The first act of The Dark Knight Rises, set eight years after the Batman’s last sighting, delivers an out-of-shape and genuinely hobbled Bruce Wayne in a brilliant encounter with Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. The scene promised far more in terms of personal conflict than this blowhard of a film could deliver. Wayne’s return to action goes far too smoothly. There should have been more struggle and Batman should have gotten walloped on his first time back: an out-of-practice pianist taking the stage. I assume the producers didn’t want the audience to sit through two disparate Wayne rehabs, but the one they chose just bored me to tears. We all knew Batman would rise—it says so, right there in the title. The lunatic from Frank Miller’s eminently superior The Dark Knight Returns, pulling on the batsuit and going on obvious suicide missions, would have motivated the film much more efficiently. Alfred’s walk-out would have made a lot more sense had two-thirds of the movie featured a clearly out-of-his-league Batman, too angry or too proud to hang it up for good or who needs the humiliation to break through psychologically to the mental state required to resume his career. They could have saved millions on CGI effects and silly explosions had they only written an actual script.