Dark Knight Rises’ director Christopher Nolan may know a thing or two about the technique of making movies but he’s has always been a less than inspiring figure when it comes to the artistic elements, the magical amalgam that delivers a soul-stirring movie.
I don’t know about you schmucks but when the lights go out during my movie trips I want to experience at least one of the following emotions:
* I want to feel a thrill up my spine
* I want tears to roll down my face
* I want to be wildly aroused by a femme fatale
* I want actors who can dupe me that it’s all real
* I want to laugh like I’m demented
* I want to be scared as hell
* I want to be moved
* Above all, I want to experience something new
Dark Knight Rises – None of the Above
Sadly, I experienced none of those emotions in The Dark Knight Rises.
Not for a fleeting second.
Truth be said, I’d have been surprised had I experienced any of those desired emotions in any of the Batman sequels.
Because the framework of any Batman sequel is set in stone with wiggle-room left only for the details.
It’s like chronicle of ennui foretold.
Still, Dark Knight (2008) did stir me, and that’s because of Heath Ledger’s nonpareil performance as the Joker.
And what a powerful ace the Joker turned out to be!
No Joker but a Banal Bane
But there are no redeeming Jokers in Dark Knight Rises.
Au contraire, Bane, the villain this time, is a banal, boring, masked hulk, made worse by speaking incomprehensible gibberish.
Hell, Bane, name notwithstanding, is not even evilly evil with all his pro-people rhetoric and rants.
Dark Knight Rises starts off eight years after the last film ends.
If you’ve seen Dark Knight, you know that Batman takes the fall for the murderous District Attorney Harvey Dent so that Gotham’s shitizens can have a hero to look up to.
Not the hero they deserve but the one they need (as explained in the last minutes of Dark Knight).
With most of the bad and suspected-bad elements locked up under the Dent Act, Gotham City is peaceful under Police Commissioner James Gordon (the familiar Gary Oldman).
Batman and his billionaire alter ego Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) lead secluded, reclusive lives, far from the public eye, with only the faithful butler Alfred (Michael Caine) for company.
But the masked hulk Bane (Tom Hardy) and his thugs force Batman out of extended hibernation with a streak of violent attacks on the stock exchange, the police and the sewer tunnels.
Compounded by populist rhetoric seemingly borrowed from the ‘Occupy Wall Street” crowd to stir up chaos among the citizenry and get them to fall, mob-like, upon the 1%.
If Christopher Nolan’s target is the current unfair American capitalist order, the rhetoric is too effete a strike, even within the contours of a movie.