July 28th, 2012

Leapin’ Lousy Screenplays Batman!

No spoilers. I’m pretty sure that you can enjoy TDKR without straining your benevolence. But don’t make the mistake I made: I went and watched it one day after seeing Burton’s “Batman Returns” for the n-th time.
Apart from the Catwomen, there is no sense in comparing both movies. Pfeiffer certainly got the better written character and gives an incredible performance. Hathaway was given a more natural role that she performs it incredibly well, so it’s not her fault that her Catwoman is the weaker.
Anyway, the Burton movie is a serious, perfectly executed work of art, while Nolan’s is a mostly entertaining action film riddled with narrative flaws. I rather like “The Dark Knight”, but every time I watch it, I am reminded that this is mostly due to The Joker and to the musical score. I am under the impression that Nolan’s storytelling tends to be sloppy and suffers from lack of plausibility, but can it be that these failings have increased along with his success? In an attempt to give my disappointment with TDKR some perspective from the other side, I came home and took another look at “Inception”, a movie that I didn’t like too much from the start, and that I like less every time I watch. It didn’t help his newest effort, but it reinforced my belief that Nolan should take a step back, sit down and reconsider the priority he gives to a strong narrative among the elements constitute his works. My main points of criticism:

  1. He sacrifices plausibility to conceptual sensationalism. He will make an absurd bend to the story, in order to make room for a cool idea. For example: Who sustains limbo as a shared mindscape at the end of “Inception”?
  2. The temporal relationship of events in his narrative is often confuse – out of sloppiness I’d say. This was a nice device in “Memento”, but it’s mostly detrimental to the telling of most stories.
  3. He has become too self indulgent. He seems to assume that delivering a couple of good surprising punches can make up for other shortcomings.

Now, if you haven’t yet, go watch, and enjoy “TDKR”. But if you ever grow disillusioned with Mr. Nolan, remember you read it here first.