Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Because I never got around to it, here are my thoughts on Christopher Nolan's epic conclusion to the critical and financial juggernaut, Batman trilogy. Ever since 2008's "The Dark Knight" anticipation has been high for not only a follow up, but a conclusion. It took 4 years, but was it worth the wait? The Dark Knight Rises was easily the most anticipated film of 2012, which is saying a lot considering its competition (The Hobbit, The Avengers, Prometheus, Skyfall, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, Django Unchained, The Lackluster Spiderman, Lincoln and Chasing Mavericks). Slowly we, as film goers, heard casting details, saw production stills, and read details about the plot. All seemed very promising at the time, but the question we all had on our minds was, would it live up to the expectations set by its predecessor? In all fairness, how could it? The Dark Knight changed the game, not just for comic book movies, but major blockbusters in general. Films are feeling the ripple from the Dark Knight, causing darker story lines, more grounded and realistic action set pieces and more sinister and less cartoony villains. Its evident in films and posters all the time. So the bar is set pretty high for this film, and it was nipping at the heels of 2012's other major summer release and main rival, "Marvel's The Avengers", which had the gift of surpassing expectations, we all knew that that film could have been a disaster, but this review is about The Dark Knight Rises, and was it worth the wait? This reviewer is divided on the question. I liked many aspects of it, but I felt because the bar was so high that Nolan felt he had to shoot for the moon, but ultimately overshot it. The opening was exciting, and that goes to say, that the action was very well executed and there were some genuinely haunting images when Gotham falls into chaos, but overall its very inconsistent as a story. The first act, in my opinion, contradicts the final act of The Dark Knight. Bruce stops being batman because his girlfriend died? That would be okay if there wasn't that epic speech (my favorite moment in the entire Batman franchise). The whole point is that Batman told Gordon that he is going to keep being Batman, because Gotham needs him, and he was going to martyr himself for the sake of Gotham, because he can take it, he is The Dark Knight. But he just stopped being Batman after the confrontation with two-face? That seems silly considering the way the previous film ended. So after that night, Gotham City, a city that was notorious for its high crime rate, just reverts to so little crime that Gordon is being forced to retire, despite all he did for the city. If anything, the city should propose Gordon to run for mayor. Without getting too far into spoiler territory, an incident with Selina Kyle forces Wayne into donning the batsuit which leads him into his confrontation with Ubu, or as he's known in the film, Bane. I personally thought that Catwoman was the best part of the film, even though she was never referred to as Catwoman. The chase out of the stock exchange was pretty satisfying, and I was thoroughly pleased seeing Batman kick ass again, but when he meets Bane, the tables are turned. I felt Bane was the best choice of villain, and I had been saying since day 1 that he needs to fight Bane. And boy did Bane beat the shit out of him. It was almost uncomfortable how devastating Batman got his ass handed to him. Despite that fact that I could only hear every other word that Bane said, I thought the performance was excellent. Because his face was covered for the whole film, he had to resort to body language, and Tom Hardy truly understood that. But the accent was questionable. What the fuck was it? Dutch? So while bane takes over Gotham, Batman is stuck in India in a prison where an inmate performs back alley surgery to fix his back by popping in a vertebrae like a dislocated shoulder and over the course of three months he trains to escape. And this is where the schlock begins. I have far too many questions regarding the third act for this to be a perfect movie, let alone a candidate for best picture. Batman has to make a jump from a stone in the wall of the prison to a higher stone so he can climb out. Now if he had made this jump in one shot, I would have bought that, he's fucking BATMAN!!!!!!! But since they have to add """""""""tension""""""""" (I put it in so many quotes because the tension was immediately dissolved because the rope that secured him would have snapped his back and there is now nothing at stake when you can keep recovering from broken backs), I was taken out of the film. So here are some more questions; When Bane seized Gotham, and it is overrun with terrorists, why is there an underground movement of cops running rampant and alive? When they clearly showed that nobody could get in or out of Gotham, how did Batman get back in? If they were just going to detonate the nuclear bomb, why did Bane and Thalia wait five months to do it? How did John Blake figure out that Wayne was Batman based on his smile? How did the cops with Billy clubs defeat the terrorists with the Kevlar ak AK-47s?  And the questions go on for another seventy six lines. But that being said, I enjoyed the resolution and Wayne ending up with a good looking girl for once, because he deserved it. I mostly went into the cons of the film, but there were a lot of pros. The performances were good, save Marion Cotiliard in a particularly hammy performance and she very much gave away who her character was, all the action scenes were good, the cinematography from Wally Pfister was fantastic, and it was nice to see a worthwhile ending to a great story. Sure there were problems, but it was still a very good film. It didn't live up to expectations, and for me it was the most disappointing film of the year, but with a bar so high, how could it reach it? So I do ultimately recommend it, but there were far greater films that came out this summer. See it if you can, just don't expect another Dark Knight.

Oh, and John Blake being named Robin is fucking retarded

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