Diagnosis: A Disappointing Dark Knight

This weekend I read a lot of reviews of The Dark Knight Rises to see how other people were taking it.

Two pieces in particular were especially damning, pretty much nailing the coffin shut on Christopher Nolan’s Batman… and maybe on Nolan’s ouvre as a whole, for this moviegoer. 

As I expressed in my own review, I was already disappointed in the series conclusion. But the weaknesses discussed in these two pieces have pretty much ensured I won’t be able to sit through this movie again without extreme aggravation. I think the second film — The Dark Knight — will be the only one I bother to revisit and keep in the collection.

But I found it difficult to find any argument with the problems highlighted in these two pieces, which proved much more thought-provoking than the movie itself.

Here’s Michael Sicinski: “Sifting Through the Guano.”

And here’s a discussion between Mike D’Angelo and Keith Uhlich: “Critical Consensus.”

Update: 15 Things That Bothered Us About ‘The Dark Knight Rises’


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  • Adolfo

    Although I think you went into the film ready to be disappointed, I’ll set that aside and point out that in your “the reviews are in, The Dark Knight Rises’ blows” post, you failed to note that your favorite film reviewer, Steven Greydanus, thought quite highly of it.

    • Jeffrey Overstreet

      Nope… I wasn’t ready to be disappointed. I went eager to see a sequel to a film I greatly admire. I had fun. I had a great discussion with a friend afterward. And I wrote about what I liked and what I didn’t like.

      As for Mr. Greydanus, he and I are good friends. We’ve both discussed the film online. We discuss films all the time, especially at artsandfaith.com. He was kind enough to say this about my review: “So @Jeff_Overstreet is absolutely right about THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. But he doesn’t like it as much as I do.”
      We do, sometimes, disagree about movies. (He’s not a Wes Anderson fan, I am.) But we always have good discussions of our disagreement. In fact, we sometimes call each other right after exiting the theater to discuss films we’ve seen on opposite coasts.

  • Gaith

    “I think the second film — The Dark Knight — will be the only one I bother to revisit and keep in the collection.”

    I may not see TDKR until it Netflixes, but as one of the few firm non-fans of “Batman Begins”, I’m intrigued by this comment. I wonder if you’ve reconsidered calling Batman Christ-like in your recently re-posted review of that movie? You were quite right, I think, to critique “Superman Returns” over its fawning treatment of a perpetually dishonest guy zooming around in a cape, but at least his core message was one of uplift, whereas Batman is mostly (if not all) about spreading fear and vengeance.

    I’m not a Christian myself, but to me, one of TDK’s biggest strengths was that it *didn’t* demand, and indeed *questioned* (likely to the furthest extent a tentpole comic-book blockbuster will ever go), whether he might even be doing more harm than good, inspirating lunatics to ever-greater depravities instead of focusing his immense wealth and potential on more positive social efforts. (A particularly sobering thought in light of the recent horror.)

    Guess I’m just more of a Spidey guy myself. The new Peter Parker is far from perfect, but given that his powers are physical, not fiscal, he *does* seem to be striving to do the most good he can.