Should You See Dark Knight Rises?, Plus Summer Movie Power Rankings

July 23, 2012 1:18 pm 0 comments

Of course you’re already going to see the new Batman movie, but where does it fit in the all-important HMGL Summer Movie Power Rankings?

Matt Ford

Be honest: Have you ever been more pumped for a movie release than Dark Knight Rises?

What movie has had the magical combination of enormous expectations, a perfect release date, a great cast, and the assurance that Chris Nolan/Christian Bale/Morgan Freeman/30 other A-Listers wouldn’t put out a shit movie?

Yet I’m still figuring out whether or not it hit my expectations. Dark Knight Rises is one of the best movies of the year, as we hoped it would be. Plot twists, subtle storytelling and heart-pounding moments (like Bruce Wayne escaping an old world prison, for instance) make this movie another masterpiece.

But is it possible for a masterpiece to not quite hit your expectations? … No, right? Well, I’m not sure. This is a great movie, but go in with realistic expectations (plus, don’t sit in the front row) to be sure you really appreciate it.

A run-down of Dark Knight Rises, with as few spoilers as possible:

The Good:

Marion Cotillard. Quietly putting together one of the best resumes in Hollywood since 2009 – Inception, Midnight in Paris, Dark Knight Rises, Contagion, Public Enemies – Mademoiselle Cotillard is nailing down the “Not Bat-Shit Crazy Female Actress Who Is Not Just Hot But Can Also Act” niche previously occupied by Natalie Portman and never once occupied by Megan Fox.

Bane. In each Batman movie, there was a formidable villan whose ascension from comic books to “reality” makes the movie feel heavier. Bane’s M.O. of sharing the wealth of Gotham is logical enough (right, Karl Marx?). And his penchant for chaos is similar to the Joker’s –he just wants to see the world burn, as Alfred might say — yet he’s motivated by a pure love for Cotillard’s character. Nolan’s Batman villains have complex motivations, and while Bane is no Joker, he’s still an interesting foe. Who happens to fight like Mike Tyson and has a neck like Mike Alstott.

Harvey Dent Fatheads. Seems like everyone in this movie had a poster of Harvey Dent laying around, didn’t they? Aaron Eckhart is somehow in this movie as much as Michael Cain.

Riding the wave of the Occupy movement. DKR manages to pay homage to the most significant cultural protest in half a century. The story of the lower classes rising up against the upper class is one of the most popular in modern storytelling, which is partially why the Occupy movement caught fire. Feelings of revenge, anger and shared goals prevail in those stories, all of which could give rise to a wack job taking power — or a great antagonist narrative for a superhero movie. By latching on to the historical protest du jour, DKR gives itself historical relevance; those shots from outside the New York Stock Exchange were taken during the height of the Occupy movement, and the shitty economy continues to be on everyone’s mind. Am I digging too deep here? I don’t think so — this is the first movie to really acknowledge the power of the Occupy movement, right?

Zoom zoom.

The ending. The last five minutes of DKR are subtle and cover a lot of story-telling ground. It was so good, and so familiarly excellent, I felt like I was waiting to see a quick cut to that spinning dreidel/totem from Inception. I think we all can appreciate a director who knows how to end a movie, right, Ridley Scott?

Rebounding from Maggie Gyllenhall, who wouldn’t sleep with you DESPITE KNOWING FULL WELL YOU ARE FUCKING BATMAN, to Anne Hathaway in full-body spandex. Let’s hope the actress who first played Rachel Dawes achieves a similar narrative.

The Bad:

A truly ridiculous appearance by The Scarecrow, which caused the crowd in my theater to actually LOL the moment he appeared on screen. The only explanation I have for scenes with The Scarecrow are that Dark Knight Rises had to adhere to the International Law stating Cillian Murphy has to be in every Christopher Nolan movie.

Watching hit movies on opening weekend in New York City. Nothing like getting to a movie theater 15 minutes early and having to sit in the front row. Who are all you people? Why do all of you live in New York? At least the ticket was only $14.

Why was Nolan so in love with the Raz Al-Gul storyline? Did anyone predict the storyline of Batman Begins resurfacing in the third installment and thus enjoying a hugely prominent role in the series? Not following up with the Joker plot-line and moving forward again with the Liam Neeson storyline is like reporting that Chris Bosh signed with the Heat but ignoring the LeBron signing.

Verdict: Tough to nitpick at a great movie — overall, DKR gets at least a 9 on the scale of 1-to-Dark Knight.

But where does that put it in the grand scheme of summer movies?

Without further ado, the real reason you’re reading this article.

HMGL Summer Movies Power Rankings as of July 23: 

1) Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson holds down the No. 1 spot, at least until Campaign season. A unique story, well shot and brilliantly acted. And didn’t have the burden of enormous expectations to hit like DKR. (Note: a re-viewing of DKR from outside of the front row may alter these rankings.)

1a) Breaking Bad. I know, not a movie, but… shit.

2) Dark Knight Rises. Not a perfect movie, and certainly the weakest of the three Batman movies. Having said that, still excellent.

3) Ted: Tough call between The Dictator and Ted, but the Thunder Buddies still hold the Belt For Best Comedy of 2012. Clincher: “I went to New York once in 1981 and just did not feel safe.

4) The Dictator. An excellent comedy that features a masturbation scene with bald eagles and Blake Griffin.

5) The Avengers. I still am standing up for this movie, no matter how ridiculous it was. It exceeded my expectations and will be the “popcorn flick” of the summer, and there’s something to be said for that.

100,289) Prometheus.

Honorable Mention: To Rome With Love.

Matt Ford is the Editor in Chief of Hire Me Grantland. Read his recap of the hilarious Fred Davis trial here. Or his rage against hipsters here. Or bring it on home

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Other News

  • Unnecessary Sports Podcast

    Unnecessary Sports Podcast Returns!

