I saw a review somewhere the other day that was a bit more reserved than the usual It's brilliant/It's shit extremes. It's a popcorn flick, but it 'means it', man.
You say that as though popcorn flicks can't be brilliant.
I think the day when a beloved comicbook superhero film isn't popcorny to some substantial degree is the day things have gone a tad too far in the opposite direction to camp shite like Schumacher's Batman & Robin. It's about doing interesting things with the form, while still entertaining and engaging the loyal, protective, often quite young fans of the source material. TDK needs the big truck flip, even though what really carries the film is how the main characters are 'opened up' somewhat to appeal to more 'sophisticated' adult sensibilities. They're still cartoonish - it's not exactly Bergman's Persona
- but the added depth and food for thought created by expanding these cartoons' inner workings is... fun!
A number of my all-time favourite films are totally popcorn flicks - just turn on, and switch off. Doesn't mean they aren't exceptional works of art in their own right too, and attempting something more ambitious. Here's hoping that Rises
at the very least provides some hyperreal Hollywood thrills & spills to go with the intriguingly gritty, grown-up (kinda) takes on familiar pop culture creations, but there's no reason it shouldn't try to transgress the accepted limits of superhero movies (in length as well as writing), and it could achieve something special if things just came together nicely. I've no idea whether or not it does, 'cause I've not gone near any reviews.
"OK I suppose" is a pretty stingy assessment of TDK - it's a long way from perfect, but its big ideas are admirable even if the execution bored a fair number of filmgoers. Totally fair enough if that's your honest opinion on it, though. I wouldn't find a place for it in my personal top 50 films ever, but it is the most ambitious comic book blockbuster I've seen (Watchmen
wasn't anywhere near ambitious enough to be even a smidgeon worthy of the book, and it's choc-full of bad gash in parts), and you can't deny the lasting impact its whole approach, and Ledger's Joker, will have on pop culture.
Two buzzwords of the internet-generation reviewer I've come to despise in my time are 'overrated' and 'pretentious'. Always comes across as sniffy, begrudging. I recall some tedious arthouse-purist twat with access to a keyboard going off on one about Raiders of the Lost Ark
being "strictly for under-8s", the likes of Blade Runner
being "tiresome pablum", and even Mulholland Drive
"trying too hard to be 'art'". It was drivel, and I just wanted to stab him, frankly.