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The Case for The Dark Knight Rises

“Sometimes a man rises from the darkness. Sometimes the pit spits something back.”

When we drill down to sum up The Dark Knight trilogy in simplest terms, what many will see emerge is a guy in a bat suit. There is no getting around it, and probably why The Dark Knight was shut out in 2008. At the same time, Nolan’s epic also represents the crest of a changing tide in Hollywood away from adult-centered dramas and towards films aimed at younger audiences. They are the most reliable ticket-buyers, after all, even as the voting adults in the Academy sit back with their arms folded across their chests thinking, not on my watch. In general, I side with the Academy on this simply because I am bored by most of the effects-driven films Hollywood puts out, sequel after sequel, utterly predictable, the wow factor fading not ten minutes after you leave the theater.

But to me, Christopher Nolan’s handling of The Dark Knight surpasses expectations, and ultimately elevates a well worn, exhausted genre. For that reason, his last film in the series deserves to be recognized. The Dark Knight Rises is the only true epic in the trilogy. Yes, I said epic again. Yes, I know it’s about a guy in a bat suit. It is still an epic narrative with epic scope. While delivering all the usual thrills of a typical superhero movie: the villain/hero unearthed by Nolan reveals deeper ideas about humanity as a whole.

The Dark Knight Rises consolidates its power through harmonious execution of writing, directing, acting, cinematography, and score. These elements come together beautifully but because the immense canvas is filled with so much imaginative detail, it is hard to appreciate each aspect individually on first viewing. The foundation for any great film is its script, and the script for The Dark Knight Rises is superb — with memorable lines like this one from Bane, “No one paid attention to me before I put on my mask.” Tom Hardy was required to morph into a faceless homunculus, and nevertheless does the bulk of his acting with body language. What impressive bulk he displays. His performance is second only to that of Catwoman, in charge of some of the film’s best lines. In truth, Anne Hathaway owns The Dark Knight Rises, just like she owns Les Misérables. She’s so superb, both movies miss her when she’s gone.

Hathaway is so good, so funny, so surprising, her work in The Dark Knight Rises alone elevates it to the Best Picture arena. Among her many great moments is the scene when Wayne first discovers her working as a maid who’s just been “caught” pilfering… She looks pathetic for about two seconds, shades of the desperation she brings in Les Misérables, and in two seconds, it vanishes. “Oops,” she says, without a shred of remorse. And all at once the weak and helpless expression is replaced with swagger. Like Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Hathaway’s is burying victimization and replacing it with empowerment, part of which is owning her sexuality — slinky, sultry and irresistible, perhaps, but she decides for herself how to wave that shit around. Most men, superheroes included, have no choice but to watch her tsunami approach, surging forward, and then be swept away when she recedes, uncontrollable, unpredictable.

On top of the potent allure Hathaway’s Catwoman provides, Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises cranks every dial on the control panel to maximum fascination with Hardy’s Bane, Marion Cotillard’s Miranda — and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on his way to becoming Robin. There is no getting around it; these are familiar characters, caricatures even, but these actors, with a script by Nolan, find a new core of truth in them anyway. It’s funny that we can suspend our disbelief in worlds we find more familiar, but we feel silly validating Nolan’s defined, spectacular version of Gotham.

“Can we get some girls in here?”
“Be careful what you wish for.”

The best thing about the Dark Knight Rises is that Nolan completely upends the villain paradigm. You can make the argument that Hathaway’s Catwoman is just your typical easily controlled boner fodder. But you can’t say the same about the film’s real villainess, Marion Cotillard. Like Zero Dark Thirty, the Dark Knight Rises is centered around female propulsion — and Cottilard is more menacing than any other villain on screen all year. Her grand Master Plan makes Javier Bardem’s evil goals look like child’s play spite. Moreover, she isn’t trying to destroy the world because one man done her wrong. Nolan had the guts to actually make her kind of like a real villain, imagine that. The only thing I wish we’d seen in The Dark Knight Rises is a real showdown between Catwoman and Miranda, although then the twist ending would have had to be given away much sooner. As it is, Nolan’s reveal is more than just a surprise you don’t see coming; it’s, in many ways, a wake-up call to Fanboy Nation, a transformation of convention — and admittedly, it caused more than a little ripple. It is especially effective because Cotillard’s Miranda comes across so “sweet.”

To be nominated for Best Picture, a film has to have a goodly percentage of number one votes on ballots. This was also the case in 2008, when Nolan’s The Dark Knight was shut out of the Oscar race. That shut-out so enraged the public that most observers feel certain the Academy responded by expanding the Best Picture race to ten nominees. Since Academy members were now free to pick ten Best Picture contenders, it allowed them to be less stodgy and safe in their choices. It allowed for films like District 9 and Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right to get in. With ten seats at the table, The Dark Knight Rises would have had no problem getting in. But then, last year, the Academy seemed to get skittish, and finessed the rules again. Now, it wouldn’t be ten. Members are now back to choosing five films, and it’s the accountants who determine if enough votes accumulate to expand the field. They return to their old and established method, thus relieving beleaguered voters who claimed to have trouble names down ten (they were conditioned for decades, you see, to expect only five films to be worthy). The way Best Picture went down last year made me think that The Dark Knight still would not have gotten in, even if they stretched out their nominees to nine, because not enough of them were going to put it as their number one choice. Since a movie can’t get in without a specific trigger of number one votes, a movie like The Dark Knight Rises may once again have little chance of making the cut, even as a number 9 choice.

When The Dark Knight became the highest grossing film behind Titanic (before The Avengers came along) it was widely assumed that The Dark Knight Rises would top that. The over-saturated media hype was so pervasive, in fact, that it provoked a mentally ill science nerd cum sadist to use the premiere midnight showing to slaughter a whole bunch of innocent movie lovers. That would show ‘em. The shooting incident may have cut short any record breaking box office for The Dark Knight. Critics and talk-radio nags started in with their “violent movies” talk. A cruel combination of unthinkable tragedy thoughtless finger-pointing literally added insult to injury, abruptly crushing the film’s enthusiastic momentum. In reality, numerous studies have shown violence depicted in pop culture movies has very little to do with motivating mass shootings. But there were so many complaints about anyone who would dare mention effect on ticket sales at a time like that that, most box office reporting sites simply shut down the process and didn’t announce the numbers as usual. But there was little doubt then, and even more certainty now, that The Dark Knight Rises would have shattered the totals from The Dark Knight. A dark movie shadowed by a horrific event? There is no way to really comment on it without sounding like an asshole, but you can do the math.

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises together have made, domestically, $1,189,753,234. The Dark Knight Rises alone accumulated global ticket sales amounting to $1,080,944,546 — making it the 7th highest-grossing film in history, worldwide. What does Nolan have to do to earn Academy recognition? He would have to make an “Oscar movie.” The Oscar voters don’t care about money, particularly, not when it comes to big genre movies like these. Money is seen as its own reward — even when the creative talents who made it all happen don’t reap the windfall profits. The voters want to be moved. Full stop. If The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t move them, or worse, makes them feel silly for being moved, forget it.

Passionate love for a film is the only way to get nominated; but the least offensive crowdpleasers are the ones that usually win. To get nominated, you can be a love it/hate it film, but that’s a rough row to hoe to a win. That is why The Hurt Locker beat Avatar, I’m guessing. And how The King’s Speech beat The Social Network and on and on it goes. To win, you have to be good but not so good you end up offending some people who fail to get it. Great art always offends some people. Cutting-edge complexity is bewildering to voters seeking traditional comfort. Daring films will always turn more than a few people off because the might be exposing an uncomfortable truths. Best Picture doesn’t often reward movies like that. They have to have broad support, with very little haters.

Andrew O’ Hehir, calls it an “Evil Masterpiece”:

But if “The Dark Knight Rises” is a fascist film, it’s a great fascist film, and arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling and disturbing and utterly balls-out spectacle ever created for the screen. It’s an unfriendly masterpiece that shows you only a little circle of daylight, way up there at the top of our collective prison shaft — but a masterpiece nonetheless. Fighting against the tendency toward exhaustion in the final chapter of any entertainment franchise, Nolan, cinematographer Wally Pfister, editor Lee Smith, production designers Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh, and their enormous team have done grandiose and magnificent work, spinning this operatic saga of a great city brought to its knees and an idol smashed.

And Kenneth Turan calls the Academy out:

Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, “The Dark Knight Rises”has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard. So much so that, its considerable 2-hour, 44-minute length notwithstanding, as soon as it’s over, all you want to do is see it all over again.

That desire comes despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that “The Dark Knight Rises” might be the bleakest, most despairing superhero film ever made. It uses a wholly terrifying villain to emphasize the physical vulnerability of a hero we sometimes forget is no more than human. And it underscores the black moods and sense of dark destiny that have always clustered around the psyche of billionaire Bruce Wayne and his somber compulsion to fight crime.

The impressive success of “The Dark Knight Rises” pleasantly confounds our notions as to where great filmmaking is to be found in today’s world. To have a director this gifted turning his ability and attention to such an unapologetically commercial project is beyond heartening in an age in which the promise of film as a popular art is tarnished almost beyond recognition. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which snubbed the trilogy’s first two films in the best picture race, finally got the message?

Regretfully, I don’t think they will. Again, it comes down to that pesky prerequisite for number one votes. But it isn’t necessarily my job to talk about what will get nominated. It is equally useful to talk about those that won’t, and why.

But in a perfect world, The Dark Knight Rises would get deserved nominations for:

Picture
Director
Screenplay
Editing
Supporting Actress/Actress
Cinematography
Sound
Sound Editing
Score
Visual Effects

As it is, it will be lucky to get any.

A Conversation between Scott Foundas and Christopher Nolan

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The Case for: Looper

177 Comments

  1. Mark
    November 29, 2012

    No, I don’t buy it. I’m a fan of Nolan’s work but he is hideously overpraised. Conversation in Nolan’s world is a series of faux-profound statements delivered at people (see every Bale/Caine scene that ends with Caine walking away). There’s a lot of great stuff in TDKR, but a lot of bad stuff too. It’s easily Nolan’s weakest film to date.

  2. John
    November 29, 2012

    What do we think are the sure fire noms for TDKR?

    Only sounds?

  3. Yogsss
    November 29, 2012

    I loved TDK and saw TDKR twice in theaters (I never do that) but the film is not getting more than 2-3 tech noms.

    “It’s easily Nolan’s weakest film to date.”

    I agree with this. TDK was perfectly paced and was strong all across the board. TDKR had lots of highs and lows. I know Sasha is pushing hard for it, but if TDK couldn’t, the lesser sequel has way, way less chances.

  4. Yashar
    November 29, 2012

    I may be in a huge minority here but I actually found both Catwoman and Miranda to be rather unnecessary. Same goes for Joseph Gordon Levit who is a nice but pointless character.

    In my humble opinion, the film would have been much better if it had just focused on the rivalry of Batman vs Bane. Two faces of two revolutions, colliding twice in brutally devastating fights. The first fight between them is the highlight of the movie for me and I was kinda bummed by their second match.

    (To be fair though, I LOVED the way Nolan translated the Lazarus Pit of comics into a more metaphorical place of healing and returning form the death. That and the mercenary / Bane / Talia history was sweet for a short reveal at the end)

  5. Scott (the other one)
    November 29, 2012

    The case for The Dark Knight Rises as Best Picture: n/a

  6. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    Good writing.

    As I said somewhere else, watched this sucker on Blu-ray twice this week and even the extras are better than the last two had.

    It should be nominated, but it most likely will not. Still, it will remain on my Top 10 of 2012 after I’ve seen all, I think.

    What I don’t agree with Sasha is that I don’t miss Hathaway whenever she’s gone. So many characters in this one to care about. It is an epic, yes.

    Even fantasy-haters at Academy should not be afraid, because Batman does not possess superpowers, so it’s a little different from Gandalf’s stick.

  7. PJ
    November 29, 2012

    Maybe in a different year but this year is too deep. I only have it in tech awards for now: cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, and visual effects

  8. mdbDuke
    November 29, 2012

    I also thought it was Nolan’s weakest film…

  9. caro
    November 29, 2012

    apparently i didn’t see the same movie:it’s Nolan’s weakest movie because of the plot holes and 2 uninteresting characters(Blake&Miranda and Marion Cotillard is NOT well-casted) .The movie was able to be better if it was more focused on Wayne-Batman/Bane/

  10. red_wine
    November 29, 2012

    Yikes. If there can be a case for The Dark Knight Rises, then there can be a case for Twilight 6 (or whatever) too. This movie is just awful on every level, the worst offender being the horrible script. And the performances? Absolutely embarrassing. A career low for Cotillard and Hardy (though that is not saying much).

    I think this film should get nowhere near the Oscars save for Sound or something like that.

  11. Robert Gibbs
    November 29, 2012

    Completely agree with the author. The film was a true epic an deserves greater recognition than it is likely to receive.

    And no, it isn’t Nolan’s weakest film to date. It is his strongest.

