Foley is Fairly Dumb, But Doesn’t Even Get a Hero’s Death
Foley (Matthew Modine) never trusts Commissioner Gordon. Why would he, Gordon is only a highly decorated and experienced cop. Foley always thinks he knows better, refusing to believe the man, and then deciding to give up on police work and just hide out at home. Gordon finally convinces him to send men to the sewer (he sends all of them, stupidly) and later Gordon convinces him to join the fight.
Foley is supposed to have this heroic turn around and is supposed to get a heroic death, but what he actually does is completely stupid (more on that next), but his death isn’t even really shown. We see Foley heading towards trouble, our vision is obscured, and then he is laying bloodless on the ground, presumably dead. Hell, Agent Coulson got a better death and his death might not be real and was also filmed poorly. Foley deserved a better executed hero’s death if we’re supposed to buy his heroic turn around, not some cut-away then cut-back to a lifeless, bloodless body.
The Police vs The Goons, a Battle of Stupidity
Luckily for the stupid police lead by the incompetent Foley, Bane’s forces are pretty stupid as well. The police who are armed with a few handguns and some night sticks launch their plan of battle: marching down the street against hundreds of men armed with assault rifles who have the support of several tanks. Batman takes out one of the tumblers, why not all of them?
Then the police begin a long run towards the bad guys. Why? Why not try to sneak up at them? Was this the Revolutionary War? You don’t stand in a line and run at guys with guns. Luckily, Bane’s followers have the accuracy of a blind Stormtrooper, as apparently they manage to only kill around twelve of the cops who are standing in a massive line of 3,000, despite having 30 seconds of uninterrupted time to shoot at them as they march forward in a line.
Bane’s Anti-Climactic Death
Batman is one of the world’s most highly trained fighters – Bane is his near equal in terms of technique, and his superior in terms of strength. Their final battle, where both are 100% of their own capacity, should have been one for the ages.
Rather, it kind of fell flat. I’ve never been a fan of Batman’s fighting style of elbows and headbutts in the movies, but here the fight felt extremely lacking as it slowly moved from outdoors to inside. Bats gets the upper hand, but never resoundingly defeats Bane while the villain finally shows off impressive speed and strength (while missing Batman and punishing a wall), but two and two never quite make four and the fight is lackluster. Than Catwoman shows up and shoots Bane with a cannon, which is pretty funny, but not climactic.
Is Batman Ultimately Out of Character?
Nolan’s Bat films like to talk a lot about legends and creating symbols. In this universe, apparently Batman’s ultimate goal is to prove anyone can be Batman, despite the fact in The Dark Knight he clearly tells guys trying to be Batman that they can not be Batman. So I guess only highly trained billionaire’s can be Batman. Regardless, by the end of the film it feels as if Batman from the comics has been completely destroyed. Firstly, Bruce Wayne’s billions are gone and that persona is dead to the world. Hm. Secondly, Batman not only retired from crime fighting for 8 years (because his girlfriend died, boo-hoo), but at the end of this movie he once again retires, tossing the keys of the Batcave to some kid with a sometimes distaste of firearms. Call me crazy, but the Batman from the comics would never so readily give up the cowl, nor would he abandon Gotham after the city has been pretty well destroyed. Make no mistake, Gotham could use Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist, more than ever right now, and if you think all of those thousands of released prisoners just went right back into jail, you’ve got another thing coming.
Despite all these things, I ultimately come down in favor of enjoying The Dark Knight Rises. It is a testament to how much faith we’ve given this world and how much was right. Catwoman was excellent. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne was amazing. Michael Cain and Gary Oldman both turned in stellar performances. Technically most of the film was amazing – save for Foley’s death, which was just poorly executed. Even the happy ending feels okay, despite the question of character raised by it.
Batman has always been a complicated character and this final installment of Nolan’s trilogy is equally complicated. There is so much wrong, so much that is stupid, yet I walked out of the theater happy with what I’d seen. Strange. There was so much room for improvement. So many little story telling things that could have been tweaked. Did we need to see Bruce fall, fall, and fall again (and we knew he was going to have to jump without the rope, right?) only to remember his father telling him via flashback (oh the flashbacks!) that the reason we fall was to get back up? Haven’t we heard that enough?
That’s what bothered me. As you’ve hopefully read, it was quite a bit. Ultimately, as I’ve stressed, the film was enjoyable, but I’m not sure it’s the Batman film we needed, just the one we deserved.
There’s a ton that was great in the movie – but everyone’s talking about that. You can read it elsewhere.
What bothered you about the film?