A week has passed since the release of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, and as the initial reactions have begun to subsided what we are left with are opinions a bit more polarizing than I would have expected. Yes, there is still a very strong fan base of people who loved the film, but there is also an ever growing number of people taking issue with even the most miniscule issues the film possess.
Now I’d like to acknowledge that I personally can understand a lot of the negative criticism thrown towards the film. I have a few issues with it myself, which I addressed in my review. But that is not why I’m writing this post. This is in response to those that have begun a level of nit-pickery that I’ve rarely seen. Maybe it is because the film didn’t meet people’s expectations but the level of hate being directed towards the film’s script issues is a bit much. Furthermore, what has really bothered me is how people are still praising ‘The Dark Knight’ as if it is a masterpiece, yet criticizing this film for issues that can be applied to the very film they think was so flawless.
So yes, this is going to be one of those posts. You might have seen a few already, but I personally just wanted to clear some things up. It happens a lot when you write reviews. A week goes by, you read other peoples opinions and all the sudden you feel the urge to say all these new things. Typically it would just result in me writing up a longer review, but considering everyone else has been compelled to write up one of these “best/worst” lists about the film I figured I’d give it a shot as well. So what follows is my personal take on a few of the criticisms of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ that I’ve read. Warning, many spoilers ahead…
HOW BLAKE KNEW* BRUCE WAS BATMAN:
So to start I’d like to address the whole situation surrounding Blake and Wayne, and how he figured out who Batman really was. Now as you can see I put an asterisk next to ‘knew’ above, simply because he didn’t actually know for a fact the true identity of Batman, yet some people seem to think he did.
All Blake said was that given their similar backgrounds and personal/intuitive feelings experienced when he first met Bruce made him believe he was Batman. Tell me, is assuming someone might be Batman a crime? I mean, Wayne never said he was correct. All Blake could do is assume he was right. His reason for expressing his assumptions to Bruce was to show he believe and hoped that if he was right, that maybe he could talk Batman into returning. He could have been dead wrong for all he knew, but he just had to get it out there. I fail to see anything wrong with that.
Plus, people spend so much time wondering how no one has figured out who Batman is and finally someone mentions he think, not knows, but thinks he has figured it out and all the sudden the reaction is “HOW THE HELL IS THAT POSSIBLE!!”. A reaction that is completely unwarranted in my opinion.
HOW BRUCE’S BACK HEALED SO QUICKLY:
This is another thing I’ve heard people complain about and I admit it is a reasonable thing to take issue with. Yet, like with most things in this film, or any film with a few holes in its plot, there are enough ‘plausible’ assumptions that could be made to explain how or why it happened. In this case my defense would be we never fully know Wayne’s condition. One fellow inmate in Bane’s prison says it’s a dislocated vertebrate, but we have no idea the full severity of the injury; people just assume it is seriously broken because of the ties that sub-plot has to the comic story line. However, in the context of the film all we know is that something is dislocated, he needs to suspend his body to stretch his spine, create space and have the bone pushed back into place.
Was a few months too quick of a healing time? Possibly, but it is a FILM. Even if people want to believe it is Nolan’s more “realist” universe these same people are fine believing Harvey Dent could somehow manage to be perfectly burnt down one side of his face, be in a hospital with a few small bandages even though his muscle and bone is showing, then be up and around killing people and getting into car crashes and be totally coherent. That is perfectly fine to them but Bruce recovering rather quickly in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is something they can’t accept. I just don’t understand why people are so willing to accept the “realities” of one film, but so quickly discard them in another.
HOW BRUCE GOT BACK INTO GOTHAM/THAT WHOLE FLAMING BATMAN SYMBOL:
I’ll start this section by asking, did people forget this is Bruce freaking Wayne we are talking about? A guy who has spent years dedicating his life to this sort of stuff. In ‘Batman Begins’ we see that he spent many years before becoming Batman traveling the world, taking on a life of crime, with no money or identification, but was still resourceful enough to makes his way around the world. So, after escaping Bane’s prison it wouldn’t be the first time he was on his own with little to nothing to get home. But as he did in the first film, he found a way. Not hard to believe, especially considering he had a few weeks to do it, and could have various connections outside of Gotham because of his financial status to turn to.
This is again a plot hole that could easily be answered if one bothered to think outside the box a bit by taking information from the previous films and prior knowledge of the character. It is also another example of people making complaints about something that happened in this film, yet overlook a similar plot hole in ‘The Dark Knight’. I would love for someone to fully explain how Wayne got into China, scaled a building with his armor, captured a man, hired a plane to extract him (Did he contract it as Batman?), then got back into Gotham with an illegal prisoner as if customs or the like were not issues. People have no problem with that scenario, yet here it is IMPLAUSIBLE to them that he could make it back into Gotham. Both are plot holes, but both can be answered by the viewer if they bother to put a bit of their own thought into it; but they didn’t. Instead they accepted these plot holes in ‘The Dark Knight’ and refuse to do the same here. Again, picking and choosing when to suspend their disbelief.
As for the flaming Bat symbol, well for me the answer is easy. Not only did he have time before the bomb was set to explode, but it was very important that he try to ‘rally’ Gotham, to give them a bit of hope, which we literally see the effects of. Yes it might have seemed redundant and a waste of time when all things are considered, but it had a purpose. I guess this is more of a personal issue for some, but I quite liked it.
Speaking of the prison, many have issue with not only Bane bringing Bruce there but also the design and location of such a place. They don’t understand the purpose of locking Wayne away, or how the prison makes any sense, with it being open to the world.
