. Trying too hard to make it too “realistic” but breaking the suspension of belief multiple times, trying too hard to be a crime drama but leave out the detective work, trying too hard to convince the viewers that this is a serious film for people with serious tastes and isn’t like the “kiddie” comic books and really, just trying too hard. It felt like a film about Bruce Wayne instead of Batman, and it it took me awhile to accept that. But even with all of my gripes, Nolan managed to tell a compelling story. A different story that I had a LOT of problems with, but I still ended up not hating it. Despite all of the my gripes, I still loved the trilogy. This is his interpretation of the franchise and he did it damn well. Kudos to that.
Ade: I love how we started this review very happy and THEN ended up on an angry note.
RJ: Dude, we were TOO happy with our ASM review. Our two readers might get suspicious. Plus we’re generally angry people, this is just another Saturday for us.
Ade: I think we were too happy. That’s how our notes became angry. Wait.
RJ: So wait, are we happy or are we angry? Both? Coz that only happens in bed.
Ade: I would like to imagine Christian Bale reading the angry parts of this review in his SWEAR TO ME WHERE IS THE TRIGGER WHERE IS IT GYTJBJGFHGTRYTFEYTFR voice.
RJ: How about him using his Batman voice (that I STILL dislike) to read Fifty Shades of Grey? Huh? HUH? I bet our female readers would love that! Oh wait, you drove them (read: neither of our two readers are female) away with your sexists jokes, you pig!
Ade: Christian Bale: “MY INNER GODDESS IS DOING THE MERENGUE WITH SOME SALSA MOVES IUHYGFGJBHKLFRDYTFJHFGJBHJKYTC”
Comicgasm liked TDKR.
RJ: Wait, that was it? Three god damn words for the conclusion? After two whole blog posts?