    Matt and Neal talk NBA free agency in the return of the pod! Listen to their recap of the Eastern conference here. Then check out their recap of the Western conference, plus a few random predictions here.

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Podcasts Sports HMGL Super Bowl Recap: Podcast/Hangout

    HMGL Super Bowl Recap: Podcast/Hangout

    Justin, Neal and Matt put the Super Bowl in context: How good are the Ravens compared to other SB winners? Is Joe Flacco a top-5 quarterback? What is the next step with PED testing in the NFL?

    Once again, sports fans were treated to a memorable Super Bowl. The Ravens were thinking blowout until the blackout — did that affect their momentum? — and then the 49ers came all the way back to ultimately fall just short.

    Meanwhile, reverberations of Ray Lewis’ alleged use of PED’s forced sports fans to consider their values — does PED use really matter to us?

    And Joe Flacco emerged from a historic playoff run as an unquestioned franchise quarterback (what?).

    Hear our thoughts below, and enjoy Matt’s three solid minutes of embarrassing technical confusion at the beginning.

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Sports NFL Playoff Team fantasy draft: Justin, Matt and Neal’s standings

    NFL Playoff Team fantasy draft: Justin, Matt and Neal’s standings

    Note: This piece refers to the playoff draft on the last HMGL podcast. If you didn’t listen to it, check it out here.

    Wild Card Weekend Standings:

    (+1 point for advancing to the divisional round)

    Justin (3) — DEN +1, GB +1, BAL+1, IND 0
    Possible this week: 4 points (DEN/BAL, GB)
    Worst-case: 2 points (DEN/BAL) win, GB loses

    Matt (3) — NE +1, ATL+1, Hou+1, Cincy 0
    Possible this week: 4 points (NE/HOU, ATL)
    Worst-case: 2 points (NE/HOU) win, ATL loses

    Neal (2) — SF +1, SEA +1, WAS 0, MIN 0
    Possible this week: 4 points (SF, SEA both win)
    Worst-case: 0 points (SF, SEA both lose)

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Power Rankings Sports Ranking The NFL’s Hottest And Most Dangerous Teams: Playoffs 2012

    Ranking The NFL’s Hottest And Most Dangerous Teams: Playoffs 2012

    By Matt Ford

    Better to be lucky than good.

    Or, more like it, better dangerous than solid.

    So who is the most dangerous team entering the 2012 NFL Playoffs?

    Category One: The Psy “Gangnam Style” Award for “Congrats for Making It To The Big Time! But Now That You’re Here, You’re Going Away Quickly.”

    Category Two: The Kwame Brown Award for “Just Look At Them! They Have To Be Better Than They’re Playing”

    Category Three: The Looking At The Google Analytics Of Award for “Why Is No One Impressed By Us?”

    Category Four: The Mumford and Sons Award for “Everyone Thinks We’re Underrated, But We’re Actually Overrated”

    Category Five: The 2007 LeBron James Award for “We’re playing … him? Uh Oh.”

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Sports Hire Me Grantland Podcasts Are Up

    Hire Me Grantland Podcasts Are Up

    Without further ado: Matt and Justin’s discussion of the NFL playoff picture leading into the end of the regular season, with special guest Neal Suidan.

    All you have to do is click here and click “Listen” or “Download” once you get to our hosting site.

    Our first post is about the NFC Playoff picture leading into last week’s games. Listen to how wrong we were about San Francisco after last night’s result, Neal’s analysis of his hometown Bears (and Bulls), Matt’s pipe-dream of a Redskins playoff run and more.

    Our next pod is about the AFC, but includes a bonus round of which coaches should get fired (and Matt’s prediction of Chip Kelly to Carolina that he has been patting himself on the back for ever since), and Neal trying to Beautiful Mind his way through the muddy AFC North playoff picture. Justin’s breakdown of the Raiders, fortunately for you all, was omitted due to “microphone problems.”

    Shortly, these episodes will be available on the iTunes store (Apple has to screen them first before they unleash our idiocy on the unwashed masses).

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Sports Sports Betting Justin Elliott Would Not Win The Las Vegas Supercontest: Week 15 (Video)

    Justin Elliott Would Not Win The Las Vegas Supercontest: Week 15 (Video)

    (Nothing like a winless week to really make you want to show your face on camera.)

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Sports Sports Betting Justin Elliott Would Not Win The Las Vegas Supercontest: Week 14 (Video)

    Justin Elliott Would Not Win The Las Vegas Supercontest: Week 14 (Video)

    Justin Elliott’s Week 14 picks… on our NEW YouTube channel!!!

    Read more →
  • Featured Stories NFL Sports Is RGIII the Most Valuable Player… In Sports?

    Is RGIII the Most Valuable Player… In Sports?

    By Matt Ford

    Watching RGIII as a rookie is like the first time you heard OK Computer, or saw Louis CK’s standup a few years ago, or watched Barack Obama in the 2004 Democratic Convention. “Holy shit!” you think. “Do people know about this yet?”

    You form a special kind of relationship with an entertainer, athlete or politician after an experience like that — you realize: “Hey, this guy could be the real deal, and I think I just saw history.” Often, I find I become invested in people like that, rooting for history just to say in a few years, “I was there…”

    RGIII to the rescue. He is, by many accounts, the most exciting player in the league. He draws friendly fans to FedEx Field. His value to a shrinking fan base is unspeakable. It’s hard to root against him, even if your team is playing against him.

    Robert Griffin III has revitalized one of the most valuable franchises in the world. The value of hope is what Griffin brings to the table, in addition to all those other tangible assets.

    Read more →