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The Only Review of The Dark Knight Rises That You'll Ever Need...

After you read my review, then you have my permission to, wait, buy my book first, then you have my permission to die.

My biggest beef with reviews, is not whether or not they dug whatever the product is, but not knowing where they come from. What they prefer. So, I'm gonna give you a bit of my backround so you know.

My top three favorite films of all time are 1. Boogie Nights, 2. Scream, and 3. The Expendables [Director's Cut].

I love Batman. Always have. I saw Batman 89 at a Drive-In. I've been obsessed with him since I was a child. I love comic book films.

I gave Batman Begins about ***1/4 out of 5, because it failed for a lot of reasons. If you want my full review, you can go here to see how I rank all the films.

I gave The Dark Knight about ****-****1/4 out of 5. I felt it dragged on too long, and should have only had one villain. 

I was very excited about this film. When it started, I honestly felt like I did when Rock v Cena was about to happen. I couldn't believe I was about to see this film, I was so excited for it. My excitement remained through out the whole film.

Even if I won't ever feel the need to really see it again.

The film, as you probably already know, is about Bane coming to finish what Ra's Ah Ghul started; the destruction of Gotham. He gets off to a start with big construction projects under the streets of Gotham, while above, others are trying to destroy Bruce Wayne in order to take control of his company.

Let me say above all else, Bane is fucking awesome. I loved the mask, I loved the accent, I loved that he was as big as a brick house that was powered by a lot of rage. I really feel like he steals the show, just as The Joker stole it in Dark Knight.

Naturally, to answer Bane's call, Bruce returns to the mantle of Batman and seeks to stop Bane at the choke-point. Along with him, is of course Gordon, and a new cop who has believed in Batman since day one, played by Joesph-Gordon Levitt. On her own side, is Selina Kyle, Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway, who does one hell of a job. Her movements, the way she speaks, the way she looks in the suit, it's the most perfect representation of Catwoman I think we'll ever see. She's incredible.

All of these characters come to call in the crescendo that is the battle for Gotham City's soul.

The footage is fantastic, with Bane looking as imposing as a villain as I've ever seen. The underground of Gotham is very lush, and the upside is beautiful in it's coldness. Nolan of course did great with this.

He also fixed Bane's voice, so he's clear as day, as well as the problem with his fight footage. You can actually see things now. Unfortunately, Batman still sounds like an idiot.

Now, we'll use that as a segue into what I didn't like.

It ran too long. Just like The Dark Knight, there's a good chunk that could have been cut.

Again, Nolan takes things TOO serious. I get that you want this to take place in the real world, but man, scale down your plots. It got SO huge and grandiose that it was a bit ridiculous.

The film wasn't as fun as TDK, or even Batman Begins. I just felt it lacked too much Batman, honestly. Also, a problem I had, was when Batman makes his big return, the first shot of him is rather disappointing. I wanted something big, you know? It's been 4 years since the last one, and it's been 8 years in the canon of the films. I just wanted a bit more, that's all.

The fight scenes with Batman & Bane do not disappoint. They're awesome, and something I could have watched for hours.

Now, I'm gonna write something in white here, and you'll have to highlight to see it. For those that have seen it, I just want to talk about something I loved...

The death of Batman. I seriously thought they did it. That they killed Batman. I had tears running down my face, I really did. It was because Batman, much like a lot of my childhood heroes, represents the best in all of us. The best that we can all be, if we just aspire to be it. These thoughts & beliefs that get instilled in us while we're still innocent enough to think that's what everyone has, and wants. He's why I work out. He's why I strive so hard to be the best I can be for myself, and those around me. It's what I hope everyone else gets out of it too, and to see that symbol actually die, for the first time ever, was moving.

In the end, it's a pretty good film. Not great. Not better than The Avengers, or Spider-Man, but still really good.

***3/4 out of 5.

- Caliber Winfield


  1. "My top three favorite films of all time are 1. Boogie Nights, 2. Scream, and 3. The Expendables [Director's Cut]."

  2. "He also fixed Bane's voice, so he's clear as day"

    I'm sorry what fucking movie did you watch? I just got out of the theater an hour ago and the complaint from a good 80% of the people streaming out was: "Wow, you can't hear a goddamn word one of the main characters says."

    It closed the trilogy fine but this movie doesn't even approach TDK in terms of great storytelling or Avengers in terms of fun. A good movie but completely forgettable, which is understandable because The Dark Knight was simply too good to ever top.