  12. November 29, 2012

    Agreed on all counts, Sasha. I think it’s one of the finest films of the year, and a fitting conclusion to a groundbreaking trilogy. TDK’s lack of Picture nomination in 08 is just… sad; hopefully TDKR picks one up this go around. And I’d love to see a nomination for Hardy, personally, but that’s one of the longer shots this year.

  13. November 29, 2012

    A career low for Cotillard and Hardy (though that is not saying much).

    I wish more readers would include sentences like this in their putdowns so it makes it easier for me to decide which comments not to take seriously.

    :)

  14. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    PJ,

    I doubt it gets in for Cinematography. Skyfall will probably be the “blockbuster” representative for that category, while the remaining 4 will be Oscar bait films. The two sound categories and visual effects are very possible for TDKR, but not guaranteed.

  15. red_wine fails
    November 29, 2012

    Way to dramatically overstate your case, red_wine. That makes it even easier for me to completely disregard your opinion. I’ll wait for a critic with something more constructive than “omg itz like teh twilight moviez” to come along.

  16. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    Did someone seriously just call Michael Caine and Ann Hathaway’s performances in TDKR “embarrassing”? Really? You have lousy taste in good acting, red wine.

  17. Ryman
    November 29, 2012

    Definitely one of Nolan’s better films. He keeps getting better with everything he does. Dark Knight Rises and Inception are his best films by a LARGE margin.

  18. g
    November 29, 2012

    I loved this movie, but this year has so many great films I just don’t see how it can get a nomination for bp. But Nolan’s day is coming..he’s just too talented not to get recognized again for future movies.

  19. Dean
    November 29, 2012

    I’m sorry but I just can’t jump on this bandwagon.
    The Dark Knight was great and it shouldn’t been nominated. Heck in the weak year it was released in, it should have won (Slumdog? seriously?).

    But TDKR simply isn’t that good. Epic, mesmerizing, imaginative, yes. But Bane’s motives and psychologically are much more muddled and unclear (not complex, simply not making sense) than the Joker’s. Other than Catwoman – I am on the praises-for-Anne bandwagon – none of the characters are truly complex or moving.

    And don’t get me started on the whole fixing-my-back-getting-out-of-the-pit sequence.

    Yes, the Oscars are old, and we wish they went for more daring, more entertaining fare (Nolan’s Memento would definitely land a BP nom today). But that doesn’t mean we can relax our standards. Yes, TDKR is very good, and a lot of fun And I wish to make a movie half -tenth – as good as it someday. That’s not enough to become indignant that it won’t get nominated.

  20. November 29, 2012

    Not to be contrarian, it’s a little tough to argue that Nolan’s reveal of Talia Al Ghul was some kind of commentary on fanboy conventions when each and every fan boy and fan girl correctly predicted as much two years prior to the film’s release. As it is, withholding said reveal until nearly the end is the film’s fatal flaw, as it negates the entire story up to that point. Short version – Since Tate was waiting in the wings to take out Gotham whenever she chose with no one wise to her plot, it meant not one iota of difference whether Batman was able to best Bane or whether Gordon and Blake could find the bomb or really whether Bane did anything at all.

    But yeah, Hathaway stole the film without breaking a sweat, shaming those ‘fanboys’ who swore that she wasn’t ‘sexy’ or ‘sensual’ enough for play Kyle. Right… More importantly, she created a fully-rounded character that did justice to Selina Kyle at her best (IE – when written by Ed Brubaker). I was not a fan of The Dark Knight Rises, but Hathaway’s turn is enough for me to give it another chance when it comes to Blu Ray.

  21. November 29, 2012

    I doubt it gets in for Cinematography. Skyfall will probably be the “blockbuster” representative for that category,

    I’m maybe not alone in holding every Nolan-Pfister collaboration in the same high regard, movie to movie, and in that sense their collaboration already won an Oscar two years ago.

    Will the fact that Pfister has been deservedly Oscar-nominated for both previous Dark Knight installments affect his chances for a three-peat?

    A few years ago I might have said yes. But we’ve seen that Fincher keeps rolling the dice with Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter — and those guys earned Oscar nominations 3 films in a row — and 2 consecutive wins.

    Nolan and Fincher are bleeding-edge directors, but when it comes to stringing together career peak span of masterpieces, they’re as old-school as Hitchcock and Lean when it comes to assembling a team of trusted collaborators. Upper-echelon Hollywood players respect the value of such loyalty.

  22. tipsy
    November 29, 2012

    Skyfall is what TDKR should have been but wasn`t. Make case for that movie`s BP nom. It aslo has a strong female character – M, who is in no way a sex object, sex kitten, sexist fantasy or whatever. Should be right up your alley on that fact alone.

  23. James
    November 29, 2012

    With master, beasts and tdkr – 2012 has been one of the best years in a long ass time. A lot of other goodies as well.

    Loved how emotional and poetic Rises was. Seen it 6 times and it plays like clockwork on each viewing. Such a beautiful and raw piece. Pure cinema.

    I don’t mind Nolan missing out (again and again). With that talent, he is getting his due in a few years regardless.

  24. James
    November 29, 2012

    Skyfall was a complete bore compared to Rises. And a poor-mans Dark Knight.

  25. Alec
    November 29, 2012

    I thought TDKR was one of the best films of the year when I saw it and still think it would make my top 10(though probably lower top ten because of some strong Fall films).

    I disagree about TDKR being the only epic in the series. I thought TDK was also an epic(a crime epic to be specific). The movie was about the soul of a city and pitted Batman against the Joker. I also thought TDK was a better film and was the best film of 2008.

  26. Scott_fails
    November 29, 2012

    “Since Tate was waiting in the wings to take out Gotham whenever she chose with no one wise to her plot, it meant not one iota of difference whether Batman was able to best Bane or whether Gordon and Blake could find the bomb or really whether Bane did anything at all.”

    By finding the bomb, Gordon was able to block Tate from detonating it using the trigger. This allowed Batman to save the city by taking the bomb out over the water. I suppose that didn’t make “one iota of difference,” except that it helped save millions of lives.

    Seriously Scott, what are you talking about?

  27. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    Scott,

    I’m surprised you didn’t enjoy Caine’s performance. You might notice it more after a second viewing on Blu-ray. I showed a rip of the film to my dad and he was basically “eh” about the film itself, but loved Caine’s acting.

  28. Tim Anderson
    November 29, 2012

    “Skyfall is what TDKR should have been but wasn`t.”

    Why would we want TDKR to be an inferior movie?

  29. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    Ryan, it seems like this is a much tougher year in the Cinematography category than 2005 and 2008. The only two things Wally has going for him is he shot over an hour of it in IMAX and this is his final work as a cinematographer. One of those won’t matter much because the Academy members probably didn’t/won’t watch the film in IMAX. Meanwhile, I think Skyfall’s release date is a big problem for TDKR. It came out much closer to awards season, it has great cinematography by a man who is severely overdue in the category, and it received stronger praise than TDKRr from pretty much everyone.

  30. phantom
    November 29, 2012

    The very LEAST

    Best Art Direction
    Best Visual Effects
    Best Sound Mixing
    Best Sound Editing

    If there is ANY justice

    Best Picture
    Best Editing
    Best Cinematography
    Best Original Score

    In a PERFECT world

    Best Director (Oh, dear Academy…what the fuck is wrong with you ? Not ONE BD nod for three-time DGA nominee Nolan ? Really ?)
    Best Lead Actor (Christian Bale is phenomenal as Bruce Wayne, particularly in ‘Rises’, had the exact same performance been in anything but a genre film, he would be seriously considered for awards right now.)
    Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway…clearly she went lead to avoid split votes in supporting. Too bad Les Miserables is released this year, too, now that makes it impossible for her to get nominations for probably two of her most famous roles. It’s highly unlikely the Academy would go for the Lead campaign.)
    Best Supporting Actor (Michael Caine, who delivered the very definition of an excellent SUPPORTING turn)

    …yep, I think it would be a worthy nominee in 12 categories. I would settle for the technicals AND a surprise Best Picture nod. It IS sad that one of the greatest, most succesful and iconic films of the year is now basically a ‘No Guts, No Glory’ contender. Hopefully it won’t be Deathly Hallows all over again…

  31. PJ
    November 29, 2012

    DRN, I personally found the cinematography in Skyfall overrated. It was obnoxiously dark and really the Tokyo fight with the ad was more annoying then epic.

  32. Sam
    November 29, 2012

    Com

  33. Ruth
    November 29, 2012

    I think Rises was the best batman film yet. I am one of those people who never bought the Joker, it just didnt work for me, but Bane/Miranda was more intriguing to me. It is the first Nolan film I have genuinely liked since The Prestige, and the best of his big-budget films. I would be fine with it scraping in if they go for 10 films.

    Dark Knight Rises also imo has one of the most mouth-watering casts of all-time.

  34. Sam
    November 29, 2012

    Completely agree with Sasha on this one, except that she didn’t give Bale any love.

    He was absolutely fantastic in this movie and I agree in a perfect world he gets nominated along with Hardy who killed it once again.

  35. November 29, 2012

    I don’t recall saying anything about Caine’s work in the above comment, and I have nothing negative to say about him. I may take issue with certain artistic decisions in the picture, but it’s well acted across the board, as are all Nolan pictures as a general rule.

  36. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    PJ, I didn’t notice Skyfall’s cinematography being very dark. Do you think it was the projection in the theater where you watched it?

  37. November 29, 2012

    *pitches a tent* ;)

    I’m going to camp out in this thread until I get my DVD next Tuesday.

    (spoilers forever)

    and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on his way to becoming Robin

    I think you meant Batman. He was Robin the whole time. :)

    My question is who alerts the haters so quickly? Right off the bat, this comment section is full of negative comments I never heard when the film was in theaters. Amazing.

    For me the best thing about TDKR that makes it stand out is how much better it is than other 3rd installments of major trilogies. The quality of this film compared to something like THE GODFATHER PART III is huge. ROTK while winning all of those Oscars was really the iffy one in Jackson’s amazing trilogy. TDKR, imo, wraps around and puts a perfect glorious bow on the gift that Nolan’s Batman trilogy has been. Not just to genre fans but to people who love film at all.

    We have a lot of films this year that disturb those with mental limitations. Some people will never see a Batman movie as anything more than a man running around in a costume. We should feel bad for these folks. Is there a charity for those with a lack of imagination that we can donate to at this time of year? We really should remember those less fortunate who cannot look beneath the surface.

    What I’m most thankful for this year is that I live in a time when there are so many great filmmakers, like Christopher Nolan and everyone who worked on TDKR, who give us these great gifts year after year. It seems this is an especially crowded year. So many people to thank. So many who deserve a nice golden gift in return. But I think Christopher Nolan definitely needs to be recognized and awarded for not just this astounding trilogy but also for being such an amazingly consistent artist from FOLLOWING to MEMENTO to THE PRESTIGE to INCEPTION to this most cinematic and profound of trilogies. There is no one right now hitting all the right notes so precisely and as often as Christopher Nolan.

    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is an Oscar worthy film masked as a genre film. I hope that enough Academy voters can see beyond the mask.

  38. VVS
    November 29, 2012

    come on Sasha,

    Hathaway’s performance is far from being on the same level as Hardy’s. What he did is simply remarkable. He not only made some genius UNCONVENTIONAL acting choices in regards to his characterization, but he was able to create about 5-6 layers guided by those choices, depending on what the scene required.

  39. November 29, 2012

    It’ll probably be nominated in at least a few categories – both sound categories and visual effects look like likely possibilities at this point. I don’t think it has much chance in cinematography, though. This is a great year for cinematography in mainstream film.

    Yeah…I saw The Dark Knight four times in the cinema (I rarely do that). I still haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises again. I was pretty unmoved by most of it, and then the ‘big reveal’ killed it D-E-A-D.

  40. November 29, 2012

    @tipsy

    Skyfall is what TDKR should have been but wasn`t.

    Oh dear. I think it’s time to change your name to “three sheets to the wind”.

  41. Chris138
    November 29, 2012

    I do think Rises is the weakest in the trilogy, but even a lesser entry in Nolan’s Batman films is better than a good 98% of other comic book movies. I’d be for the film getting a Best Picture nomination, but it would probably just be as a way of honoring the trilogy as a whole rather than TDKR individually. I think it will be real interesting to see how it does with the critics and guild awards as well as top 10 lists in the coming weeks.

  42. Rodrigo jp
    November 29, 2012

    I love the batman movies nolan has made, but no way it deserves best pic. The only blockbuster that deserves it is skyfall,IMO

  43. VVS
    November 29, 2012

    I still think it’s bizarre that Tom Hardy is being left out of the Supporting Race when he crafted such an unconventional and detailed character.

    It’s way better than most of the performances being Hyped up for the Best Supporting Category.

