Dark Knight Razzing

So, first off, I like Batman. I like Batman a lot. He is one of my favorite superheroes of all time. I also like Christopher Nolan –  The Dark Knight, Inception, and The Prestige are some of my favorite movies. You know what I didn’t like, though?

Dark Knight Rising Rises (sorry, didn’t like the movie enough to remember its precise title). Ugh.

Okay, I’m going to rant a bit here, and massive quantities of spoilers below, if you still care. I feel like I’m the last person to see this movie, so I doubt it matters, but still…

What I Liked

Before I get into tearing this mostly ridiculous movie apart, let’s go over the stuff that was honestly good. First on the list is Anne Hathaway as Selena Kyle – very well done, good character arc, good one-liners, etc.. Second is the character arc of Bruce Wayne himself, which was a fitting conclusion to the series as a whole. I also loved Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in this flick, and I would totally go see a Nightwing movie with him in it.

There we go. Positives done with. Let’s go through the problems, one-by-one, starting with:

#1: Batman is Such an Idiot

Batman is supposed to be smart. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective. He’s supposed to have a plan for everything. So why, then, is he caught so flat-footed by Kyle’s betrayal in the sewers? How on earth is this surprising to him? She’s a crook and a con-artist and he’s going to follow her into the base of the guy she’s been working for and he doesn’t have a back-up plan? Seriously? This is where the movie, which was holding on until this point, starts to go downhill.

When Batman fights Bane, apparently his only plan is ‘punch Bane until he falls down.’ Then, when he doesn’t fall down, Batman’s plan is ‘punch Bane more.’ Errr…maybe a change in tactics is in order? Haven’t you got a taser or something? Knock-out gas? Something?

Then, Bane charters the private jet to Central Asia that, you know, he has just lying around to shuttle himself and Bruce Wayne to that prison in the middle of nowhere. For giggles, you know?  To show how he ‘grew up in darkness’ (despite this being the sunniest prison I’ve ever seen, but whatever) and to torture Batman with cable news networks on satellite TV forever. Mwa-hahahahaha! Oh yes, so evil. Sunny prisons with their own private climbing wall, no apparent guards, and dark-knight-prison-escapefree reign of the facility  sound awful.

Now, while I generally like the ‘Bruce Wayne clawing his way out of the pit of despair’ thing, I do have to question the man’s intelligence again.  Indeed, I think that perhaps this entire prison is designed to capture the irrevocably stupid rather than the wicked. Take a look at the picture to the right here. Look at it long and hard.

Am I the only person who sees the rope?

What the hell, guys? They have a pulley system set up to belay. It appears to go to the top of the pit. Hasn’t anyone in this ridiculous prison figured out that they could just hoist a guy to the top with the stupid belaying line and then he can climb out? Even if the pulley doesn’t go all the way up, it goes higher than that jump nobody can make. Has anyone considered, I don’t know, swinging from the rope for a while to cross the gap? I mean, of all people, shouldn’t Batman be able to figure something like this out? Jeez…

#2: Meanwhile, Back in Gotham…

Bane hatches his evil plot. His evil plot involves manipulating the entire Gotham PD to go into the sewers. At this point in the film, my wife  (who works in disaster management, homeland security, and interfaces with numerous police departments) starting laughing uncontrollably at the television. So, a couple things here:

  1. Why the hell would you send every cop you had into the sewers? You need cops to do other things all the time like, for instance, work security at a professional football game happening simultaneously.
  2. Are we to believe that every cop in the Gotham PD was put on duty? Yeah, that makes sense. All the cops on duty at once, sure. See what the police union has to say about that.
  3. Major cities have more than one police department in them. Boston, for instance, has the BPD, the State Police, around three to four university police departments, Transit Police, the Sheriff’s Department/Correctional Officers, and so on. A much bigger city like New York Gotham would probably have even more.

So, we’re to believe that all of the cops went into the sewers and then Bane blew up all of the entrances to the sewers? Sure, whatever guys.

Machine-gun toting thugs or not, this dude would start throwing shit.

Machine-gun toting thugs or not, this dude would start throwing shit.

Then, in order to show Gothamites that they are ‘liberated’, he blows up their football team. Because, you know, the best way to get John Q Public to do what you want is to blow up his favorite professional football team. Good plan, Bane. Yes, obviously you and your dozen mercenaries are going to be able to restrain tens of thousands of angry, half-drunk football nuts, especially since you say you have a nuclear bomb. Obviously. People are reasonable like that. They are going to listen to your ‘you are my hostages now, congratulations! Oh, and by the way, I have no demands!’ and say ‘the man makes a good argument. Plus the bums had a 5-6 record, so screw them.’

