Batman, you superhero of the superheroes. Don’t roll your eyes! Yadda yadda Superman yadda yadda Spiderman blabla Iron Man yap yap Avenger what? Let us face an eternal truth – cause of course it is not just my mere opinion – the best superhero movie that has ever graced this planet with its presence is none other than *drumroll* Batman Returns!
Yeaha, that’s right, bitches, Batman Fucking Returns directed by Tim Fucking Burton and featuring Michell Pfeiffer as Cat F… ermh, let us not go there. I will gush about how amazingly awesomely gorgeously fantastic Batman Returns is and why at some other place some other time, but it needs to be stated here to make clear what I compare every other Batman moment ever to. The Dark Knight compared pretty well. The Dark Knight Rises oh so doesn’t and Imma gonna give you a rant as to why that be.
What I thought would be my major problem with this movie turned out to be one of its nicer features – Catwoman. I am such a hardcore sucker when it comes to Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. From her backstory, to her costume, to her behavior and the way she “disappears”. Everything about that character I think is written and performed incredibly well. So naturally I was very afraid of Anne Hathaway, even though I generally like her actually, as Catwoman, given past disasters with that character (Halle Berry. I can’t. Even.). BUT to my very surprise I felt her character was not only well performed but also very well written. And let us be very clear about one thing: Hers was the only character well written in this mess of a movie. Yessir, I just called this a mess of a movie.
Gosh, I feel like a broken record, but why oh why keep studios releasing movies with characters that lack any sort of plausible motivation?
I could go on and on about how the villains this time around are just plain boring. Bane and Talia al Ghul? Really? That’s the epic conclusion of this trilogy? Blergh. But my, if they at least had some sort of understandable motif to do what they do. They fucking don’t. So they were all kinda love-birdy, except not, cause protector and girl sorta relationship and then they went to super-evil organization of her father, cause of course, and then father is kind of a dick to Bane and they decide: fuck this shit, we’re out and we hate you for like ever and then? Batman kills daddy whom we hate for like ever and first thing you know Talia and Bane turn around and she feels it’s her duty as a daughter to fulfill his evil plans of massive destruction of Gotham. Even if we ignored all that supposed backstory shit – why would she even be interested in destroying Gotham? What’s in it for her? What’s in it for Bane? Fucking nothing is what it is. The Joker at least was crazy and wanted anarchy and that is why he started shit, but these two? They get nothing out of this except a whole lot of trouble for a whole lot of destruction of a city that they probably don’t even care about. What sort of connection would they have with Gotham? No fucking clue.
And let’s stick with The Joker for a minute here: He wanted to unleash anarchy and handed the people and prisoners of Gotham a tool to destroy each other. What did they do? They rose above it and proved to be better human beings than he ever imagined them to be. That is what made The Dark Knight so outstanding in the end – that the tale being told was not just about all the crazy and the evil and the struggle, but also a moral tale about what it means to be humane and respect the order of society and its functioning because ultimately it boils down to respect for your fellow human beings. And that is some seriously wicked shit for something fluffy as a superhero move – oh and again, don’t roll your eyes to me, cause superhero movies tend to be about nothing really, except for poor hero suffering or his love interest in dangerous situations, which: yawn.
In The Dark Knight Rises we get none of that grandeur. Bane and his minions swarm the city and all of a sudden people go all crazy for no apparent reason whatsoever. Why do they all look like they spent the last three months hungry in the desert? Why do they listen to the judgment of lunatics released from prison? Why does it feel like this movie wants to act as if these people were the Occupy movement and it needs major capital a.k.a. billionaire Bruce Wayne to save our precious society?
Well, not only is there a classist subtext that really unnerves me, but there is also no visible gain for the masses of people who suddenly turn berserk on Gotham. Just like Talia and Bane, suddenly most of Gotham’s population acts on behalf of motivations that we can only guess at and that seem contrived at best.
The core of the problem of the whole Batman saga is IMO that his motivation always falls back on the very-hated-by-me “because my parents” trope. Same with Talia. And in Nolan’s trilogy it seems to be taken a step further. All heroes must fit the parent mold. We don’t question them and they should be dead, because then we can glorify them without any shame. That was the quibble with the predecessor The Dark Knight – this whole “Harvey Dent must be remembered as a hero” thing seemed really weird and totally illogical. And I thought “the heck, sure they’ll resolve it in the next instalment”. Except for they don’t. Only lame ass attempts to connect this plot with the one in the last movie and it falls all flat. That is why found the Catwoman character surprisingly refreshing. She seems to be the only one not motivated by avenging her parents, plus her actions contained a kernel of social critique and she – kinda – stands up for that.
I also have to bemoan the absolute randomness of things in this one. What’s with the bomb? Oh, super powerful, could produce energy, yadda yadda. Dude, if that shit is so mega-dangerous, why do you build it in the first place. And hide it beneath the city? As if water would really be a major obstacle hindering determined individuals to get that thing out there and working. And even if you flood the room – isn’t there still the slightest possibility that by some mistake the thing might go off? Then again, I am clearly not a physicist.
Then the prison. Where is that even? Who puts the prisoners in there? Why is there a fucking TV? And really, only Talia and Batman make it out of there, cause those steps they is oh so dangerous. The Fuck What? Not to mention that Batman is outta there and next thing we know pops up on some random street in Gotham, just in time to have a little chat with Catwoman who just defended herself against some muggers. Whud?
And please explain the subtext of Thalia being a political activist for the environment and then turning mega-villainess to me. Sustainability is evil? Protecting the environment means you have daddy issues? Yuck. But fits right in with the classist shit concerning major capital rescuing the world from evil protesters against socio-political conditions. Oh movie, anti-elitist you are clearly not.
I actually liked a few things. GASP!! Yep, even beyond Catwoman.
Another thing I wasn’t even expecting but would have dreaded if I had known: Robin. The Robin character in the whole Batman mythology does ABSOLUTELY ZERO as in NOTHING WHATSOEVER for me. And every time somebody starts saying: “Robin should be in the next…” I just switch off and go like “lalalalala”. Cause I don’t wanna hear it, that’s why. But here: actually pretty nicely done. Whoda thunk it?
I also liked the twist to the prison escape story, even if I thought the prison itself was ridiculous. How we were all like: ah, yeah, right, Bane made it. But then the movie is like: Suckers, haha, sitting there thinking it was Bane but it wasn’t, it was TALIA!! I thought that was really well executed. Oh and yes, the list ends here. Alfred was too emo in this one to make it. Sorriez.
I really expected a grand old BANG! for the conclusion of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. What I got was a “meep” and it sucked hard. Having all those expectations shattered. The problem is that I don’t even know how they could have saved it. Nothing in The Dark Knight Rises reeks of plausible story or interesting plot to me. It’s not that they should have just fixed some minor things. I wanted something entirely different. But oh, who knows, maybe the next director will surprise us with awesome Batman movies again. Pretty please?