The Dark Knight Rises Is The Third Best Movie Of The Trilogy. An Open Letter to Christopher Nolan
Congratulations Christopher Nolan. You are a genius. You made me and millions of other people look forward to sitting in an expensive IMAX theater before midnight on a Thursday. The movie will end close to 3am, and people have to go to work the next day. But we will sit there anyway, because we are ready for the payoff. Congratulations Mr. Nolan, because this movie will probably make you another billion dollars. Deservedly so, because you have one of the more brilliant minds in Hollywood. Soak it all in, sir, because no one will probably depict a superhero movie the way you did ever again. Many will try, many more will fail. You have set the bar so high they should name the bar after you.
Which brings us to The Dark Knight Rises, Mr. Nolan. I went through the better part of the year being absolutely stoked for the day that I would be blown away with what I was about to see. I consumed every article and teaser trailer, every viral gimmick your marketing people threw on the Internet. I rewatched your first two Batman installments so I would not miss a single allusion, reference or story arc. I bought Batman Slurpee tumblers from 7-11, for chrissakes. I bought the hype.
But let me tell you, sir, I went through all this with a certain amount of hesitation and fear for you and your movie. You see, there is a very short list of trilogies that have had a satisfying end (These are some of the exceptions.) You yourself confirmed that Hollywood is not good at closure. It just wants to keep making the money – script, movie, and legacy be damned. I feared The Dark Knight Rises would suffer the same fate. But I kept an open mind because I had faith in you, sir, and the people you work with.
I sat through the 2 hours and 40-something minutes that you thought was appropriate for you to be able to tell your story. I held my judgement until after I had gotten home and gone to bed at 4am. I have to say, Mr. Nolan, that was the most troublesome sleep I have had in a while. I did not know how to feel about the entire movie. Sure, there are great scenes, the acting was brilliant and nuanced, and I appreciated how you were able to bring the story full circle by bringing back the characters that made your first two Batman movies great. The twists you’ve added I did not see coming. And let me just say, those last 30 minutes of The Dark Knight Rises are probably one of the best last 30 minutes of a movie ever. You are the king of movie endings, sir.
The Dark Knight Ending Scene
Inception Ending Scene
But it pains me to say, Chris (may I call you Chris?), that The Dark Knight Rises was not your best Batman movie. It was not the second best movie. If I had to rank the three, The Dark Knight would be the best of the franchise, Batman Begins comes second, and then The Dark Knight Rises. But please don’t take this the wrong way. The Dark Knight Rises is still a great movie. I will watch it a second time (and write a real review.) and probably numerous more times. Even if the story got confusing and ambiguous at times, and some lines were incomprehensible (I had the feeling of walking into a café where there are people having a loud discussion at a table at the far end of the room. You can hear them, but it’s hard to pay attention.)
But maybe that was my fault, Chris. I will pay more attention when I rewatch it. I’m just saying, though, I didn’t have this problem watching Inception, and that was a complicated movie. I just don’t want you to get sloppy with your projects, that’s all. That’s how I felt throughout most of the movie — it felt like you slipped a few times here or there, knew it was happening, but let it go anyway. The film looks technically amazing (it should only be watched as an IMAX movie for full appreciation), but you’ve written far better scripts than this. I even had my eyebrows raised a few times (maybe the superhero movie in a realistic setting idea was pushed too far?)
I’m sorry about all that, Chris. I’m not complaining. I will always be a fan even if you ever decided to follow the M. Night Shyamalan moviemaking model. I’m not saying that you will. I am appreciative of all that you’ve done. I will keep giving you my money. I look forward to your contributions to the Man of Steel. If it were up to me, I’d let you direct all Hollywood movies from now on (and hand a few over to David Lynch from time to time.) But I’m telling you as a friend (I consider you a life-long buddy), keep it together. Because to me, with The Dark Knight Rises, you got just a little bit lazy.
Best of luck to you.
Your friend, Don
About Don Manganar
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20. July 2012 by Don Manganar
Categories: Awkward, Movies, Personal, Pop Culture | Tags: Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, David Lynch, donmanganar.com, Hollywood, IMAX, Inception, M. Night Shyamalan, Socially Awkward, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises | 2 comments