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Archive for July, 2012

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Review

Going into the summer, this was the only film I really wanted to see. Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have created a Batman that may never be matched and perhaps, never should be. So, to say I was eager to watch “The Dark Knight Rises” would be an understatement. But on the day of its release, all of that changed. A horrific and cowardly act of violence at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado forever linked itself to this piece of cinema. Now, this wasn’t about me enjoying myself or being entertained. This was about lives lost, families torn apart, hearts broken. Knowing how much pain those people were going through, the thought of seeing a movie just didn’t feel right. But after a few days passed, it occurred to me; this wasn’t about the film. It was about a gutless psychopath with a bunch of guns who targeted unarmed people. It could have happened anywhere, at anytime to anyone. For reasons we’ve yet to figure out, he chose a movie theater.

The movie theater for many is meant to be a sanctuary of sorts. A place of fantasy, whimsy and escape. A window into another world, if only for a few hours. So, I begrudgingly allowed myself to go. To try and flee from the harsh realities I hear about everyday in the news. The unlawful, the corrupt, the hateful. Ironically, that is exactly what this film is all about.

“Rises” begins 8 years after “The Dark Knight.” Gotham City is relatively peaceful and Batman has gone into hiding. Harvey Dent was credited for the city’s turnaround, while the caped crusader was blamed for his death and many others. Still, there is a darkness lurking underneath Gotham and his name is Bane. Tom Hardy from Nolan’s “Inception” plays the brute with brains. He wears a mask that could be mistaken for a tarantula exploding out of his mouth. Bane is singular in his mission, destroy Gotham. Performance-wise, Hardy’s Bane does not come close to Heath Ledger’s Joker, but in a lot of ways Bane is a better villain. While the Joker just wanted to cause chaos, Bane has a well-thought out plan to take down the infrastructure of the city. Plus, Bane’s physicality is relentless and cannot be matched. Bane is pure evil.

Anne Hathaway is another bright spot. She may look like the girl next door, but she’s nearly as vicious and treacherous as Bane. I’ve seen Hathaway in a few films where her acting comes off a bit hollow, that does not happen here. She’s believable as a conflicted woman caught between a life of crime and the crusade to get her life back.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (another Inception alum) gives a strong performance as police officer John Blake. Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are also back and steady as always for the third go-around as Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox. 

And in my humble opinion (one the Academy will probably not agree with) Christian Bale and Michael Caine give Oscar-worthy turns as Batman and his loyal butler, Alfred. Bruce Wayne has fallen on hard times, partially crippled and on the verge of losing his fortune. Alfred begs him to give up the cape and cowl and focus on philanthropic opportunities away from his alter-ego. The rift creates several emotion scenes between the characters. And when Caine is not in the picture, Bale is perfect as a broken man (at one point literally) desperately searching to make things right.

I can’t reveal too much about the plot without giving away spoilers, but it’s epic in scope. Think class warfare, nuclear bombs and an exploding football field. My lone nitpick would be that it’s a tad slow in a few spots for an action movie, though it seems welcome after virtual non-stop action in “The Dark Knight.” In nearly every other aspect this film shines and then some. And gives an emotional, poignant and satisfying end to this series. It’s not easy to make one good film, let alone three.

So, as the final credits rolled, I was glad I went to see “The Dark Knight Rises”, despite what happened in Colorado. Because as a society, we need the movie theater and I say this without the least bit of sarcasm, we need Batman. He’s a human character just like you or I. He has no special powers like Superman, Spiderman or the Hulk. Yet, he still stands up against hate-filled thugs, against guns and the violence they inevitably bring. It seems more often than not, this world could use a dark knight of its own.

Please keep the victims of the Aurora shooting in your thoughts and prayers. Composer Hans Zimmer created a new song dedicated to the tragedy. You can listen to a clip here and donate any amount of money. 100% of the proceeds go to a fund for the victims.

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Batman,Comic Book Movies,Inception and have No Comments