  44. Joao Mattos
    November 29, 2012

    I wish we live in a perfect world, Miss Stone, but unfortuneçy…. after the snub of “Dark Kinight” it became pretty clear to me, that not in a million years a Nolan-Batman will ever be nominated for the Oscar in the main categories. Not even if these year the only other movies released are “Battleship”, “That’s My Boy”, “Man on a Ledge” (aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhh!) and “Thousand Words”, and they need “Dark Knight Rises” to have at least a minimum of five nominees and at least a decent (great, IMO) movie to make the line-up for the Academy Awards.

  45. November 29, 2012

    Skyfall’s cinematography is NOMMY!

  46. Sasha Stone
    November 29, 2012

    “Skyfall is what TDKR should have been but wasn`t.”

    Dude, did someone actually say that? Watching TDKR after watching Skyfall was like drinking red wine after drinking sprite. No, just no. Skyfall=empty, pointless, shallow, Nolan wanna-be.

  47. November 29, 2012

    I still think it’s bizarre that Tom Hardy is being left out of the Supporting Race when he crafted such an unconventional and detailed character.

    I wonder about his team, if he has one. After last year and the complete lack of push for him in WARRIOR, I didn’t expect much this year. So I guess I already gave up.

  48. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    I think this will pop up on quite a few critics’ top ten lists. I believe it will – even in a strong year.

    The following nominations MUST happen:

    Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Art Direction (anyone doubting the latter, watch the extras on Blu-ray).

    …but I’m afraid that that’s as far as this bat can fly. Cinematography is the possible fifth nomination and Film Editing for sixth. Anything more than that is not really in the cards, seeing as they would be surprise nominations and I don’t predict those now. So, 4-6 is not entirely bad.

    Antoinette, DVD? Really? For this?

    Btw, the bass is so low in many scenes that I had to fix the subwoofer level quite a bit. I have wall neighbours and this is not an apartment building title.

    What’s the deal with Original Score? Is Hans Zimmer OK being nominated this time? Because the category is not very strong – despite the whole year being strong.

  49. November 29, 2012

    Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises are very different films. I think people want to draw up similarities between the two franchises when few exist. Skyfall felt much more like Inception than any of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.

  50. VVS
    November 29, 2012

    I wanna kiss Sasha’s feet right now

    After hearing all the hype about SkyFall, and how its a Bond movie that Nolan wouldve made…i came outta the theater with only one question

    when has Chris Nolan ever made a predictable and conventional movie such as this??

    the Skyfall TDK comparisons are so far off, it’s ridiculous. People fell for the beautiful cinematography, and an empty storyline.

  51. Sam
    November 29, 2012

    Really? No,no,no…there is way too much bad in this film. And, being in agreement with the poster who compared it to Twilight 6, I found some of it unwatchable. Pick a tone for crying out loud! Your actors are in 3 different movies.

    Anne Hathaway is NOT Angelina Jolie and any attempt by her to be a slinky, sexy Catwoman, is woe begone. To work sooooo hard trying to be slinky and sexy is just embarrassing. I also thought her and Bale had 0 chemistry. Michelle Pfieffer is still the best slightly crazy Selina/CW. It made Bruce Wayne more interesting to have such a fucked up beautiful Selina that he still loved. Anne…just seemed like a bitch. Not like she has issues, or we should sympathize with her. But, I also take issue with the role being such a throw back when she could have been more like a chemically imbalanced Ripley. Hathaway’s Catwoman was just slightly better then Halle Berry’s.

    Michael Caine, embarrassing…not his fault, that dialogue! Tom Hardy…wasted, Marion Cotillard…better then Hathaway. JGL and Gary Oldman…the only ones I thought got out of this unscathed. In fact, you know you have acting issues when Gary Oldman gives the most nuanced performance.

    Sasha, I screened it on my home theatre with great sound, wanted to like it…but, now, I just wonder about your obsession with these films. Nolan peaked with Memento.

  52. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    Paddy, I think the comparisons come from Mendes saying that TDK had a big influence on what he wanted to do with Skyfall. There are also some plot similarities that allow for comparison. I think your Inception comparison is a good one, but the thing is BB/TDK had some influence over Inception as well. Inception is Nolan’s merger of Bond and Batman.

  53. julius
    November 29, 2012

    am I the only 1 here who is on the Dark Knight Rises was better than Batman begin? I thought it was more emotionally moving than the previous 2 in a lot of ways and also if film like Star Wars gets nominated with its own flaws why can’t this?

  54. November 29, 2012

    The Dark Knight was OSCAR WORTHY if we are talking about the awards but The Dark Knight Rises isn’t a masterpiece…. i truly love Nolan but i just don’t think this movie was one of his very best efforts. There were too many things in it that i loved, a few that i didn’t but above all, on the NOLAN’S front, to me it is one of his weakest movies.

  55. November 29, 2012

    @Tero

    I’m camping out in this comment section. Not at the store. It’s cold outside. :)

  56. November 29, 2012

    Dark knight Rises is the best movie ever!

  57. James
    November 29, 2012

    It would be so sad if Mendes got awards-love for making a lesser Chris Nolan film, and Nolan being passed over again – when he is the original and progressive filmmaker of the two. What did Skyfall do, that Nolan didn’t do better and first?

    Is there ANY other filmmaker out there, that is leading the way and setting his fashion on cinema the way Nolan has for years? The way Tarantino did in the 90s? I don’t think so.

  58. November 29, 2012

    Ditto everything James just said.

  59. DRM
    November 29, 2012

    James, I don’t think Nolan is very original or innovative in his filmmaking. Even if he influenced Mendes, the fact is Nolan’s films have elements in them that are a big turn-off for some viewers. I think the amount of pretentious speeches and spoonfed exposition is something that will continue to hurt him in the eyes of some critics and Academy voters. He could modify his writing style and it would probably help him a lot.

  60. Yogsss
    November 29, 2012

    ” Dude, did someone actually say that? Watching TDKR after watching Skyfall was like drinking red wine after drinking sprite. No, just no. Skyfall=empty, pointless, shallow, Nolan wanna-be”

    But… But… But critics say Skyfall is better and they went with The Hurt Locker and Social Network! Why are they lying to us! ):

  61. JP
    November 29, 2012

    TDKR is without doubt better than the good Skyfall. But it just didnt have the surprise factor TDK had. TDK was so much better than any super hero film ever made and had probably the iconic film character of the last decade… The performance people will be talking about 50, 100 years from now. TDKR will be overlooked in a year crowdwed of great films. I honestly could see only The Hobbit taking a true blockbuster spot in the BP lineup.

  62. November 29, 2012

    “But… But… But critics say Skyfall is better and they went with The Hurt Locker and Social Network! Why are they lying to us! ): “

    oh, I know the answer to this one.

    The Dark Knight Rises got 10 perfect scores of 100 on Metacritic.
    Skyfall got half that many. Only 5 perfect scores of 100.

    So that means Skyfall is only half as good as The Dark Knight Rises? Of course not. That’s a silly conclusion.

    It’s silly not to look past raw numbers. And it’s silly to overlook the fact that Rex Reed gave The Dark Knight Rises a score of 25 — dragging down its average and thus highlighting the basic inherent flaw in relying on Metacritic averages as the definitive gauge of a movie’s value. When one or two buzzkill critic can destroy the score of a movie that got dozens of great reviews, the system is a mess. Averaging 2 dumb reviews with 35 smart ones to get a middling average makes a mockery of the whole system.

    I started of the day today nicely conceding that not all Republicans are created equal — some of them are a whole lot crazier than others. I respect some Republicans and I have very low regard for many others.

    I’m ending the day by asking that we try to remember not all critics are created equal — some of the guys dragging down averages on metacritic are people I don’t respect. Why do I care what those individuals think?

    “But… But… But critics say Skyfall is better “

    I know you’re playing around, Yogsss. But here’s a shorter answer: You’re joking and you’re incorrect. Most critics do NOT say Skyfall is better. And I don’t pay much attention to any critic who does.

    Critics prove their usefulness and uselessness to me based on the smart or stupid reviews they choose to write.

  63. PJ
    November 29, 2012

    @DRM Possible, but I the fights using silhouettes were part of the aesthetic. But if it isn’t, i will not be so anti-against it

  64. November 29, 2012

    Sure, The Dark Knight didn’t get in because it was about a man in a costume, though it was brilliant… The Dark Knight Rises paid off, but so far as great filmmaking, it dims in comparison to TDK. It’s a bit ‘kitchen sink’ Marillon Cotillard is a villain! Underground tunnels! JGL is Robin! batman is dead, no wait! Without all the trappings it’s almost camp. I mean I kinda liked it for that, but its not the masterpiece of its predecessor. I’m fine leaving it out of the conversation, it’s just not one of the too 10 movies of the year… I’d even put it below the more creative Chronicle in the league of super hero movies this year. Yeah, Chronicle is better than the Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man and the Avengers.

  65. Chris138
    November 29, 2012

    2 of Nolan’s 3 Oscar nominations so far have been for his writing. Inception was the last one, which is probably his most exposition-heavy film to date (which, for me at least, makes it harder for me to want to revisit). So I feel pretty confident that the Academy doesn’t have a problem with his writing. The David Cronenbergs, Francis Ford Coppolas and Jane Campions simply don’t like the superhero genre to begin with and have publicly expressed such sentiments.

  66. Nick
    November 29, 2012

    I think Skyfall is the better film, but not by much. The Dark Knight Rises is also great, but I think Skyfall has a better shot at an Oscar. I don’t think either of them will win Best Picture, and I think Skyfall has a better shot in cinematography and acting awards. I think the thing with Skyfall’s cinematography is that not only is it beautiful, but despite being stylized, it serves the story incredibly well and really makes a strong case for digital being the future of film making. As far as acting goes, I think Dame Judi Dench has a shot at a Best Supporting Actress Nomination and Javier Bardem for Best Supporting Actor, whereas, although the performances in TDKR were also top notch, I can’t see the Academy awarding any of them. As for the films as a whole, TDKR had a phenomenal sense of scale and was beautifully shot and well acted, but felt convoluted and bloated, which really hurt the film, I admire it’s scale and ambition, and it has various strengths but also many major flaws. While Skyfall is less ambitious, it is more successful at what it set out to do, and is, in my opinion, an all around better film than The Dark Knight Rises. Skyfall was well paced, managed to capture the dark tone while injecting humor preventing it from appearing exhaustive and dreary, with great performances across the board, and outstanding cinematography. What really got me with Skyfall is the nuanced depth throughout the film. It almost has a “meta level” of sorts that I found to be more effective than The Dark Knight Rises. While at first glance, the plot is dead simple, almost to a fault, the central themes of Skyfall are remarkably interesting and surprising for a Bond film. Bond’s death and resurrection, coming back to England to find that everything has changed, MI6 is in a new place, and Bond and M are now viewed as dinosaurs who don’t belong in 21st century espionage. The themes of the old being shipped out for the new, which is represented in the scene where Bond meets Q for the first time in the art gallery in front of The Fighting Temeraire (Grand old warship being hauled away to be made into scrap), Bond’s detereorating physical ability, Silva being a distorted mirror image of Bond… I could go on forever. Skyfall is the very kind of film the Academy expanded the Best Picture category for, and while I don’t think it’ll win, it is surely more deserving and more consistent than the still very good, The Dark Knight Rises.

  67. Brian
    November 29, 2012

    I loved the snot out of TDK. In many ways, it is the most enjoyable film Nolan has done. But as I sat there mulling TDKR while I watched it a second time, I began to do a mental checklist of why I thought it was a better film. Rewatching TDK confirmed it, for me. The story structure is so much sounder in TDKR. TDK worked because of the force of Ledger’s Joker, but one overlooked many absurd plot devices (ones that Skyfall repeated, though perhaps not as egregiously) to get through it all. This sequel lacked Ledger, and Cotillard was, well, no bueno. But there was power in those scenes, there was an energy that Nolan developed independent of any one character, and it culminated in an exciting departure for Batman.

  68. Vagelis
    November 29, 2012

    I think the Dark Knight Rises is the most important film of our times. We don’t live in a post ”9-11” world anymore, we live in a post ”economic crisis 2008” world, and TDKR is the only film of our times to be brave enough to show this reality on the big screen. Even if it might be through semi-archetype characters in costumes.I always believed though that archetypes and so called ‘caricatures’, have always spoken the truth about human nature and its dark possibilities when in films.
    Dark knight Rises talks about economic terror apart from the fear of physical terror. It also talks about people who appear to be false or self-proclaimed revolutionaries for the benefit of the people (Bane assumes that part), but with their own hidden agenda. It talks about people who live their lives oblivious to the fact that others literally not far from them are starving and WILL not accept this status quo (in TDKR an entire community of outcasts lives in the sewers ready to attack Gotham). Come in countries like economy-struck Greece were i am from, or the south of Europe for that matter. Plenty of those situations aboundand suddenly such a film becomes terryfyingly relevant. TDKR will never be recognized from the Academy or from vieweres who simply measure it in ‘good film-bad film, good-script-bad script’ terms. It is a film that makes people feel uncomfortable, especially i would guess Academy voters, because it represents a bleak yet very real image of ‘modern’ western societies being torn appart. And who would want to have such a realization being made through a superhero film?…

  69. julian the emperor
    November 29, 2012

    There is a flaw in your argument, though, Ryan, Who gets to decide which critics are stupid and which is smart – and who says that the guys giving 100 scores are the smart ones? (they seldom are, if you ask me – they are more likely opportunistic careerists who want their names on a lot of Oscar campaign ads – ever thought about that? Because it is obvious, if you do).
    Numbers do indeed simplify the endeavor of good criticism and no doubt I have a lot of respect for the critics who throw around perfect scores of 100, maybe they are not as honest – or well-schooled – when it comes to numbers than actual writing, you know. Hmm. But the fact remains: TOO many of the most renowned critics out there hand out perfect scores a LOT. I think they want to be on the ads, simple as that.

