This is an overly methodical and heavy-spirited movie—pop without rapture. Bruce comes back to Gotham and slowly assembles the elements of his costume, his vehicle, and his mode of operation—the kind of equipment fetishism that used to be tossed off in a few barbed exchanges between Sean Connery and Desmond Llewelyn’s Q in the old Bond films. And I miss Anton Furst’s urban-grotesque production design from the first movie—the curious, malign details pulled out of the night. Most of this movie is just dark, and the familiar trope of a high-flying passage through Gotham’s bunched skyscrapers isn’t as thrilling as it was years ago. The young Welsh-born actor Christian Bale is a serious fellow, but the most interesting thing about him—a glinting sense of superiority—gets erased by the dull earnestness of the screenplay, and the filmmakers haven’t developed an adequate villain for him to go up against. The return of Liam Neeson late in the movie is a bust, and the action climax, in which the water supply threatens to combine with a vicious white powder floating around the city (the mixture will drive everyone crazy, or at least make them sneeze), is cheesy and unexciting.Yes, exactly.
The real failing is Nolan’s. There’s very little sense of Batman’s awesome surveillance of the city from the heights; he just drops out of nowhere, thrashes all the bad guys in a whirl of movement that is shot too close, and edited too rapidly, for us to see much of anything, and then elevates out of the frame. In “Memento,” Nolan and his editor, Dody Dorn, created a new syntax for movies. It’s depressing to see Nolan now relying on the same fakery as everyone else.
And about that crazy-making steam... Wouldn't that have been a great choice for the threat in an extremely low budget movie? Blow in some steam and have the actors act crazy.