Dark Knight Rises Review – Disappointing

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!

Dark Knight Rises Review  by SearchIndia

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.

After losing a particularly vicious fight against Bane, Batman is thrown into a deep hole a.k.a Hell from which escape is considered an impossible flight of fancy.

But escape Batman must, and escape Batman does, to stage a final, furious fight to save Gotham.

The saving grace of Dark Knight was the Joker’s manic unpredictability.

But Bane in Dark Knight Rises has no personality, too dull a villain, lending a fatal predictability to the movie.

Gimmickry, More Gimmickry

Bridges collapse, fireballs light up the sky, batmobile swooshes by, the bat hovers in the air, people hijack a plane mid-air from another plane, nuclear bombs go off yada yada yada.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Batman movie without any of these gee whiz computer generated special effects.

All neatly executed, I must acknowledge.

The audience here wants them, nay demands and craves them. And they approved by happily clapping at the end.

Who cares if the story never rises above the ordinary.

Even the couple of twists toward the end failed to stir me, contrived as they seemed to be and in place merely for the sake of having a twist.

The Actors

Christian Bale still can’t act.


Thank God, the Batmanesque mask masks his poor emotive skills.

Anne Hathaway plays the ‘cat’ burglar with some elan and her character has some ambiguity but, boy, this gal must be the unsexiest chick in all of Hollywood.

The three Batman fixtures, Michael Cain, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, have strong acting chops to their credit but they’re extras, mere gofers in a Batman flick.

Marion Cotillard still has a certain charm but her character seemed so unfleshed, as if an afterthought by Nolan and brother Jonathan Nolan (co-writer).

Not Recommended

In his repeated quest to push the envelope of film-making, Christopher Nolan succeeds at the margins but fails in the main.

True, his best known movies including Memento and Inception take unfamiliar routes to their destination but they’re soulless ego-trips.

The reputation of Nolan’s movies rests on their being different from the mainstream.

But different is not always a better potion for viewers.

To me, they’re a bitter pill.

Perhaps, Nolan’s redemption will come after Dark Knight Rises, the last movie in his Batman trilogy.

Meanwhile, expect the Batman fanboys, and this mob numbers in the hundreds of millions, to come out in droves and keep the box office registers ringing nonstop for Dark Knight Rises.

Related Posts:
Dark Knight โ€“ Heath Ledgerโ€™s Dazzling Swan Song

23 Responses to "Dark Knight Rises Review – Disappointing"

  1. gandhiji   July 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    What movie succeeded in the “I want to be scared as hell” section?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    From a quick trip down memory lane, Friday the 13th (when I watched it long years back).

    In recent years, I’d say the acclaimed brutally violent Korean film I Saw the Devil sent a chill up my spine on occasion.

    You know what he’s going to do the victims and you feel scared for them.

    Ditto with the maniac with his horrific ‘tools’ in the Chaser.

    • gandhiji   July 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Last night’s batman show in Aurora, CO would have been the scariest.

      Exorcist scared the shit out of me. Will try to watch “I Saw The Devil” this weekend.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      1. With Exorcist, the scare-hype was so much that it didn’t feel right not to be scared.

      2. You write: Last night’s batman show in Aurora, CO would have been the scariest.

      The whackos, the monsters, the weirdos and all the other batty types come out after 10PM.

      And soon there’ll be metal detectors at the malls! ๐Ÿ™

      3. The bad guy in I Saw the Devil is the same main character in the better known Korean film oldboy.

  2. Mnx542   July 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Memento a soulless ego-trip??

    I’m surprised now.

    Or was it the old SI who said Memento was a fine movie? I loved memento. Guy Pearce was decent but it was the screenplay that stole the show.

    Insomnia was another delightful movie.

    Inception and Prestige were other movies I liked.

    Dark Knight is probably Nolan’s most memorable movie primarily because of Heath Ledger’s solid performance as the Joker.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Memento was offbeat with its non-linear and color/B&W narrative, for sure.

