July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final installment for the Batman franchise. After Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, it's time to conclude a dynamic, diverse franchise with The Dark Knight Rises. It was still directed by Christopher Nolan, who also wrote its screenplay with Jonathan Nolan, his brother. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman all returned to reprise their roles. IT also introduced new characters: Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Mrion Cotillard as Mianda Tate, and Tom Hardy as Bane. Pretty impressive cast, huh? The cast wasn't the only thing impressive in this movie.

I saw The Dark Knight Rises yesterday but didn't have the time to write about it because of work and other factors. I know a lot of people just spent their night waiting in line for it in the cinemas, and I do think it will all be worth it. I think the movie really delivered, for the most part. I got mixed reaction watching the movie, mostly positive but there were definitely issues. There were things I didn't think would shock me, and there were things I wasn't shocked about even though I thought I would be. Let me start with the not very positive ones.

Some parts of it were a little bit underwhelming. It's a fantastic movie, but somehow I didn't feel like it fully lived up to its potential and hype. There were a lot of sub-plots, and a few of them weren't really going well and flowing along the main plot. Some of it were actually very smart, and the addition of it greatly helped the movie as a whole. These scenes brought variety to the movie. Some, however, were dead weight, I thought and not that necessary either. There were scenes that made it a little confusing, more than it should. However, the development of the story still had a clear, concise direction and tackled loose ends. The development, not only of the story, but of the characters as well, was actually pretty brilliant.

Also, I read an article online comparing Tom Hardy's Bane to Heath Ledger's Joker. I've mention it before in my review  of The Dark Knight that it would be difficult to top Ledger's performance. I didn't read the whole thing but from what I got, it was saying that Tom Hardy's Bane could be compared to Heath Ledger. To that I strongly disagree. While I did think he was exciting as the evil, sadistic Bane, I didn't think it matched Ledger's Joker. I'm not trying to take anything away from his performance which was truly commendable. It's just that, in my opinion, Heath Ledger's Joker is way up there and just really sends shivers to one's core. Hardy did capture the strong, powerful essence of Bane, and translated it very well to the big screen. To be honest, I didn't think I'd enjoy Bane as much. But I'll also be honest that Joker was just a much better villain for Batman. In fact the only thing that didn't sit very well with me was how some of his lines couldn't be understood, but that's probably just me. Other than that Hardy's Bane was really good.

More than Christian Bale as Batman, there were two people that became the highlights of this movie for me. One was Michael Caine as Alfred, Batman's trusted assistant, and the other was Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Everytime these two were on screen,I gave my 100% focus because I didn't want to miss anything they might do or say. They both commanded attention because they gave a strong presence. There was a strong familiarity with these two, even though this was the first time Gordon-Levitt appeared in the Batman series. Actually, I think that's the biggest disappointment - the fact that he only joined the cast on its last installment. I'm still debating whether he was better in Inception or in The Dark Knight Rises.

Anne Hathaway was a delight in this movie, a witty sexy woman. For some reason though, I kept picturing Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow from the Avengers when they showed Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman suit. She was the perfect conclusion to Bruce Wayne's self-torture about the death of the woman of his dreams. The vehicles featured in the movie was also spectacular. It's one of my favorite things about the movie, how the gears, gadgets and transportation modes reflect the sensibility that Batman's supposed to have. I liked how every single detail, the vehicles for example, is unique to the movie in itself. It carefully crafted several key features that would always distinguish the movie from the other Batman movies, and from other films in general. It's really amazing to notice these small details and just take in the craftsmanship.

This movie also had more of a hand to hand combat, although guns and explosives were still present. It was a nice change, and a nice balance. The riots scenes also felt real authentic and I attribute it to Tom Hardy's Bane. I think Tom Hardy was the perfect actor to play Bane. I spent sometime who else could have pulled it off and I came up with a few names, although no one would be as perfect as Hardy.

I still think it was a very good conclusion to the franchise and I still think Christopher Nolan created a magnificent movie. I think this is the right time to say the franchise ended with a bang, and yes, the pun's intended. The ending sequence of the movie was one of the best ways to end a well-loved franchise. What I appreciated greatly was how they showed what happened to each character during the aftermath of the events. I saw where people ended up, and what they tried to do. Given the issues I noticed, I still felt satisfied and remained a fan of Nolan's work. It probably wasn't as good as The Dark Knight but it's definitely something worth seeing, something worth enjoying. I'll be watching it again Saturday night, and I'll update this post in the event that I feel differently about certain matters.

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  1. When it was all said and done, I stood up, clapped, whipped some tears away from my eyes, and smiled by how happy I was with what Nolan gave us for the last time. What a way to end a great trilogy and it doesn’t get any better. Great review.

  2. Yeah I really enjoyed, and I even liked it even more after the second time I saw it. Still had some off bits, but only minute ones. It was such an "epic" end to such a fantastic franchise. Christopher Nolan is a genius.