Starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Anne Hathaway as the T-Mobile girl gone bad

Well. What can be said about this too dark, too long movie in which are characters we don’t care about doing things we don’t understand to save a city that seems stuck somewhere between the French Revolution and Occupy Wall Street?

It’s been eight years since the death of Harvey Dent. Batman took the fall for that death to shield Gotham from civil unrest. Since then, Bruce Wayne has been incommunicado, cut off from the whole world. Only Alfred knows where he is.

He’s at home. He’s hiding out in a forbidden wing of Wayne Manor, but Catwoman (Hathaway) walks in and steals stuff from him, some of which he recovers, some not.

(Parenthetical on Anne Hathaway, may she learn how to choose a boyfriend: I recently, once again, watched The Devil Wears Prada , and this time I realized that I had previously been on the wrong side. The correct thing to do when one has a job is to embrace the job, not the shallow friends who think they are not shallow because they don’t embrace your job but think you have sold out, whatever that means. Do your job. ALSO, Hathaway is terribly mis-cast in this role, which should have gone to someone more edgy, more scary, more Jolie-esque, shall we say.)

There’s a lot of talk about rich people being bad guys and some nonsense about “the people” rising up to redress that issue. I couldn’t help but wonder why it’s okay for poor Americans to trash rich Americans and not okay for poor humans to trash rich America. Whatever.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so cute, and does the Good Cop role so well, I can’t tell you what happens at the end when he’s asked for his full name. I knew it was coming. I hoped against hope that it wouldn’t, but it was so obvious. In the end, when it did happen, I did, in actual fact, snort. Happily, my popcorn was long gone.

So there are these bad guys—one obvious, the other not so much—who manage to bring down Bruce Wayne’s entire fortune by blowing up the Stock Market and making fake trades on his behalf, like the SEC would hold him to those. A kid sings the entire anthem (something that should never be done unless you’re lip-syncing to Whitney) and (you’ve seen the preview) the bottom falls out of the football stadium. (The destruction of the stadium was far better done in Sum of All Fears.)

(At least the kid didn’t commit the horror-everyone-thinks-is-patriotic and burst into the last verse: “OOOOH THUS BE IT EVER” and so forth.)

Commissioner Gordon is admirable. Bruce Wayne/Batman does a little Iron Man thing at the end with the self-sacrifice and the nuclear bomb and Manhattan, but without that annoying blonde girl who ruins the end of Avengers. Who is she? Why do we keep seeing her?

There are a number of gigantic problems with this movie. As a random example, the entire NYPD is catacombed underground for four months. They emerge clean-shaven in freshly-pressed uniforms and don’t blink at the sunlight. They look far better than the Chilean miners did and those guys had hot meals lowered down to them. They are also battle-ready, although their judgment is impaired because they rush weaponless at guys with machine guns, hardly ever a good idea.

In those four or five months when the police officers are underground and the clock is ticking on the nuclear time bomb, there are apparently no more federal officers available to save Our Greatest City than are required to block people from evacuating by bridge. No one seems to notice that all five bridges were destroyed in an earlier scene. Nor does anyone fly out, jet-ski out, canoe out, or float on rafts made of pallets out.

Also absent is SEAL Team Six, which is odd since Bad Guy Bain’s bald head is a clear open shot to any sniper position anyone could possibly take, and we know these guys make accurate head shots.

Bruce Wayne is taken by said Bad Guy Bain (the great Tom Hardy, may he live forever) to a primitive prison somewhere in who-knows-where (Afghanistan? Uzbekistan? Mongolia?), from which he escapes and miraculously (sans passport, sans money, sans shawarma) appears back in Gotham all powers intact. Does he catch a military transport? Can he teleport? Was he beamed? Was there a portkey? We’ll never know. What we do know is that in this Asian hell-hole, they have English language television.

Liam Neeson appears and talks about losing his wife. I wish he would stop doing that. I always feel so awkwardly horrible (see my post on that dumb movie in which his plane crashes and the wolves eat one survivor at a time while stalking a long line of increasingly famished oil workers trudging toward Anchorage. What was the name of that movie?) when he does this.

Bad news: you know that sweet spot in the trailer where Alfred says, “You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father . . .” Yep, it’s not in the movie.

Avengers was so much better. I mean, really, if you’re going to destroy NYC, do it with class, with massive mechanical fish. Bank around the corners on flying alien motorcycles. Shoot people in the eye while looking the other way. Have a giant green rage monster who can fly through the air, land on the side of a skyscraper and smash his way all the way down the side. Have a cute villain whose face we can see. (Bain’s face is masked by a Vader-like apparatus that enables him to live without the constant anguish he would otherwise endure, and somehow this appliance was designed, built, and made operational by a doctor in the aforementioned primitive prison-from-hell where apparently they have advanced bio-medical laboratories. That technology may explain how Bruce was able to go there and back seamlessly, without any jet lag or even time lapse.) And put a little color into the film, please. This one is black and white, with extra long scenes.

Why is the disheveled girl with Catwoman? It seems like she must be her girlfriend, but at the end, we get a somewhat hetero-glimpse that that might not be the case. Maybe she is only there to make up for that annoying blonde girl from Avengers.

No need to stay past the credits. There’s no extra scene at the end. No need for kids to see this one. It’s just sad vengeful violence.
(Spoiler: read no further)

Cornball ending. But for all the talk about The End Of The Dark Knight, Nolan leaves it open for more. Only the bad guys die.