    But is offbeat necessarily a good thing?

    Here’s SI’s Insomnia review – http://www.searchindia.com/2010/07/13/christopher-nolans-insomnia-review-delightful

    • Mnx542   July 21, 2012 at 5:25 am

      “But is offbeat necessarily a good thing?”

      That depends on how you define offbeat. Some times, even movies with off beat themes can be let down by poor execution.

      But that wasn’t the case in Memento, was it?

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      To me, Memento illustrates a different technique in film-making/story-telling, rather than a grand film in and of itself. I’ve watched it twice…I’ll see it again one of these days to see if it changes my mind on the third viewing.

      As for Inception, when even its actors don’t get it, there must be something wrong with it – http://www.searchindia.com/2010/07/16/hey-even-inceptions-actors-dont-get-it

      Does all this make Christopher Nolan a bad filmmaker? Of course, not. Nolan is always held to a much higher standard than the rest of the clowns.

      • Mnx542   July 21, 2012 at 6:49 am

        “Iโ€™ll see it again one of these days to see if it changes my mind on the third viewing.”

        I’m not sure if I can do the same as Memento is interesting because it builds up suspense and the ending has a neat twist which was totally unexpected. To watch it again knowing fully well how the movie will turn out robs you of the element of surprise, which made the movie so interesting for me.

        As for Inception, it was interesting. But I remember now that despite the offbeat concept, action, dreams etc I felt something was missing.

      • araj   July 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

        Can anyone here explain me the movie ‘Memento’? I didn’t understand a thing…..

        • gandhiji   July 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          I smell sarcasm/trollism here.

  3. Mnx542   July 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    “* 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 itโ€™s all real

    * I want to laugh like Iโ€™m demented

    * I want to be scared as hell

    * I want to be moved

    * Above all, I want to experience something new”

    Outta curiosity, which movie made u experience each of this?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No single movie is likely to have more than a couple of these elements.

    I wrote in the above review:

    at least one of the following emotions:

    You seemed to have missed the “at least one” bit.

    • Mnx542   July 21, 2012 at 5:12 am

      “You seemed to have missed the โ€œat least oneโ€ bit.”

      No, not at all. I was just asking u for a list of movies that made you experience at least one of those emotion, one movie for each emotion.

      Hope it’s clear now.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      There are several movies that have struck a chord with me on at least one of the emotions I mentioned above: Kontroll, On the Waterfront, Casablanca, 13 Tzameti, Anand, I Saw the Devil, King’s Speech, The Secret in their Eyes, Blame It on Fidel, Mildred Pierce, Midnight in Paris, Some Like it Hot, Life is Beautiful etc.

      Acting is strong in King’s Speech, On the Waterfront and Mildred Pierce, humor quotient is high in Some Like It Hot, Life is Beautiful, Casablanca and Anand are moving, the violence is chilling in I Saw the Devil, story/theme is novel in King’s Speech …..

      Most of SI’s favorites are to be found in SearchIndia Foreign and Hollywood films section. If they’re my favorites, they must have touched me at least on one of the elements/emotions.There are also a few films I have watched but not written about but I’ll mention them at another time.

      • Mnx542   July 21, 2012 at 6:44 am

        Of the movies you mentioned in the first para, I’ve seen Kontroll and King’s Speech.

        Yes, King’s Speech is a lovely movie with superb performances from the cast. The actor who played Lionel Logue the therapist was plain awesome. But some people might be put off by the movie’s slow pace. I didn’t have any problem as the acting was so strong that everything seemed real.

        If I’m not wrong, Kontroll takes place in a Budapest subway. Decent movie overall.

  4. rakeshbaba   July 21, 2012 at 2:10 am

    batman (christian bale) and joker’s(heath ledger) another movie,released before “the dark knight”

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Interesting…will try to watch I’m Not There.

  5. Mnx542   July 21, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Btw, SI.

    I’m going on a holiday to Australia tonight and returning after a month.

