So, this isn’t quite a review – I saw the film this afternoon and wanted to get a few thoughts down before I see it again tomorrow (going with two different groups of friends, it happened by accident). I might do a full review, but I might not. We’ll see. Spoilers, obviously.
This may be a tad disjointed (much like the film, then! I’ll get some ice) but bear with me [translation - this is a series of thought, and hasn't been fashioned into anything coherent because it's late and I'm tired].
First thought – Carcetti/Littlefinger looks odd with curly hair*.
Second thought – this plane-hijack thing is needlessly contrived. Mind you, that could be said for a lot of things in this film.
OK, I’ll stop numbering these now.
Something they forget all about is the fanatical loyalty of that guy who stays in the plane to get blown up in the crash. The rest of the time, Bane seems to rule by fear, which is fine, but I was sort of interested in the whole ‘cult of Bane’ idea.
I liked the idea of Bruce having gone a bit Howard Hughes, but I’m still not entirely sure there was a reason for it.
Owen from Torchwood doesn’t make a particularly intimidating villain. Anne Hathaway is a good Catwoman (who I can only presume was never named as such for silly rights reasons, but it’s Selina Kyle for heaven’s sake!) and Marion Cotillard (or however you spell that) was a good Talia, although (and I know it was meant to be misdirection, but still) they chose a rather masculine child actor to play her.
Tom Hardy was a jolly good Bane, but his voice was at times so distorted that it became an impediment to comprehension, and his inflection reminded me of nothing so much as Emperor Palpatine’s ‘sarcastic’ voice at the end of Return of the Jedi (“I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive”).
For all the OMG-spoilers surrounding this film, Bane is known for one thing, and one thing only, so I fail to see how anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of comics could have been surprised by that. He even pretty much recreated the famous Knightfall pose, which was quite cool
Speaking of, I applaud this bold new step in medical technology. The cure for a broken back is to punch the guy and hang him up. Chiropractors, take note.
Comrade T. Mills pointed out subsequently that the rope looked like it was taut when you reached the leap of faith bit, so it would have been an impediment anyway. (also, I can’t imagine the rope catching you like that is any good for those whose backs have recently been broken.
I found Bane’s new backstory a bit dull. ‘Raised in a prison in an ambiguously foreign country and spending his time with a small girl’ – which can’t be that far from Gotham since they seem to get back and forth quickly enough, and with barely any bother, after all Bruce manages to get back despite having no money, and, one presumes, no passport.
By the way, can all Batman media involving words being spoken decide how we want to pronounce Ra’s Al Ghul? Is it ‘Raas’ or ‘Rashe’ or what?)
Bane’s chief problem is his lack of follow-through. He’s willing to trap the entire police force underground, but not to kill them. He’s willing to steal the fusion reactor core and try and set it up as a nuclear bomb (fusion reactor by the docks? Reminds me of Spider-Man 2), but not to destroy the reactor framework – the only thing which could stop it detonating. (until later but shut up)
That’s the biggest cheer I’ve ever heard for a nuclear bomb going off. I hope the subsequent tidal wave didn’t (ahem) dampen their spirits too much.
Lucius Fox’s ‘I gathered all the super-awesome-cool-supertech and put it in one place for ‘safekeeping’ bit was a bit stupid for someone ostensibly so clever..
My lefty inclinations actually left me somewhat charitably inclined towards some of Bane’s stated (but not actual) goals (though not so much to his methods. The film’s attempted some Occupy-style political bits and pieces (missing the point, obviously) but only ever really gestured toward them, never seeming to want to actually engage with the issues.
Nice to see Cillian Murphy popping in to pick up his paycheck.
Also Liam Neeson.
It was odd how little Batman appeared in this film. Bruce Wayne probably got more time on screen, but the film seemed to want to shift the focus to the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character (Robin, for goodness’ sake. Mind you, “you should use your real name, Nightwing” would probably have been a little bizarre)
Disappointed by the lack of Azrael!
Another thing I found odd was how the whole ‘city-left-alone’ thing clearly called back to No Man’s Land from the comics, but they didn’t really go in that direction with it – or rather, they alluded to it, but hadn’t previously built up the rogues gallery sufficiently for ti to work properly.
Comrade S. Wilson pointed out that the attempted disposal of the nuclear bomb felt like a callback to the Adam West Batman film “Sometimes you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
There were some actually rather funny jokes, in particular the ‘that’s what it feels like’ on the rooftop.
Was it ever explained who Evil Rival Businessman was, or why he wanted to control Wayne Enterprises so badly? (I don’t think it was, no.)
I don’t understand Bruce’s reluctance to do this nuclear fusion thing. “It could be made into a bomb!” is also true of current nuclear reactors, isn’t it? I’m also not sure how the detonation is meant to work, but then I only got a B in A-level Physics, so what do I know?
Some things felt unjustified, or at least as though they came out of nowhere – either of Bruce’s romances, specifically. I’m fairly sure there’s a reason Nolan has foresworn such things heretofore. The Bruce/Selina relationship comes completely out of left field, and seems contrived only to justify that stupid thing that Alfred said at the beginning of the film (I’m imagining Bruce and Selina hanging around Florentine cafes for ages waiting for Alfred to turn up so they could exchange a meaningful look, and then leave).
[EDIT: After a second viewing, I noticed something which I didn't notice the first time around - during the motorbike chase after the raid on the stock exchange (by the way, if the police don't want people escaping, they might want to make the roadblocks vertical, not ramped-shaped.), they go into the tunnel in the middle of the day, and come out in the middle of the night. Unless they're suffering the same time dilation seen elsewhere in the film (the bomb goes from ten minutes to five in seconds, but hovers at about five for twenty minutes) I think this quite a significant oversight.]
[EDIT 2: I've noticed that Lucius Fox's autopilot bit at the end seems to imply that everyone knows Bruce was Batman now and that Fox is associated with him. They have the Batwing, he's discussing 'the autopilot', 'what he could have done', and Bruce Wayne is brought into the conversation.
It was rather good – a little overlong, and certainly problematic, but probably my second-favourite Nolan Batmans film. Three stars, some funny bits.
So yes, some thoughts (or some bullet points, or whatever). I’ll try my very best to do a full and proper review at some point, bringing in some of this stuff where relevant. Good night (or good morning, I suppose.)
*Actually, my very first thought was ‘has the film started?’ because they forgot to display the BBFC certificate at the beginning. Or possibly ‘That Assassin’s Creed 3 trailer pinched the ‘badass pose with the word ‘rise superimposed over you’ motif from the Batmans!’