Alright, I’m gonna say it up front: I didn’t think Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was as great as many critics and fans have made it out to be. Part of my issue was because of Gotham itself. Nolan wanted to do a “more realistic” take on the Batman mythos, which apparently included making Gotham look & feel like just about any other big city in the U.S. I am all for a strong foundation in realism, but for me Gotham also needs to have a dose of the dark, gothic quirkiness seen in the comics, the animated series, and even (just barely) in the “Gotham” TV series.
I’m going to risk retribution from many fans by saying that I also am not a *huge* fan of Heath Ledger’s Joker. (With Jared Leto getting so much attention and applause for his version of the Joker before Suicide Squad even begins filming, I feel a little safer admitting this, now.) I didn’t say I wasn’t a fan of Ledger’s portrayal at all. The emphasis on the anarchist side of the character was interesting on its own merits, and Ledger’s performance was quite good, including the occasional ad lib. He really did make the character his own. But,… it just wasn’t the version of the Joker that I wanted to see/hear and have been waiting for for decades.
The same could be said for Christian Bale’s take on Bruce Wayne / Batman. Bale did a decent job within Nolan’s Bat-universe, I suppose. But, he wasn’t big enough, or confident enough, or formidable enough, or…. Both his hand-to-hand combat and his detective skills were far from impressive, too. (Sorry, dudes.)
As I have done for other movies, I jotted down a few brief notes — mostly re the latter two entries — that I just have to get off my chest. So, here goes…
- Ra’s Al Ghul doesn’t look or act quite right. Plus, he was not Bruce’s only mentor/trainer.
- Joker not prankster-ish enough.
- Villains die too quickly (i.e., they should barely escape or be locked in Arkham or Blackgate).
- Alfred’s accent and mannerisms are not right.
- Bruce would not wallow in pity (and allow himself to get out of physical shape/practice) for 8 years, and he would never leave Gotham for good.
- Is this new “Robin” (John Blake) supposed to be an amalgam of other Robins? Is he really going to inherit the ‘mantle of the bat’ so soon?
- Bane should have been even bigger and had a different accent. (And what’s with the cheesy voice f/x?)
- Gotham looks too much like any other city. It has no Gotham-esque character. It s/b somewhere between “normal” and the Gotham from the Tim Burton movies.
- Christian Bale is a pretty fair BW/Batman, I guess, but the Batman voice has become laughable. He should use electronic alteration to mask it, instead.
- Freeman is good as Lucius Fox, if a bit old. And since when is the character a technological genius?
- Anne Hathaway was surprisingly good as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, and I like that they incorporated stuff from the comics. Should’ve had a cat fetish, though.
- Gary Oldman is very good as Comm. Gordon.
- The Bat Cave looks pretty good but needs to be “explored”. The vehicles, weapons, and gadgets are great but a bit too military-looking. (Yes, I realize that that is what they were originally designed for.)
- In the three movies, we’ve seen little to make us think our hero is even an above-average fighter, and certainly not a world-class detective. (Heck, Alfred digs up more info than Bruce.) He is supposed to be the “world’s greatest detective” and master of multiple (dozens of?) martial arts, for cryin’ out loud! If Nolan wanted to make him “more realistic” by making him barely more than “ordinary”, he succeeded.
- Leg-brace or no, if anyone had “no cartilage in your knee” along with Bruce’s other problems (with no explanation for them, mind you), he wouldn’t be in any shape to be running around and fighting, ESPECIALLY after having his back (presumably) broken. I don’t care if he was wearing a nifty, new leg brace.
Now, there are a lot of silly things, plot holes, and other stuff I didn’t get into. But, if you really want a brutal (but amusing) round-up of “Everything Wrong With The Dark Knight Rises In 3 Minutes Or Less”, check this out: