The Trouble with Quibbles: The Dark Knight Rises – Part 2

The quibbling continues as Bryan and I discuss our feelings about The Dark Knight Rises. If you haven’t already, be sure to read part 1 of this Quibble.

ADAM: So, where were we?

BRYAN: I sarcastically posed a lot of questions.

ADAM: Ah, yes. Well, for starters, Batman would quit because, much like Roger Murtaugh, “he’s getting too old for this shit.”

BRYAN: After a year of being Batman? Before you go on answering all of these… cause I’m sure there are answers. I simply feel like the sheer volume of these things and the fact that this is what I’m thinking about after the film, say more about the film than any “answers.” I should be–and wish I was–more like “Holy shit when the semi flipped over.” Instead, I’m scratching my head way too much.

ADAM: At this point, we all know that you were confused by what happened in The Dark Knight Rises, what I’m positing is that: maybe that’s your fault. Every question you seem to have about what happened in the film is answered in the film. Part of Bane’s schtick is saying exactly what he’s going to do before he does it. He’s like evil Billy Jack.

BRYAN: This isn’t an Inception or Memento confused. These are things that I shouldn’t have to think hard about, yet I am.

ADAM: I understand that, but how is that the film’s fault? I could follow what was going on and you keep asking questions about things that were explicitly explained in the movie, so, again, how is the film to blame for you not paying close enough attention?

BRYAN: It’s not me paying attention. I’m fully alert at the movies. It’s more about how they poorly executed these things and how once they are explained they’re weightless or silly. How did you feel about the Iron Giant ending?

ADAM: I had no problem with that part of the ending. And don’t think I’m unaware of your changing the subject.

BRYAN: Just moving it along. I’m liking the ending more if you think the Florence bits are imagined.

ADAM: But this is too big to just gloss over. You’re asking the wrong questions. And that’s just ridiculous. What is this, Savages? I’ll just imagine a different ending!

BRYAN: Well, when you take into consideration the impossibility of the ending, it does make more sense.

ADAM: You didn’t pick up on what characters were telling you AND you’re just going to make-believe the ending is something other than what it was. Your nitpicking knows no bounds.

BRYAN: This is the problem. The film constantly sacrifices logic for its theme. Like the prison. Logically a place like that makes no sense, but visually and thematically it plays. It’s a nice call back to Batman Begins and it has meaning, but instead of enjoying the resonance I’m trying to figure out how it works. Or the ending. Batman does what he does, but logically it’s impossible. It ties into Alfred’s little tale, but he forces the chess pieces to move how they don’t move so it can fit his end game. Also, why is Alfred all anti-Batman when in TDK he’s all about enduring and not quitting?

ADAM: Logically a prison in the middle of Gotham makes no sense?

BRYAN: The well prison.

ADAM: Why?

BRYAN: Who’s in charge? Where does food come from? If you have a buddy on the outside isn’t escape like super easy? If anyone does climb out, isn’t escape for everyone else like super easy? Etc…

ADAM: Oh my god your bloody nitpicking. Never mind the fact that the “logic” of modern prison in and of itself is preposterous anyway. None of that matters. Who runs the prison in Escape From New York?

BRYAN: If I was more involved I wouldn’t care, but these things kept popping up. Anyways, how about the final shot? I thought all of the epilogue was okay, but the JGL stuff was great. Whether this story continues or not, I love the idea of where this thread goes.

ADAM: You baffle me to no end. I thought the final shot was great. I do like the JGL stuff, but I saw it coming a mile away. Nothing about the ending surprised me. They tipped their hand about everything in the first act.

BRYAN: You always catch that shit and I never do. I’m never looking forward to the end and guessing at it. So, I didn’t catch it until maybe the bridge scene.

ADAM: But it was so blatant here: showing the scene of Alfred’s vacation ritual, Bruce confiding in Blake, don’t even get me started on the Marion Cotillard business.

BRYAN: What about Marion? My brain just doesn’t work that way, so when I do guess the end I feel like something was wrong if I was able to guess it.

ADAM: Well, SPOILER–the fact that she was Talia al Ghul.

BRYAN: But I mean, how does that inform the end?

ADAM: If you know that she’s Talia, then you know that she’s gonna betray Bruce in the end.