My response to these issues are rather simple. First off Bane clearly stated he wanted to destroy Batman not just physically but emotionally as well. Locking him away and forcing him to watch the city he loves and tried to protect slowly destroyed is a perfect way to do such a thing. Plus, he had five months before the bomb exploded, so taking a few days to bring Wayne to the prison, especially considering how much Bane wanted to hurt him, isn’t that unrealistic. The real issue is how Bane was able to leave Gotham in the first place. Again I assume him and the rest of the league had escape routes and such plotted out well ahead of their take over, and I’m willing to over look this.
As for the prison and its location, this is another thing I had no issue with. It is clearly explained that the prison has been around for years and that only one person has escaped. Given that track record I fail to see why anyone would worry about other prisoners, even Wayne with an injured back, ever making it out. Plus I liked the design, the whole way in which it inspired false hope and the role it played in Wayne’s character development.
People also took issue with it being near a city, and question if they knew it existed. Obviously they did, but why did they not do anything about it? Well, are we really to believe that those people would not know that Bane, a ruthless and deadly mercenary controlled it? And in knowing this, does anyone really think they would dare venture over and help anyone inside? I surely wouldn’t, so I fail to see how it’s location was an issue.
BRUCE AND MIRANDA HOOKING UP WITH NO RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT:
So another issue I keep reading is that people don’t understand why these two had sex, and say their relationship wasn’t developed enough. My response: What relationship? I honestly don’t really understand the criticism of him sleeping with her. There is this assumption that sex=love; that they could have only had sex if the two were a couple. In that sense then yes their development was weak…but the thing is, the idea that they are a couple or in love is totally false. Just look at the circumstances surrounding that moment. The guy had been “alone” for years, was in a very emotional state, Miranda had just done a lot to help him, and if you are alone, cold and wet in a dark mansion with Marion Cotillard your aren’t going to throw her out, and what else are they going to do, play chess? The guy is still constantly fighting to keep the image of a playboy billionaire and she had an obvious attraction to him, and wanted to get close and gain his trust. And again, people have sex, especially in specific emotional states. It happens all the time in life and film, and doesn’t mean there is a love or relationship involved. And it wasn’t like they held each other all night like two love birds. Wayne was up and out of there the moment she feel asleep. So, I think people have to stop making the connection between the two greater than it actually was.
As for her ‘betrayal’ in the end. Even if they don’t have that connection some think they did, the emotional impact on Wayne is still the same. People can trust and care for one another without having some deep, well thought out relationship; and when that trust is broken the pain can still hurt.
The last criticism I want to comment on is the complaints about Bane’s plan, and why he didn’t just blow up Gotham when he had the chance. For me the answer is simple. The long occupation was meant to be an example to the rest of the world. Honestly, I think people forget that their is a world outside of Gotham.
Bane didn’t just want to destroy the city, though that was the ultimate end game considering that the bomb was set to blow anyway and that the trigger was more symbolic; but before he just leveled the city he wanted the world to watch as Gotham’s “citizens” rose up to over throw the “corrupt” government and it’s wealthy inhabitants. He wanted the world to see Gotham’s lowest citizens take control and for the city to consume itself; hoping it would inspire other cities to do the same. How do we know there was more to this plan than meets the eye? One just has to look back earlier in the trilogy.
Ra’s mentioned in ‘Batman Begins’ that they have tried devising new ways to cripple empires over the years. Economics was their first attempt to bring down Gotham but that failed, mainly due in part to Bruce’s father. Then in the first film they tried releasing gas to make the whole city go mad and destroy itself. Here a similar tactic is taken. The league never had plans for the quick destruction of Gotham, and Bane and Talia’s plan very much mirror’s what Ra’s tried to set in motion. Along with that, one must remember that not only did the two have eight years to devise this plan, but that the league was already well in place in Gotham even in the other films. Again Ra’s mentioned in ‘Batman Begins’ how they had infiltrated all levels of the cities infrastructure. Those individuals could have still been in place during the events of ‘The Dark Knight’ and so would explain how things like the league knowing Wayne’s identity, and more importantly the whereabouts of his weapons, was possible. Not only does this make sense and clear up a lot of the issues with Bane’s plot, but it also helps tie the whole trilogy together, where the events of the first film are felt in its conclusion.
Still, some have called the whole plan ‘silly’ but I must remind these people that it is not out of the ordinary in the world Nolan created, considering he directed ‘Batman Begins’ as well, the very plot of which involved releasing toxic gas to make the city go mad and destroy itself, which can be described as just as silly. People keep using the terms “grounded” or “realistic” when talking about Nolan’s trilogy, but in reality much of what he has done, maybe less so in ‘The Dark Knight’, but in the trilogy as a whole it still very much in the realm of typical “comic book” plots. It is just the seriousness for which he approaches them and the realistic characters he places around them, that gives it a more realist feel, at least compared to other comic book adaptations.
(Hey haters, how could you hate the film after this scene?)
So there you have it. Most people who love the film will probably agree or at least understand the points I tried to make. Those that don’t will still take issue with many of these plot holes, which is totally fine. I just wish that they would have enough integrity to apply the circumstances surrounding the issues they had here to others films as well. I mean, it is astonishing that popular film bloggers and reviewers can sit back and say ‘The Dark Knight’ was “almost flawless” but have problems with events in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, problems that are clearly also present in the previous film. As I mentioned in the beginning, maybe it can all be explained by anger and disappointment stemming from the film not meeting someones personal expectations, but even then that is not an excuse for the sort of ‘pick and choosing’ and ‘nit-picking’ in the negative criticisms present since the films release. I think critics have a “duty” to be fair in their assessments of all films, and even though personal preferences and emotional reactions can get in the way, they must at least make sure they don’t go out of their way to target issues in one film that they completely ignored in others. Clearly some bloggers could care less, but it is something that personally bothers me…at least enough for me to write up this post!