I’m in revisions so I’m going to skip a full review, dodge the politics, and just offer these few thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises:
* Despite my love for all things Batman, I was dreading watching this film. The trailers made it look so unrelentingly bleak, and with a running time of almost three hours, it felt like a pretty miserable way to celebrate my friend Morgan’s birthday. Well, turns out I not only have to eat my hat but my cape and cowl as well, because I LOVED IT.
I think this is because, more than any of the Batman films, it felt most true in spirit to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This was the graphic novel that brought me back to superhero comics as a teen. Say what you will about Miller, but I think this book was for me what Watchmen seems to be for everybody else. It was bloody and brutal and sad and so effing human. Also, goofy 80s sunglasses.
* Bane’s accent seemed really over the top, like a punchy Sean Connery imitation. Also, when the bat symbol caught fire and he said, “Imposhible!,” did anyone else want to shout, “Inconceivable!”?
* Catwoman. When Hathaway was cast, I wrote about the Kitty Conundrum here and my response to this Catwoman is basically a good-natured shrug. I love that Hathaway played with caricatured female response and male reaction to that response. I love that Nolan made her insane heels functional if not utilitarian. I guess I just hoped that he would dirty her up a little.
Anarchy descends, yet Catwoman is still rocking a shiny blowout and a perfect red lip? I get that her glamor is basically DC canon (though Miller went to town on her in a totally depressing way), but I don’t get why everyone else gets dragged into the muck and she stays so… glossy.
There’s also nothing scary about her. If she’s meant to occupy a morally gray area and she doesn’t mind using guns or making mayhem, why doesn’t she feel like more of a threat? I suspect there’s a point to be made here about femininity, evil, and the grotesque, but for now, I’ll settle for saying that, one of these days, I’d like to see a genuinely terrifying super villainess on screen.
(Sidenote: Though she’s not strictly super, I’ll be curious to see what happens with Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. But after the whole Grendel’s Mom fiasco, I’m keeping my expectations in check.)