Jul 20 2012
Some initial thoughts (with some spoilers):
- Catwoman was serviceable, but I was hoping for more. (That opening scene with the missing congressman was pretty awesome, though). I really like the tweaks they made to Blake’s backstory, but the character would probably have benefited from more interaction with Batman.
- I missed maybe 10-20% of Bane’s lines due to the quality of his voice. I hope this was just an issue with the sound quality of my theatre rather than the voice being horribly garbled.
- Gotham’s police held the idiot ball the entire movie. Letting random gang members escape on motorcycles from a completely-surrounded stock exchange was weak, but the climactic battle was just decrepit. Rushing into a battle with clubs and light weapons against assault rifles is stupid. I find it hard to believe that the writer(s) that came up with Catwoman’s opening scene couldn’t have done more here. (Diversionary tactics? Setting a trap/ambush? Any use of cover? Any smuggled explosives from the army? Anything to reduce visibility besides a few smoke grenades too late to change anything?) This battle is perhaps the only moment when the police actually have any semblance of initiative, and it’s disappointing that they mishandled it so badly. Overall, the police force was so thoroughly idiotic that the commissioner taking part in a SWAT raid was barely noticeable.
- The villains were better than average. Dr. Crane (Scarecrow) makes a hilarious appearance and I’m glad that he eschewed his mask.
- Some plot developments didn’t really go anywhere and/or make much sense. For example, Bane reads the letter from Gordon to dispirit the people of Gotham. Most importantly, there aren’t any consequences here. Secondarily, the evidence is so weak and the speaker’s credibility so shaky that I can’t imagine many people would pay much attention. Moreover, this plot arc just reinforces that it would have been smarter for Gordon to pin Dent’s death on a criminal group (like the mob) rather than Batman.
- Instead of repelling an invasion in a matter of hours (a la Avengers), Gotham liberates itself over three months. I thought this really helped the filmmakers show the grinding effect of the war rather than just showing, say, buildings exploding. Additionally, it opens up avenues of character development (e.g. it’s more believable that the police commissioner opts to “keep his head down” after 2 months of occupation rather than 2 hours).
- Depending on your political preferences, the portrayal of the Occupy Wall Street movement (e.g. terrorists, a Robespierre-style reign of terror, no remotely likable goals, no likable characters, and a nuclear massacre plot) might be cause for surliness. If you’re writing a political conflict vaguely tied to the real world, I’d generally recommend making it more of a conflict between likable protagonists than between protagonists and psychotic antagonists. (Catwoman could have used some work on the likability front, by the way). On the other side of the political spectrum, X-Men: First Class could have done a better job making the CIA less one-dimensionally evil.
- As expected, the fiery death of Ben Roethlisberger was the movie’s main feel-good moment.
- A newspaper headline misspelled “heist” as “hiest.”