    But, I digress: Rex Reed gave TDKR a 25, you say? I would have given it a more meagre 10 or 15, I found it that embarrassing. Who says that the guy who gives a low score isn’t the smart one? (In Rex Reed’s case, that is definitely not true, I agree!) But I see a pointed flock mentality when it comes to most prominent critics (the New Yorker guys like Denby, Brody etc. tend to have more balls than the rest, they don’t go for the consensus picks, necessarily).

    But, somehow, maybe, we agree? I think both of us feel suspicious about bowing down to consensus. Metacritic is not a perfect tool, but it is infinitely superior to rotten tomatoes (oh my, am I engaging in this futile discussion yet again!?).

    The biggest problem, though: I don’t think a lot of top critics are perfectly honest when it comes to rating movies. I don’t think there are as many masterpieces as they would have us believe (and they don’t believe it themselves, I would argue). Also, Manohla Dargis, she is a good writer, but why is it that you can always guess how she is going to rate a movie by a renowned director? Like her J Edgar review fx. I am not insinuating anything here, or am I? I’m just saying, most top critics don’t like to be in bad standing with top directors. They are – after all – a part of the same sub-system, if you like. You don’t want to piss on the people who is indirectly responsible for what you do for a living. And there is a correlation, the way I see it. It is not a cause-and-effect link, no, but it infects the mentality of some of the critics, that KNOW they are being scrutinized. Why wouldn’t they want friends in high places?

    There are problems concerning the art of criticism that are far more severe and far-reaching than metacritc tabulations…

    Ps. this was written in an awful hurry, I apologize for any inconsistencies. And even if I don’t, I know that Ryan can pick them out easily…:)

  70. steve50
    November 29, 2012

    Vagelis, I like the argument you put forth above and agree with you on most points.

    The social relevance of the themes in TDKR (and the rest of the series) set Nolan’s trilogy apart from the rest of the genre. Although the film probably won’t get any praise this year, the entire series should be acknowledged for taking the typical slam-bam comic genre to a very dark and uncomfortable place.

  71. November 29, 2012

    Julian the Emperor > “I don’t think there are as many masterpieces as they would have us believe.” So true. Thank goodness history sorts things out (most of the time). There are only two films I’ve seen this year that I would qualify as great. And, even then, I’m hesitant.

    Chris Nolan has made some decent flics, but I’m in the minority on how “great” Memento, Inception, and the three Batman films are. Insomnia, while perhaps not as thematically ambitious as the aforementioned, remains his most thoughtful, engaging, and solid film, IMO, therefore his best. He did something that no other filmmaker has done: made me like Hilary Swank and appreciate her as an actress. Her most genuine work to date.

  72. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    Julian, 10 or 15 out of 100 to TDKR? I wonder what would you give to an Adam Sandler comedy or something very shitty like that? Say, 20/100 would be a one star film (out of 5, as we like to have it), 15 sounds like a Danish 1 out of 6 (your scale). Since 1 star is minimum, that would mean that anything from 0-20 is as low as possible —> worst movie ever —> nothing is positive in it.

    To me there are other factors that has to be counted. Even if I had absolutely hated the story and all the actors, and the directorial work – for example – I would still have to go higher for technical reasons alone. Rating film is like math, and we shouldn’t even do that, but we do. In some good review magazines, stars are not even given. You have to read the article to see if the critic liked it or not.

  73. Bball_Jake
    November 29, 2012

    I agree with you 100 percent Sasha. To me The Dark Knight Rises is one of the greatest films of all time. Its pretty much the perfect film. If the Academy doesnt nominate it this time around, its just making them look dumb because they are going to lose viewers. The Dark Knight Rises is the best film of the year by far, and has the greatest performance of the year(Hathaway of course), but the Academy are just too pussy to nominate such an epic action masterpiece.

  74. November 29, 2012

    There is a flaw in your argument, though, Ryan, Who gets to decide which critics are stupid and which is smart – and who says that the guys giving 100 scores are the smart ones?

    The quick and most meaningful answer for me:

    Q: Who gets to decide which critics are stupid and which is smart?
    A: Who do you think should choose? I choose for myself. Who do you let choose for you?

    Q: Who says that the guys giving 100 scores are the smart ones?
    A: Metacritic offers a cool feature. It puts names on reviews. People who can think for themselves are able to look at those names and remember what various critics write from week to week. With this handy method, each individual reader should be able to determine which critics to trust.

    That last answer brings me to another point about metacritic. I believe there are 45 critics I can rely on. I’d my own personal critic advisors down to an exclusive team numbering no more than a dozen. T

    Why should I rely on somebody else’s arbitrary selection of which 45 writers I should listen to?

    By the same token, I’ll be honest — I don’t trust all 6000 Academy members to know what they’re doing either. I’d estimate there are 700 of them who I wouldn’t trust to match my ties to my shirts.

  75. steve50
    November 29, 2012

    “Thank goodness history sorts things out (most of the time).”

    Always does.

    In the fall, we were all, myself included, heralding what was expected to be the greatest year for film in a long time. It’s beginning to look the greatest year for an abundance of accessible films in a long time.

    I miss the edginess of Shame, Drive, and Melancholia from last year – where did they go this year? About the only two out there remaining to be seen that have an outside chance of offering that are Zero Dark Thirty and (big maybe) Django.

    Not complaining about what I have seen, but something’s missing.

  76. PaulH
    November 29, 2012

    “So, 4-6 is not entirely bad.”

    4-6 would be insulting. Not even close to being enough.

  77. November 29, 2012

    Numbers do indeed simplify the endeavor of good criticism and no doubt I have a lot of respect for the critics who throw around perfect scores of 100,

    We should remember that the critics themselves don’t assign number scores to their reviews. Some unknown metacritic flunky does that. And we’re asked to trust this unknown staff of flunkies?

    I don’t even approve of 5-star system of scoring or A,B,C,D silliness. I don’t rate art with scores.

    What kind of nut would go to a museum and walks through galleries grading paintings and sculptures with letters, numbers and gold stars?

    Sasha reviews movies, right? Do you ever Sasha say a movie is an A or a C? 3 stars or 5?

    I despise the ridiculous concept that a movie is so worthless that it’s worth 10 or ZERO on metacritic.

    It’s pretty sickening that we try to treat movies like we’re grading a True / False exam.

  78. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    Salò, I hate the film, I detest it. But I must give 2/5 for cinematography, costumes, art direction and the likes. It is well-made, but I hate the story and its director in this particular case. I like Pasolini in some other films. I rewatch it every time it’s on TV to see if I’ll change my mind and I don’t. A movie I hate I’ve seen 6-8 times.

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Technically very good, but there’s nothing else to like – acting blows, director is a prick, but it’s well-written and all that so 2/5 is my verdict.

    Examples like these.

  79. rufussondheim
    November 29, 2012

    What Skyfall did that The Dark Knight Rises did not was fulfill its ambition. Sure, Skyfall was not as ambitious so it was easier for it do, but The Dark Knight Rises was way too ambitious, and it just wasn’t good enough. It was too difficult to follow, too dependant on twists that weren’t interesting, the characters were not developed enough, and it was just plain dull at times that it should not have been (like him climbing that silly hole.) I wanted to like it but I couldn’t. There were just too many weak spots that made me slap my head in disappointment.

    I think Nolan needs to tone down his ambition and learn to write some good characters. Good well developed characters are the key to any good movie and too often Nolan gets caught up in everything else. Say what you want about Skyfall, but the relationship between Daniel Craig and Judi Dench was way more interesting than anything in The Dark Knight Rises.

  80. Houstonrufus
    November 29, 2012

    Steve50, I agree. It’s a really good year. I can’t deny that. And I’ve loved a number of movies. But I do miss some of the left of center films we got from some smaller films last year like Take Shelter, Drive, Melancholia, Shame, Meek’s Cutoff. I was just telling this to someone earlier this week. Don’t get me wrong. I love Lincoln, The Master, Argo. But it does feel like a certain kind of film is missing from the season. I guess The Master is closest to that, in spirit maybe, and maybe Beasts of the Southern Wild in terms of scale.

  81. November 29, 2012

    “Rex Reed gave TDKR a 25, you say? I would have given it a more meagre 10 or 15″

    Up to you. Inflict whatever cruelty on dedicated filmmakers that you want.

    I’m curious to know how you’d rank a movie like Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill. Maybe 5? 0? So you’re saying The Dark Knight Rises is barely better than jack and Jill. You’re telling us that TDKR is closer to Jack and Jill than it is to a movie that’s a solid average 50?

    No offense — we’re still friends! — but if that’s what you’re saying then you might be one of those people whose opinion I’m not able trust.

  82. November 29, 2012

    (Yikes, Tero — I was furiously typing out my sting of replies without reading yours. Not only do you make the same point I’m trying to make — you use the same example. Yikes.)

    pauvre Adam Sandler

  83. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    We must love Adam Sandler :)

    Yeah, but my point is that 1/5 (if using numbers) is reserved for him, TDKR is 2/5 at worst (=if you absolutely hated it).

    “Salò, I hate the film, I detest it. But I must give 2/5 for cinematography, costumes, art direction and the likes.”

    There were costumes?

    I was hoping that someone picked up on that, but I had to comment my own comment. One of those “had to” cases…

  84. PaulH
    November 29, 2012

    Psst, Christopher. You want an Oscar for directing and picture. Here’s the way to go.

    Make a Holocaust movie. Works FLAWLESSLY. Just ask Spielberg.

  85. rufussondheim
    November 29, 2012

    I wonder if Salo was ever aired on American TV, I highly doubt it, not even on the pay stations. I would bet less than 0.1% of Americans have seen that movie since it’s largely been unavailable even to rent.

    ——

    Steve50. I’m kind of putting some hope into The Promised Land. Not sure what you know about fracking and stuff, but here in parts of Pennsylvania (where the film takes place) it’s a major discussion. Since Matt Damon is involved I’m fairly sure what the political slant’s going to be and I probably won’t agree with it, but you never know. After seeing van Sant’s Elephant, well, I always hope that he’ll at least make the audience work to figure out what he’s trying to do with the material.

    But, yeah, I generally agree with you. Even my favorite film of the year is my favorite because it gives me an infinite amount of warm fuzzies, not because it’s made me see or think about anything in a new or interesting way. Even though you didn’t mention it, I think Take Shelter and The Tree of Life were my fave two from last year, and when I saw each I spent many an hour pondering what took place and even now, the two films still haunt my conscience. Nothing I’ve seen in 2012 even comes close to those two (or Melancholia. Or Shame)

  86. November 29, 2012

    now that we’ve lured all the smart readers to one page, who can tell me where the heck I can find that Claude Lelouch Les Misérables with English subtitles?

  87. rufussondheim
    November 29, 2012

    I rented it on a VHS from a great video store in Portland, OR. Back in the late nineties. Maybe I could build you a time machine?

  88. November 29, 2012

    If I were a MetaCritic, I’d give TDKR a 75 (BB: 70; TDK: 80). So all the 100′s boggle my mind. I get those who would put it as low as 40 or 50, but anything lower just seems unnecessarily punishing. But, if that’s what they felt, that’s what they felt. But, I never read Rex Reed. He is good for a laugh from time to time, though. But, I don’t know anyone who consults him for film recommendations. Going back to all the 100′s that boggle my mind, I guess a couple of ludicrous 25′s (or 10 or 15 or whatever) are necessary.

    Steve 50 > Agreed. I struggled to put together a Top 10 for 2011, but I was able to pull one together and felt comfortable with the final result (and remain so). In 2010, there was a struggle, but not as much as 2011. I don’t feel the same way as you about Shame and Melancholia, but I get where you are coming from. (Drive was my #1, though) Towards the end of the year, it all came to together though anyway. This year, I’ll be lucky if I can figure out a Top 5. One month left and all I can say that really wowed me (and I suspect will continue to) are The Master and Holy Motors. Low expectations for ZD30 (especially have mistakenly watching that one-minute scene between Chandler and Chastain) and I don’t like Jamie Foxx, but I will keep an open mind for Django. And, of course, Les Mis, but I know you feel differently about that one. And I still get to see Amour and The Impossible.