I’m not going to stray into the whole ‘what would people really do’ argument too far here, but lets just say this: in the five months that Gotham is under martial law, the only people who seem to actually live in Gotham are the half-dozen cops who weren’t in the sewers, the two dozen or so of Bane’s thugs, and Catwoman and her roommate. Everybody else stays home, I guess, for the entire five months. Patently ridiculous, of course, but let’s not get into it. Still…

#3: I Have Some Logistical Concerns

How many dudes does Bane employ, anyway? I ask because they seem to be freaking everywhere. Again, drawing on my wife’s expertise, she estimates it would take about 10,000 personnel to lock down a city like Boston (population 600,000). If Gotham is Manhattan-sized, it’s much bigger than that. Now, granted it’s an island, so let’s give Bane the benefit of the doubt and say he needed 15,000 men to keep Gotham under wraps. Fifteen thousand seems an unrealistically high number of guys for him to possibly employ. I mean, sure, he’s been collecting disaffected youth in the sewers for a while, but how the hell does he even feed all those guys? What are they paid? Are we seriously expecting all of them to be that loyal to him? Really? The dude in the wolfman-mask is scary, yeah, but wouldn’t most of those juvenile delinquents prefer playing Xbox on a stolen television in some dumpy basement apartment? Like, where’s the upside working for Bane? What does he promise them, exactly, and why do they believe him?

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. He’s got upteen-billion fanatical followers, sure. Whatever. I just can’t quite figure out how the hell this is supposed to work. There’d be so many holes in this ‘blockade’ it would be ridiculous. People would be leaving (and entering) via little boats every night. The forces surrounding the city would be engaged in some serious planning to isolate the bomb, negotiate with the terrorists, and play hardball whenever they can, nuke or no nuke. Fine, though, I get it – Batman has to save the city. I know, know. So let’s to it:

#4: Batman Saves The City with Punching

So, Bruce Wayne, broke, penniless, and a fugitive from prison, manages to effortlessly walk out of whatever central Asian territory he’d been imprisoned and hops a flight home, easily bypassing the blockade (along with, I presume, innumerable others).

He then busts the cops out of the sewers (seriously, guys? Five months?) and they come out, looking unusually healthy for guys who’ve been in the cold and dark for that long. They all then muster up somewhere (I’m guessing the park) and, deciding it’s the 18th century, march in ranks against the assembled ranks of Bane’s thugs (who also seem to have gotten the memo that today was going to be a big fight at city hall). The Thugs, who also seem to think it’s the 18th century, fire their machine guns once, and then charge in for fisticuffs. At this point in the film, my wife and I started singing “When

What's that? The mask he wears all the time is important? No!

What’s that? The mask he wears all the time is important? No!

You’re a Jet, You’re a Jet” from West Side Story. Seemed appropriate.

Then comes the climatic battle between Bane and Batman; they begin fighting, taking turns punching each other. At last, as though struck by a bolt of lightning, Batman has a revelation: Oh! I should punch Bane in the face! Ah-ha!

So then Batman loosens a tube on Bane’s face mask which, apparently, is really important. Bane has trouble breathing, Batman wins. Sort of. Some girl stabs him, but that turns out to not be that important, since stabbing action heroes in the stomach is a mild disadvantage, at best. The stomach, you see, is for eating, and since Batman isn’t eating, he should be fine. Plenty of time to see a doctor. Seriously. Blood loss isn’t really a thing. Neither is sepsis. Chill out everybody, it’s Batman.

Naturally, after all that, Batman picks up the nuke and flies it out to sea, since we all know that nuclear weapons that explode over the ocean aren’t dangerous. I’m sure there will be no ill effects. We’re all saved. Hooray Batman!

In retrospect, I am forced to wonder what other endgame did Bane and company have in mind. I mean, he clearly didn’t cause much of a panic. He basically gave the children of Gotham a five-month snow day, more or less. I mean, if he wanted to nuke the city, couldn’t he have just nuked the city? Isn’t the idea to destroy the city, after all? Oh, right – he wanted Gotham to suffer. But they didn’t suffer, did they? Like, maybe a little, but if they did, we didn’t really see it. Some rich folks got their houses looted. They made some people drown. They blew up the football team. It seems, though, that for the most part everybody just stayed home, watched On Demand, and waited for Batman to show up and do something about it. So, yeah, dumb plan, Bane.

