Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises (Chris Nolan, 2012)

It’s been months since I’ve done an update, and rightfully so; in that time I’ve earned myself a nifty new post-graduate degree. Now that I have all this extra free time after work, I have the freedom to watch movies, play sports, go out with friends and do things that I’ve been dying to do but couldn’t in the past 21 months. My first update will be about the Dark Knight Rises, my number 1anticipated movie of 2012.

                The Dark Knight Rises was everything I had hoped it to be, even with a running time of 165 minutes, far exceeding the length of the first two films. The movie begins 7 years after the events in The Dark Knight. Gotham is quiet and crime free, while a badly worn out Bruce Wayne hides inside his mansion mourning over the death of his love Rachel and struggling with an internal battle realizing how much he has given up, for so little in return.

                The three new characters introduced are the most interesting parts of The Dark knight Rises. They include; a talented cop, John Blake (JGL) , who suspects Bruce Wayne to be Batman, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a mysterious jewel thief who is described to be an associate of the main villain but appears to only act in her own selfish manner,  and the main villain Bane (Tom Hardy), whose menacing voice and monstrous appearance hides behind a respirator. The new characters are pivotal to the climax of the movie. Nolan did a fantastic job building the relationship of Selina and Bruce and at the same time intertwining the stories of the first two films to uncover Bane’s master plan. Hathaway is perfect as Selina, (but don’t call her Catwoman!) as Nolan portrayed her in a tight, black suit with cat ears that fold down to night vision goggles.  Bruce/Batman also has an incredibly memorable fight scene with Bane and Nolan depicts quiet clearly how the 7 years held up in his mansion has taken a toll on his body and it appears Batman is most definitely physically outmatched.

                The complaints I have are minor in scope. I didn’t expect Nolan to produce excellent action sequences and I was right to assume so. The Dark Knight Rises probably has more action set pieces than the previous two films and with the exception of one emotionally great sequence involving a stadium, the Dark Knight Rises chugs through bits and pieces of car chases, fist fights and aerial shots that are not exceptional. They also don’t need to be. They feed the story fine. Nolan also doesn’t do humor. There’s no witty comebacks like Spider-man is known for, no cute banter that makes Tony Stark so charming, there’s just stone cold Bale.

And my biggest gripe about Nolan (SPOILERS AHEAD *** skip this paragraph) is his inability to induce any sense of a drama into a villains defeat. We saw what happened to Two Face in The Dark Knight, which could possibly go down as the weakest character death in the history of all cinema.  There was speculation that Two Face wasn’t dead and was being held inside Arkham Asylum, but the Dark Knight Rises squashes that theory pretty quickly. But more annoyingly, the movies spend a great deal of time building up Bane as an unstoppable monster only to dispatch him in a pseudo-deus ex machina event.

                Although Nolan had more time to tell his story, there does seem to be a bit of rushing editing involved. Nolan is known for using cross-cutting (a type of editing that simulates events occurring at the same time) in his past films but there are sections of The Dark Knight Rises that really stand out as rushed. In Nolan’s defense, the cross-cutting is a technique used to power the audience through a lot of the silly (but important) pieces of information but the audience is vulnerable to get confused on just how much time has actually passed between scenes. None of these critiques affect the love affair I had with the on screen characters. They were casted perfectly and to read more about how Nolan and David Goyer (an avid comic book fan) were influenced on all three movies, I invite you to read 20 Batman Stories Most Influentialto “The Dark Knight” Trilogy.  

                In the end, Nolan left the Batman universe with another tremendous effort with a satisfying conclusion, which should leave Batman fans smiling. Chris Nolan has ended his saga with Batman with a beautifully written love letter. The hopes of Nolan being involved in a future Justice League movie are doubtful. It’s best for him to walk away at this point, let someone else spin a Batman story of their own. But Nolan has transformed comic book adaptations as we know it (as evidence with The Amazing Spider-Man and The Man of Steel).  Not only will the next Batman predecessor have a huge challenge in front of them, the filmmakers will be challenged with creating a story following the best trilogy ever made

Grade: 95