    Oh well, fingers crossed for 2013. Well, after consulting the release schedule, perhaps 2014 is more realistic.

  89. cinejab
    November 29, 2012

    don’t get me wrong, Marion Cotillard is one of the great actresses of our time and I am chomping at the bit to see Rust & Bone next month, but your praise for her performance as Miranda Tate is beyond hyperbolic. If she had given a performance like the one you describe here, it absolutely would have helped to elevate the material. I do, however, completely agree with your assessment of Anne Hathaway’s performance. Totally captivating. Honestly I think there are only a few reasons she didn’t come out of the film with praise like that Heath Ledger received for The Dark Knight – one being the obvious recognition of a talent tragically cut short; the other being how hyped up his performance was leading up to the films release. The marketing for this film was so disappointing compared to Nolan’s other recent films, and could have seriously helper her chances of recognition for her work in this film (look at what the Les Mis trailer is doing for her).

  90. November 29, 2012

    Maybe I could build you a time machine?

    Might be easier than building a VHS tape player.

  91. November 29, 2012

    “I rented it on a VHS from a great video store in Portland, OR. Back in the late nineties.”

    I lived down the street from Movie Madness 1996 – 1997 on SE 47th & Hawthorne.

  92. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    PaulH: “Make a Holocaust movie. Works FLAWLESSLY. Just ask Spielberg.”

    It is true. That theme is very close to Academy members’ hearts. But in the same sentence you’re pissing on one of the most celebrated films in modern history of cinema. And Spielberg didn’t make it to win an Oscar. Not THAT movie. He sure wanted to win for Saving Private Ryan and wants to win for Lincoln, too.

    If you ever meet him, ask him to sign your Schindler’s List DVD or photo from the film… I know what he’ll say.

  93. Tero Heikkinen
    November 29, 2012

    Roger Ebert said publicly that if something is hard to find (meaning that nobody is even asking your money), do whatever you like.

    I agree with him.

  94. Antoinette
    November 29, 2012

    pauvre Adam Sandler

    It’s okay. He still sings better than Russell Crowe.

    I don’t understand how this became a SKYFALL vs. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES discussion but the fact is you wouldn’t have SKYFALL’s Shanghai scene without THE DARK KNIGHT’s Hong Kong scene. Not to mention the number of scenes that SKYFALL seemingly stole from TOP SECTRET! and the ending was straight out of HOME ALONE. Not to mention that M apparently stands for “MacGyver”.

    SKYFALL may be the best Bond film in a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s Oscar caliber. I’m starting to think there are people who can’t tell one action movie from another or one genre film from another. Last year it was HP7.2. I felt there were those that thought it deserved a place as if there was a spot reserved for fantasy films. The year when people started talking about THE AVENGERS in the race, not only did I think they were nuts, I also thought they must think a superhero film always belongs in the discussion because something like THE DARK KNIGHT was in the past. Well that’s not the case. All films need to transcend their genres in order to just be a great film that it worthy of accolades. There is no fantasy spot, or musical spot, or foreign spot, or action spot. The cream should rise to the top because they are great films regardless of what types of film they are.

    If some people don’t see the quality of Nolan’s films about Batman then I guess I can’t explain it to them. If you can’t tell difference between a designer item and a knock-off, I guess you just can’t.

  95. Denni
    November 29, 2012

    Thank you for giving me a glimmer of hope, Sasha. With this written piece, I feel like someone out there still cares about TDKR. I believe it is one, if not the best film I have seen. Of course I may be biased since I am a fanboy, and although some people would say it is not as great as TDK, I believe Nolan deserves some mentioning. He’s been shut out off picture and director for the other two films, and it’s time to give someone like him their due. I can argue too that LOTR ROK isn’t the best of the trilogy, it was TFOTR, but they still nominated the third and it swept the Oscars! With tough competition this year, plus the tragedy that happened during its premiere, I don’t see it winning the top categories, but the point of at least nominating it. Plus I have a feeling that the movie could’ve turned into something more than its brilliance already if Ledger didn’t passed away, prompting Nolan to change some of the storylines I presume.

  96. rufussondheim
    November 29, 2012

    Oh Vince, were you a frequent frequenter of the Baghdad? Oh how I loved that place.

  97. November 29, 2012

    SALO is quite literally a piece of shit.

  98. steve50
    November 29, 2012

    (Still chuckling over the Ryan/Tero Seinfeld routine a few posts back)

    Ryan, the 2-disc DVD of Lelouch’s Les Miserables (worthy of the full title) is available, but you’ll need a universal player (non-US format) and speak French. Worth it for the visuals. You can probably find the Eng. dialog online – I’ve done that before, but can’t remember the site. I’ll check my bookmarks.

  99. November 29, 2012

    Having to learn French to watch an old movie to understand Hooper’s LES MISÉRABLES seems like a lot of work.

  100. November 29, 2012

    but you’ll need a universal player (non-US format) and speak French

    universal player, check
    speak French, pas de cheque (?)

    The entire movie is on youtube. French youtube.

    Worth it for the visuals.

    I can see that. I was skeptical about whether I needed to see it until I saw youtube samples of those visuals.

  101. Jeremy
    November 29, 2012

    Skyfall won’t get nominated, so a worse genre film like TDKR won’t either. It’s an oversized whale of a film, too many noisy action sequences(with Nolan’s trademark knack of just not being very good at them outside the Bane/Batman fight), too many on-the-nose themes and exposition repeated ad nauseum, too many characters and their individual sub-plots, too much everything. And not in the satisfying “I’m being overwhelmed by all the depth and complexity of this movie way”, but the “there’s simply too much shit happening in this overlong, oppressively literal film”.

    I had fun with it on opening night. But the more I think about, the more I realize what a mess the entire thing was, barely hanging together on it’s sheer spectacle.

  102. steve50
    November 29, 2012

    I emailed you the subtitles link, Ryan.

  103. PaulH
    November 29, 2012

    Topic, please…Les Miz will get its own The Case For column soon enough. It’s already depressing to think that Tom frakkin’ Hooper could win 2 BP awards in 3 years.’

    It IS true, Tero; years of snubs upon Spielberg by the Academy going back to Jaws. He makes Schindler’s List, boom. Oscar drought finis. That’s what it’s going to take to get the academy to notice one of the best directors of the past 10 years. It is purest, shameful disrespect that Nolan has not been given his due. When AMPAS stops treating him and his movies like red-headed stepchildren, who knows.

  104. November 29, 2012

    Loved the Baghdad! Went back earlier this year and a couple of the McMenamin’s now play new episodes of Mad Men and other shows! So cool. Wish they did something like that in L.A.!

  105. Reno
    November 29, 2012

    Case dismissed!

  106. Involuntary Misanthropic
    November 29, 2012

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion but if you’re going to make an argument that TDKR was Nolan’s weakest film to date you come up better explanation. A bettter explanation other than “I watch this on Blu-Ray twice and it still sucks.” Or saying making matter of fact statments like this is Nolan’s weakest film cause I say so. I’m not asking certain people to love the film. I’m just asking some people to be smarter about what they don’t like.

  107. PaulH
    November 29, 2012

    In an ideal world:

    Picture
    Actor (Bale)
    Actress (Hathaway)
    Supporting Actor (Hardy, Gordon-Levitt or Oldman)
    Director
    Original Screenplay
    ALL, REPEAT, ALL, ELIGIBLE TECH CATEGORIES

    That would make 13 or so. About 12 more than Life of Pi deserves. 14 more than Cloud Atlas.

  108. November 29, 2012

    I would make the case that Inception is Nolan’s weakest film. He takes an intriguing concept with extraordinary cinematography and then loses his editing clippers and overindulges the ideas presented. The last half hour of action (and perhaps one or two unnecessary “levels”) is an example of too much, enough already, this does nothing for the film, etc. And the love story at the center of it all is as superficial as Les Mis’ non-serious genre (I kid, I kid).

    I’m open to watching it again, though, to see if my opinion changes, because I’m kind of curious now if it would. Maybe it was The Prestige that was his worst, but even though it was a bit of a bore, I don’t remember wishing it was over before its time. I can see how someone might argue TDKR, but there were too many elements I liked to call it his worst.

  109. PaulH
    November 29, 2012

    As far as Les Miz goes, one word to you poor, raptured suckers who think LM has it made and everyone should just mail in the loss….

    Dreamgirls.

  110. rufussondheim
    November 29, 2012

    Please, no more fucking Dreamgirls comparisons! I might figuratively explode if I have to type out one more type how idiotic that comparison is!

  111. rufussondheim
    November 29, 2012

    Still accessing the Lelouch. Big file. Will have to wait until morning to see if it’s a good copy.

  112. November 29, 2012

    There’s a storm coming, Rufus. The haters and their friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, they’re all gonna wonder how they ever thought they could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.

  113. November 29, 2012

    One of the most interesting things I read about The Dark Knight Rises was Daniel Lindvall’s “review”. It’s not really a review though, it’s more like a discussion about class, fascism and elitist paranoia.

    http://filmint.nu/?p=5351

    Anyways, it’s not that I agree with him (dude takes it a bit too far, truth be told) but I dare anyone to find something like that written about The Avengers or Skyfall. Sasha makes nail meet head when she says that Nolan’s superhero films are way, way, way more than just your average superhero film. There’s clear commentary on today’s society and collective mindset, Gotham standing in for any major metropolis, the carelessness of the rich and the the helplessness of the poor. It’s all a little skewed to meet Hollywood mainstream standards, no doubt, but it’s there.

    Also, I gotta agree with VVS here and say that Tom Hardy is the one who truly impressed me in TDKR. It’s not only the physicality of his performance, moments like his nonchalant walk after breaking Bat’s back or neck twitches that reveal a programmed kind of insanity, but his eyes (“Crashing this plane!” – crazy eyes) and his voice, which almost seems to be taking the piss at all the Bond villains in one go by giving them a Sean Connery tone, is arresting and one of the most memorable cinematic achievements of the year, for me. I know it’s the Sound guys who deserve the biggest props for the way his voice is rendered, but it’s Hardy who spoke the dialogue and most of the menace comes from the way he speaks his dialogue. In an ideal world, he would receive a Sup. Actor nomination. I know it’s sacriliege to most of you, but I think he’s right up there next to Ledger as giving us the best on-screen villain in recent memory.

    The other thing that got to me from TDKR, and still gets to me everytime I listen to it, is Zimmer’s score. Anyone know if his score is eligible for nomination? It’s, by far, the best I’ve heard all year and I sometimes I scare myself at how much I listen to it.

    Anyways, know I feel like I’m rambling. Oh yeah, Hathaway. I admit I was one of the many who didn’t believe she could pull off Selina Kyle/Catwoman. But after watching the film, one of the first things I
    said was “Wow. Hathaway was amazing.” Impressive isn’t even the word. She left an indubitable mark on the whole film and as far as acting goes elevated (along with Hardy, Bale and Oldman) to something more than just your average superhero movie.

    The whole trilogy, and every part in it, has flaws. But the whole trilogy has so much going for it, that the flaws don’t really count. It’s like falling in love with someone and not giving a shit about the little annoying habits they might have. You still love ‘em.

    In related news, did you guys know about Batman’s obsession with sex? :P

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTDTi-ccx9Q (…SPOILERS for TDKR…)

  114. Jeremy
    November 29, 2012

    I think Inception is his worst film, because it exposes and focuses on Nolan’s big weaknesses. Namely the endless, constant, unwieldy amount of exposition. Everything must be spelled out in big bold letters in the most graceless, tone-deaf way possible. If a current scene is linked to a prior one, you best believe Nolan will flash an image from that prior scene so nobody is confused. Outside Leo’s Cobb, his characters are cipers, mouthpieces for the constant irrelevant chatter. For all his clever ideas, he never musters above delivering them in the most ham-fisted, one dimensional way possible.

    And he still can’t stage a thrilling action scene for anything in the world. That Cobb chase scene, or that confusing battle in the ice fortress with everybody wears the same white outfit and I’m not quite sure who any of these people are or where they are in relationship to each other or other just basic action scene grammar. Complain about Paul Greengrass’ shaky cam all you went, he still understood action movie geography.

  115. JoeP
    November 29, 2012

    “The voters want to be moved. Full stop. If The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t move them, or worse, makes them feel silly for being moved, forget it.”

    Nailed it.

  116. PaulH
    November 29, 2012

    “I don’t mind Nolan missing out (again and again). With that talent, he is getting his due in a few years regardless.”

    Kubrick and Hitchcock say, ‘really’?

  117. Free
    November 29, 2012

    “With ten seats at the table, The Dark Knight Rises would have had no problem getting in.”

    Yeah, I don’t think so. That’s giving too much credit to the film (which was good, but not as deserving as its predecessor) and the Oscar voters (who last year, remember, nominated Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close).

