Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Batman sucked…

Obviously this is going of be full of spoilers, so don’t read it if you don’t want the new Batman completely ruined.

So let me start by saying that Christopher Nolan makes good movies and that this movie didn’t suck compared to all movies it just sucked compared the other Batman movies and Nolan catalogue.

At the end of Batman, I heard a loud applause mixed with tears and shouts of praise. In fact I was quite surprised to read on rotten tomatoes later on that the movie had a 94% positive feedback rating, something that was unfathomable to me. I must say that that was exactly the way I felt when The Dark Knight finished 3 years ago. Aside from a few relative small cheesy references to the idea of ‘big brother’ and the department of Homeland Security, I was extremely happy with the second Batman. In the following I will attempt to explain my reasoning for disappointment with the Dark Knight Rises.

First, let’s talk about villains. Bane is a perfectly acceptable nemesis of Batman, in Christopher Nolan’s Batman there has been an eradication of the cheesy over-the-top super hero and super villain super powers, something that has made the Batman series stand out as serious contenders as actual good movies, not just movies starring the power of CGI. The Joker, out of all of Batman’s enemies, is the ultimate and for a trilogy probably should have been saved until the end. Seeing that Heath took a few too many pills, we all lucked out by getting the Joker in the second film. The Joker had a back story and true character as a villain, he was basically a psycho, but he had a philosophy on which he elaborated throughout the movie. He thought that humanity was sick with self-interest and continually throughout the movie he showed that humanity fit the mold of being fucked up and completely blind to the public good. The first scene he showed this in was when he killed a gang leader and then made his henchmen fight to the death for a bigger piece of the pie. The second was when he puts Batman on the spot and makes him decide between love and the good of the city. Batman, blinded with emotion, rushed to save the woman, but unexpectedly saves the face of justice for the city. The final time is when he has the two boats, one full of supposedly moral citizens and the other full of hardened prisoners. If you were sitting in the audience, you were most likely thinking “fuck the prisoners, I would press that button” and when asked about it after the movie you probably responded that you wouldn’t have been able to press the button. In doing this, Nolan/Joker continually questioned you as a person in the greater sphere of humanity. In the end the prisoners seemed to be the most moral of all and everyone simply sat back made their peace with their respective makers. You actually felt like humanity took a step forward at the end of the movie.

Now, Bane didn’t have any sort of ideology accept that Gotham deserves to burn because well this other guy said it once upon time in the first movie.  Bane had a small army of followers who were willing to lay down their lives in a heartbeat for what? Gotham’s reckoning apparently. Ok? Why does Gotham deserve its day of Reckoning? Well, if you look around you will know. At no point in the movie was there ever a moment where you questioned Gotham, it was all just assumed which gives the audience no emotional tie. With the Joker, even though he was an absolute lunatic, you could at least sympathize or see where he was coming from. In any other present day action movie this small justification of Bane’s would have probably been enough, but this is Christopher Nolan and he typically doesn’t half ass scripts to this extent. Mr. Nolan could have developed Bane as a character by showing more of his back story, or he could have developed his ideology by showing the inhumanity of the Gotham elite, but sadly he didn’t.

Second point, Catwoman. Hurray for women, you were given a bad ass little hero with absolutely no depth, unless you consider 10 one-liners about high heels as depth—you should demand more. I think much higher of you all; after all I am in the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Adlabad. Catwoman represented yet another way that Nolan could have developed reasoning for ambivalent feelings for Gotham. In the current times you would think that Nolan could have merely watched the news for 2 hours and found 10 reasons (e.g. search Google for: Bankers + golden parachutes) for elites being pieces of shit deserving of their own personal reckoning. I believe it is useless to introduce a character that is taking away character development time if you don’t actually need that character in the movie. I believe that Nolan introduced three or four relatively big characters into this movie. All of these characters stand out as having purpose if you justify their existence in the world. Those characters can only be justified if they have development time. I believe that Nolan could have developed a better storyline if had not sought to include so much. Catwoman saves Batman in the end, but it was completely clichéd and could have easily been one of the other well-thought out character like Robin or Commissioner Gordon.

