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July 25, 2012


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"Like many actors who are exquisite at playing a blank slate, he's awful when he has to go large."

That sums up my feelings towards Cillian Murphy. I like a lot about Scarecrow in the first film, but when he has to get weird, I don't think he sells it ("The... bat... man").

The plane sequence is odd... it wasn't clear to me whether he had thrown the first guy off the plane ("he didn't fly so well") until I realized much later that it was a bluff, but they don't communicate it well in-frame. The lack of breathing room in-between dialogue is TERRIBLE in this interchange:

CIA Agent: [Pulls hood off to reveal Bane] If I pull that off, will you die?

Bane: It
would be extremely painful...

CIA Agent: You're a big guy.

Bane: ...for you.

I didn't get knocked off-course however, and after the first half hour settled in and largely loved it. High stakes. Wayne broken, fortune gone, thugs using his own toys to terrorize his city. The first adversary in the trilogy that can match him physically (a welcome iterative variation) and a couple nice stolen beats from Miller's DKR books.

I don't care much for the last half-hour of Dark Knight either, but I feel a bit better about a shoehorned Two-Face (with a criminal career that lasts all of what, two days?) after seeing how it informs the events of this film.


“The opener on the plane with Aiden Gillen might be the weakest five minutes of Christopher Nolan's career.”

Really? Even compared to the utterly incoherent mess of a fight sequences in ‘Batman Begins’ (which I would assert would be not just the weakest five minutes of Nolan’s career, but among some of the worst scenes in action cinema EVER)?

Nolan has often had some problems with spatial coherency with his action sequences (check out the police convoy / garbage truck chase sequence in ‘Dark Knight’ – a sequence I still love, by the way – which breaks the 180-degree rule to no end, is confusing as to how many cop cars there are & where they are, and where the Batmobile is in relation to the Joker’s truck), so not only do I cut him a bit of slack in this department, but I would hardly consider this the worst. Heck, for the most part, I knew what was happening during the plane hijacking sequence.

I’m not saying this as a hurt fanboy – I was (am) pretty indifferent to the opening sequence – I’m more curious: this entry doesn’t fully explain (for me) why the sequence is so terrible, such a movie-killer, and such a blight on Nolan's career.



Because, like everything else involving Bane in TDKR, it's an incoherent, badly written, poorly mixed, visually jumbled shitshow in which bane is executing a plan that is exponentially more complicated than it needs to be just so that the film can pretend to be complex and smart. I actually think the action sequences in TDKR are, for the most part, a giant step backwards into Batman Begins levels of filmmaking awfulness. The dialogue in the sequence is awful and Aidan Gillan's performance is oddly terrible. Outside of The Prestige, Nolan's films don't tend to have memorable performances, but the acting in them is at least serviceable.

My basic feelings about this movie, having sat on it for awhile, is that everything involving JGL and Catwoman and Bruce Wayne is pretty great and everything involving Bane is either dull, poorly crafted or actively terrible.


Oh, wow. Yeah, I didn't find the plane sequence terrible (whereas I found the fights in 'Batman Begins' hatefully inept). Far-fetched, maybe. But not terrible.

As we talked briefly on the twittersphere, Bane's & the League of Shadow's presence (post-Joker) is too cartoonish for me. The ticking time bomb is too much of a Bond movie device, and Bane was too much of a Bond-y villain, which didn't fit with the movie's "We're not even hiding the fact that Gotham is Manhattan and therefore this takes place in the real world" aesthetic.


Yeah. I plus one to all of that.

One of my pet peevs with these films has been the way that Gotham has been portrayed and the way that portrayal has shifted. In the first film, Gotham is nowhere. It's largely created on a computer, it has some kind of gigantic slum filled with crazy people by the end of the movie, and it vaguely has Chicago's buildings with London's far suburbs. In the second film, it's Chicago + Wayne Manor. In the third film, it's overtly New York, but not just New York-- as you point out-- Manhattan. But where in Manhattan would you put Wayne manor? And what happens to the people in other boroughs? And where are there rows of houses for Matthew Modine to live in?

I think is because Nolan as a filmmaker isn't really interested in this kind of stuff. He's interested in exploring Big Deal College Freshman Themes and he's willing to sacrifice just about anything else to do both that and thrill an audience. And for the most part, he succeeds wildly. I just think he doesn't in this movie.

Sam Thielman

I always assumed Wayne Manor was in some sort of Westchester equivalent.

I really enjoyed this flick, for what it's worth (and hate, hate "The Prestige")—I think the problem with the voice amplification is a largely unintentional one on the part of the filmmakers; expect it to be better in later prints and on DVD/Blu-ray. They had to go back and ADR all of Bane's dialogue because you couldn't hear him.

I will freely admit that some of it is stupid. If you can destroy the reactor by flooding the chamber, why can't you drop the fucking core into some water to keep it from going off? And yes, Bane's plans are circuitous and absurd.

But I liked too much of it. I loved the parallels to the French Revolution—it's not every day that Blackgate Prison gets compared to the Bastille or Georg Buchner's "Danton's Death" becomes a touchstone for a scene with the Scarecrow. I was a big fan of Tom Hardy's performance, as well, and I always felt that the character in the comic book was such a ridiculous 90's-comics cipher that I was glad to see a take on him I found interesting and useful.


(spoilers ahead) well I am no Bat expert yet without knowing too much about the comics story plot and characters backgrounds, (I was genuinely surprised when Neeson/Al'Ghul showed up in BB as there was so much to make you forget about him before) I was expecting all the major twists exposed in TDKR. Is it just me but Bane's story in the pit exposed to Wayne by the cell mates does not make sense. First we are told Bane was attacked by inmates at times of plague, left him in so much pain he had to wear a mask and we are shown an adult. Then we're told that a child escaped, the mercenary's wife's child. And Wayne assumes it is Bane (it is even reinforced in his vision of Neeson/Ghul) It cant be Bane he was severely injured and patched up as an adult.. hello?! It all pointed that the child's protector was Bane they even show you him masked helping the kid and attacked. So the kid was another mystery character ( oh!! and thanks for the tip on Miranda's scar shot Nolan) Things of this nature, inconsistencies and obvious tips are not forgiveable, it is just stupid.. Like blowing up bridges to cut all aid to Gotham from the outside world and leave a big one intact for the sake of a few scenes with the cops or military?..nonsense.
Finally BAts is supposed to be a expert martial artist and goes toes to toes with a stronger opponent with brawling punches knowing he is physically inferior! stupid! there are both League of Shadows experts didnt show at all in the film both fights. Some Clint Eastwood 80s macho comedy's action fight scenes were better choreographed...serious.


The "I'm CIA" is a terrible, terrible line. The rest of the sequence...meh. I don't think it's that bad, but it, along with the Talia Al Ghul twist, are right out of the action/comic book movie playbook. But no, it doesn't make any sense: Bane claims that he's doing this to find out what the doctor told the CIA, but then he doesn't really find anything out and it's apparently a ploy to kidnap the doctor for later. No super-clear, but not the muddiest in the world. It's not as impressive as it's supposed to be, really, but it's not bad.

The Gotham thing is...pretty sloppy, I gotta agree. This Gotham bears nearly no relationship to the Gotham's we've seen. There are way too many shots of NYC landmarks and structures. It's definitely distracting.(Of course, all of the actual scenes were shot in Pittsburgh, filling in). I don't mind that it's not NYC, even if a local can tell it is. But when you have the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Citibank building clearly visible...the jig is up, dude.

My only other quibble is the last bit with Blake and his "legal" name. Why not make it Dick Grayson? Why have the awkward Robin thing? You were doing so well...

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