  118. Dave B
    November 29, 2012

    Wow, I can’t beleive what I’ve read here. I’ve usually found these comments interesting and insightful and any difference of opinion handled with reserve, respect and persuasion. Not today.

    First, thanks Sasha for a great article. It is articulate, clear-headed and passionate. It is the latter that brings most of us to this site. We’re movie fans… we’re movie nerds… and we look for others like us to share our thoughts and maybe find some affirmation of our love of movies and what we think about the movie or topic of the day.

    I was an editor for many years, and my first rule for all my writers was: Film Criticism Is Subjective. There is no right or wrong when it comes to liking a film. But be able to back up your thoughts with fact and reason, not snarky comments and pointed agenda for/against an artist. With that said, I think The Dark Knight was the best film of 2008. Milk was a verrrrr-y close second. But the years have not changed my mind on this, only reinforced this opinion. I’m not a young fan, probably not a fan-boy…let’s say my cinematic rite of passage happened during the 1960s. So as an older viewer, I wasn’t struck by The Dark Knight because it was a genre film, but because it had elevated the genre film with artistic achievement in the same fashion as The Godfather had for gangster films, Star Wars had for sci-fi, and Psycho had for horror.

    The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t quite reach the heights that The Dark Knight did, but who would have expected it to. I think in order to do so, it would have had to be a carbon copy. And it was anything but. It was, like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, re-inventions of what had come before it. It is a singular achievement. If The Dark Knight is The Godfather, The Dark Knight Rises is The Godfather 2.

    Christopher Nolan has done such a commendable job with this final film in the trilogy (as he has with the two before it). It is suspenseful, exciting, entertaining, smart and…yes, as Sssha has stated…epic. The acting is tops, from Hathaway’s great and highly original turn as Catwoman to Michael Caine and JGL and Gary Oldman and, yes, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard. As far as Marion is concerned, to anyone who says they saw the twist coming… well, i don’t think so.

    It’s sad to read all this…for a lack of a better word…hate being spewed against Sasha, The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway and other readers. I haven’t seen reason and argument here, just snarky hostility. And I agree with Sasha about TDKR’s chances with Oscar. The film will make my ten best list, but I fear it is only headed for a few tech nominations. In another year, it might have fared better with Oscar, but this is the best movie year in quite some time, and the competition is fierce.

  119. Daniel B.
    November 29, 2012

    TDKR is a great film, and certainly a better one if compared to Skyfall. The things is that it feels way weaker than TDK especially its writing which I think is Nolan’s worst. The writing is ridiculous at times. My other problem is Marion Cottilard – I couldn’t believe her character and at times this came through as bad acting.

  120. Chris138
    November 29, 2012

    @Jeremy

    You make some arguments that I agree with on Inception. While I don’t think it is Nolan’s worst film, I do think the constant exposition makes it a tough sit on re-watches. Another reason I’m not keen on revisiting it often is due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance, which is fine but it feels like he’s been on autopilot the last ten years or so, giving the same intense and overly self-serious performance that he is now known for. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Django Unchained because it looks as if Tarantino has finally lightened him up a bit.

    And Dave B, that was a very articulate and thoughtful response you wrote there. I enjoyed reading it and largely agree with what you said.

  121. Ricky
    November 29, 2012

    I didn’t read each and every comment so I’m sure I’m repeating some other commenters with the following:

    -TDKR is nowhere near Nolan’s worst film (having not seen Following, that is easily The Prestige)
    -TDKR is also not Nolan’s best film (almost certainly Memento)
    -I feel like I’m alone in thinking that Hathaway, while very good, was not outstanding. The only outstanding performances in my opinion, (and no one was weak), were Michael Caine, Christian Bale, (remember how good his reviews were? people never mention how he gives the most soulful performance he has given in the trilogy), and above all, Tom Hardy. The way he is able to change his physicality is just amazing, not to mention that terrifying voice).
    -The Miranda Tate “twist” was seen a mile away by anyone with knowledge of the comics. Perhaps the way they explained it away was not as obvious, but come one, we knew she was going to be Talia.
    -The JGL Robin twist was also easy to spot, but it could have been executed better. As most of us know, Robin is not the name of any of the Robins in the comics. It would be like if Bruce’s name was Bruce Batman Wayne. There were many ways they could have made this reveal better.
    -With that said, JGL was a welcome presence.

  122. Matt O'Callaghan
    November 29, 2012

    Anything is possible, who knows.

    My personal opinion is that the film contains ‘Razzie’ moments, which could have been fixed, but didn’t.

    For instance, the lead interrogator in the hijacked plane at the start of the film. Not good. Not good writing and certainly not good acting. I understand the rationale behind it, but nobody in that position has the i.q of a five year old. What am I watching? The Dark Knight of Top Gun.

    In the end I liked it fine, but it’s a mixed bag.

  123. November 29, 2012

    Ryan,

    So, wait, if I liked Skyfall better than TDKR then my opinion is invalid? I definitely didn’t hate TDKR by any stretch and I feel like the people here saying its Nolan’s weakest film to date are too harsh. If I was stacking up his films I’d say that The Dark Knight, Memento and Inception are better, and its debatable whether or not its as good as The Prestige (I’d probably give Prestige the slight edge). So, to me its Nolan’s 4th or 5th best movie, better than Batman Begins, Insomnia and Following for sure. But I thought Skyfall was absolutely fantastic. Easily the best Daniel Craig Bond film so far and probably a top 5 Bond film of all time. Obviously the two movies are very different and have different goals so its hard to compare them on a “better or worse” basis. But I can say with certainty that Skyfall was the more satisfying viewing experience for me this year. I left TDKR feeling slightly letdown, unfortunately.

  124. Haggar
    November 29, 2012

    I watched TDKR three days ago and was amazed by how splendid it was. My only narrative let down was turning Miranda character into the villain late into the movie. A lot of other people, myself included after a second viewing, seemed to approve of it, though. That said – and I don’t say this as a fanboy – I really think the film is deserving of some Oscar recognition. It was a truly awesome and mature take on what on the surface is fluffy adolescent material. I don’t get the hype about Anna Hathaway’s performance, thought it was OK; Sir Michael Caine was the true stand out for me in the film. The Best Director field may be too crowded for Nolan to squeeze in, but I think it would be a bit of an abomination if he was denied Best Picture. I also felt Best Cinematography, Score, Supporting Actor and maybe two other technical categories, are due. Now if only I could get my hands on a copy of The Dark Knight.

  125. Tony
    November 30, 2012

    I didn’t like it. TDKR was a manipulative melodrama that relied heavily on cheap sentiment. Aside the effects, Nolan gut stuck in a whirlpool of badly conceptualized and poorly written story driven by stereotypes not only stereotypical characters but also largely conservative film-making which was disappointing surprise to me. Everything in TDKR concept was so over inflated and big and epic and pretentiously memorable that its blasting into a spaghetti-like mess was imminent. And at the end i left the theater feeling betrayed. No,i didn’t like it at all.

  126. Ryan Adams
    November 30, 2012

    Chris Price, nope. Nothing can invalidate your opinion.

    Just saying, if anyone says The Dark Knight Rises is a “25″ but thinks Skyfall is an “85″ then I would be wary of trusting that person to recommend movies to me. And the more questionable scores this critic or acquaintance came up with, the less and less I’d listen to him until one day I’d finally give up and just tune him out and disregard him altogether — the way I finally did with Zacharek.

    I’m on record in multiple comments and on the Oscar Podcast saying that Skyfall is my 2nd favorite Bond film of all time.

    Every individual, every critic, is entitled to a few outlier opinions without inviting scorn. But if it happens week after week I stop wasting my time reading anything that person has to say.

  127. Tero Heikkinen
    November 30, 2012

    Jeremy, you got a point with Inception. It is explaining too much for the audience, but I think it’s because it’s a 200M film. It still has a difficult plotline compared to films in that budget frame.

    Generally people are not that smart.

    My friend went to see Looper a few weeks ago and after he got out of theater, he overheard a young couple talking about Willis and JGL. The girlfriend literally said: “I didn’t know they were the same person until in the end”. The boyfriend was like: “what?”. It is entirely understandable if he dumped her.

  128. julian the emperor
    November 30, 2012

    Ok, 10 or 15 for TDKR, that was a stretch. As Tero said, the cinematography alone would take it past those numbers. But sometimes ambitious movies are the more preposterous ones, the most annoying. That’s how I feel about TDKR. Adam Sandler movies on the other hand don’t provoke a lot of reaction from me, because I guess they don’t strive for greatness in the first place. They are what they are, they are not intended to be big artistic statements.
    TDKR is – thematically as well as narratively – a godawful mess of a movie. That’s my problem with it. Jack and Jill (which I have actually seen, can you believe i: during a bus ride in Bolivia, of all places) is at least narratively consistent (if that even makes sense concerning something as redundant as that movie) and obvious in all ways. There is some kind of honesty in that. You can say, it is honest about not trying to be anything other than just another Adam Sandler vehicle, that is pretty harmless to me. People who like that stuff will have a good time, probably. People who don’t like it will never go to a movie like that (unless stuck on a bus!)
    Nolan’s films aspire to so much more, which is admirable in a sense, but also make the risk of failure so much greater. And to me, TDKR felt like a mess through and through, but like a spectacular mess, because his ambition is exactly that: reaching for the spectacular.

  129. julian the emperor
    November 30, 2012

    I love Pasolini, btw. Salo? A beautiful mindfuck of a movie. Love it.

  130. Matt O'Callaghan
    November 30, 2012

    Steve50 – I know what you mean about lacking of a certain type of film this year. My response would be that ‘some’ have gone big and the others are foreign titles. They’re certainly there. Have you seen The Hunt or Holy Motors?

    Also, Salo is, in my mind, a very good film and one of Pasolinin’s best.

  131. steve50
    November 30, 2012

    “There’s clear commentary on today’s society and collective mindset, Gotham standing in for any major metropolis, the carelessness of the rich and the the helplessness of the poor. It’s all a little skewed to meet Hollywood mainstream standards, no doubt, but it’s there.”

    Bang on target, Nik G. You simply don’t get to make those analogies in 99% of the films in this genre, and Nolan trilogy is loaded with opportunities. That is precisely what makes it important, whether or not he overreaches sometimes.

    Combine that with most of the performances – including two (at least) iconic villains and the tech achievements – and you realize we would be poorer without these films.

  132. Steve50
    November 30, 2012

    Mattoc – I made an attempt to watch Holy Motors online last night – unsuccesfully, I’m afraid. I’m dying to see it. Same with The Hunt. Guess I’ll just have to buy them.

    I’m also in the pro-Pasolini camp – wacky good time, he is.

  133. preacher
    November 30, 2012

    Nah.

    I liked Bale and Cain, but Hathaway’s Catwoman was a completely superfluous character, I found Bane more ridiculous than menacing and then there’s poor Marion Cotillard. A highlight in every movie she’s in, no matter how small the part, but Nolan has succeeded in making her suck, the whole character seems like a weak afterthought.

    And I’m not gonne claim it is the weakest Nolan movie, but to me it’s the weakest of his Batman trilogy and not by a small margin. It provides some nice closure for the Bruce Wayne/Batman character, but as a standalone movie, it’s just all over the place.

  134. Film Fatale
    November 30, 2012

    PJ, you’re joking, right? SKYFALL, shot by the great Roger Deakins I might add, is a master class in cinematography from its vividly luscious depictions of London, Macao, Shanghai, Scotland, notably the isle on which Javier Bardem’s character resides — it is a masterpiece of visual invention and frankly blows Nolan’s film out of the water with regards to framing, composition and above all, lighting. Anyone who can see SKYFALL and deny the sensuousness of its imagery — including the sublime shots of the dragon’s mouth in Macao to the backlit neon combat in Shanghai to the dazzle of its opening song sequence, even to the lighting in M’s flat and the exquisite use of close-up on the face of the actress in the casino bar sequence — simply has no clue about what great cinematography (or cinema, for that matter) is. Sorry.

  135. vv
    November 30, 2012

    I agree with Mattoc on his ‘Razzie moments’ argument. Cotillard’s death scene was hilarious.

  136. Nic V
    November 30, 2012

    First off I have to agree that Rex Reed can single handed destroy the ratings of a film on Metracritic. Why they allow that buffoon to file film reviews is beyond me. I don’t recall anyone really taking him all that seriously twenty years ago. Reed was more of a “celebrity” than a critic. Now he’s just comes off as disgruntled and out of touch.

    I’m not a big fan of TDKR. They lost me half way through. The first half had me right in it even though I questioned some of the decisions. Then they lost me as it became a ninja turtle movie.

    But that does not diminish the achievements. I have too agree that TDKR is epic and reaches that status by the technical achievements. I think it will garner a number of technical nominations but that’s all I can see for it. Epic is determined by scope of the film and TDKR certainly fits the criteria for what anyone would define as epic.

