Batman Concludes

NOTE: Highlight the texts to read the spoiler comments.

Hmm. What to say about The Dark Knight Rises? So much to say, but so much to give away by saying.... So let's just start off by saying it wasn't really what I expected at all...and that was both a good thing and a bad thing. I really really realllllly tried keeping my expectations low, and I had heard many people were "let down" or "disappointed." But I was pretty determined to like this movie, and in the end I did a lot. However, I have got to admit that during the course of the movie (particularly in the middle portion) I didn't always think that might be the case... as I found myself sympathizing with a lot of criticisms I had heard. Luckily and thankfully, the end more than made up for everything, and it was a great way to "finish" the series. But I have to say, I think it probably is the weakest of all of the Nolan Batman films (and maybe even out of all of his films...I still have yet to see Insomnia) That's not to say it wasn't good, just that the bar was set incredibly high by its predecessors and Nolan's body of work in general. Still, going in I didn't EXPECT it to be better than The Dark Knight....but it's hard not to have expectations of sheer greatness with the director who just came off of Inception. I might feel differently upon a re-watch, but the biggest problem I have with The Dark Knight Rises is its editing. It could and should have been a much tighter film. Pacing wise, it's all over the place...and that can be a problem with a film that has the kind of ambitions it has.

A part of this ambition comes with trying to juggle the screentime between all the old reliable characters (including a couple of unexpected cameos,) as well as several brand new characters. Midway through I was incredibly frustrated with that, and didn't feel like all of the additions were necessary (I think this frustration, ended up coloring a lot of my feelings towards the movie). Again though, by the end I was proven wrong and really felt that everyone had their place....and was very much delighted by the turns Nolan took us through.  I loved how the film began, right after (well okay 8 years after..) the events of The Dark Knight. Seeing the aftermath of that and how they've all been living was great, you really felt the consequences of the last film. I will say though, that I have heard that Christopher Nolan banned any mention of the Joker out of respect for Heath's performance, but personally I felt like THAT was actually kind of a disservice, not to mention completely out of place for his character to just never be mentioned again. He was responsible for all the mayhem in the last one and no one ever talks about what he did or how he hurt them ever again? He's just swept under the rug? Honestly a simple "At least that crazy clown is rotting over at Arkham asylum" would have been nice. There's a fine line between being mysterious and acting like it never happened...and that's what I felt happened. A minor complaint...but when it's compared to all of the countless freaking Rachel references, (even in death she enrages me!!) it really felt off. Oh and I have to say my favorite Rachel shoe horn was how they used a STILL from The Dark Knight and framed it as a picture that Bruce keeps with him....The picture being one of her sitting at dinner with him. So did some stalker just snap the photo and he found it and framed it? She clearly wasn't posing...

Look familiar? It's because I used it before in my Rachel Dawes hate blog. Maybe Batman just found it on google. Also, I made her picture THAT big because apparently she's more important than the Joker.

But now it's time to get specific! So since I really thought it was a useful method in breaking down my feelings on The Amazing Spider-man, I'm going to use the same approach here and break things down into categories. We'll start with the characters and how well they actors who portrayed them fared, because my feelings towards the characters themselves accurately and collectively depict my feelings on the film itself.

BATMAN/BRUCE WAYNE - CHRISTIAN BALE. Bale, as usual is great once again in the role of the caped crusader. A lot of my problem with the movie comes with the fact that [spoiler] Bruce is taken away from the action for a good chunk of the movie...and I think the movie really suffers for it. Especially since you knowwwww he's just going to return and ahem... rise, so they're just delaying the inevitable. Those bits felt tedious to me, and I never thought I would say this in my LIFE, but I could have used a good montage there instead of dialogue heavy screentime..I know who am I right? [/spoiler] But his Bruce Wayne is as great as ever and I really love him in this role and believe his character had a fitting end. The one thing I missed was his light hearted antics as his billionaire alter-ego. Those scenes in the previous films were some of my favorites...but things have just become too dark here and even the public Bruce Wayne is a different man.

PREVIOUS SIDE CHARACTERS: ALFRED, COMMISSIONER GORDON AND LUCIUS FOX - MICHAEL CAIN, GARY OLDMAN AND MORGAN FREEMAN. They are all solid as usual. Surprisingly, we don't see a whole lot of Alfred who has always traditionally in these films provided the comic relief. Michael Cain is such a great actor that he always can sell anything, but lately when I actually listen to the words he's saying and how often he lectures Bruce I get a little tired of it, so his limited screen time was fine with me. Oldman and Freeman are reliable as usual. No complaints to speak of, but not necessary for me to gush about either. They're good, even if predictable!

