Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

I don't know about the rest of the country, but after the tragedy at the Aurora, Colorado theater on the opening night of The Dark Knight Rises, I was a little wary of seeing this movie right away, as originally planned. After viewing it with my friend, Ryan, today, I'm glad I waited a couple of weeks. There were a few scenes that would've been hard to watch if I'd actually been closer to the tragedy (I have dear friends in the area, but none of them were actually at that theater, thank God).

I loved Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. They paved a new path for superhero movies that I don't think has been met by any other superhero movie out there right now. Batman Begins started a whole new generation of the beginnings (Spiderman totally doesn't count. Not even close!). Even with next year's Man of Steel is following suit. Up until Batman Begins, I'd always thought of Batman as a comical, cartoony superhero. Blame it on Adam West. Christopher Nolan took Gotham and its residents and put them in the real world. He made Batman's journey seem like the realistic journey of a troubled young man looking for his place in a world that doesn't necessarily want him.

That being said, the tradition continues in TDKR. Bruce Wayne, having sustained physical and mental injuries at the end of The Dark Knight due to The Joker and Two-Face, has been living as a recluse in Wayne Manor, ignoring his business, friends and even his charities. His faithful servant/father-figure, Alfred, has been taking care of as much as he can, but even Alfred is only one person. There are jokes of Bruce turning into Howard Hughes, but I think after what he'd been through, he has a right to it.

Believe it or not, this is Bruce Wayne post shave, but after having been a recluse for eight years.
Anyway, having met Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) at a charity ball being held at Wayne Manor, we realize that she's a cat burglar with a strong desire to erase her past discretions and lead a new life. She owes people a lot of money, so she steals jewels, including Martha Wayne's pearls which had a homing device on them.

I honestly wasn't sure what to think when they'd cast Anne as Catwoman. I knew she could play bad and reckless based on her performance in Rachel Getting Married, but I was completely won over by how quickly she could go from mousey to vamp to criminal to damsel to Catwoman. She played so many roles just in the first fifteen minutes. VERY Impressive, Ms. Hathaway.

Mia Thermopolis No More.
As for the next villain, Bane, played by Tom Hardy, I knew he could do well with it. He's played the villain several times before. I actually adore Tom Hardy. I think he's good looking, talented, intense and mesmerizing. Everyone kept talking about how they couldn't understand what Bane was saying through his mask, but I understood him well enough. Problem was, though, he sounded JUST like Sean Connery. It was INSANE! I kept expecting villainous Bond-things to come out of his speaker, but they never did.

A Martini. Shaken, not Stirrrrrrred.
No one had any idea who Joseph Gordon Levitt was supposed to be playing this time around, and I have to say, I think it was better that way. I went in without any idea of his background, and I fell in love with him. He played Officer-turned-Detective Blake, who never gave up on Batman, and actually became a good friend and ally to him. He was concerned with always doing the right thing, taking care of children, and keeping Gotham a safe city to live in.
NOT a Side Kick. Badass on his own.
I can't give anymore character information without giving everything away, and I don't want to do that. I think this, like Brave would do better without a full synopsis. There was a bit of an ambiguous ending. I'm not sure I liked that, but it seems Christopher Nolan likes the ambiguous ending. He certainly keeps you wanting more. It's been said that Christian Bale was ending at three movies, so time will tell, but despite his continued use of the Batman garble (Sounds like Gollum with laryngitis), he's a great Batman. I don't know many men who can do troubled like Christian Bale. Talented, talented man.

I doubt they'll see this, but Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, rest of the cast, I would LOVE if you did another. You can't just leave me like this! It was amazing!

I do love that like many directors before him, Christopher Nolan has a group of people he likes to work with. This movie damn close to being an Inception reunion (If Leonardo DiCaprio were Bruce Wayne and Ellen Page played the bit part played by Juno Temple) with Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Joesph Gordon Levitt, and Cillian Murphy (YES! Scarecrow is BACK!), . 

And on a final note, there were a few scenes that really shook me. There was a scene at the Gotham Stock Exchange, where Bane's cronies have all sneaked in, and he joins them, and just starts shooting people. That part really threw me because of the recent Aurora events. I think Christian Bale is a wonderful person for visiting the victims, and it looked like he would have preferred it without all the hoopla. Even his wife was there.

On a final note, a picture I found on Facebook the other day.

Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.

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