Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:30 AM
I have to agree with the vast majority of what Alex said about Bane. Not only were his motivations questionable as a general rule, but as a character he annoyed me.
I am not familiar with Bane from the comics or other mythology, so it's difficult for me to have a clear frame of reference. All I can do is judge Bane based on this film.
And on that basis... meh. Bane seems to be advancing a fairly lofty political agenda - at least ostensibly - but in the end, this essentially boils down to little more than a question of doing someone else's dirty work. Maybe I am missing something, but I felt like the air was let out of Bane's proverbial tires close to the end of the film. He was already incredibly generic to begin with, but became painfully so as the movie closed.
In terms of characterisation, I agree completely with Alex. Bane's visual representation was, for me, pretty generic and bland. I know that Heath Ledger set a very high bar - and that Joker is probably a fundamentally more interesting character - but Bane was so ridiculously sterile that, for me, I felt like I was continually waiting for his scenes to end. He just didn't strike me as interesting or terribly noteworthy.
Also, yes, his face mask... what's up with that? The presence of the mask itself utterly killed the acting, for one thing. He essentially had no varying facial expressions, and it was virtually impossible to see that he was talking, which further limited his potential for expression. Combine that with the weirdly unsatisfying voice (which was understandable only most of the time, perhaps), and I felt like we were left with a bit of a dud character.
In contrast, I genuinely loved Catwoman. And that, for me, was the film's biggest positive surprise. For me, Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman is equivalent to Heath Ledger as Joker. In other words, her portrayal was so brilliant and mind-numbingly crazy that I couldn't imagine the almost-too-soft Anne Hathaway doing justice to the character (and perhaps I was also a bit scarred by that terrible Catwoman spin-off from a few years ago...).
In any case, both Hathaway's portrayal as well as the dialogue were pretty spot on for Catwoman I thought. Her character was nuanced and genuinely interesting, funny, sad, and with just a hint of psychopathy and nihilism to round things out. I also really liked her costume - it gave hints while being beautifully grounded in Nolan's "realistic" take. Very well done.
Speaking of this, for me... Catwoman was the star of the show. Much like Joker was the star of The Dark Knight, I think Catwoman made The Dark Knight Rises worth watching. Without these key characters, I'm not sure if either film would have interested me nearly as much.
In terms of plot, well... yeah. I largely agree with Alex's assessment. I did genuinely enjoy the ending (the twist was... eh, but everything after that was rounded out quite well). Some aspects of the film were a little too drawn-out, I think, particularly some fight sequences. And, as many have pointed out, there were quite a few logical inconsistencies throughout - although I don't really put much stock in this in terms of enjoyment. I mean, it's Batman.
Anyway, I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises probably as much, or more, than The Dark Knight. But for me, Bane was a let down and a wasted opportunity. That really dragged down the film overall in my view. Had either Bane been more interesting - or had we seen a fundamentally more interesting and unique character to replace him - I think the movie would have fared much better, personally.