Third and final point, what is your definition of a hero? Mine involves courage and self-sacrifice of some sort. I have always disliked Superman being called a hero because his character is essentially invincible. Are you still considered courageous if you save the world when you are invincible? No. If you don’t save the world you are simply a lazy dick. Batman satisfies the first part of my definition by being a mortal, but in the third movie offers none of the second qualifier.—no self-sacrifice whatsoever. Yeah, he gets beat up pretty good, but that is about it. In the end they lead you on to think that Batman made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the world, but instead you find out that he just casually slipped away and now lives in paradise. Really??? You don’t have to have a super happy ending Hollywood. When Batman gets stabbed in the kidney at the end (remember gladiator, would it have been nearly as good if he wasn’t dead at the end?), you automatically think his timer has been set, NO WAY he is going to live. In seeing the nuclear warhead directly in front of him and his Batwing with two minutes on the clock, he somehow winches the nuke up, takes off and flies away a minimum of 10 miles (the blast radius was supposed to be 6 miles and the visual explosion from Gotham looked like it happened a small state away) and managed to jump out or eject somewhere along the way unscathed. So where did he jump out? Surely it must have been straight into a private emergency room because the kidney shot probably would have killed him otherwise.  

The Batman comic book world is supposed to be dark and unforgiving (think Game of Thrones), reality is pretty brutal if you mess up there are consequences. The only self-sacrifice given in the Dark Knight Rises was a cop who the audience didn’t give a shit about. Remember in the second movie when Maggie Gyllenhall’s character dies, you were emotional engaged to a good character that got outsmarted by the Joker—consequence=death. Bane didn’t do anything besides imprison an island and kill faceless people. If HBO has taught us anything over the last decade it is that bad people can do good things sometimes and likewise that good people can do bad things. I think this has been their success as a television producer. They make characters who are personable and relatable and have goals that are created from a mix of influences (both good and bad).

I believe that the 94 percenters walked into this movie knowing that they would like it no matter what. They would forgive any mistake, both large and small, so that they could have a trilogy that truly kicked ass. Just like the Matrix lost its flare after the first , Batman dropped the baton on the third and final leg. I believe that this movie is worth the price of finishing the series, but in no way lives up to the hype. A lack of focus on characters is its biggest flaw. It is definitely beautifully shot and has a cast of great actors. Michael Cain’s emotional scenes were probably the most noteworthy of the entire show because his character had emotional depth and showed it. I swear I tried to like it but cannot jump on the bandwagon this time around. Sorry folks. Mr. Nolan, I expect better.

Those are the biggest flaws I saw in the movie, there were a few other small things like fight scenes that didn’t feel like consequence was present (remember how Braveheart made you feel like the people were being stupid/courageous? You don’t get that here). Anyhow, I have a lot of studying to do tonight and can’t possibly write anymore, the point of this vent was personal because I wanted to be able to stop thinking about it.  

Also, I might have just changed the whole point of me having a blog. This is my first movie review ever. So forgive me if you think it sucks (grammatically), but tell me why if you just disagree with the ideas presented.


  1. Hi, I really like your article. I will keep coming here, Thanks

  2. Good Day Aaron!

    Sorry to bother you. My name is Ray Blakney and I am a RPCV from Mexico. I am working on a 3rd goal project with the PC regional offices and the main office in DC to try to create an online archive to keep the language training material made all over the world from getting lost. I have created a sub-section on the website my wife and I run - - with all the information I have been able to get to date (from over the web and sent to me directly by PC staff and PCV's). I currently have close to 100 languages with ebooks, audios and even some videos.

    The next step for this project is that I am trying to get the world out about this resource so that it can not only be used by PCV's or those accepted into the Peace Corps, but also so that when people run across material that is not on the site they can send it to me and I can get it up for everybody to use. I was hoping that you could help getting the word out by putting a link on this on your site at:

    so that people know it is there. There should be something there for almost everybody. It is all 100% free to use and share. Here is the specific page of the Peace Corps Archive:

    Thanks for any help you can provide in making this 3rd goal project a success. And if anybody in your group has some old material they can scan or already have in digital form, and want to add to the archive, please don't hesitate to pass them my email. Thanks and have a great day.

    Ray Blakney

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