Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Batman is now gone as is Bruce Wayne who stalks alone in his mansion.  Gotham is now a city saved thanks to the legend of Harvey Dent.  The problem is there is a new villain coming to town to finish what Liam Neeson failed to do in ‘Batman Begins’.  Will Bruce Wayne snap out of his depressed funk and come to aid a city so desperate for anyone to clean up its own mess?  Don’t forget we also now have a woman dressing up as a cat now too.  True to Nolan’s style this movie turns and turns some more but will it be enough to be a satisfactory conclusion? 

Bruce Wayne is a busted former hero with bad knees and a severe case of shut in.  The catwoman easily sneaks into his mansion and snatches his fingerprints to later sell off to a ‘client’ of hers.  I’ll stop here for a moment.  Hathaway had big claws to fill so to speak since the last movie had one of the all time greatest villain performances to follow on not to mention the first installment of this series with Liam Neeson.  She did alright I suppose but I didn’t particularly care for her in this role.  It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t anything special either, I mean where’s the classic whip at?  It would have been more interesting to learn why she had decided to become the catwoman but the movie is already so lengthy with other less interesting things so we lose that chance.

Uh oh what are those other ‘less interesting’ things all of the batman fans out there question of me!  The character that Joseph Gordon Levitt plays is decent but since I’m not really a fan of his it derailed me a bit.  I really wanted to see a flashback moment when he saw batman as a kid that he talked about so as to get a visual on his story.  Maybe I missed a few things since Nolan loves to make movies so confusing when sometimes you need to just keep it simple.  We get brief moments when we discover what Bane really was and who he was supposed to be only to have it erased by, ‘It really wasn’t me!’ later in the movie.  So who was he, just another random guy in a prison for a crime?  What did he do to get there?  I always enjoy things like that but now I guess I won’t know.  He is simply a super strong man that has a darth vader like voice that wants Gotham to die.  I also wonder how he gets so many followers who would die rather than spill the beans.  I don’t know perhaps I just don’t get it.

There were some cool things I liked though.  I admired Alfred’s character in this movie.  He revealed quite a bit of insight as to what he wanted for Bruce Wayne.  You have a man tortured that was left to care for Bruce in light of the boy’s parent’s death.  They were living in a tomb that was slowly decaying Bruce for years.  He tried to spare Bruce the pain that Rachel didn’t want him by burning the letter she intended for Bruce to see.  Alfred didn’t want Bruce to be batman and go out seeking his death.  He wanted him to leave Gotham and find a woman to be happy with.  He wanted the sorrow and pain of his parents to remain in his past.  It was tough seeing the two part ways and one of the best moments in the movie was Alfred staring at all three tombstones of the Wayne’s a broken man.  Yes Bruce died or did he?

Let’s ponder on the ending of the movie when batman flies in his fancy aircraft out into the open water to save Gotham once and for all.  Batman has always stood to protect this city and it would have been fitting for him to make the ultimate self sacrifice to save millions by blowing up.  The conclusion that this movie is supposed to be might as well end with a tragic finale.  The people erect a statue of batman in honor of his fall and that moment would have meant more had he not survived.  They don’t know that so it’s still honorable for them but the viewer does which is us!  I know Alfred gets to see his fantasy of Bruce with a woman at the end living with a smile on his face but I’d like to see a movie dare not to conform to what the audience wants to see in the end, ‘the classic happy ending’.  The bad guys die and the good guys get it all.  This movie had a chance for the bad guys to still die but the good guy saving what for three long movies he tried to protect, Gotham.  He still did it but I wanted the trend to break.  It’s my own folly but do you at least think that would have been neat?

Did I like the movie is all you could wonder now.  I did.  It had its moments and then it didn’t but for the ending of a three movie set I’m still impressed.  It’s tough to make a trilogy where each movie equally entertains as these did but Nolan did pull it off in my opinion.  But where does this one stand compared to the other two?  I put this one a sliver under ‘The Dark Knight’.  The pure evil that was the Joker combined with Ledger’s performance is tough to beat but being only a hair under that should be satisfactory.  The question remains now is where does ‘Batman Begins’ rank among these three.  You have two of the movies to read now and you know I think these movies are all nearly equal to one another.  I’ll leave an annoying Nolan spin on it and leave you guessing until the review goes up later.

