Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises is Bad, and You Should Feel Bad

So, it seems I am one of the few people I know that didn't like the Dark Knight Rises. It's not just that I didn't like it, it's that the more I think about it, the more I dislike it.

So in the beginning we learn Bruce hasn't been Batman or left his house for 8 years. Eight! That's more years than it took him to become Batman. Why would he do that? Because Rachel died? Well, what the hell. He never really became Batman then, he just sorta took on the role once or twice and gave it up later. He didn't act the way Batman is supposed to act! I mean, in that whole 8 years, I'm supposed to think there was not one instance of people getting mugged in a dirty alley? Hell, I bet there were quite a few instances where 8 year olds were orphaned! But no, he could just give it up for 8 years, then be Batman for like 2 months, then give up Batman forever to go live with No Personality Woman.

Speaking of which, Catwoman. Well, the name's a misnomer, she's just Selina Kyle, normal thief who wears impractical clothing all the time. Her character was absolutely pointless. She knew where Bane was because the plot needed it. She helped Bruce because the plot needed it. She beat people up because the plot needed it. Bruce kept saying there was more to her, but really, his claim was the only evidence of that. The heels were stupid, she never needed to wear spandex because it served no function, and the movie would have gone on just fine without her.

Bane is easily the worst part of this movie. The whole time he rants on about Gothams reckoning, or gives some half-ass political commentary, like in the Stock Exchange when someone says, "There's no money for you to steal here!" and he replies, "Then what are you people doing here?" Oh Bane, do you need someone to explain stocks to you? I mean, there's no money to steal in an office, but a lot of people spend a lot of their time in one! He had no reason to say that anyway. His motivation wasn't political or philosophical or anything, he was just doing all this because Talia Al Ghul told him to! If you keep that in mind, nothing he says makes any sense. Take his big speech in front of Blackgate when he released the prisoners. Who was that for? The people of Gotham don't care, he's contradicting any talks of liberation by giving AK-47's to convicts. The prisoners are being given guns, I think any reasoning is pointless to them. It wasn't for Bruce, because Bane already told him he was just going to break Gotham. He just talked a big speech that had no point for anybody in the story. He said he was going to give Gotham hope before destroying it, but he didn't even do that! He just talked about redemption while having tanks roam around the city. All he did was confuse people!

Not to mention he was supposed to be League of Shadows, but if he never said anything about it, you would never know. He doesn't do anything ninjesque, he just punches people really hard and breaks their necks because he's a really big strong guy. Where did he even get his fanatically devoted henchmen? They can't be League of Shadows, because they were both dead and ninjas. None of these dudes were ninjas, they were beaten up by cops later! He couldn't have just hired them, because they were perfectly willing to die for him. It's never explained, at all. His whole plan with the bomb doesn't make sense either, how did the nuclear reactor become such an effective bomb in the span of a few minutes of Dr. Pavel working on it, and afterwards it had both a timer and trigger? It wasn't created to be a bomb, why did it serve that purpose so well if turning it into one was jury-rigging it?

Talia's motives didn't make much sense either. It just seemed really petty, what she was doing, trying to avenge her father or something even though apparently she never forgave him for forsaking Bane. She wasn't even needed in the story, if it was just Bane doing this for whatever reason it would have made a lot more sense, and then at least his long boring speeches would have given us some insight into his motivations.  Bane's voice was even worse. He sounded like Yoda and Sean Connery's lovechild wearing a Darth Vader mask. He would go through random changes in pitch, so his voice would go really high in the middle of a word and he just sounded goofy.

Does anyone even remember the last scene Bane was in? He was defeated in the most underwhelming way possible. He's shot by Selina and never seen again. Speaking of underwhelming scenes, when Bane breaks Batman. It takes a second and a little crack for Bane to do the bad wrestling move that we later learn broke Batman's back. I didn't even know it happened at first, I thought he just did a normal leg drop and the camera cut to Selina looking sad. It's supposed to be a big moment, but I barely knew it happened. Oh, and later some random asshole in the prison punches Bruce in the back and fixes it, so easy come easy go for that. I noticed the only way they could justify Bane beating Batman the first time was to have Batman not do shit for 8 years. Originally, Bane actually, you know, was better than Batman and planned to beat him. In this, Bane was pretty luckly Batman sucked at first.