    I'll keep my copy of TDK and pretend like the rest of them never happened.

  3. That is one hell of a fall from 1 to 2. Like...many many miles of fall.

  4. I think a reboot is happening, because I think DC is ALL in, in trying to do the Avengers thing, and build to a JL movie.  Especially since their is talk of a GL reboot as well.  MoS could very well be the Iron Man of the "DC Cinematic Universe"

  5. I guess dying while watching this movie is as good a way as any to go.

  6.  Scream is absolutely brilliant, with one of the greatest opening scenes in movie history. Great detective story, effects, real terror, acting, and a genius ending that was extremely original.

    C'mon now, you gotta give it some credit.

  7.  I don't know, I felt like I could hear him just fine, so did the person I saw it with.

    But I do agree, there wasn't the fun here, nor the story telling from TDK.

    I mean, honestly, again with trying to destroy Gotham? They gotta rehash the story again? Can't Bane just be out to rule the world or something?

  8. Ummm.  You might want to change the part about permission to die in light of recent events.

  9. The expendables???

  10. Oh dear. Not a great review at all.

    Here's my thoughts, without the spoilers rife through this one.

  11. "1. Boogie Nights, 2. Scream, and 3. The Expendable"

    Weirdest Top 3 Ever.

  12. You need to see The Director's Cut, it's a much different film. Even then, I loved the original and put it in the top 10, but the DC made it that much greater. 

  13. I have a question, Tom. I'm very genuine in this.

    Why did you feel the need to just come and be negative? Like, what's the point of being a dick? I'm honestly interested.

    I don't mind if someone doesn't like my work. It happens. I like constructive criticism, and if I don't like someone's work, and I think I can offer a few pointers I'll do so.

    But I'd never say "oh dear. Not a great review at all". What's the point? Are you so narcissistic that you really think the world is dying to know what you think of my review so badly that you just have to give us something?

    Do you not see the irony in you giving a terrible review of my review?

    I didn't give any spoilers, either. No one who hasn't seen this is going to have the film ruined by anything I've said.

    I'm honestly curious in why you feel the need to just be negative without bringing anything to the table. There's a lot of people like you these days, and I'm trying to understand it.

  14. I only have the Top 3 worked out, but the rest of my Top 10 looks like...

    The Social Network, American History X, Punisher: War Zone, Dumb n Dumber, Casino, Catch Me If You Can, and depending on the day, either Fight Club or Blow.

  15. I love Scream, but I wish it was a more serious film after the opening scene. The first scene sort of promised that the rest of it would overall be a lot more dark and serious film than it actually ended up being.

  16. Well, it's a quote from the film.

    I wasn't sure what you meant, but just read it. Absolutely tragic. Breaks my heart.

  17.  Do you see the irony in giving criticizing something, then being upset when someone criticizes you?

  18.  No, because an idiot just goes "this sucks" and doesn't give any reasons.

    I explained in detail what I liked, and didn't like about the film.

    People who do nothing creatively like to say "oh, you're getting upset when people don't like you!" when it's nothing like that. I get upset at ignorance, and ignorance is someone just being a moron and saying "you suck" or "this sucks".

    Well, OK, ace, what sucks about it? Why not try and help someone instead of just being a loser who tries to tear down someone because they aren't capable of doing anything creative?

  19. After you read my review, then you have my permission to, wait, buy my book first, then you have my permission to die.

    This is one of those "how could we have known" statements that become creepy considering what's happened in Colorado.

  20. There are so many spelling and grammar issues in this.  Not that it's surprising.  What's surprising is my masochism in continuing to read your work.  Somebody stop me.

  21. Somebody please do not let this fellow anywhere near a computer again. We've just seen the nadir of movie reviewing.

  22. Punisher: War Zone is in your top ten films? Wow.

    I mean, from a "so dumb it's hilarious" standpoint, I actually sort of enjoyed War Zone. And I mean, a dude getting blasted with a rocket launcher while doing parkour is just fantastic. But really, what a terrible movie. Not trying to be a dick, just legitimately surprised.

  23. Honestly, this was the worst of the three.

    - Bane sounds like Sean Connery from Celebrity Jeopardy, and because of that I couldn't take anything he said seriously. I was waiting for him to say "I'll take the rapists for $200. Suck it Trebek."

    - The plot was overly complicated for the sake of being complicated.

    - It's not really fun. There are no moments where I want to jump up and go "Fuck yeah Batman!" like I did during the Dark Knight and Batman Begins. 

