I missed it in the theaters, so I was glad to get the chance to watch Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight Rises” while I was off last week.
But I must say, if it weren’t for Anne Hathaway, the movie would have been a write-off for me. She was the best thing about it and didn’t appear nearly enough.
But there were a lot of nagging little things that kept interrupting any enjoyment I might have found in the movie, so I’m sad to give this trilogy send-off a negative review.
“DKR” takes place eight years after the previous film. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a disabled recluse, and his company is starting to show some cracks in its rich veneer.
Selina Kyle (Hathaway) makes the mistake of stealing something at a function held on the Bruce-less Wayne estate. The theft gets him off his duff and into the world again, just as Bane (Tom Hardy), much more than a lucha libre wrestler knock-off in this version, has arrived in Gotham with a plan to bring the city to its knees.
Meanwhile, rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, also better than the material) makes good with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) after the latter’s run-in with Bane, and the stage is set. Does the city need Batman? Alfred (Michael Caine) doesn’t think so, but Bruce begs to differ. Oh, and there’s a new love interest, Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard).
Sounds like a great story, but it drags on and on in some places. Meanwhile, Bane speaks through a mask like he’s doing a bad Sean Connery impression. And the vocal dubbing isn’t always in sync with his actions, reminding me of that awful “Fantastic Four” movie from the ’90s and Dr. Doom’s overdone gesturing.
And I can’t figure out how Catwoman (though she’s never actually called that) fits in with Bane. At one point, she somehow became part of his team, but it’s never explained since she was fighting his lackeys originally. And with today’s technology, did they really need to do the elaborate heist at the stock exchange? And how could all the sophisticated defense technology in the armory not catch …? And how could they not have an override function?
Of course, there’s lots of angsty pontificating, and Bale’s growly Batman voice sounds sillier and sillier as the movie progresses.
Which is all too bad, because with some judicious editing and some script re-writes, this could have been an awesome film. There are some nice appearances by actors from the last two films (oh, wouldn’t the late Heath Ledger’s Joker have made this interesting?), and there are some real sparks between Bale and Hathaway. Gordon-Levitt’s character also has some potential.
Some of the fight scenes were fantastic, and I loved all Batman’s new toys, courtesy of Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman).
It was also nice to see a nod to the comic continuity with the inclusion of Kyle’s troubled roommate, Holly Robinson (Juno Temple). But she’s barely there and a wasted character.
So if you’re a die-hard Batman fan, you won’t want to miss this. The completist in me is still glad I took the time to watch it. But if you want some good Batman, look for the animated “Dark Knight Returns.” Part 2 is due Jan. 29.