2nd Theatrical Viewing
I went to see this movie again in part because I had a ‘so many $$$ off coupon’ and I wanted to check out these awesome new ‘D-Box’ seats.  I probably wouldn’t have seen it twice in theater but the cards played out that way this time.  I’m going to go over a few things I didn’t the first go around and hope you enjoy my vantage point of the movie.

The Bat
If you saw the movie you know what this is, it’s the impressive aircraft batman flies in all sorts of wild fashion.  If you didn’t well now you know.  I liked ‘The Bat’ more than I originally did the first time I saw the movie, btw thanks Lucious for such a creative name for it.  I kept waiting for the true background on this flying menace but it remains a mystery.  What am I talking about you wonder.  ‘Hey Scott it’s a military thing.’  That’s the illusion batman wants you to believe and he is a master of shadows after all right?  ‘The Bat’ looks and maneuvers quite alien if you look with a more science fiction eye such as me.  I admired its foreign not of this world style as well as the inability to do any damage at all to it.  When the bomb went off at the end it doesn’t show ‘The Bat’ exploding and that’s because it didn’t.  It’s out there, released of batman’s control and now thinking on its own a way to destroy the earth.  Batman versus aliens would be an interesting concept and the connection is already there for us.  Trust your instincts and you’ll discover why this flying machine seemed so intimidating, powerful and unstoppable.  It’s from another part of this universe!

Bane vs. Batman
I’d like to hit on the two fights with these dudes.  The first one shows bane man handling batman while breaking him over his knee.  It’s what all true bat-fans wanted and they got it.  I’m specific and picky about fight scenes but this first one between them was powerful without all the CGI lasers or mystical visual powers many superhero battles have nowadays.  It was basic and blow upon blow to beat batman into defeat.  The camera work was good as I could follow the fight the entire time.  How many times have you watched a thousand cut fight scene and wondered what the h3ll was going on?  That’s what I figured.  The dialogue was also decent as bane put to shame all that batman stood for in few words while kicking his @$$. Batman also firing out that bane was thrown out of a league of psychopaths was pretty funny even though he should have kept his mouth shut.

Fight two!  Not as fun as the first one but finally batman decides to attack that mask covering bane’s face!  How did you not figure out that has something to do with being a weakness?  I don’t even know bane or what he is but I’d go for the mask, you always go for the face right?  Batman doesn’t man handle bane but he gets even with a bit of help from a high powered rocket into the chest of bane.  I liked the shots of bane punching the pillars and busting them apart.  The strength of that herculean man was rather scary but he should have just killed batman when he had the chance.  I know breaking his mind is fun and sinister but sometimes you need to play it by the book bane and that’s why you lost.

I’ll probably get horrendous hate mail for this when in fact I do start getting any mail at all but could the audience be given any reason to cheer or even like this character?  A thief with a record, mostly speeding tickets if you look closely at batman’s background check screen, looking for some ‘clean slate’ to erase criminal records and continue on being a petty pearl necklace stealing thief.  You want her to be the new love for Bruce Wayne’s tattered existence?  Her motivation is to put the rich people in the poor person’s shoes and bane accomplished that.  How in the world did she know how to drive batman’s bike anyway?  That seems like you need to log in some hours before even sitting on it let alone just hop on and start driving wild.  She’s eye candy but honestly Miranda Tate wins that category, in my opinion.  Perhaps I missed a few things about this character or it’s because she didn’t even own a cat, Isis!  That is a trademark pet but not even a cameo for this famous sidekick feline.  I’m mean I know but I wasn’t sold on catwoman and I gave her a second viewing to prove otherwise.

I would have liked to see Harley Quinn instead since some motivation for defeating The Joker would be reason enough to insert her into the movie.  I’m guessing the death of Ledger could have had something to do with leaving her out though.  It may have been for a matter of respects I’m not sure.

I also liked Clayface and the possibilities of someone with the ability to change faces would seem interesting and exciting.  I’m not sure how some of these could have fit into a big budget film though.  The movie has made millions so my theories of what could have been clearly don’t hold any merit but it’s fun to ponder.  My rating of the movie remains the same and it does conclude well enough.

Rating: 8 of 10

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