    - Also, it's rehashing the first movie. And the climax felt like a more convoluted version of what we got in the Avengers. 

    - The reason Bruce quits being Batman after the events of the Dark Knight contradict everything he ever stood for.

    I mean, I liked the movie, but I felt like I just watched Alien 3 after watching Aliens, Temple of Doom after watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Back to the Future 3 after part 2.

  24. I hope if they do feel the need to reboot Green Lantern and Batman that they go the soft reboot route ala the Edward Norton Hulk rather than retelling the whole origin like Amazing Spider-Man.

    And how excited was everyone about the Man of Steel teaser? I really hope it turns out to be a great movie.

  25. Well, hopefully the movie ends up being good, I'm still of the mindset that the only good thing in any of the live action Superman films is Richard Pryor.

  26. I had no problem understanding Bane or Batman.

    I'll agree that The Dark Knight is still the best of the trilogy, but I thought TDKR was fantastic in many ways. Tom Hardy's Bane was an incredible villain. Anne Hathaway had a great performance. Joseph Gordon Levitt really shined. The threat felt so much more real than in Avengers. I honestly believed the film could have gone either way at the end, but I never for one second thought anyone in Avengers was in danger.

  27.'s all subjective taste but I would put up every single movie PT Anderson did above freakin' Scream. Any movie with Matthew Lillard can't be that great.

    (I agree Boogie Nights for #1 though, that movie is a motherfucking MASTER. PIECE.)

  28. Having slept on it I've realized another thing that really, REALLY bugs me about this movie. (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS yadda yadda)

    Batman doesn't defeat Bane. Catwoman does. And she does it in a throwaway scene that takes exactly 2.1 seconds because we have to get on to the vaguely lame Bat-Copter scenes.

    I feel like Nolan was really backed into a corner, after Ledger's trilogy-stealing performance there's NO WAY he wouldn't have been brought back for this last movie. Instead they completely avoided the character (even though every other character from TDK makes flashback appearances) and never really explained why, in a Gotham where every criminal is free, the king of criminals has vanished. It's just sad, I get why he had to do it but goddamnit, I wish we could've seen what the real intended ending of the trilogy was (the Scarecrow appearance was good but imagine Joker in that role!)

    Good news for Nolan though, his movie is now part of a huge national story just like last time around. The Dark Knight Rises is going to be talked about on news channels for a month now.

  29. Sean Connery from Celebrity Jeopardy??!?!?!


    SO. MUCH. WIN.

  30. There was a fair amount of dumb in TDKR, but it was my favorite of the 3 (only saw TDK once and really disliked it) and my favorite superhero movie since Iron Man. Crowd was super into it, with audience members dressed as Two-Face, Riddler, Poison Ivy, and, of course, Batman. Bane's voice sounded awesome in the theater where I saw it, and I thought there were a good many funny moments. Anne was a much better femme fatale than Katie or Maggie, too. I know it won't happen, but a Catwoman / Black Widow crossover movie would rock.

  31. SCREAM does not have an extremely original ending. In fact, that was the whole rib of the movie. It's a riff on the slasher subgenre. It's cliche after cliche while delivering exactly what the audience expects and then stopping to comment on it with annoyingly pithy dialogue. Kevin Williamson is a terrible screenwriter, and he ruined what could have been a decent slasher flick. I also hate it because it resurrected the slasher film which led to I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, URBAN LEGEND, SAW, and HOSTEL. All films we would be better off without having.

    A better postmodern deconstruction would be the Wes Craven's own NEW NIGHTMARE. It has all of the basic elements of his SCREAM but is a legitimate horror movie and actually succeeds in making Freddy Krueger menacing again while commenting on the effect horror movies have on society and the people that work on those films.

    I understand that taste is subjective, but I've never seen such a schizophrenic top three.

  32. I loved this movie, but I couldn't help but think the whole time "so did the Joker just get executed or something?" Not even one mention of what happened to him. It was a distracting elephant in the room because all the prior characters were mentioned. You'd think the crazed terrorist that put everything in motion would at least get name-dropped.

  33. The Dark Knight Rises’ problem lies in the franchise’s sense of escalation, because now the stakes lie with “lots of people”. We don’t know how many people were killed in the stadium explosion (lots), or the bridge explosion (lots), or by exile (lots).  We hear all the principal characters talk about “The people of Gotham” then we *never* see them save for a bus of pre-teen boys who all appear pretty spry. The majority of suffering and pain happens off-screen, giving the movie an ultimately hollow core. Sure, we get some requisite shots of the “Rich” being looted by the “Poor” but none of this feels visceral or dangerous because they’re labels and not people.