And I’m not even getting started on the terrible editing, the overbearing soundtrack, or the absolute ridiculosity that is Christian Bale’s Batman Voice. Wow, silly. Michael Cane hasn’t done a sillier movie since Jaws 4, honestly. I hope, at least, that the house this one bought is equally as fabulous.

About aahabershaw

Writer, teacher, gaming enthusiast, and storyteller. I write stories, novels, and occasional rants.

Posted on December 10, 2012, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. …yeaaaahh.

    A few details I think you had off, for sake of putting them out there. They don’t change much, but *shrug*. I think it was only 3 months that Gotham was in lockdown (but still), and apparently the prison was somewhere in Central or South America – not that you’d have ANY way of knowing this from the movie, but I guess there were other sources that said this.

    The movie had a lot of holes. A LOT. Taking Batman out of Gotham was a bad move, IMO. Not showing how he got back in was also a bad move. I would much rather have seen him IN Gotham the whole time but forced to watch it suffer, or see more of his interactions with the supporting cast of Blake, Selena, and even Miranda.

    Also, note to self, if I ever have a city-wide disaster as a plot in a book or game, talk to to Deirdre! 🙂

    • For a South American prison, they sure do dress a lot like Central Asians. And what the hell was with that castle? Am I supposed to think that’s somewhere in Bolivia? Hmph.

      As for 5 months, no – it was five months. The bomb was set to blow up by itself in five months, and that’s exactly what it did.

  2. Didn’t feel the need to catch this one in theatres, eh? Even though there were some glaring holes in the plot, I still enjoyed getting out there to see it. Although given what happened in Colorado, it seems like a lot of people choose to forego it.
    Ah, point #1. It pains me to admit it, but Batman was an idiot. In The Dark Knight he was so crafty in hijacking Fox’s cell phone sonar device to get a location on the joker. And here he can’t even figure out how to use the rope… I found that really disappointing too.
    The other thing that doesn’t make sense is why is Batman a total cripple in the beginning of the movie??? (I don’t know how familiar you are with the comics) but in Knightfall it makes sense that Batman is weary and worn down when he finally faces off against Bane because he’s been so busy trying to catch everyone that Bane busted out of Arkham. I know he hasn’t been as active in the past 8 years since the whole Harvey Dent thing… but come on, he’s freaking Batman! His body isn’t going to fall into disrepair THAT badly from not fighting crime every night.
    I initially wanted to comment and say great post. But then I got kind of sidetracked thinking about the movie, lol.
    Sorry for the novel of a comment! Great post 🙂

    • Thanks! I actually bought the disrepair thing, since most of the damage was to things like cartilage and complications from scar-tissue; totally realistic, that. What I didn’t like was that, after introducing it, they decided to ignore that stuff for the rest of the movie. I mean, if you’re going to make it a thing, don’t just toss it away!

  3. Another thing – which speaks to the math nerd in me – is that this movie does what every other movie does when there is a bomb with a timer. They ignore the timer. Only about 60 seconds are on the clock when Batman hooks it up to The Bat (not Batwing, just … The Bat) and then has to :

    – get out of the city
    – get far enough past the city limits to be outside the bomb’s 6-mile explosion radius
    – get far enough past THAT distance to avoid nasty things like fall-out

    Meaning that The Bat had to traverse AT MINIMUM 6 miles (let’s assume, for argument sake that point 1 and 3 don’t exist. The truck crashed right at the edge of the city and that the bomb is a super-clean nuke that has no fall-out) in less than 60 seconds. And we know he’s not going top speed the entire time since he is slowly dragging the bomb for the dramatic “can he even lift it” moment … so The Bat has to have been going 400-500 miles an hour as he passes JGL on the bridge, slightly over 1/2 the speed of sound.

    I know, I know … dramatic timing, cinematic experience … but stuff like that makes my math OCD just start shivering in my brain.

    • Yeah, I skipped that part as it falls under the ‘It’s a Superhero Movie’ excuse. Maybe the Bat has some kind of superthruster or something.

      Of course, then he bails out over the ocean going 500mph while suffering from a stab wound…and lives. Hmmmm…

  4. Agree about Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt. Although different plotholes pinged me. So many to choose from. Check out my review http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/08/17/the-dark-knight-rises/

    • I agree about Thalia. As you say, it was a plot twist for the sake of a plot twist, and it made hardly any difference to the movie, in my opinion. It had already sold itself up the river at that point, and I’d pretty much stopped caring.

  1. Pingback: The Movies We Play in Our Heads | Auston Habershaw

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