2012 was supposed to be the year of The Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which in my opinion, is one of the 25 best films of all time, left an indelible mark on cinema. But, following it up with the next chapter in the series was going to be a daunting task.
Dating as far back as 2009, I feared that The Dark Knight Rises would, like many third parts to a trilogy, drop in quality. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were minor miracles. They were films that redefined the superhero film from popcorn summer fun to a more serious tone with Oscar possibilities. And, of course, we all know about Heath Ledger’s once-in-a-life-time performance as the Joker.
I did not anticipate that The Dark Knight Rises would not only drop in quality but quite frankly turn out to be a lazy, silly film that not only defies logic but essentially turns itself into a parody of The Dark Knight.
Does the plot make any sense… Batman, or Bruce Wayne, cannot only find his way back home from a hole in the middle of nowhere, but he can do it with no money, no identification and no idea where he actually is.
Then when arriving back in Gotham, he cannot only get into a city that no one can get out of, but he can find Selena in the middle of that city. He has also picked up the gift of clairvoyance and he must have spoken with Warner Brother’s head Barry Meyer and asked him to lend him Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak so that he could spend a day getting enough gas to douse an entire building in downtown Gotham. This was done so that he could light his bat symbol on the building.
You also have the American military just saying, “Oh well, we’ll let ten million people die because one man claims he has a nuclear bomb.” No rescue is attempted and these people of Gotham are just left to fight for themselves. The film also has the stupidest police force in the entire world as EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM RUNS INTO THE SEWERS TO LOOK FOR THEIR LEADER. Every single one!
I could go on with this, but instead of ranting, I’ll just give you a list of 50 films that are better than The Dark Knight Rises this year.
Note: My grade for TDKR is 6/10.
Further note: I have not seen any films released from Dec 7th and on.
These films are listed in no particular order, but they are all better than The Dark Knight Rises.
1. Argo: 10/10
Suspenseful, funny and featuring lots of Canada make this one of the best films of the year. Affleck gets it so perfect he even has this brilliant line: “Where are you from?” “ToronTO” “Don’t say ToronTO, Canadians don’t pronounce the last T.” And he’s right.
2. Battleship: 9/10
Action, more action and still more action. A terrible performance from Rihanna doesn’t dampen this summer popcorn film.
3. Red Dawn: 6.5/10
Not quite as good as the original but Thor and his merry men make this a much liked film.
4. Magic Mike: 8.5/10
I was the only guy in the theatre. Oestrogen was dripping off the walls. My wife liked it, I liked it and it made me laugh. Far better than seven and half hours of TDKR that culminates with Batman surviving a nuclear blast only to end up in the middle of Inception.
5. Ted: 7/10
A teddy bear coming to life? Yep, this too makes more sense than the plot of TDKR.
6. Men in Black 3: 8.5/10
The first was okay, the second was one of the worst movies of 2002 but this one gets it right.
7. 21 Jump Street: 8/10
Thank you Korean Jesus. That’s all.
8. Taken 2: 6.5/10
Not as good as the first, but still better than TDKR. Plus it has Maggie Grace in a bikini…and she has learned how to run correctly.
9. Safehouse: 7/10
Ryan and Denzel could read the phonebook and it would be entertaining.
10. Breaking Dawn 2: 9.5/10
The best of the Twilight films. Even the worst of the Twilight films make more sense that TDKR.
11. The Vow: 7.5/10
Two beautiful people together in a sweet and syrupy love story. What’s not to like?
12. Pitch Perfect: 7.5/10
Anna Kendrick might be the most beautiful woman on the planet. Well, maybe not that hot, but when you combine her talents with a mash up of Don’t You Forget About Me and some other recent hits, add in Fat Amy, you have the feel good film of the year.
13. The Bourne Legacy: 8/10
A good film without Damon. I think the next one will be even better.
14. Think Like A Man: 9/10
The funniest film of the year, or at least tied. Kevin Hart made tears roll down my cheeks.
15. Skyfall: 7/10
Sam Mendes directed American Beauty. Why is it he can direct action better than Christopher Nolan? Seriously.
16. The Expenables 2: 7/10
I’m one of the few who loved the first and feels that this is a step backwards. I hope they make the third even better.
17. John Carter: 8/10
Disney did not need to spend 250 million on this, but it is a very good film and a lot of fun. If the budget wasn’t such a well publicised issue I think more people would have liked it.
18. Contraband: 7.5/10
Wahlberg and a sexy Kate Beckinsale, good action, fun story and a slimy Giovanni Ribisi.
19. Looper: 7.5/10
Over-hyped but not disappointing. Great story and a fun mind screw to see Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt face off against each other….as the same character.
20. The Avengers: 9.5/10
The definitive superhero film. It has everything that TDKR doesn’t, especially a villain you can understand and heroes that can make you chuckle once in a while.
