There is a movie coming out on July 20th entitled The Dark Knight Rises. It is the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. It is dark and Gothic but not as dark and Gothic as the comments made on Rotten Tomatoes about the reviews of The Dark Knight Rises, which were so vitriolic the site disabled commentary. And, because we haven’t seen the film, and if we had would be too cautious to further expose ourselves to criticism (though really, have you even tried to comment on bbook.com? It’s harder than getting a new driver’s license) we’re left only able to review the reviews. Perhaps the most appropriate one to review is Marshall Fine’s pan, which caused so much of the ad hominem attacks. Fine did not like the movie. In a paragraph that represents Fine’s weaknesses and strengths, it is written:
Now comes “The Dark Knight Rises,” bringing in the Bane character (played, with my condolences, by Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway, one of the movie’s few highlights). Nolan gets so caught up in creating an epic adventure that he hammers the “epic” and neglects a crucial component: the adventure.
Which has been my criticism of so many of the comic-book movies of the past decade: too little attention paid to that most necessary of elements – excitement. There is very little about “The Dark Knight Rises” that will make you tense, hold you in suspense or cause your adrenaline to squirt. At times, the action is so massive and thunderously clunky that I might as well have been watching one of the “Transformers” movies.
Putting aside the clear problem of starting a paragraph with a fragment. Which has been so often a problem in prose: grammar. Fine deliriously condemns the film for collapsing under its own epic machinery as well as for having too many actors (" "There are what seem like dozens of other actors here," he complains.) and trying to embue the plot with a subtlety regarding good and evil. However, it should be noted, this very anti-Manichean sentiment is the exact same thing that New York Times critic Mahohlo Dargis lauds.
Fine goes on to note: " "I’m not trashing the entirety of “The Dark Knight Rises” – I’m saying that its potential is such that it ultimately disappoints, thanks to Nolan’s decision to go big, bigger, biggest." This is fair enough though it makes me wonder if, upon reading Genesis, Fine put down the book and thought, "Man, why couldn’t it stick just with Adam?" It’s also worth noting that he panned Terence Malick’s Tree of Life so at this point, he should just stop watching movies that don’t fulfill the Aristotles’ classical unities:
In fact, this is actually what Fine’s problem is: He hates epics. All of his arguments against The Dark Knight Rises can be traced back to his love of unity. For instance, he objects in a paragraph that also contains, a spoiler and is therefore not herein mentioned, that a climactic scene is one-on-one hand-to-hand combat, a scene, one might note, that has historical resonance in many epics (viz. Hector and Achilles at the gates of Troy.)
Which has been my criticism of so many of Fine’s reveiws of the past decade. His pan is objectionable only inasmuch that as a reviewer whose foresworn duty is to enter into a relationship with the object of his review with an open mind, Fine simply applies his very clear prejudices to every film he sees.