    I totally bought into Hathaway as Cat Woman and when she was on the screen I nearly breathed a sigh of relief. Bale never missed a beat and honestly I don’t think there’s a performance in the film that stumbles. In my opinion it’s the screenplay that stumbles and fumbles and turns what could have been an exciting reprise into the b side of a 45 record.

  137. Daveylow
    November 30, 2012

    Don’t think Sam Mendes will be doing an interview here anytime soon.

  138. murtaza
    November 30, 2012

    TDKR was simply the most annoying film Nolan could ever make, from start to finish. It’s ridiculous to call it an epic.
    none of the characters were potent enough to maintain interest in the film and the story was something left over from 60′s.
    i almost felt like slapping every character particularly catwoman (Hathaway was wasted, she doesn’t have any presence when on screen) and robin (Gordon Levitt makes a terrible robin with equally pathetic character developed for him to play). None of the characters including batman and that of Gary Oldman seemed important let alone the despicably drafted supporting roles.
    the most disappointing element was Nolan’s writing, i never expected such loose screenplay from a writer like him, filled with lame twists, several noteworthy plot holes which sound more like flaws.

    The most weakest in the trilogy.

  139. Tero Heikkinen
    November 30, 2012

    “It’s ridiculous to call it an epic.”

    Ryan will probably come here with the definition for “epic”. It doesn’t matter whether you thought it was good or bad. Epic it still is.

  140. Kane
    November 30, 2012

    All along Christopher Nolan has been doing exactly what he’s needed to do, whether the final movie was exciting or not. He’s held a mirror up to society’s face and we’ve had to take a good hard look at ourselves. The people of Gotham look to a Batman when we are in trouble but are quick to dismiss and point fingers when things don’t go as planned. But as in TDK it’s the people on the boats that make their own decisions. Batman gives us courage, we make the final call. I was disgusted with the Aurora shootings and people were quick to blame the theater, the NRA, politicians, yet we can stand up and make a difference, not wait around for a Batman to come around and do the work that can start with an ordinary man. I for one was more entertained with TDK but I’ll say the best in the trilogy is TDKR. All films have left me in awe after I’ve left the theaters thinking, “A comic book movie where the hero is not super but a man with means and conviction.” Also he’s a symbol for what we lack in society and ourselves. Here’s hoping this final film gets repeat viewings and a few Oscar nods. I don’t need it to get a best picture nomination to know what it’s done for me.

  141. Tero Heikkinen
    November 30, 2012

    And no, no, no, no.

    I’m also pro-Pasolini. It’s only Salo I hate. He has like five films I absolutely LOVE.

  142. julian the emperor
    November 30, 2012

    True, Tero, whether it’s good or bad, TDKR is truly epic. Which exactly accounts for why it is such a spectacular failure.

    Cotillard for the Razzie? She has to be one of the stronger candidates this year. And I love Cotillard (I found Midnight in Paris largely forgettable, but every time she was onscreen, I swooned…she has such a delicate, yet forceful presence)

  143. November 30, 2012

    I find it so depressing films such as Skyfall and TDKR are now being considered weighty and serious, I find it even more so that grown men are reduced to violent rage if anyone dares to criticise a man in a bat costume, meanwhile Rome burns.

  144. November 30, 2012

    First off I have to agree that Rex Reed can single handed destroy the ratings of a film on Metracritic. Why they allow that buffoon to file film reviews is beyond me.

    We all remember Rex Reed’s famous Inception review, in which he proudly announces in the headline that he had no clue. “Can Someone Please Explain Inception to Me?”

    Is it clear that I have consistently hated [Nolan's] movies without exception, and I have yet to see one of them that makes one lick of sense?

    So here’s how absurd this is. Imagine every time Apple debuts a new device, The New York Observer give it to their 80-yr-old tech columnist — a “expert” who doesn’t know how an iPad works and can’t comprehend what it’s used for.

    This dang iPad doesn’t make “a lick of sense!” All these newfangled gadgets “jigsaw puzzles nobody can figure out,” phfft! “Incomprehensible gibberish has become a way of life!” [all quotes are Rex Reed's actual stupid words.]

    “I’d like to tell you just how bad Inception the iPad really is, but since it is barely even remotely lucid, no sane description is possible.”

    Then, after confessing he’s incapable of a sane description, he rants on and on for 5 paragraphs about a move that’s way over his head. And his editors keep handing him movies to review? Oh, won’t it fun to see what Rex thinks about The Master and Moonrise Kingdom! I bet he’ll have a lot of really deep insight. (He gave The Master a score of 25. He gave Moonrise Kingdom a score of 25).

    But don’t get the idea that Reed doesn’t like movies. Nope, he gave Hitchcock a score of 100. Perfection!

    I’m sure I rub a few people the wrong way by bluntly stating some critics opinions are worth shit to me. But does it sound so unreasonable when we look at what some of these idiots have written on a specific case by case basis?

    Because that’s all I’m asking. Stop looking at the dumb numbers and start reading words to see where the numbers came from.

  145. kasper
    November 30, 2012

    Here’s a very good roundtable discussion about this movie. Ignatiy V pretty much gets it right here:

    http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/the-big-murk-a-conversation-about-christopher-nolans-the-dark-knight-rises

  146. Lorcan
    November 30, 2012

    Good read. The Dark Knight Rises is one of the best films this year. I think it can make the the top 5 or 6 depending on how many best picture nominees there are. Also, Christian Bale needs to be more regarded in terms of Best Actor possibility. He gave a great performance.

    It was very subtle, underrated and appropriate for the type of film that Nolan wanted. It is flawed, but so are 99.9% of films. It is the last of the trilogy, and ends on a perfect note.

  147. red_wine
    November 30, 2012

    “I find it so depressing films such as Skyfall and TDKR are now being considered weighty and serious, I find it even more so that grown men are reduced to violent rage if anyone dares to criticise a man in a bat costume, meanwhile Rome burns.”

    The most profound thing I have read here in quite a while. Your statement might also truly sum up the ultimately terrible power of Nolan films that even I have to recognize – the inculcation of sentiment in their fans that they have now become connoisseurs of high art and also the ingraining of petulant tendencies to hysterically defend their beloved director beyond all reason and taste.

  148. November 30, 2012

    I find it even more so that grown men are reduced to violent rage

    if that’s not hyperbole you should call the cops.

  149. the other mike
    November 30, 2012

    best film of Nolans career.

  150. murtaza
    November 30, 2012

    “It doesn’t matter whether you thought it was good or bad. Epic it still is.”

    Well if your definition of EPIC includes films with scripts that makes almost nothing memorable about them then i agree, epic it still is.

  151. Denni
    November 30, 2012

    Ughhh some of you folks….. Really? I mean if you can come up with a different story-line/ending to TDKR then please do share, instead of bringing the film Down! I thought it was a beautiful ending to a beautiful series!

  152. Denni
    November 30, 2012

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved SKYFALL too, but it’s because the latest Bond movie has more of a storyline and individual plots. And it’s the first Bond movie that I actually enjoyed the acting. But you can’t compare it to TDKR. It’s a different genre in the first place.

  153. VVS
    November 30, 2012

    I’ve yet to see a film better than TDKR, aside from The Master ( I haven’t seen Lincoln yet).

    So I think not only should both Nolan, and the film be up in their categories, both should have a legitimate shot at winning.

    Tom Hardy should be up for Best Supporting.

  154. steve50
    November 30, 2012

    “look at what some of these idiots have written on a specific case by case basis”

    Rex Reed is one of a few reasons that the numbers game doesn’t work.

    Big confession, though – I always read his reviews just to see how screwed up his interpretation is and how he’ll apply his gummy bear logic to justify it. He’s like an SNL character who should never, ever be taken seriously.

  155. Lucien
    November 30, 2012

    A top tier film with a superb cast. I think the Case for The Dark Knight Rises is a good one. A Best Picture nomination should not even be questioned. I will be surprised if it doesn’t get it, even with a strong year for films. A win is tough, but it possible. Michael Caine for best supporting actor. All his scenes, specially when him and Bruce part ways were top notch. It was satisfying when we get to see him again as he sees Bruce and Selina together.

    The Dark Knight for Best Picture!

  156. Manuel
    November 30, 2012

    Sasha:

    Please confirm this: This year there will only be 5 best pictures nominations?

  157. Alboone
    November 30, 2012

    TDKR was really good. But its nowhere, not even in the same building as TDK. Too many problems with pacing. Sorry Sasha. At best were looking at tech noms.

  158. Noni
    November 30, 2012

    Definitely one of the best films of the year.

    It should recognized as a best picture candidate, actor (Bale), supporting (Caine and Hathaway) along with director(Nolan) and technical categories.

  159. December 1, 2012

    Ryan, thanks for responding. I must clarify that I’m on your side regarding folks like Rex Reed and Stephanie Zacharek. And I do think the Metacritic system isn’t perfect, by any stretch. Moreover, while I do personally tend to rate movies on a 1 to 10 basis, I do understand inherently how silly the concept is. Works of art are almost always worthy of some form of recognition due to all the blood, sweat and tears that go into producing them. Except in select cases where it is clear that very little effort of any kind went into a work and you can practically smell the cynical, draconian motivation behind it. Basically I’m trying to say that almost everything deserves at least a 40 on Metacritic automatically, and then we work up from there (allowing for a few exceptions to this rule). My tendency to rate things is, I guess, meant to allow separation between movies in my own head because I tend to be someone who compartmentalizes everything. I write tons of lists and whatnot, and the grades make it easy to keep everything in a row. Just explaining it makes me feel a little embarrassed. But I can’t help it! Its in my nature. Also, for the record, I gave The Dark Knight Rises an 8 out of 10.

  160. CB
    December 1, 2012

    Sasha, I’m a big fan of your site and your writing, so please take my disagreement with the respect it is intended.

    You are completely wrong.

    You are passionate about DKR because I think you want to be – or perhaps because you legitimately are – but, seriously, this movie is a complete trainwreck.

    Let’s start with the writing: it is awful. Almost entirely expository, with characters making grand speeches to reinforce ‘themes’ and to explain incongruous plot points. Forgetting the dialogue, the structure is totally unsound. Things happen for little to no motivational reason (Bane holding the city hostage even though they’re going to bomb it anyway…?, the schoolbus of kids being sentenced to die by big government, Bane reading Gordon’s speech and people taking a terrorist holding the city hostage at face value, etc.), but even worse are the titanic plot holes. And even the smaller ones, like why are the cops clean-shaven after being trapped underground? I’m sorry, that stuff distracts. Also distracting: what kind of major city police force only has about 3,000 cops and sends all of them underground? Seems kind of silly. And the only excuse is: It’s a comic book movie, it’s not supposed to be taken so seriously. Okay, fine, but then don’t ask me to take Nolan’s films as ‘real-world’. I don’t get it – we’re supposed to accept the ridiculousness and then decide it’s the real world because Selina Kyle isn’t called ‘Catwoman’ and the movies are shot like Michael Mann?

    The acting. There’s not much to do here for the actors if there’s no script. Personally, Anne Hathaway was just fine – inoffensive and fun to watch. Not sexy, not vivacious like Michelle Pfeiffer or vivacious like Heath Ledger. She was fine. Your praise of Marion Cotillard is born of your love for her and for Nolan, and I’m not a film fan who seeks to diminish others’ experiences. (Believe me, I spent much of 2008 pleading with people to see that DK was a masterpiece – which it is, and it was better than every single nominee for BP that year.) But in DKR, MC was, well, again, okay. She was an attractive woman with an European accent who said her lines with a straight face. Honestly, substitute ‘woman’ for ‘man’ and ‘European’ with ‘English’ and you get Michael Caine’s performance. In what world was hers a transcendental (or some synonym) performance? She was fine, did her job, that’s all. Bale was fine too. All the acting was fine, but no performance has stuck with me.

    The direction was fine as well but not incredible as it was in DK. The film moved too quickly, bouncing from one scene to the next without any time to dwell on characters or to even explain motivations. A great thing about DK was that it really spent time with characters in single scenes – we had 7 minutes with Joker, then 10 with Batman, then some with Harvey – and then they all start interacting with each other. There were moods set, and a real sense of ebb and flow so that when everything goes to Hell in the last third, it feels so much more resonant. In DKR, after Bane’s (ultimately pretty useless – he’s the only one who can dismantle the bomb but I’m gonna kill him hahahaha) heist, we get these 4-minute blocks of expediency. Terrible story structure, and that’s Nolan’s fault as director and co-writer. The excuse is, it’s the last chapter in a trilogy, but I have two problems with that: 1. This is its own movie and should be taken as such. 2. This Batman story was almost entirely invented after the second one was released, so it’s not exactly ‘finishing’ a story so much as continuing it.

    DKR is a deeply flawed and fundamentally lacking movie for me, but I’m glad you and so many people enjoyed it.

  161. CB
    December 1, 2012

    BTW I know England is in Europe so my Marion Cottiland/Michael Caine point is a bit badly put, but you know what I mean.

