Originally Posted by Clerk
I just rewatched this for the first time since theaters, and it pains me to say it, but I really disliked this movie. For the record, Im not a "why wasn't it TDK2" band wagoner- I love Batman; hell, I spent most of my teens posting in the Begins forum on SHH when it was supposed to be called "Intimidation Game." Now, if I watch DKR as "Chris Nolan's Die Hard with a Batman Cameo," it's a pretty decent summer blockbuster. As someone who grew up when Batman movies weren't cool, I respect Nolan for rescuing the character from the depths of character hell, because BB and TDK taught me that he "got" Batman.... well, at least I thought he did until TDKR.
Watching Begins and The Dark Knight build up to the tragedy of the character (Rachel telling Bruce that Batman is his true self- Gotham will always need Batman)- the outcome of Rises just didnt click with me. Im probably beating a dead horse, but I felt as if Nolan had 2 separate for ideas for 2 movies, and ended up with the worst combination.
1- Batman has been fighting crime and is beat to hell for 8 years- so by the time Blake comes along, Bruce has earned the happy ending.
2- Bruce has been holed up for 8 years, but Bane comes along, and shows Bruce that he is needed in Gotham forever. (Yeah, Dark Knight Returns had Batman quitting for a decade... but that Batman at least put more than 1.5 years of time in).
Instead it was- Holed up for 8 years and promptly quits. It just didn't work on a narrative level for me. And worst of all, TDKR now bleeds into BB and TDK. When I used to watch BB, I thought Bruce overcame the moping, but now it's as if he didn't really learn anything haha. Same goes for watching him ride off into the night at the end of TDK. I love Batman because of Bruce's dedication and endurance- which Nolan handled masterfully in BB and TDK without going full Keaton-murder. TDKR overdid it with the "woe is me" to the point where I thought Alfred was the most heroic character in the movie. Like I said, if someone is just watching this as a summer blockbuster and/or has a different feeling for what their Batman is (and we all have our personal versions of what Batman is), I can see why its enjoyed- heck, Im jealous. But my personal baggage and love for the character didnt match up with what I personally think rings true. (There were a ton of other things that I didnt enjoy- Bane and Batman not having a glorious final fight after 3 hours of buildup is unforgivable, Talia was laughable, etc- but the characterization is what does me in.) I thought Skyfall handled the "defeated hero" much better in terms of pace and tension. Anyways, my drunken Friday night two cents as to why Im not pro-TDKR.
I actually really respect Nolan quite a bit for doing this. He chose to attempt a story that comics, by their very nature, would never dare to consider. A definitive ending. Even The Dark Knight Returns got a sequel. An ending where Bruce Wayne will never be Batman again.
He could have done it with Batman dying a hero or savior's death, but instead while playing with that convention went the other way. He chose to make a film about Bruce Wayne OUTGROWING Batman. His funk after Rachel dies is a bit immature and a left over staple from his anger and anguish over losing his parents. By having, ever unsubtle as all things are with Nolan, Bruce literally climb out of his anger and hate, he is liberating himself from being Batman. He is throwing away out the trauma and rage that created him in BB. That is why we get to see Batman, for the first time in the whole trilogy, in daylight at the end. That is why he gives up on his absolutist rules to stop the bomb (he pretty much kills Talia and her driver and also is pretty ambivalent about Catwoman using his motorcycle to murder Bane). He is wearing the costume at this point as a symbol to rouse Gotham awake like he talked about in BB. But for him, he no longer is personally controlled by it. That is why he can leave it all behind at the end.
It is a very unique and ambitious take on the character. One that may indeed peeve off some fans because it is not only saying Batman's existence must be finite, but that it is in some ways childish. Gotham may need Batman, but Bruce Wayne needs to let him go for his own sake. It is pretty much the opposite of what 70 years of comic book wisdom (the "war on crime" never ends) will say. Some really dislike that. I respect it for its uniqueness and appreciate it all the more.
I honestly also think it does it much better than Skyfall. Bond's hesitation and shaky gun hand comes and goes too often for plot convenience (can't save child prostitute girl, but can kill all the bad guys immediately after? Can't hit Bardem in the subway but can shoot like a super marksman at Parliament and on the homestead?!). Also, he completely fails at the end as Bardem succeeds in killing M. Enjoyable movie, but it does not handle its hero very well.