    Nothing in this movie comes close to approaching the truly terrifying nature of The Joker’s scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal, where he calmly threatens her, holding a knife millimeters away from her mouth as he explains how he his scars.

    Nor are there scenes are haunting and powerful as when Alfred burns the letter Rachel wrote to Bruce saying she’d never be with him. Nor do we get a scene where the villain explains themselves in such a way that you can almost agree with them. The Dark Knight had a point, you know, “Chaos” is fair. Batman Begins had one too, without the human purge the black plague gave way too, humanity would never become what it is today.

    These scenes resonate with audiences due to their emotional consequence. Not because it’s about a guy with a cool car and funky mask.  I think it was a Hitchcock who said a bomb under the table is tension, a bomb going off is action, and this time, Nolan went for the latter, and it sort of sucks.
    And there’s literally a bomb. The whole thing hinges on attempting to diffuse a bomb. This by the way is the worst way to finish a film. So for the last 10-15 minutes all we hear is “You gotta get to that Bomb”, “Turn them left to stop the bomb” “We need to diffuse this bomb!”.  As an action movie, when audiences hear the word bomb. They get excited. They want the bomb to go off for the spectacle of it all. But by the very nature of the plot (and for the good guys to win) there couldn’t be a big explosion, thus disappointing everyone.
    That’s why in The Dark Knight, while there was a bomb (two actually) used in Joker’s plot involving two boats rigged with explosives, those bombs were in fact a metaphor for the question of it Gotham City had a soul, and was technically out of everyone but the citizen’s hands. And you could even argue that the real climax of the film came from the scene at the end where Two Face threatened Commissioner Gordon’s family and almost killed them. By that point in the film we had seen Batman’s only connection to humanity blown to bits, Gotham’s White Knight gruesomely disfigured and turned insane by The Joker, and several scenes of madness and intensity that felt like real human drama. These men had all fought a war, and the causalities were real and abundant.

    But, even though there is a *real* war in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ it does not resonate with the characters we’ve known and grown fond of over the course of the franchise, but largely with whether or not we care if Batman can save the fictional faceless masses by stopping a ticking bomb. I thought Christopher Nolan was here to prevent this sort of clich├ęd thing.
    For being the final film in a fairly dark franchise, pretty much everyone that’s important survives the film barely scathed. Even the characters that you would typically deem expendable, survive. Where was the cost? In the end, for all the supposed death and destruction, It all feels a bit Saturday morning cartoon for my tastes.    

  34. Awesome.

    You know, I didn't think about it until you mentioned the bomb but doesn't the bomb in TDKR look basically exactly the same as the bomb the Grayson family pulls up through the top of the stadium in Batman Forever to set up Chris O'Donnell's parents dying? lul

  35. To those saying they  had no problem understanding Bane: Did you see this in a normal theater or IMAX?

    Maybe it was the IMAX speakers (which kind of blow up my ears anyway) that over-bassed his voice so badly. 

  36. "The Dark Knight Rises is going to be talked about on news channels for a month now."

    Because lack of publicity was a problem before?

  37. Because paid publicity is *just like* being partially blamed/tied to a national tragedy.

  38. Who gave this dolt permission to write on this blog? What a self-aggrandizing turd. There's absolutely NO critical value to any of the (generally declarative) statements made herein, and even worse, he spends most of his time talking about himself rather than the movie. Now, normally I would take this guy to task for only reviewing the plot, skipping over any critique of the stuff movies are made of -- you know, stuff like cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene, and sound -- but first he needs to understand how to do even a mediocre job describing that plot before he can move on to, say, actual insight.

    Walk before you can fly, kid.

    P.S. Many of these complaints also apply to your more wrestling-related posts on this blog. Please stop trying to get yourself over. It's unbecoming, you see, and not nearly as cute as you may think it is.

  39.  I noticed that too! And didn't that also get rolled into a body of water too?

  40. I was watching in a regular movie theater, non-Imax and had no issue with the dialogue. I've only seen one movie in IMAX (Dark Knight) and while it looked impressive, it's not worth the hour drive, extra money and enormous line that it entails.

  41. Get this guy a review spot on the blog.

  42. You know what's great about the review above (besides everything) is that it uses specific examples of why the movie falls short of his expectations. Not only does it get across the major points of the film, but it also says something about the art of film making in general. Even though I loved the movie, I agree with all of Paul's points.