  162. December 1, 2012

    why are the cops clean-shaven after being trapped underground

    Because underground there is no sunlight, so no photosynthesis, therefore nothing grows. :P

    lol Hello. They didn’t have poopy pants either. It’s entirely possible they let them go to the toilet where there were…. wait for it… toiletries. Bane’s boobs didn’t have stubble either but they didn’t show countless scenes of him getting waxed.

    (Bane holding the city hostage even though they’re going to bomb it anyway…?

    It was a distraction.

    the schoolbus of kids being sentenced to die by big government

    They thought that was the best of a bunch of bad choices at the time.

    Bane reading Gordon’s speech and people taking a terrorist holding the city hostage at face value

    Maybe it’s not a problem of the plot, but a problem of your understanding of human nature. Angry people follow all kinds of assholes.

    what kind of major city police force only has about 3,000 cops

    You counted?

    and sends all of them underground

    Okay. Okay. From what I understand there are deleted scenes that showed that Gotham was having a huge Mutant Ninja Turtle problem. But that was cut for time.

    the movies are shot like Michael Mann?

    Which Michael Mann movie looks like TDKR? Certainly not his last few. Or are you talking about the TV shows he produced? I celebrated the opening of TDK when I saw it because I instantly recognized the homage to HEAT. But since then? Not so much. The night before I saw TDKR I rewatched METROPOLIS because I’d seen an interview with Nolan where he said that’s what he was inspired by this time. Otherwise, it looks like its own film to me.

    Honestly, substitute ‘woman’ for ‘man’ and ‘European’ with ‘English’ and you get Michael Caine’s performance.

    I shouldn’t be telling you this because it’s superconfidential but, Michael Caine is Marion Cotillard. It’s the greatest acting of all time. He has a clause written into his contract that no one is allowed to talk about it. Seriously. If you go to his house, his Oscar for LA VIE EN ROSE is right next to his bowling trophies. Rumor has it, it confused the hell out of Leo on the set of INCEPTION. Shh… ;)

    This Batman story was almost entirely invented after the second one was released, so it’s not exactly ‘finishing’ a story so much as continuing it.

    Right…. because you’re supposed to finish a story before you write in the first place. WHAT?!

  163. Jack Traven II
    December 1, 2012

    Nah! TDKR won’t make it into the BP race. And to be honest it wouldn’t bother me. As much as I admire most of Nolan’s oeuvre I just don’t get the hype about his Batman trilogy. Two weeks ago I tried to give TDK another shot. But after a quarter-hour or so I ran out of steam watching it. Again.

  164. CB
    December 1, 2012

    Antoinette, I take your answers to my questions with good humor. Good stuff.

    To answer the Michael Mann point, I’m more thinking the way he shot Ali or Heat – long shifting shots with crisp darkly-lit images. I’m no cinematographer but I think there’s some very similar mise-en-scene with these two directors.

    As for the final part, I guess not-so-eloquently was saying that the movie is wildly disjointed and the only excuse is that it’s the 3rd chapter of a 3-part story. My point there was that this was not so much the final 3rd as an addition to a previous storyline.

  165. December 1, 2012

    Granted it was hard to pick up after all these years But Marion’s character was the daughter of Liam Neeson’s character from the first. His goal was to destroy Gotham. So she was finishing the job. Bane as lead villain was actually a switcheroo. He was just doing her bidding because he loved her. That was his motivation. She was the true villain. They were all somewhat brainwashed by Ra’s Al Ghul, including Bruce Wayne himself who was mentored by him before he knew he was a bad dude. So defeating them allowed Wayne to go on and live a life free from Batman.

  166. THE Diego Ortiz
    December 1, 2012

    RISES was the best in the trilogy in my opinion. People say there is too much in RISES, I say there is too much in KNIGHT. KNIGHT could have been split into two movies.

  167. William Best
    December 2, 2012

    Why not just agree The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall are both great films!

    I would give them the following nominations:
    Skyfall:
    Best supporting actor: Javier Bardem
    Best Original Song
    Best Editing
    Best Sound Editing
    Best Sound Mixing
    Best Cinematograhpy
    Best Visual Effects

    The Dark Knight Rises:
    Best supporting actress: Anne Hathaway
    Best Editing
    Best Sound Editing
    Best Sound Mixing
    Best Visual Effects
    Best original score
    (possible: best cinematography and best director)

  168. CB
    December 2, 2012

    Well, it’s not so much plot as structure. As someone who read an embarrassing amount of comics as a kid Marion as Talia al-Ghul (ugh I spelled it right) was no surprise and I expected it the whole time anyway as I knew they’d want ‘closure’. My issue is that the pacing of the movie was totally off from the minute we got to Wayne Manor. They want him to be physically broken so he can ‘build his way back to being Batman’ when we meet him as a recluse. So then we spend 20 minutes of rushing scenes getting him back in the cape and cowl, then he is and we’re like ‘Okay, um this IS a Batman movie.’ Then suddenly we have the stock exchange scene which makes absolutely no sense – why would a trade go through when it’s under attack? It would’ve been shut down immediately once the first security guard was shot. Then Bruce Wayne is bankrupt and more flitting from scene to scene. It just felt like a complete mess where everything was about the expedience of getting characters to their set pieces and having them explain the emotional/thematic resonances therein. It was a completely off movie.

  169. December 2, 2012

    Then suddenly we have the stock exchange scene which makes absolutely no sense – why would a trade go through when it’s under attack? It would’ve been shut down immediately once the first security guard was shot.

    I have no idea how the real stock exchange works but I can’t imagine that there are emergency buttons everywhere that you can easily press to stop global trade.

    You do realize that you’re going out of your way to find fault with this film don’t you? Unlike a movie like LINCOLN, which has to be historically accurate because there are so many people who know what happened and how things are supposed to look because the events in the picture actually took place, a movie like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES can make its own rules. I’m not saying it did. But the fact is Gotham is not a real place. It’s not New York City. Just at Metropolis isn’t. Bruce Wayne was not an actual person. It’s not a biopic. That was not the New York Stock Exchange. Who knows what the protocol would be if it were breached? Only security people in Gotham know but they don’t really exist because Gotham doesn’t really exist.

    Every complaint you have is a nitpick and no film stands up to nitpicks. If you go into movies desperately looking for flubs or things that are incorrect how can you enjoy any of them?

    Then Bruce Wayne is bankrupt and more flitting from scene to scene.

    One scene led to the next and then to the next. There was no flitting. You ever watch a soap opera? They often go from one storyline to another and then back again to the first showing you what is happening in several locations at the same time. That’s not flitting. It’s a way to tell a story. I barely remember that happening in TDKR honestly. But I can clearly hear in my mind the “meanwhile” sound that accompanies the transition in the old Batman TV series that would show you what the villains were up to while Batman and Robin were talking to Commissioner Gordon or dealing with something else. If that’s flitting, then it’s appropriate.

    I’ve often thought people didn’t recognize how much Nolan went out of his way to reference the old show. I even thought Ledger’s Joker was much closer to Cesar Romero’s than any of the newer incarnations. And I didn’t read the comic books but every comic book geek I spoke to was pleased with what Nolan used from them. From all accounts he drew from all sources to make this trilogy. If you don’t like it, you probably didn’t want to in the first place.

  170. The Love Movement
    December 2, 2012

    The best film of 2012. It deserves to win all the accolades that it can get including best picture and best actor. What a masterpiece.

  171. Amy Mantravadi
    December 2, 2012

    In my opinion, The Dark Knight Rises is not as strong as The Dark Knight, but that is a mighty high standard to live up to. I truly believe TDK was one of the best films I’ve ever seen, not only because it was perfect on so many levels (score, dialogue, pacing, visuals, performances) but also because it went farther than any other superhero film I have seen in the realm of philosophy. TDK ought to be seen as a metaphor for the War on Terror and the actions and emotions that acts of terrorism provoke in us. Though the terrorists we are fighting today are not often anarchists like the Joker, their culture and motives are so foreign to us that they truly seem to be bent on nothing but destruction for destruction’s sake. With TDKR we have two new metaphors that are also compelling: 1) The gap between the haves and the have nots (how appropriate given the current political climate), and 2) The actions that are provoked in a society when their greatest fear comes to be (an assured nuclear destruction rather than random acts of smaller-scale violence in TDK). Unfortunately, I did feel that the pacing was not as good in this one, though Tom Hardy does about as good as anyone could have done in filling the villainous shoes of Heath Ledger. It also comes close to making the Spider-man 3 mistake of having too many competing characters and storylines, preventing any of them from getting fully developed. Only because of its long running time is it able to avoid that particular fate. But what the first hour of the film lacks (as exhibited most clearly in the somewhat awkward scene where Alfred tells Bruce Wayne he is leaving), the ending makes up for quite nicely. Were it not for the fact that it has so much in common with the end of Angels & Demons, I would have considered it even more brilliant. Still, when I left the theater and in the weeks following, I did not feel the same elation as I experienced with TDK. It somehow felt a bit unbelievable compared to the more gritty realism of its predecessor. I suspect that this feeling will be enough to prevent it getting a Best Picture, Director, or Screenplay nod, and Hathaway’s Les Miserables performance pretty much ensures she won’t get another nomination for this. It’s a great shame though, because Nolan is one of the best and most promising directors working today. I think I would see just about anything he puts out. No one has taken this particular genre to the heights that he has. Watching the Avengers on DVD, I was incredibly struck by how inferior that kind of fluff is to what Nolan has created. If the new Batman has as big of an influence on the direction of filmmaking as it ought to, then it is well deserving of a Best Picture nomination and a whole lot more. Sadly, I have little faith in the Academy to do the right thing. If only this was put out by the Weinstein Company….

  172. CB
    December 2, 2012

    Well, with all due respect, Gotham can’t just make up its own rules and then be taken seriously as a real-world movie, which I think this movie depends on in order to be taken seriously. These aren’t nitpicks, but huge gaping plot holes that distract from my enjoyment of the film. In DK, after Batman and Rachel go through the window in the party scene we never find out how Joker left or if he did. But we don’t care, because the movie is so tight and moves so gracefully. DKR lacked any of that grace, and so it made it so that one ‘surrendering of disbelief’ after another became too much to ask (at least for me – again, I have no interest diminishing your enjoyment of the film, frankly, I wish I shared it). But this movie revealed the worst of Nolan’s problems as a screenwriter – over-explanations of things he couldn’t just let the plot handle for themselves. In DK (and Insomnia), things moved so fluidly that it didn’t require constantly explaining why something was happening or even why it was important. Heck, there were even subtleties in those films, and there’s so often a dearth of subtlety in Nolan’s work. But here, it was just relentless “I did this because I knew it would inspire you in this way” dialogue from every single character. So tedious!

  173. Free
    December 3, 2012

    “TDKR is nowhere near Nolan’s worst film (having not seen Following, that is easily The Prestige”

    -Having seen FOLLOWING, I can tell you: that is far and away his worst. Kind of feels like an ambitious but extremely flawed student film.

  174. Nic Cage
    December 4, 2012

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WQJuGeqdbn4
    This little jab at the film says it all.

    After passionately, PASSIONATELY defending a film like The Social Network, I have serious issue with your credibility in film taste when you passionately praise the Dark Knight Rises. That movie was mediocre at BEST. And you know it. You make for a great blogger, though, generating heating comments between fanboys and girls versus, you know, people that want to actually talk about GREAT movies.

  175. Grego
    December 7, 2012

    “To get nominated, you can be a love it/hate it film, but that’s a rough row to hoe to a win. That is why The Hurt Locker beat Avatar, I’m guessing. And how The King’s Speech beat The Social Network and on and on it goes. To win, you have to be good but not so good you end up offending some people who fail to get it. Great art always offends some people. Cutting-edge complexity is bewildering to voters seeking traditional comfort. Daring films will always turn more than a few people off because the might be exposing an uncomfortable truths.”

    Sasha, I don’t understand this. The Hurt Locker should have won just like The Social Network should have won. Beyond Avatar’s technical achievements, it is the middle of the road film with no cutting-edge complexity; it is the crowd-pleaser just like The King’s Speech. Avatar and King’s Speech are similar, offering traditional comfort and neither are daring. The Hurt Locker and The Social Network offer no such traditional comforts, so they are similar. Perhaps I’m not understanding what you said, but to say that Avatar should have won over The Hurt Locker is baffling, since Avatar is nothing without its 3D technology. There’s nothing to get with Avatar, and it certainly offended no one and I can’t think of anyone who didn’t get it. But I can think of plenty who just didn’t get The Hurt Locker.

  176. January 11, 2013

    A blockbuster trilogy with brains? How many times have we seen this happen? Children and teenagers going to see a movie with several extremely political and social criticism? It deserves much credit. TDKR definitely deserved to be nominated in several categories, like:

    Best Picture
    Best Director
    Best Screenplay
    Best Editing
    Best Supporting Actress(Anne Hathaway)/Actor(Tom Hardy)
    Best Cinematography
    Best Sound
    Best Sound Editing
    Best Score
    Best Visual Effects

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