    Bye till then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Keep the reviews coming.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: I’m going on a holiday to Australia tonight

    Say hello to Vimala (of Raman fame)! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • gandhiji   July 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

      No internet in Australia?

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Not in the bush. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. zarboan   July 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    i’m interested in knowing which movie made you experience the second one i.e ” I want tears to roll down my face”,its been more than a decade since i had any,by wathcin a movie.

    BTW i watched an amazing spanish movie
    The motorcylce dairies
    u’ll experience one of the experiences u mentioned above for sure.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Jet Li’s Ocean Heaven had me in tears recently.

    A most un-Jet Li movie if ever there was one.

    Lovely film.

    • zarboan   August 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Just watched that movie now, gotta tell you it’s one heck of an awesome movie.

      I was just wondering can you make an list of must watch movies in lifetime,like the movie lists we see in IMDB cuz most of’em are crappy lists.

      consider it as a request.
      than q ๐Ÿ™‚

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      v’l c.

  7. KLX2012   July 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    “Bridges collapse, fireballs light up the sky, batmobile swooshes by, the bat hovers in the air, people hijack a plane mid-air from another plane, nuclear bombs go off yada yada yada.

    Of course, it wouldnโ€™t be a Batman movie without any of these gee whiz computer generated special effects”

    All of those computer-generated?


    Please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61ta8lhLX60

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Folks, in my not-so-humble opinion the above link is nothing but an advertisement for the movie.

    Treat it with the skepticism it deserves.

    Yes, some of the gee-wiz effects might not be completely computer generated but no one in their right minds would argue that a Batman movie at the end of the day is not dominated by these fancy computer imagery.

  8. thalabilla   July 22, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Seems you are aware of a maniac killing 14 people and injuring


    the idea that mass gun ownership enables citizens to resist government oppression is madness… this is a perfect example when a psychopath has an access to weapons… Guns should not be sold any more to public,,,,

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Too easy to buy guns and ammunition here (in the U.S.) because of the powerful Gun Lobby. ๐Ÿ™

    I think you can even buy guns/ammunition online!

    Neither Obama nor his challenger Mitt Romney has the balls to take on the gun lobby or even talk about gun control. Both are pansies!

  9. rakeshbaba   July 22, 2012 at 10:05 am


    Heath Ledger on joker

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    What a shame….Heath Ledger died without seeing his ‘awesome’ performance.

    Life certainly is unfair.

  10. Dr.Logu   July 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Certainly the movie looks disappointing.

    Even hard core movie batman buffs couldn’t take it from whatever I heard.

    With reference to the movies that are coming nowadays you need to add ” I wanted my sanity to prevail” after watching the movie…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    But I’m sure Mugamoodi, Thupaki, Maattrraan and Vettai Mannan will be better.

  11. Dr.Logu   July 23, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Mugamoodi, Thupaki, Maattrraan and Vettai Mannan….. lol

    you mean a shortcut to dementia…

  12. Naveen   July 23, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I am yet to watch “The Dark Knight Rises”… maybe after a week when the hype dies down a little.

    Some of the people i know who watched it over the weekend rated it a notch below its predecessor but still quite entertaining and worth a watch or two.

    Nearly all of them cited Joker vs Bane as the difference between the two.They all liked the ending. I avoided finding out about the ending cos i intend to watch it soon.

    • Naveen   July 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

      So, I finally saw TDKR. In my opinion it was pretty decent. It had good action and gave a fine ending to a very good trilogy. A fine movie for its genre.

      Was it the best of three? I would say it was a notch or two below its predecessors. It was disadvantaged with having to be bigger and better than TDK since it was a finale and the comparison of Bane with Joker was inevitable. No questions on who won that comparison. ๐Ÿ™‚

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      It might be good to see it in a real iMax.

      • Naveen   July 30, 2012 at 9:37 am

        Yes, I saw it in a real one. There is more imax footage in this than TDK but it was more breathtaking in TDK.

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