  43. Actually if you kind folks don't mind me hawking my blog, twitter and FB here I'd love to write on the blog, too.
    Twitter: @MeekinOnMovies

  44.  Caliber's a big Punisher fanboy. That doesn't make the movie good but at least you can understand.

  45. Got bored and made this in about two seconds.

  46. I want to be The Punisher. I'm probably the biggest fan of the Punisher on the planet.

    So, when I saw War Zone, I was captivated. Finally, FINALLY, they took the man I looked up to [the guy from Garth Ennis' tales of The Punisher] and put him on the screen. I had that feeling I'd have if I met Arnold, or Hulk Hogan or something, you know? I truly felt that Frank Castle was on the scene.

    It's a comic book film, it's not suppose to be grounded in reality. It was FANTASTIC. Incredible effects, brutal atmosphere, and great action scenes.

    Plus, there were little things here and there I enjoyed. Like, when Frank is at his family's grave. The ONE thing that can actually hurt Frank, the memories of his family. He keeps that locked away in the deepest part of his mind, and when he fucks up, and let's it get to the forefront, it brings him to his knees. Then as he sits there, it's just a spot of darkness, that;s surrounded by beautiful red & yellow. A metaphor for The Punisher's life. His World is as black as black gets, while all around him, everyone gets to experience the beauty of life. And that, is why I love The Punisher. Because he wants to make sure that people get to experience that beauty, uninterrupted. Even if it means the absolute damnation of his soul.

  47. I'm terribly sorry if I offended.

    However, declaring me ignorant is amusing. You're someone who confidently claims that his top 3 films are: Boogie Nights, Scream and The Expendables, which highlights how little you know about film. Now, in a bid to be constructive, rather than just trolling, I have to ask, what qualifies you to try and influence people on film in a public forum? Do you have qualification in film, have you studied it for years, can you tell the difference between a fun film and a truly great film? Do people pay for your opinions?

    I appreciate that people get very defensive about their opinions, but just like reading books, people need to learn to read film. Just because you've watched a lot of films (although your top 3 suggests not) does not make you an expert, and certainly doesn't qualify you to come online, spout your tired and cliched opinions like you're the king of film. 

    Now, my comment may have been dismissive, and I genuinely apologise for that, but I see so many 'reviewers' peddling their 'reviews' online that it becomes difficult to be anything but short with them.

    "I'm honestly curious in why you feel the need to just be negative without bringing anything to the table. There's a lot of people like you these days, and I'm trying to understand it."

    So here's some advice:

    1. Watch more films to give you a better grasp of film history and the nuance of great film-making.
    2. Do not list your favourite films unless there's a point to it. 
    3. Learn to differentiate between your expectations and the piece of art being presented to you by a film-maker. Just because you wanted more Batman, doesn't mean that's what the story asks for.

    I'm always in favour of people learning more about film and having more than just a fanboy take. If you have anything in particular that you disagree with about my review I'm happy to answer your problems.

    As for your response:

    "But I'd never say "oh dear. Not a great review at all". What's the point? Are you so narcissistic that you really think the world is dying to know what you think of my review so badly that you just have to give us something?"

    People pay for my opinion on film, so even on the smallest possible level (and I appreciate I'm still a relative nobody) there is demand for my opinion. And it's not narcissism, but I know that my education in film is superior to most (because I was ridiculous enough to study it for years).

    "Do you not see the irony in you giving a terrible review of my review?"

    It's not ironic.

    "I didn't give any spoilers, either. No one who hasn't seen this is going to have the film ruined by anything I've said."


    "The film, as you probably already know, is about Bane coming to finish what Ra's Ah Ghul started; the destruction of Gotham."

    Why would anybody who hasn't seen the film know this? Where in any of the build-up literature does it mention that Bane has any motive outside of his own personal agenda?

    So there you go constructive criticism. Feel better now?

  48.  Uh, didn't the Joker die at the end of the second film?

  49. You *really* think it's good news that The Dark Knight Rises has more publicity due to the shooting?! Good news?!

  50. Your surprised the guy who rips off Cracked thinks Scream is original? Especially when there is a character in the film DEDICATED to explaining how original it isn't?

  51. Tastes are tastes, but Hostel was a pretty excellent film about exploitation in it's many forms.

  52. No, it was a joke. Just a goof on those people that say the only reason TDK got so much praise was because Ledger died.


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