The Dark Knight Rises [spoilers]

I've seen this movie twice now (and I never go out to the theaters). I enjoyed it for the sake of hanging out with friends and a cheap action thrill, but I have some complaints I wanted to write down.

The first thing that sticks out to me is that this really fits the mold of a typical James Bond movie. He sleeps with the good girl who turns out to be bad, and ultimately gets the bad girl who is redeemed. These are the only two important female characters in the movie. To be fair, they are important to the plot outside of their romantic involvement, but this seems like a token representation. By default, every character is male unless explicitly needed to be female.

There are other Bond themes - lots of gadgets and cool vehicles. Hell, Fox is basically Q. Wayne is a socially adept playboy. I don't mean to rip on the Bond films so much as highlight how I think Nolan made a comic book story accessible and highly popular by using the Batman framework to make a Bond film. It doesn't divert from basic action films of the 60s and onward except for tech. Batman's costume is made to look the least eccentric it can be while still being recognizably Batman. I don't think it would be too hard to turn this movie into a Bond film or any generic action film.

I am glad they addressed the horrifying anti-terrorism aspects of the Dent Act. In The Dark Knight, Batman's extrajudicial enforcement is obvious but I'm happy to let this slide on account of him being a super hero. But when you get away from one super human taking the law into his own hands and start making it a general policy (giving the police force "teeth") there's a problem. They didn't go into very deeply though, and most of the consequences were not examined except for a brief look at Gorden. James Gordon has plenty of redeemable qualities, but he is also in the business of withholding important information from the public and promoting a police state. What is the strength of a society that limits information for the sake of the status quo? Blake/Robin is probably the only character in the movie without serious character flaws, or maybe Fox. Alfred's character bothers me - his whole life is devoted to serve some rich kid born into money.

A lot of politically left ideas are strawman-ed or misrepresented. When Bain takes over the city and mayhem breaks out, Catwoman's friend asks that is this not what you always wanted when you said a storm is coming? Catwoman had previously said a storm was coming when noting a serious wealth discrepancy within Gotham. Gotham is very conservative and more concerned about maintaining the status quo than addressing any of the real problems that develop out of its hardline policies. After all - they're really just baseless, greedy claims shown for what they are when Bain gives power to the common folk who, in their ignorance, threaten an entire city with destruction. Also Patrick Leahy is in the fucking movie, ew.

The handling of the nuclear bomb might have been the most obnoxious part of the movie. They designed a reactor without serious safety precautions in terms of weaponizing it? Who are these nuclear physicists that are so short-sighted after decades of the Cold War? We're not even talking about stealing enriched uranium from the facility. The entire power plant has a core that not only functions outside of the plant, it is completely weaponized. And it only took this one physicist a short while to be able to do this? I don't buy it. There are real and valid concerns with nuclear power that are best handled with a sophisticated, deep analysis. Instead, the writer exploits a kind of Frankenstein-ian fear and ignorance on the part of the audience who merely reacts to nuclear as a boogie word. I would let it slide if it weren't for the fact that nuclear energy is an actual, important topic outside of comic book land and this movie might have some influence on the public.

And then we have Batman detonating the bomb a little over 6 miles away from the city. Where's the tidal wave that causes mass flooding and death in Gotham? The 2011 Japanese tsunami was just last year - surely even a non-scientist would be expected to remember this and consider the effects of detonating such a device right over the surface of the bay. Gotham may not go down in nuclear flames, but the devastation is going to be immense.

Also, think of the nation-wide counter-reaction to this. 9/11 was nothing compared to the threat of a nuclear bomb in (effectively) NYC. Are we really to believe that Gotham isn't going to ramp up its ascendance to a police state after this, especially considering how little it took the city to adopt the Dent Act over a much smaller threat.