Charlie Brooker sums up the year of pop culture ca. 2012:
“So the heroes, villains and plots are kooky. That’s always been the case with action movies, although at least in Die Hard or Predator you understood precisely what was happening and why. But the chief similarity between Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises is that both films seem slightly embarrassed by their own central premise. The Dark Knight Rises can’t simply be a popcorn movie about a man who dresses as a bat and fights a bloke with a jockstrap on his face. No. It’s The Seventh Seal in a cape. Skyfall isn’t about a globetrotting secret agent with a trouser-phobic dick. No. It’s an essay on matriarchs and Bond as a cultural signifier. No bad thing. If the year’s two biggest blockbusters strive to be meatier than Transformers, hooray. Hooray, hooray, hooray.
But there’s a culinary trend for posh burgers at the moment. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, London will have gained six new ‘pop-up’ restaurants offering a pointedly limited menu: burger and fries done flashily well. Not a greying, microwaved McDonald’s patty, but a moist puck of 21-day-aged beef nestling inside a brioche bun, accompanied by twice-cooked chips hand-cut from potatoes with philosophy degrees. Undeniably delicious. But still a burger and chips.”
I’m going to pull on my old-man/get offa my lawn pants and blame CGI. Directors have simply become lazy with it, and forgotten that you still need to tell a good story that doesn’t have massive, gaping plot-holes (cf. Prometheus). I haven’t seen Skyfall, but DKR was just unbearable. The characters are simply too fucking stupid for me to take them seriously. (The Braveheart moment when thousands of highly trained cops bum rush thousands of dudes with automatic weapons brought me to literal tears.) And a lot of those characters and their designated backdrops sure are pretty and all, but so what?
“But James, it’s just a superhero flick!”
Well yeah, but Nolan has read his Joseph Campbell and really wants us to understand his films as “serious” art, not something as low-end as, say, The Avengers.
Things is, The Avengers was somewhat great. At the very least, it was entertaining.
Watching the lugubrious, joyless DKR I had this strange feeling that Mr. Nolan would eventually show up in an anxiety dream and ask me to write a book report about Bane’s motivations or something. It’s a fucking job to sit through his Batman