2. Other People’s Reaction To The Movie
What I really do not understand is being angry at a film that tries something ambitious and fails. It is not as if Nolan bit off more than he could chew. He simply knew the studio would allow him to say only so much on matters of socio-economic justice and the voice of the people vs the government. He said what he could while still finding time to slip in the action scenes required of a Batman film. He certainly is asking us to think at the movies more than most folks in the U.S. are used to. JURASSIC PARK might focus on the dangers of genetic engineering or DISTRICT 9 brings up racism and poverty, but both are ultimately sci-fi action flicks. Asking the audience to think about certain general topics (terrorism, class inequality, government authority, etc) without telling them what they should think is not the same as a plot hole.
Basically you're saying is this:
"It's not that Nolan tried to tackle too much, but rather that he did what the studios would allow him to do."
And then you make a point at the end that I don't entirely understand because Nolan is not asking us to think and there are countless plot holes in the film, but we won't get into that...
Your first point about a filmmaker biting off more than they can chew, sure. That's how I felt about Batman Begins. A difficult prospect to be sure, but admirable, promising, and I give it the benefit of the doubt. Then let me ask you: are you a Spider-Man 3 apologist? Will you go to bat for that movie? It certainly bit off more than it could chew. It was incredibly ambitious. It tried to tackle Venom, Sandman, and Harry Osborn as The Green Goblin (I don't recall if he ever referred to himself as "Hobgoblin" in the film, but Harry Osborn was never that character.). The only difference between the two is that The Dark Knight Rises takes itself far more seriously. Both films are unenjoyable messes, and keep in mind: whatever you're shaking your head and thinking when you think of how Spider-Man 3 is a different kind of failure than The Dark Knight Rises, that is exactly the kind of film I'm saying that Nolan's film is. The only difference I can see is that Spider-Man 3 didn't have a finished script going in.
I don't for one second think that Christopher Nolan was holding his punches because audiences can't handle a deep conversation about what is going on. There aren't many people in Hollywood on his level of power. Right now, Nolan has Spielberg power and everything is going to carry the title PRODUCED BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN for a bit. I think he honestly thought this was sufficient. This is not the work of a writer or a director but rather a producer who has a vision of what his film needed to look and feel like, and so polishing the individual moments just kind of went unchecked. Nolan is a showman who is interested in creating a ride. That much is clear. He wants everyone to feel like they've just been through a rollercoaster. And so I'll just say to you if you enjoyed watching The Dark Knight Rises, then all the power to you. I can't tell someone they didn't enjoy a rollercoaster. For me, the only way a movie can be a rollercoaster is if I care what's going on on any level, and I did not. Because nobody acted in a credible fashion, nobody was terribly likable, there weren't any individual scenes that were especially interesting, and it went on forever, and loud loud loud. This is a huge rollercoaster, no doubt. But Nolan forgot to make sure there was something solid in place to keep people from falling off of it.
3. My Thoughts On Christopher Nolan
People seem to fall into a love-him-or-hate-him dichotomy with Christopher Nolan, and this board is no exception. I have made clear how much I love Nolan’s films, from his three small thrillers to his four large action movies. I have seen all of his films except FOLLOWING. Nolan clearly is very interested in the psyche. All his films tackle issues of identity -- who a person is and who they present themselves to be. I appreciate that Nolan wants the audience to ponder certain questions, but never expects us to accept a definitive answer.
I'm pretty much the only DKR hater on this Board right now, so I'll just answer directly. I loved Nolan. Following is just a calling card really. Batman Begins has moments. Insomnia is pretty cool. Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight...awesome. To put things in perspective, I didn't really enjoy Inception because I found it rather monotonously edited and sequenced, I didn't like how bloated the narrative was, and I didn't really care what happened, but I'll certainly concede that it looked cool and there were some cool moments. The Dark Knight Rises does not look cool and there are no cool moments really. Maybe one or two. After the plethora of iconic Batman imagery in The Dark Knight, that is a substantial letdown. Also, outside of Memento, I don't think that Nolan is very interested in the psyche or identity. I just think he makes films that look like they're interested in the psyche or identity. It's all surface.
You say that his style is not overwhelming like Tim Burton or Steven Spielberg. I can't think of anything more overwhelming than Christopher Nolan movie. He definitely has a style at this point as singular as either of those filmmakers, and on the basis of The Dark Knight Rises, it's definitely as overwhelming as any Michael Bay movie. There is a laziness to story in this film that is as hacktacular as any Michael Bay movie.
I understand you love the film and I read your entire post. I'm not going to respond to everything and turn it into a debate, but I'll just say if you liked it you liked it. To me, it felt like the work of someone who didn't understand why I liked his earlier work.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver