Four Things I Disliked About “The Dark Knight Rises”

words by Nick James
Follow me @LLCoolJamesFMYL
| Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

This article contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.

In Nolan We Trust.

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In Nolan I trusted.

And by heaven, that trust was rewarded. The Dark Knight Rises marks the end to the superhero movie trilogy that we all needed and deserved at this point. I may never be able to erase the pain caused by seeing Emo Peter Parker sashaying down the street in Spider-Man 3.  I may never be able to decipher the ridiculous plot that was X-Men: The Last Stand. But damn it, Nolan promised a storm coming, and storm it did.

And now I feel…empty. I guess the sad part about the satisfying conclusion to a trilogy is that you are left wanting more — a lot more. This is not to say that I did not find any fault in Nolan’s magnum opus. So with that being said, behold: the most nit-picky flaws I could find in Nolan’s trifecta.

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

4. Anne Hathaway’s Lack of Screen Time

Damn you Christopher Nolan and your highly doubted ability to cast your movies to perfection. Back before The Dark Knight debuted, I was one of those fans mildly concerned about the guy from Brokeback Mountain playing one of the most iconic villains in comic book history.  Naturally, Christopher Nolan made me and all the Heath Ledger skeptics realize that it was all part of the plan once he stole the show as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Fast-forward to the announcement that Anne Hathaway would be playing Selina Kyle in “Rises” and, once again, the internet exploded with nerd outrage about how unfitting she would be for the role. Some fans went as far as to say that Hathaway would be the downfall of the film before even a snippet of footage had leaked detailing any aspect of how she would portray everyone’s favorite cat burglar.

But not I — you fooled me once, Christopher Nolan, and I would not be fooled again. As I expected, Hathaway stole the show in almost all of her scenes. It just sucks that this interesting interpretation of the character left me longing for more screen time than she was given.

Bane in "Batman and Robin"

3. Bane Is Downgraded to Sidekick…Again

For those who don’t know, Bane is the super-villain famous for sidelining the Dark Knight with a broken back for seemingly an eternity in comic book lore. Let me reiterate that: Bane is the only villain responsible for taking Batman out of the game for an extended period of time.

With that being said, I find it repeatedly disappointing that every big-screen realization of this character relegates him to being a flunky for some other not-as-interesting main villain; in this case, Talia Al Ghul. As soon as it is established that Bane is not the main villain in Rises, he is easily dispensed of by a cannon blast from Selina Kyle. This is the man who just dismantled Batman with his bare hands about an hour earlier in the film. A blast from Catwoman on the Batpod…that’s it?

I was critical of Joel Schumacher’s rendition of Bane back in 1997 in that laughable Batman and Robin movie, which portrayed him as the mindless bodyguard to Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy. Anyone who reads comics knows that Bane is hyper-intelligent. Christopher Nolan does a half-service to the character by making him appear to be a man with a plan…until you find out that he just following orders — again. Sigh.


2. Bane’s Voice Is Still Pretty Stupid

After several variations in accent, pitch, and inflection…it saddens me to say that Bane’s voice just wasn’t as good as expected. If you cycle through the sequential trailers for Rises you will probably notice that Bane’s voice evolved from sinister Vader-esque grumblings to sounding like a mad German scientist with an attitude. When Bane first speaks up in this film, his voice seems so out-of-place in comparison to the normal humans that he interacts with that it becomes unintentionally hilarious. All in all, I’m happy with what Christopher Nolan and Tom Hardy tried to do with the character, but the voice still seemed to need some refining.

Bruce Wayne can't walk

1. The Story Doesn’t Make Sense Chronologically

Where do we begin? So Batman Begins chronicles year one of Bruce Wayne’s transformation from angry rich kid orphan to angrier rich adult superhero. The movie ends with a setup for the impending doom that the Joker is going to unleash upon Gotham in the follow-up movie, The Dark Knight. So if my calculations are correct, Batman Begins is Bruce Wayne’s first foray into wearing the cowl, and The Dark Knight marks his second-year outing as the Batman.

Fast-forward eight years to when The Dark Knight Rises is staged and we have a hobbled, cane-wielding, physically deteriorating Bruce Wayne. So let me get this straight: you’re telling me that Batman squared off against Ra’s Al Ghul and then the Joker (well, really the Joker’s thugs), and now he’s on his last legs? He was only Batman for a year or two and then he hung it up?

When Batman faces off with Bane in the comics, the focal point of his defeat is that Batman has been beat down over the years after various altercations with all manner of Gotham’s finest super-villains. He is essentially easy pickings for Bane in a match that almost takes his life. Rises doesn’t really provide a good enough justification for why Bruce Wayne is in such bad shape after an eight-year vacation.


So there you have it, folks. Those are the biggest flaws I could find in the greatness that is The Dark Knight Rises. I know that these issues will probably appear to be trivial, but hey — it’s better than reading another piece extolling Christopher Nolan as a god or something.

Was I too lenient? Too critical? Give me your thoughts.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. -Nick James

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