BRYAN: I see what you’re saying. Not talking about the JGL stuff, just the final act. That I did see coming. Here’s two thoughts for you: Is Nolan telling us Batman is a good or bad thing? And do you buy into people saying Nolan doesn’t like silly superhero movies? (Which I think is bullshit to assume of someone who just made 3 of them.)

ADAM: I don’t believe that Nolan thinks Batman is a bad thing. As for “silly superhero movies,” I don’t think he’s made a “silly” movie. Batman & Robin is a silly movie. I believe Nolan is interested in the reality of this character who just so happens to be a superhero. But more than that, Batman is just a man, a flawed man.

BRYAN: People tend to claim he’s disinterested. But, how is he disinterested in something he spent so much time making? As for Batman being a bad thing, it’s weird cause most of Rises feels like that’s the message, but then that final shot says: no, we need this.

ADAM: I feel like Nolan might have seemed disinterested because Heath Ledger’s death prohibited him from making the film he originally wanted to make, but that’s assuming that Nolan’s third Bat-film was going to revolve around the Joker again. Idunno… I feel like there’s a lot of baggage around his trilogy and it probably really weighs down on him.

BRYAN: I just think if he didn’t want to make the movie, nothing was stopping him. What about Batman good/bad?

ADAM: I already said I don’t think Nolan thinks he’s bad.

BRYAN: Is Alfred wrong? Or was it just wrong for Bruce Wayne?

ADAM: What?

BRYAN: Like, there’s a way to be Batman without getting hands dirty, or must it be a short-term occupation?

ADAM: There is no human way to be Batman without getting your hands dirty.

BRYAN: Someone smarter than me needs to write an essay explaining what Nolan is trying to say about Batman/vigilantism in this final film. Any other thoughts?

ADAM: Plenty. The Dark Knight Rises might not be my favorite film of the series, but that’s probably just be because there are so many layers to process. The more I think about it, the more I like it. And I just want to watch it again. It’s flawed, but so is Batman.

BRYAN: Well put. In fact, I think after a second viewing I’ll be more apt to enjoy it, or I’ll fucking hate it. And me hating a Batman movie seems very unlikely. Despite the quibbles, there is a lot to like and a lot to take in. I certainly wouldn’t write the whole thing off. I can’t wait to see what Nolan does post-Bats or what WB does with the property next. Any directors you’d like to see take over?

ADAM: No one immediately comes to mind.

7 responses to “The Trouble with Quibbles: The Dark Knight Rises – Part 2

  1. Jose Garcia Jr.

    My issue with the prison was that it really slowed down the flow of the movie. The problem is that it had to be that long. It had to feel long enough so it was believable that Bruce regained his strength. I wish that whole sequence would have been shorter but oh well. People already complained that it wasn’t believable that Bruce healed that quickly. A shorter sequence would really have felt rushed. But I’m sure it won’t seem as long the second time. ****Spoiler******************************************** But if you are reading this and haven’t seen it, come on.
    Bane didn’t break his back, he just really fucked him up.

  2. Bryan Parrill

    If they weren’t trying to make a point about Bruce climbing/rising out of that prison/well, then they really could have cut the whole thing. Bane/Gotham story continues with underground cops planning to attack…you establish it’s been awhile and then right when he’s most needed…bam….Batman’s back mohterfuckers!

    What we got is still probably the best version of this story, it just suffers for its ambition.

  3. Bryan Parrill

    Just thought of something SPOILER-Y:

    The whole film we’re told of a child born in the prison…and we think it’s Bane…but then it is really Talia.

    So we never really hear Bane’s story…but when fighting Batman he says he was born in the dark/darkness??? So it wasn’t his story but he played that part or his background was similar to Talia or this is just a cheat?

    • He says he was born in darkness and that he didn’t see light until he was a man. The well prison isn’t dark and a child escapes, not a man. And you’re still nitpicking.

  4. Jose Garcia Jr.

    I thought he was speaking figuratively. On a side note, I didn’t guess that the kid was Talia but I did think it was weird that they cast the little girl from Ramona and Beezus as kid Bane.

  5. Bryan Parrill

    I agree, I am. It’s what happens when you feel let down. However, I will state again, all this might subside with multiple screenings.

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