Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Haters Gonna Hate: The Dark Knight Rises

I often feel that a highly critical fan base can help ruin the very thing it's clamoring to improve, whether the property concerned is a movie, comic, or tv show. In this instance I'm responding to the upset over Bane's garbled voice in The Dark Knight Rises, but my feelings extend beyond this one particular episode.

I used to work in a independent video store called Starstruck Entertainment, and there I would hear rants from scores of fans of this or that, explaining how their beloved franchise should be handled. One thing I've realized is that no two fans of one franchise completely agree on how they (ie. those Hollywood hacks) should make the thing they love. What's more, I've found that even the individual isn't completely sure of what they want.

They want the titular character to remain iconic and unchanged, yet fresh and compelling. They want it all, and the internet amplifies these conflicting opinions so word may reach someone in charge. Sometimes that can be a good thing. Other times I fear it threatens artistic license. By pandering to a broad audience we risk missing out on bold visions of stories and characters we know and love. We stop taking risks, period.

In the case of the current Batman franchise and its helmer, Christopher Nolan, I have so far been very satisfied. Nolan is not a perfect director. His action scenes are poorly framed and sometimes confusing, but his bold vision of a Batman in a contemporary setting revitalized the character. Admittedly, both films contain flaws, but are so minor it feels petty to complain. The Dark Knight exceeded my expectations and transcended its own genre, becoming not just an excellent comic-book movie, but a great piece of cinema. For a long time after watching it, I honestly didn't want to see another installment. I couldn't imagine another picture hitting all those heights. I was content.

However, now we have the final chapter in Nolan's contemporary Batman saga, and Bane, the main antagonist, is seemingly difficult to understand. Considering the character wears a bulky mouthpiece (supposedly from suffering a near-fatal injury), and his only complete scene took place in a noisy aircraft, it doesn't seem unreasonable that it should be so. There's a chance Bane's impairment and the aesthetic of his voice will help define the character in an interesting way. Tom Hardy's performance, which is assuredly physical, may be thoughtful and nuanced enough to render words moot.

My point is, I have faith in the production of the film, and want to know as little as possible before enjoying it in theaters. When filmmakers have proven they have a distinct and interesting voice, wouldn't you want to hear what they have to say?


  1. Really well-written piece, Adam. And I agree completely. Let the man work, I say, and reserve the critique for the finished, complete product. Also, Bane's voice? Come on now, the real issue at hand is Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, I MEAN GEEZ

  2. Hathaway is a bold gambit, isn't she? I have to remind myself I once felt the same about Heath Ledger as the Joker. We shall see, we shall see...