BANE - TOM HARDY. I think Tom Hardy did a great job with the role. He was definitely a different type of villain than we've seen Batman face...definitely more of a physical force. I thought his backstory was compelling and his motivations were interesting enough. I had heard a lot of complaints about not being able to understand him, and there were a few moments where I couldn't...but for the most part that wasn't too much of a concern for me. It's interesting to see in these films how much success Nolan actually allows his villains to get away with. The stakes become higher almost every time....and Bane certainly does A LOT of damage. Moreso than any of the villains before him. But he probably still manages to be my least favorite of the Batman film villains....again though, that's speaking more for his competition than against him.

CATWOMAN/SELINA KYLE - ANNE HATHAWAY. I think it will be really interesting to see how most people end up receiving her performance. I personally thought she did a great job, but I don't think she will be the universal slam dunk like Heath Ledger was in his role. I think a factor to that is because a part of what made the Nolan films so great was Batman working alone, and with her he kind of has to share the spotlight a bit. I think she and Bale had pretty good chemistry...in fact probably the best he's had with any female in the series. They had a bit of spunk to their interactions and I enjoyed that. [spoiler] So I'm not going to lie, I was really happy that they end up together. I think she's the best match for him and farrrrr superior to Rachel, I don't even care who you are. While I'm in the spoiler zone I'll say though that I would have liked more build up in their flirtations with each other before she turns good...it would have been a nice angle to play. They really only scratched the surface there. [/spoiler] So yeah, I thought she did just fine in the role and fit in well to the Nolanverse. She was very convincing, and I also have to add that goodness I am jealous of how good her figure looked in that jumpsuit.

JOHN BLAKE - JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT. My boy JGL was one of the real highlights in this movie, and I'm not the only one saying it. I was incredibly surprised and delighted to see how big of a role he actually had. It may have been even bigger than Hathaway's role. As always he is extremely likable and [spoiler] is one of the only actors who could have pulled off the plot twist of him being Robin, and actually have you still be okay with that haha! But they definitely set up a realllly interesting future for him and I hope we actually get to see more of it in other films maybe! [/spoiler] He actually carries a bit of this movie, and he was just very heroic and wonderful. Can't praise this boy enough.

MIRANDA TATE - MARION COTILLARD. Okay this is the hardest one for me to discuss without getting spoilery. So unspoiler tags lets just say that she's a fine actress, but I really felt that her character was kinda poorly handled in the first 3/4ths of the movie. Generic pretty love interest Bruce hooks up with because he's been celibate for far too long (seriously though. possible 8 year gap pining over Rachel after TDK and 7 years in exile during Batman Begins... I guess it makes sense he throws out any sort of build up of a relationship between them and goes straight for the kill...stay classy Batman) What doesn't make sense though is the elevated suspense we are supposed to feel when her character inevitably gets into danger. She needed to be built up a lot more, because her and her relationship with Bruce was garbage. Why are we or Bruce to care THAT much over her well being? HOWEVER [spoiler] a lot more of that made sense when her true character was revealed. I kept saying to myself that she better wind up being Talia Al Ghul or else her character was a complete waste....so luckily she did prove her worth in the end. [/spoiler]

So yeah, I definitely think the movie had a lot going for it....(and that's not even mentioning the fantastic action sequences.) It just may have tried to do too much and as a result was a little sloppy at times. If it could have been a bit smoother and tighter in execution, it would have been close to perfect. I think I'll appreciate it more on a second viewing, knowing fully what to expect....but I do think that the last half an hour or so made up for a lot and was a wonderful finale to a very very good trilogy. (Sorry Kent, still going with Star Wars on this one.) Right nowwwww I think I am going to give it an 8.6, but it has room to grow with a second viewing :) I will leave you with this because it gave me a little bit of a chuckle.


Sarah said...

Ha ha! Thanks for the Jimmy Kimmel clip. That was super silly.

As for The Joker, I like to imagine that he and Batman had some very hush hush man-to-man combat in which Batman meted out his vigilante justice and The Joker got just what he deserved in the end. I can see why Christopher Nolan wouldn't want to go in that direction out of respect for Heath Ledger. I mean, ANY small or even large comment or dialogue in the movie that had told the fate of The Joker would have angered SOMEONE and most likely it would have angered a lot of someones. I like to see it as being left up to our own imaginations as to how it was resolved.

Well, I know I'm kind of a home-bound mom these days, but I might have to get a babysitter and make the trek to a movie theater to actually see this one before it goes to DVD!

Thanks for the review. And even though I haven't seen it yet, I did read the spoilers. It probably made me even more interested to see the movie.

By the way, that's a pretty cool trick about highlighting the text to see the spoilers. You'll have to teach me how to do it!

Laura said...

I love the spoiler alert hightlight idea! Kinda makes it a fun little game :) I completely agree on all of this and I love the celibacy comment haha you're tooooo funny! :)