Saturday, July 21, 2012
The Dark Knight Rises to the occasion
Gotham is under attack once again. What is it with this city? Is it built upon an ancient Indian burial ground or Buffy's hellmouth? It always seems to be in trouble. That being said the city has enjoyed a relative calmness for 8 years. The Batman is gone. Mob criminals are in jail. The city is safe. But dark secrets have been kept from the citizens of Gotham and as we all know secrets aren't kept in films for very long.
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale looking haggard. A true method actor) has become a recluse with a bad knee and greasy hair he keeps to himself in one of his wings inside the Wayne Manor. His foundation still holds charity events but he's never present. He just watches from the shadows (just like a bat! get it?). Bruce is forced to come out of hiding when he has a run in with Selina (Anne Hathaway as a deliciously sexy and savvy Catwoman) as she steals his mother's pearls. But what she was really stealing were Bruce's fingerprints. This plot line eventually links in with the main plot of Bane wanting to destroy Gotham (plot points will be kept to a minimum as I think it's best to see the film with fresh eyes).
Which means...The Batman must come back! Gotham needs him! But does Gotham still want him? The cops chase after him as he's the bigger catch than Bane who has yet to show his true nature. Batman is cocky and arrogant and due to this he has a very painful encounter with Bane under the streets of Gotham. He is literally a broken man and is relocated to the sidelines for part of the film until he's able to come to terms with so many of his issues (abandonment issues, anger issues, lost love issues, fear issues, death issues etc.).
The Dark Knight Rises is an enjoyable and entertaining film. It has many layers and complex characters. Nolan really strives to make sure these characters are three dimensional and not just caricatures. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a standout as police officer Blake. He brings a lot of heart to his role (no spoilers about him though) and this film fan was drooling over the man in blue. Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate is very good and beguiling. I was pleasantly surprised by where her character went, but also wanting a different outcome for her (let's just say that patience isn't a virtue). Gary Oldman shines once again as Commissioner Gordon. A man married to his job. He's given up his family for Gotham, which is just so sad and probably wasteful. And Michael Cane as Alfred was just so heartbreaking to watch. He was the heart of this film. Now for Bane. Tom Hardy commands the room when he's in a scene and his physical presence is quite impressive. I just wish I didn't have to strain to understand him for a big chunk of the film. Sound editing needed to be better when he was on screen.
The movie isn't perfect. I didn't particularly like how Bane was defeated or how another villain was done away with. They both felt like passive ways of dealing with an antagonist. I didn't particularly enjoy some of the one liners that Batman and Bane had because that campiness doesn't work in the Nolan Batman universe as these films are much darker in tone. But that being said I went into the film with no expectations and came out quite satisfied. I think even if you have high expectations going in you'll be entertained and not disappointed. The film delivers and is a fitting end to Christopher Nolan's era as the caped crusaders' director.