The only redeeming parts of this movie were Commissioner Gordon and John Blake. At least their characters made sense and I didn't hate them. Of course, at the end, Bruce kinda screwed Blake over by pretty much making him become Batman. Let's think about what advantages Bruce had when he became Batman. Training by the League of Shadows, nearly unlimited financial resources, tech straight from Wayne Industries, and a whole lot of free time. What does Blake have? Oh, not even the free time because he still has to get a job to feed himself! The only reason we could believe Batman wouldn't just get shot and die was because of all these advantages, and Blake will have none of them, but it's okay, Bruce is happy and in Florence! Bruce didn't earn that ending, he just quit being Batman again like he did right after The Dark Knight! And why did he run off with Selina? The only thing they had in common was their costume fetish.

This movie was bad. So bad. Bane doesn't even slightly match up with the Joker from The Dark Knight, who had a well reasoned motivation and was scary as hell. He proved his idea that anybody could be as crazy as him, even the best person in Gotham, by turning Harvey Dent into a murderer. Batman was the opposite of this idea, because Batman refused to kill. Oh, DKR also nullified that because Batman totally killed the driver of the bomb-truck when he shot at it with the Bat.

That's probably not all that was wrong, if anyone brings up anything else I'm likely to add to this. But yeah, The Dark Knight Rises was not even close to the Dark Knight, or Batman Begins. It was bad, and you should feel bad.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man No Spoiler Review

As you probably all know, I saw The Amazing Spider-Man at the midnight showing, and I was sufficiently impressed! There was a lot I liked, a little I didn't, so let's get right into it.

Andrew Garfield as Peter was well established, though he was less of a science nerd and more of an engineer. It's a bit of a departure from the usual Peter Parker who's all science all the time, he seems less smart and more of just a normal guy. I was a little disappointed at that, especially since the trailers seemed to show that Peter actually used some smarts to do stuff.  Martin Sheen was an amazing Uncle Ben. He had a real, tangible presence on screen, and he actually seemed like the kind of guy who would raise Peter Parker. He didn't just go around giving speeches, he behaved like a real parent would. Rhys Ifans as Curt Conners/The Lizard... Well, we'll get back to him.

Spider-Man himself was handled very well, I think. The webs were mechanical, as I pointed out in one of the trailer previews, which is what I prefer. One of the things I loved most about it, that other people have pointed out, is that he really moves like a spider. There's one scene where he crawls around a bad guy and covers him in a web cocoon. That's really cool. It's something we haven't really seen Spider-Man do, which is why I like this movie so much. It showcases so much of what we haven't seen Spider-Man do before. He quips only slightly more than in the Raimi films, but honestly at this point I'll take what I can get.

Storywise, I was pretty happy with it. Romance plays a fairly large role, but really, it's always been a pretty big part of Spider-Man. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy deviated from comic-Gwen in that she actually did stuff, instead of just being baggage Peter had to deal with. The love story was handled well, I'd say better than the original movie's romance plot.

As for the rest, you probably saw from trailers that Spider-Man clashes with the police, which I enjoyed. The main problem is with the main villain, The Lizard. I mean, it's Mad Scientist Lizard. I don't think there's a way you can do that where it's not a bit silly. You could tell Ifans was doing his best to keep it serious, but it's a humanoid scientist lizard. He had to work with what he had.

Some shots were familiar, like the usual swinging scenes, and the New York overhead shots.  The first-person effect wasn't used as much as I thought it would be, and it might be a good thing, since if it were overused, I think it just would've caused motion-sickness.

Overall, the movie just shows a different type of origin for our wall-crawling friend. He's not exactly the same Peter Parker we knew, and things don't go the same way. It had a darker tone with a lot of nailbiters, but some parts managed to have comedy, and of course you have the New Yorkers Unite scene that gives you the warm fuzzy feelings.

So the Amazing Spider-Man gets the W Defender seal of approval! I give it about an 8.5/10. If you want spoilers and the like, I'm planning on watching it again soon and writing a more in-depth review. I like it now, but if you had asked me what I thought of Spider-Man 3 after only seeing it at midnight, I would've said I liked that too, so my judgement at these showings may be skewed. So, grain of salt, at least until I've watched it again.