DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET.
I MEAN IT!
Literally, I’m going to spoil the movie for you.
I’d turn back if I were you.
SERIOUSLY…MUCH LIKE WINTER, SPOILERS ARE COMING.
Now that we’ve weeded out the insincere, let’s talk about the new Batman.
And the fact that I didn’t like it.
I know, I know, blasphemy. But…I didn’t.
Well, okay. I didn’t NOT like it. I just…feel unfulfilled.
As a summer blockbuster– f yes, it was totally awesome. chock full of explosions and gun fights and hostile city takeovers and a kick ass motorcycle, it was right up my alley.
But this was supposed to be a “Dark Knight” series Batman, not some campy comic book version with Ah-nold dropping ice puns every 30 seconds. (Okay, that never actually happens).
I guess I just wanted there to be more. This had the potential to be a perfect film. I think Christopher Nolan is capable. But instead, we got a same-old, same-old, totally predictable “superhero” film.
Here’s my problem with the movie. And, for the record, it’s not really even an actual “problem”, this is just my best way of explaining why I felt so “meh” at the end of the movie– I just believe in Batman too much.
That’s it, that’s the whole problem.
Here’s this character, who has dedicated his life to justice– to stopping evil, to being a symbol of good and hope in a world turned to shit– and Christopher Nolan was going to kill him?
Bullshit. Not today, not ever. It doesn’ t matter who “takes up the mantle” at the end– I didn’t expect, for a single minute, that Bruce Wayne was going to die.
Did I grab Jake’s arm and wince when Bane broke his back? Oh, hell yeah. We sat there waiting for that iconic moment and then BOOM. (Also, I did appreciate Christopher Nolan’s “everyone knows this is going to happen so we’re not going to dwell on it”.) moving-right-along attitude about it, but in the moments after that happens and they showed him still alive, I knew there was no way that it was going to happen.
I will be honest. I’m BAD at movies. I don’t know if it’s the writer part of me or the cynic in me or what, but, with the gloriously ridiculous exception of “Cabin in the Woods”, I haven’t been genuinely surprised by a movie in as long as I can remember.
And I thought Christopher Nolan could do better. I expected him to surprise me. I WANTED him to rip my heart out. I WANTED him to kill Bruce Wayne and make me weep for my hero going down in flames because he failed the city he loved. I WANTED him to blow Gotham to holy fuck and leave Robin (ugh) and Gordon and Fox to rebuild, pick up the pieces and start over.
But this version of Batman just, honestly, didn’t make any sense.
Let’s think about this. First off, for two movies, Batman has been all about fighting crime and injustice, and then, for the purposes of the third movie, he decides his major focus isn’t necessarily fighting crime, it’s saving Gotham. Sure, the largest concentration of bad-guy happens to be in Gotham, but what about before that?
The movie opens with the city, essentially, free of crime, and instead of, you know, going somewhere else and helping people, he’s still pouting over his dead girlfriend. Which, admittedly, I would probably be upset about too, but YOU’RE THE GODDAMN BATMAN. Lock your shit up and get to doing what you do best.
And, PS, this is THE GODDAMN BATMAN. Why, in this instance, is his response “hole up and pout” instead of , oh, I don’t know “KILL ALL THE BAD GUYS SO THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN TO ANYONE ELSE?”
The first two movies make it abundantly clear that “Batman” is the primary character as opposed to “Bruce Wayne”, and he isn’t happy in his “Bruce” role, he wants– he NEEDS to be Batman,– but then, suddenly, “Oh wait, no, I’m totally cool with being Bruce Wayne now and Batman is for LOSERS”. ANGST! ANGST! ANGST!
I’m not going to go into detail on how flawed this is from a comics perspective because 1. I’m treating these movies as separate entities from the comic books and 2. it would make me a huge nerd. But it still doesn’ t make sense based on its movie predecessors of the first two. Gotham is fucked because of corruption and mishandling. So Harvey Dent starts the clean up of the mob and the 3rd movie opens with a human-rights nightmare of a plot device that explains how the town got cleaned up. But what about the non-mob people? Like when Batman gets told that the League of Shadows has infiltrated EVERY LEVEL of the city’s government, and Batman’s apparently cool with that because ANGST.
So instead of the opportunity to see the perfect journey, we got the typical “JUST KIDDING I’M A BAD GUY” plot twist and the end of the movie tag scene that I saw coming from a mile away. Advice to filmmakers: Shoehorning a completely random monologue into the movie, no matter how well acted, is a total give away.
Seriously, Christopher Nolan? “Batman, I’m disappointed in you because sometimes I go to a restaurant and you’re not sitting at a table and nodding at me”.
Now, for the record, I just spent about 15 minutes writing a paragraph that explained, based on census data and restaurant licenses in Florence how truly improbable the chances are of running into one person at one specific cafe, but let’s pretend Bruce, oh, I dunno, had Alfred followed in order to show up there specifically to thank him like Alfred described in his convenient mid-movie monologue.
But then I realized, it doesn’t really matter, because the bigger picture here isn’t about the requisite happy movie ending, it’s about the shitstorm that Bruce left behind.
WHAT A DICK MOVE.
You can’t decide that your major focus is to save Gotham and then completely and entirely dick them. You either care enough to stay or you leave. And he chose to leave.
So Bruce makes it out of the explosion okay, leaving Gotham with a highly irradiated water source and god knows what kind of fallout/windfall, still cut off from civilization, Fox and Gordon still think he’s dead, Wayne Enterprises in the absolute shitter both monetarily and from a leadership perspective, and oh, least but not least, and you leave punk-ass Robin behind with no training and the keys to the Batwing?
If the level of bad guys in Gotham have gotten such that people like the Joker and Bane are the standard “bad guy”, you’re putting this hot head rookie cop into the mix and what, hoping for the best? Alfred burned all the training manuals in 2, so good luck even knowing how to work anything, asshat.
Bruce Wayne spent his young life getting the determination to fight and spent 7 years traveling around and training to become the Batman and had billions of dollars in resources and an entire corporation at his fingertips.
So Robin is now supposed to be Batman with no training and on a cop’s salary? Plus, there are going to be a bunch of asshole kids running around Wayne manor now– you know what asshole kids do? FIND SECRET CAVES.
And then there’s the power vacuum. Sure, they took Gotham back from the bad guys, but who’s going to be the next leader? If the League of Shadows has infiltrated ever level of government, what’s to say that one of them didn’t just lay low during the whole shebang, biding his time and waiting to take power? Or, you know those corrupt cops that Harvey Dent never reeaaalllly found? Nobody was doing corruption screenings in the tunnels.
But, you know, it’s cool. Robin will totally take care of it.