Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Review

"Calm down, Doctor! Now's not the time for fear. That comes later."

I was a bit late coming to the Nolan Batman films. I didn't see Batman Begins until a few years after it came out and even then the only reason I did was The Dark Knight had a release date the following year.
I really didn't rate the film on a first viewing. Maybe it was because I was expecting Batman to be in it more and I didn't realise how much of an origin story it was going to be.
One thing that was clear though was Christian Bale was good in the duel role of Bruce Wayne/Batman and that director Christopher Nolan's take on one of DC's famous sons would be a much more real affair than it's predecessors.
Eventually on repeat viewings I came round to liking it and it set me up for The Dark Knight which much to my distaste was going to feature Heath Ledger as one of comics most iconic villains The Joker. We all know what an idiot I am when it came to that little gripe. Ledger was amazing as Joker and it's a shame he never saw the huge reaction and praise he was given for his part.
Overall I can't describe how much I've enjoyed The Dark Knight and always assumed a 3rd film was certain considering that film ended with Batman on the run.
I've been looking forward to the final movie The Dark Knight Rises for an absolute age. When I heard Tom Hardy had been cast as Bane I was absolutely ecstatic. Tom Hardy is a brilliant actor and the news he was going to be the main bad guy in the final film had me really excited.

The thing was though that when you mentioned Bane to people they would refer to Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin. This wasn't the best representation of the character. I started to get a bit annoyed and in the end gave up explaining to people that Nolan's version would be nothing like that.
I think Tom's portrayal is up there with Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight although he doesn't quite steal the show as Ledger's Joker did.

Where as Heath's Joker was absolutely terrifying to watch due to being crazy Tom's Bane is the complete opposite. He encourages fear in people just by his size and the sheer ease he uses violence to eliminate people he no longer has time for. I was very happy to see they kept Bane breaking Batman's back in the film. For a while I thought they were going to skip what was once such a pivotal plot point in the comics. That whole fight before hand was brilliant and fantastically brutal. I loved it.

I think it's fair that many people have complained about Bane's voice and at first I thought this was an issue myself. On reflection though it wasn't a problem for me really. Just a few lines I didn't understand but that was more down to the cinema sound system. His actual accent worked well and I like how most people expected Bane to just be a thug when in fact he's an intellectual. You may or may not know the mask Hardy had to wear was actually a prosthetic makeup attached to his face. I think as an actor he did well considering we only really saw his eyes all the way through the film.

"We both know that I have to kill you now. Well… You will just have to imagine the fire"

 I loved how despite Talia al Ghul telling Bane to keep Batman alive he waits until she is gone before going to hang him anyway. Bane's death was the only thing I found disappointing. Although I suppose it was a realistic way for him to bow out.

Christian Bale's is amazing and in this movie he makes his Bruce/Batman an even more tragic figure than in the previous films. I'm always a bit critical of Bale but I can't really fault him in this. He managed to get across perfectly the sadness, guilt and fear Bruce is feeling and the sense of responsibility he feels when it comes to protecting Gotham. The end of the film is a real emotional kick and I like how the citizens of Gotham come to accept what a hero Batman is by the end of the film by having a statue in his honor.
 Michael Caine as always does a fine job as Alfred and it's true what a friend said to me a few days back. "When Michael Caine cries on film he can make you blub like a baby". He wasn't in this film as much as I'd liked him to of been but his story arc in the trilogy is sewn up nicely and we are left with the feeling Alfred can now move on with his own life knowing that Bruce is happy.

Hathaway's Catwoman is a magnetic presence whenever she's on screen and she has great chemistry with Bale. Selina may be the good bad girl, the thief with a heart of gold, but Hathaway plays her with a wounded spirit and an edge that makes her feel genuine and sympathetic even when she's being naughty.

As expected Gary Oldman as Gordon did a splendid job and so did Morgan Freeman. I should probably say more regarding these two but does it really need to be done? Both brilliant actors that are good in near enough anything they are in.

Joseph Gordon Levitt gets a high rating from me as his contribution to this film cannot be ignored. If anything he has one of the most important story arcs in the whole film. Ever since his character was announced fans (myself included) were speculating what his role in the movie was. I thought it was awesome that "Robin" John Blake is passed the torch in an indirect way by Bruce at the end of the film and what really geeked me out was reading on line that the actual character of Blake (created by Christopher Nolan) was actually a mixture of the 3 different characters in the DC comic to of worked alongside Bruce as Robin. Looking back now you can see all the incidents that John tells us having gone on in his life have molded and shaped him a lot like it did the various Boy Wonders in the comics over the years. "Robin Begins" anyone?

Overall I think The Dark Knight Rises was a good end to what has been a fantastic trilogy of Batman films. There is already speculation that there may be a Catwoman spin-off. Something I don't want to see as I think it would spoil what has been created already. That also goes for what I just said about with a Robin spin-off. Let's just leave it now and wait for the expected Batman reboot that has already been announced for the next few years.

Batman in Christopher Nolan's films was the hero Gotham deserved. He was a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.

1 comment:

  1. popcornflix - I have enjoyed batman for a long time and despite my rabid fanaticism this movie took me to a whole new level. This is barely a superhero movie; it's utterly devoted from start to finish as an action-drama and could stand alone by all means. I admit I was skeptical of what it would be like, what with the list of villains potentially bogging down the story, the change of actress for the character Rachel Dawes and of course Heath Ledger's death which I feared might make the movie a target for his fans to run wild. However I have never been so overjoyed to be so wrong; Maggie Gylennhal is a wonderful actress as Katie Holmes' replacement; her character was good enough to avoid the melodramatic angle and was rather sublime about any of the relationships, none of the villains took away from the movie or cluttered it in the least, and Heath Ledger was absolutely fantastic as the clown prince of crime; he deserves all the praise he gets for his performance which was scary and funny at the same time. Not once did it seem that the actor was tooting his own thespian horn (as I think jack Nicholson did when he played the joker) in fact I got the feeling Ledger was determined to have fun with it and I hope he did because he made a wonderful last impression with this skeptic. You don't have to be a fan to recognize what a thrill ride this movie is; my only warning to you is that you are not in for a mindless bubble-gum superhero flick that is short and simple; this is quality cinema and batman has never had so much solid footing in this area. My hats off to all who were involved. Go watch this movie now!
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