Poorly written script ruins what should have been the best film in the trilogy.


Film Review © 2012 by Trip Reynolds

Action/Drama/Comic Book

Directed by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, from characters created by Bob Kane. Produced by Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, and Emma Thomas. Executive produced by Kevin De La Noy, Benjamin Melniker, Thomas Tull, and Michael Uslan. Co-produced by Jordan Goldberg. Line producer Deleep Singh Rathore.

Starring: Christian Bale (as Bruce Wayne / Batman), Gary Oldman (as Commissioner Gordon), Tom Hardy (as the evil, Bane), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Blake), Anne Hathaway (as Selina / Catwoman), Marion Cotillard (as Miranda), Morgan Freeman (as Fox), Michael Caine (as Alfred), Matthew Modine (as Foley), Alon Aboutboul (as Dr. Pavel), Ben Mendelsohn (as Daggett), Burn Gorman (as Stryver), Daniel Sunjata (as Captain Jones), Aidan Gillen (as CIA Op), Sam Kennard (as Special Ops Sergeant), Nestor Carbonell (as Mayor), Brett Cullen (as Congressman), William Devane (as President), Liam Neeson (as Ra's Al Ghul), Cillian Murphy (as Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow), and a host of others.



After being absent for eight years, because Gotham City was nearly crime free, Batman returns to oppose his so-called greatest threat, Bane, a prodigy of Ra's al Ghul. Bane has conquered all police and locked Gotham from all contact and communications from the rest of the world. Stop laughing. Even the local militia, National Guard, and federal troops are unable to enter Bane's newly conquered Gotham City. Of course, Batman comes to save the day.

TDKR is unnecessarily pretentious, poorly scripted and convoluted - it's based on three-(3) source material comic books: 1993 "Knightfall," the legendary 1986 series "The Dark Knight Returns," and from 1999 "No Man's Land." Ultimately, this lackluster film fails to deliver a climaxing chapter in the filmed Batman mythos.  Of course, any fan of this franchise will get sucked into seeing this film; however, its dark and brooding atmosphere and its very predictable ending will leave any enlightened movie-goer or connoisseur of the Bathman mythos completely unsatisfied.  The movie fails on so many levels:

1. Given the absence of a bio-skeleton (from the graphic novel), the technology behind Bruce Wayne’s recovery from his near-crippling physical injuries (Bane broke Batman's back!!!) was never explained;

2. The complete lack of technological and tactical synergy between local, state, and federal LEOs and the military is not even remotely realistic;

3. It’s inaccurate to present the Batman mythos as anything but superior to the Ra’s al Ghul legacy; and

4. We saw “Escape from New York,” then “Escape from L.A.” and now we’ve got to sit for nearly three hours and watch a very unoriginal “Escape from Gotham City." Oh, please.

Instead of producing a convoluted film based on three comic book stories, producers should have focused only on adapting "The Dark Knight Returns" to film. In the graphic novel, "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns," a retired Batman returns to Gotham City at 55 years of age to fight crime, corrupt police, an oppressive United States government, and he even beats Superman. An accurately cast film would have required an much older Batman, perhaps starring Kurt Russell ["Escape from New York (1981)," "Big Trouble in Little China (1986)," "Tombstone (1993)," "Death Proof (2007)," "The Hateful Eight (2015)"], because Russell would have been better cast as a seasoned and extremely willful Batman.

Bale is watchable as a beaten, doubtful, and depressed Batman, but is this the resourceful "hero" we came to see? Film works best with on-screen performances by Caine, Freeman, and Hathaway. Direction by Christopher Nolan seemed protracted and laborious as did editing by Lee Smith for this 165 minute poorly scripted tomb. Film should have been faster paced and trimmed by at least 30 minutes.

Recommendation: This is a home video release; rent it, don't buy it unless you want to add it to your Batman collection. Even better, purchase the original 1986 source material - the four-issue comic book mini series, "The Dark Knight Returns," starring Batman, written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Miller and Klaus Janson, and published by DC Comics.