21. Hope Springs: 7/10
A funny film but more importantly one of the bravest performances from both Streep and Jones. Lots of very honest discussion about sex. And, a terrific but subdued performance from Carell.
22. Lincoln: 9/10
Brilliant script, a Heath Ledger like brilliant performance from Daniel Day Lewis and a terrific supporting cast make this one of the year’s best.
23. The Dictator: 8/10
Not nearly as good as Borat, but some very biting sarcasm directed towards the US.
24. American Reunion: 9/10
Stifler, Jim and the boys are back, and funnier than ever. And Finch’s mom is super hot.
25. This Means War: 6.5/10
A likable cast that features Bane, Captain Kirk and Elle Woods, its funny and brisk. Not a great film by any means but still more to like than TDKR.
26. The Woman in Black: 7/10
One of the decent horror films of the year but seeing Danielle Radcliffe in a setting like this makes you ask yourself when is Snape showing up?
27. Paranormal Activity 4: 8/10
As much as the story is frustrating me now (just get to the conclusion and tell us what it all means) Katie still scares the hell out of me.
28. The Grey: 8/10
Brian Mills crashes in the middle of the Arctic (or so it seems) and he has to wrestle wolves instead of Albanians.
29. Red Tails: 7/10
George Lucas’ ambitious film about an all black air force unit in World War II. Lots of action but the story needed to be a bit tighter.
30. Savages: 8.5/10
Oliver Stone doing something other than conspiracies is a win for us, the paying customer. A terrific cast and a mind blowing story with a Breaking Dawn-esque finale.
31. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: 9/10
One of my favourites of the year. Old English people in India is a lot of fun. A superb cast.
32. The Raid: Redemption: 9/10
I was breathless when I left the theatre. The best or close to it, martial arts film I have ever seen. The final fight between the three main characters must have taken months to choreograph. Nolan should take notes from this director.
33. Moonrise Kingdom: 6.5/10
Not a bad film but not great. TDKR is not terrible, but not enough to be not bad.
34. Cabin in the Woods: 8/10
A nice tongue in cheek horror film that nods and winks to the audience.
35. Chronicle: 9/10
One of the most entertaining films of the year. Truly mind blowing trying to figure out how they did some of what they did.
36. Here Comes the Boom: 8/10
An inspirational film about doing the right thing. Kevin James lost about 50 pounds for the movie….then put it all back on a year later. I lost 40 pounds in the summer and have kept it off….and I don’t have celebrity chefs to cook my food for me.
37. Lawless: 8/10
Bane gives another good performance, even though he grunts and croaks like a frog half the time. LaBoeuf is annoying in real life, but fantastic in here. And Jessica Chastain is hot, like too hot…seriously.
38. House at the End of the Street: 7/10
Should be a 6.5, but gets an extra half point because Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Shue don’t own anything but tank tops in this.
39. Five Year Engagement: 8/10
Funny, a bit too long, but a fantastic ending.
40. Rock of Ages: 9/10
Might be the most fun I’ve had at the theatre all year. Wanted to get up and sing all the tunes. And Julianne Hough is hot, like too hot…seriously.
41. Big Miracle: 8.5/10
Based on a true story, one of the more emotional and uplifting films about how all kinds of different people of all nationalities come together and put their differences aside to help out three stranded whales.
42. Man on a Ledge: 7/10
A good and fun “innocent man” thriller.
43. Chernobyl Diaries: 8.5/10
A downright creepy setting, a fantastic performance from Jonathan Sodowski and an ending that’s a shot to the gut. This is one of the best horror films of the year.
44. Safe: 8.5/10
One of Statham’s best films outside of The Expendables.
45. The Perks of Being a Wallflower: 10/10
Tied for my favourite film of the year. Emma Watson radiates in here and the film brings you back to the John Hughes style of film making where the writer understands how young adults think and feel. One of the best films I have ever seen.
46. People Like Us: 8.5/10
Elizabeth Banks should get an Oscar nomination for her performance. She is incredible. A story about getting knocked down and coming back with a smile….
47. Friends with Kids: 8.5/10
Very funny film with astute observations about marriage and dating. Great cast.
48. Goon: 9.5/10
This is the funniest film of the year, or at least tied with Think Like A Man. I admit if you don’t like hockey, you won’t get all the humour. I love hockey, so I do.
49. Flight: 6.5/10
A good film up until the last 15 minutes. It was a cop out and a very disappointing ending to a very decent film up until that point. Still marginally better than TDKR and its zero logic plot.
50. Silver Linings Playbook: 10/10
Tied with Wallflower as my favourite film of the year. Funny, inspirational and three performances that will make you want to stand up and cheer. You might even fall in love with Jennifer Lawrence….even though she ditched her tank tops from House on the End of the Street.
And there you have it. 50 films better than TDKR. Let’s hope Nolan’s next big budget film is more “The Dark Knight” than it is “Rises”.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Do you agree? What did you think of The Dark Knight Rises. What was your favourite film of the 2012?
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