Writers: Christoper Nolan & Jonathan Nolan
Director: Christopher Nolan
Viewed: Thursday 19 July 2012 @ The Blue Room Cinebar, Paddington, Brisbane.
SPOILERS! THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS IN IT! SPOILERS! AT THIS POINT IN TIME IT SHOULD BE VERY CLEAR TO YOU THAT HERE BE SPOILERS!
Finally, it’s here. After all the leaked photos, rumors, controversial casting, viral marketing campaigns, teasers and trailers, the finale to Christoper Nolan’s much praised Batman trilogy arrived in cinema’s today to much fan fare. But is it as good as we’ve been led to believe?
Well, it’s pretty good, but not quite as good as the masses seem to be proclaiming it to be, shouting from the roof tops with their megaphones.
Eight years have passed since The Joker and Harvey “Two-Face” Dent terrorised Gotham City, and both Bruce Wayne and Batman have disappeared in to retirement as the latter still shoulders the blame for the past chaos caused. Gotham is now a place of peace and the police have little to do until a new villain comes to town, Bain (a towering hulk of a man with a constant supply of pain relieving drugs pumping through his body) who wants to “cleanse” Gotham for all it’s sins (sound familiar?) by way of a little anarchy (my how these bad guys love their anarchy) and a big nuclear bomb.
Okay, so don’t get me wrong, I liked The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a good movie….It’s just not as good as The Dark Knight in my humble (but all important, as this is my Blog) opinion. Right from the start, having the opening scene of the movie be set back at Harvey Dent’s funeral just seemed odd. Then, immediately after, Bane’s big prologue sequence just paled in comparison to the bank heist we saw previously. Then there’s the script. Having this set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight feels like a bit of a misstep because the first hour of the movie just ends up being exposition. Clunky exposition. At times I felt like I was watching an episode of NCIS or CSI where whenever the characters discuss what is happening they explain shit like they’re talking to an idiot because all audiences are (apparently) idiots.
These are sad, sad times for Bruce Wayne, apparently. I think it’s taking a huge leap to believe that a man like Wayne could disappear so completely from society, and be so ignorant of what is happening around him, for eight years like this film suggests. Locked away in dark corners of his mansion, hobbling around on his cane (Oh, people in this movie recover super quick from some pretty serious injuries. I’m no physician or anything, but I think having no cartilage in any of your major joints sounds more severe than just strapping up your knee. Gun shot? Only have to be confined to your hospital bed looking like death and barely able to speak…until the bad guys come looking for you. Break your back? Just have someone pop it back in and hang around for a few days until you’re good to go.), he’s all reclusive and won’t see people, until he’s robbed by the sexy Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway).
Anne Hathaway is pretty perfect here. Her Catwoman (which she’s never called in the film) is great! A Minx-y (yeah, I’ll groan along with you) blend of sexy, witty and deadly, you never know which side she’s on (she’s a great character and match to Bale’s Wayne and Batman). I’ll give the Nolans’ and Hathaway credit in they really gave the character something that felt authentic and true to how Kyle should be. Not even this gay man can deny how shit hot she looked in that suit. And driving that Bat Pod? Bitch was kicking arse!
While Jim Gordon is in hospital suffering from his gun shot wound (obtained when he discovers Bane’s sewer lair), Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake is running around trying to help. It’s obvious about ten minutes after we meet this guy that he’s Robin. A bit later there’s a nice, convenient scene where he tells Bruce about how he lost his parents when he was a child too. If that wasn’t enough, Nolan really hammers it home with a line in the last few minutes of the movie. Nolan is big with his hammering. He likes to get his point across loud and clear, and it can be distracting. There are so many flashbacks, references to previous characters and preachy speaches in this thing that there’s never any chance of you being slightly confused about what’s going on.
There’s one guy, Roland Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn, nice to see an Aussie) trying to take over Wayne Enterprises by making Wayne broke. This works but Wayne gives control of the company to Miranda Tate, another investor and board member, who is trying to pave the way for a clean energy source. Wayne has this source, but is scared to use it, lest it fall in to the wrong hands. Bane has hands of exactly that kind and knows about the energy source! Oh no! There’s also Selina Kyle in there stealing from Bruce Wayne, kissing Bruce Wayne, delivering Batman to Bane. The part I didn’t get is where Bane arms the nuclear device (the football scene you’ve no doubt scene in the trailer is awesome) to then just leave the city to descend into mayhem over the course of five months before it blows up? This just seems like a device to allow us to see Batman Broken as Bruce Wayne suffers in a prison below the ground, looking up at the sky from, yet another, stone well-like pit (Hammer Hammer. Cue flashback. Hammer Hammer). He’s down there with a broken back after his first meeting with Bane (an odd fight scene with no music behind it and no sense of urgency). Other than that there’s also a great chance to play “Spot the Familiar Actor”. I won’t spoil a few because they are genuinely fun, but there’s Burn Gorman (Torchwood), Josh Stewart (The Curse or Benjamin Button), Daniel Sunjata (The Devil Wears Prada) and Juno Temple (Atonement) scattered throughout all these events, to name but a few.
Michael Caine is there as well. As Alfred. Caine has never really sat right as Alfred to me, and generally, every time he’s on screen I miss Michael Gough terribly. This is again true occasionally this time round, but Caine also has some really great moments where he manages to win me over for a moment or two.
There’s a lot going on the whole time, but most of the screen time is devoted to Bruce/Batman and Bane, though they’re not together often. When they are, Tom Hardy shines as Bane. They’re his best scenes. He does well behind the mask and makes Bane quite menacing and crazy. I liked what he did with his accent (there were only a few instances when I couldn’t understand the dialog) and his eyes worked wonders. Bane just has the unfortunate task of coming after The Joker. I won’t say “Hardy has the unfortunate task of coming after Ledger”, because Hardy does great, it’s just Bane is no match for Joker. The Joker is just a better villain with better motives.
HERE COME THE MAJOR SPOILERS
So, then the end comes and Miranda Tate is revealed to be the true driving force behind Bane and…well…everything. But it’s all just a little bit disappointing (and ultimately pointless) because her story is just what we thought Bane’s story was. Now he’s just her henchman. And the link to the past that her unnecessary baddy-reveals-everything-monologue provides has already been established in the movie anyway (Hammer. Cue Flashback. Hammer). After this, Batman flies the unstoppable nuclear bomb out over the ocean, “sacrificing himself” to save the city. Of course, he doesn’t die, and this leads to my favourite scene in the movie, where Alfred catches the eye of Bruce at a familiar cafe (that we know of because if it being hammered into our minds earlier). Plus Bruce left the coordinates to the Bat Cave for Robin to find, so Gotham will still be safe.
Like I said at the start, I liked The Dark Knight Rises. It has some huge plot holes, it’s a teeny bit long (the longest of the trilogy), the main villain (and the main-main villain) are a little disappointing, and the script isn’t quite up to the Nolans’ standard (not anything like his Inception) , but it also has a lot of great moments. I laughed often, there are some great cameos, some cool gadgets, action, Anne Hathaway exceeds any expectations, and I generally just had fun. For all these reasons I give The Dark Knight Rises 3 ½ Rant and Rave Points.
For another point of view see: http://enterpriseofgeeks.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/review-dark-knight-rises.html
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