There is a pretty nifty analysis of TDKR here. It is full of spoilers. So don’t read unless you have the seen the movie or don’t care.
The writer’s analysis of the theme’s of the movie are mostly spot on. I can’t find much fault there. His analysis of superhero movies as a whole though is seriously flawed. Flawed I say!
First he equates what he likes with what is a better movie. He dismissed such other films as Avengers and Spider-Man. He says that we can now end the film genre as a whole because Dark Knight Rises completes it.
Bah. Bah I say. A good movie is a challenge to make a better one. (Although not traditionally in Hollywood were they will try and remake the same one…) It isn’t a reason to stop. And it may be true that super-hero movies have moved into the traditional summer action movie role and can often charitably e called mindless entertainment. But all the super hero movies this summer also tried to be more. Avengers was the most spectacle for spectacle’s sake, but,darn, it did it so successfully.
Second, he mistakes grim with good. Bah. Bah I say. I love a grim movie as much as the next guy, but there isn’t a problem with being fun too. Critical acclaim and fun don’t often go hand in hand. For instance very few Academy Award winners are comedies. Taking oneself too seriously is more often a flaw than a virtue. I’m pretty happy we had some more upbeat movies to balance The Batman this summer.
Third, he tries to make it sound like Hollywood is on a journey of discovery with these pictures. Campy and funny to serious and grim. Cheap and throw away to giant budget epics. Little characterization and theme to lots of both. Bah. Bah I say. What is interesting about this summer’s superhero pics is how they all rely on new material rather than just crib from the comic book source material. But the elements are all still coming from comics. There isn’t anything new here. Film is still just walking in the steps of its source here. And this journey, if there is one, is one that comics have made there and back already.
Finally he praises the iconoclastic too highly. Reviewers see a lot of movies. IMO, it causes them to value the new experience overly much. Bah. Bah I say. Newness is only one element of a successful film. Just one. Taking existing pieces and putting them together in a way that seems new is just as cool. In fact, I’d argue that that is what TDKR does really.
Avengers and TDKR brought thousands of people into theatres. I see no problem in having them leave feeling entertained. I certainly did from both movies. TDKR was more challenging, but not highly so. I appreciated that to, but it is a flavour not a mandatory element.
Anywho, that is what I think about that. Hopefully this isn’t too vague. I’m still avoiding spoiliers.