The Dark Knight Rises

Neither me nor my friend were sure about sneaking beers and snacks into the movies. Maybe too soon for illegal smugglings? The local theater had a very alert looking cop outside and another cop inside by the ticket ripper. In my bag I had two tall boys, a can of (low-salt) pringles, a big water, and a kit kat. It looked bulky. Certainly worth a peek from increased security I would assume? But nobody cared. There was no bag check. The cop didn't look twice at the two grown men walking into a theater with two large bags-- and that was fine by me.

Inside the place was packed. Got seats up close. After sitting through a series of good-enough previews (New Bourne, The Watch, Man of Steel, Expendables 2) this new Dark Knight starts up. My excitement level was mid to mild. I could sense there was something wrong with this movie weeks ago. Vibe issue. I couldn't tell what the problem would be... but something wasn't going to be right.

Soon enough I found out what was wrong. This movie is a choppy incoherent emotionless mess. Right from the get-go, in a scene that seemed more geared toward James Bond, I had no idea what was going on. Bane was escaping and crashing a plane then taking blood (mittendrinen?) and zooming off from where to what? Huh?! Wait who was that? Okay fine. I guess I'd find out later. (I didn't.)

Bane's voice, I heard was redubbed because it was originally incoherent to test audiences, was now boomingly loud. Otherworldly narrator loud. An awkward overcomp (and often muffled anyway?). And although Bane's mask is decently creepy with the Predator style mouth pop -- it soon proved to be ridiculous. You're hiding the best actor on the screen behind a mask that covers most of his face? And frankly, an actor who doesn't have darkly deep enough eyes to eye-act past the challenge of it? Plus, dude looked like he belonged in friggin Thunderdome. Master Blaster's smarter brother...

Batman also sounded extra dopey this time around. Straight up goofy. Maybe because I watched too many spoofs on the net but Bale's put-on voice and weird puckered lips seemed to be spoofing at his own face. I stared at this ridiculously expensive movie as plots piled on top of detours on top of characters on top of tangents on top of settings. I yawned at how convoluted it all was. Transformerly heights of huh?? Maybe for deep end fans it all made sense. Answered questions. But to the dabbler (like me) with a short attention span -- it's basically gibberish. Big impressive statements attached to no real structure. Signifying nothing. Yadda, I understand they needed to cover all the bases to close out the series. Covering bases fine. This seemed more like smothering them out.

Of course, there are some scenes that work. Occasionally Bane comes across with some serious blunt force. A music-less/effect-less fight scene was impressive. But even the best scenes didn't make this movie something necessary to see. I guess the bigger bat-problem is... once past The Joker, the benchwarmers are strictly JV squad. Penguin? Mr. Freeze? The "Riddler"? ... any of which can easily make themselves be at home in a friggin Richie Rich Digest. No wonder they went to the farm team of villains to fill the void.

And when push comes to shove maybe I've just grown weary of, 'Where are the detonators!!?' We gotta diffuse the bomb!!' It's tired to me. It makes me tired too. Tired as the dude in the dirty rubber batsuit standing on Hollywood Boulevard taking polaroids while melting on the inside and wishing he was doing something else.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- For real Batman fans it's probably a soothing release send-off.
- Bane was fun to look at sometimes and he was a good puncher.
- The sound of the motorcycle tires skittering.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- Sometimes they cranked up the music over nothing particularly interesting.
- I can't help finding Catwoman ridiculous. Fighting in go-go boots like it's 1965.
- There's a side of me that feels I'm too stupid to understand a Batman movie.

All in all, this movie is like watching a really good trailer stretched out over three hours. In fact I bet if you grab any random three minutes from any part of this movie and cut it together it will look like a solid trailer. Any random line. Any random fight. Any random stare. Any random rant. Any random vehicle. Any random explosion. Take your pick. Edit it together with boomy music and it'll work as a trailer for this flick -- especially because it will pretty much accurately represent what this movie is all about.