Adventures in Cultural Consumption:

The Dark Knight Rises: After all the controversy generated online, I was looking forward to this as an unparalleled opportunity to engage in contrarianism of the "I told you so" variety. Imagine my disappointment, then, that I enjoyed the movie. Not as a serious statement about Our Times, nor as a strikingly realistic final entry in a trilogy marked by attempts at acutely measuring human psychological responses. I enjoyed it, instead, as the one thing it probably least wanted to be: a comic-book movie.

The plot was preposterous, taking a left turn from reality at the moment that the CIA agent does not ask the identities of the two additional captives, much less take off their hoods to see who they are. The rest was a mess. The dialogue was ridiculous, alternating (unintentional) camp with painfully literal conversations about the themes of the movie--the camp heightened by the tendency to speak dialogue in four or five word bursts (Batman and Bane being the worst offenders), and by the inelegance of most of the important lines, which attempted to avoid being one-liners by becoming too verbose (Catwoman's line when she saves Batman is one clause too long to be elegant or witty). The motivations of the characters were shallow--Bane did it for love, y'all--and missed too many opportunities for conceptual richness. It's a pity that Talia isn't revealed until the end, because wouldn't have been interesting to watch a movie in which the protagonist and the antagonist are both motivated by the deaths of a parent or parents, all of whom were murdered when in the process of attempting to make the world a better place? Wouldn't that nullify approximately 95% of Batman's self-righteousness, and cast a better, more interesting light on how much of his character is based on vengeance (just directed at different subjects), and how thin his conception of justice actually was? Wouldn't that constitute an actual reason to do away with the Batman persona, along with explaining its strange allure to Bruce Wayne?

Instead, we got some cool new Bat-toys, a largely incomprehensible plot, and a fetishized Bat-death, undone not fewer than five minutes after it supposedly happened. Perfect popcorn.

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