You’re not allowed to believe in coincidence son.
I can’t decide where to start. My thoughts are as messed up as the film itself. From weeks before the premier, the very days I had been counting patiently to see Nolan’s last Batman, I was thinking, what if he let us down, what if he take the legacy from The Dark Knight, which is still one of most favourites in its genre, and turn it into yet another Hollywood blockbuster. Why would he do that?
The second chapter raised excpetections for many people with its reasonably good and consistant plot, very good cinematography, and of course its A-class list of cast and crew.
But for me, the most respectable aspect of The Dark Knight was its fully baked characters. Nolan brothers successfully pictured those characters with insightful details. They remembered there is no pure good or evil. They remembered the villain also needs to be explained and undestood. Although arguably Ledger’s powerful performance formed the better part of the realism of his character, the story constantly hints us to get to know him. The story ‘shows’ us who Joker is, it doesn’t just ‘tell’ us. The clever boats inter-bombing scenes although admittedly cliché and rather predicable but still don’t fail to ‘explain’ people of Gotham, and why they deserve their city. And then of course there’s Harvey Dent (and his lucky coin). The two-faced man was another excellent example of a multi-dimentioanl character. A character we understood (appreciated?) his (and his’ lucky coin’s) transition through the film.
But Just like officer Blake told the billionaire philanthropist he has stopped paying attention to details, I thought Nolan himself was got caught in the sane trap trap with the final part of The Dark Knight Trilogy.
I personally always praised Nolan for his exceptional talent in story-telling (and not film-making). But TDKR felt liked he had lost his greatest weapon. He had forgotten about the details. This film is full of characters that are not well explained. they are not fully baked.
All we learn about their personalities is purely based on dialogues. The story-teller fails to ‘show’ us his characters but rather discribes them using their own words.
Yes Bane was indeed a good choice of villain. Yes we do hear his story, why he’s masked and why he left the League of Shadows. But what about his intuitions? What about how he managed to convince his criminal friends to help him destroy an entire city? What about his relationship with Talia like? Something a bit more than a few words in the final revealing scenes. Both Talia and Miranda are also left out. What are her intentions? Does she really believe in destroying Gotham would “restore balance” in the world? Or as she said, she just wants to take revenge for the death of Ras Al Gul?
But these are not the main left out characters. In my opinion, the most important character was completely abandoned in details. People of Gatham, they’re never explained in this city. All we know is apparently under Bane’s regime, the already classified society of gotham has been divided into two another class system. With two main groups. The (former) rich and powerful class, which are sentenced to either death or exile, the poor and the “organised criminals” join force two form the other group. They attack the other group, invade their houses and ultimately kill them. Now the question is if this is the real (and only) face of these people, do they not deserve the League of Shadows’ master plan? Bane keeps speaking of “giving the power back to people”. Was that a decent society those few million citizens ended up with after a few months.
Where’s the inevitable “Resistance”? Surly more than a handful of un-trapped police officers?
Moving on from this characters dilemma. There is another chaos that weakens the entire trilogy the very moment those bridges fall down. There’s a timed bomb with a decrementing timer on it. seriously? this again? When the Russian siencntist diosconnetectd the core from the fusion reactor (which by the way is scientifically VERY wrong) you could predict with good confidence that the film will end with the bomb’s timer getting closer to 00:00:00 and the town will be saved in the last seconds. What I wasn’t expecting though, was that it would actually follow the exact same routine “The hero willing to scarifies his life takes the bomb with him, it’ll go off somewhere faraway. Everyone thinks the hero’s dead, but he’s not”. And here vaporises my story-teller idol.
And then there’s of course this other element. The element almost every hollywood action title “suffers” from heavily.
In a scene, Gordon tells Blake “You’re not allowed to believe in coincidences son”. as if Nolan is trying to pre-justify the number of times he is going to get help from some suddenly-out-of-nowhere (aka chance) events. Bruce shows up right where, and exactly when Gordon, Selina or Blake are seconds away from death. Selina gives back the favour by finding the Batman and shooting Bane. Gordon uses the EMP to disarm the bomb’s radio communication at the very moment Miranda (then Talia) is trying to trigger it.
Indeed we’re not allowed to believe in coincidence.
All in all, The Dark Knigth Rises is still a good film for a super budget hollywood project. Surprisingly, Anne Hathaway delivers a very good performance and of course Hans Zimmer’s magic made the entire experience more enjoyable. For me The Dark Knigth remains on the top of the list and the other two are join-3rd, with a lot, and I mean a lot of points behind and if we were still living in the DVD era, I would have bought the box-set. Surely, the next person who will reboot the franchise will have a difficult challeng topping what Nolan achieved. The only reason (well other than practicing my English writing!) I went out of my way and wrote about something I don’t know much about (that is cinema) was because I liked the previous films. I loved The Dark Knight and I think I (and everyone else) deserved a better plot. To be convinced that a superhero blockbuster can be good, very good in fact, and then watch the joy breaking in pieces with a not-so-good attempt at wrapping it all up is… bad. It’s just that Nolan “didn’t give us everything we deserved”. And I wish I could continue the quote with “Not everything, not yet” but we all know this is over.