Saturday, July 28, 2012


As of this post, I've seen THE DARK KNIGHT RISES 4 times (opening day, twice on Sunday the 22nd, once on Monday the 23rd).  The first was at the IMAX.  If you were there and saw people having entirely too much fun with stickers, that was our group.  The last three have been at two different Drafthouses.  Lauren has seen it three times.  We are big fans of this movie.

I walked into the first screening a blank slate.  I refused to read reviews or spoilers or watch any clips.  I just wanted to be surprised.  Contrast that with the Avengers, I was reading everything and watching and rewatching every clip.  Granted the Avengers plot is more simplistic, so it's not like there were any spoilers.  You knew that Earth was gonna be invaded, you knew that the heroes would rally, and you knew they'd win.  The fun was the execution and not so much the plot.  I read the reviews because I wanted to see the praise for Joss Whedon's masterful work.  With Nolan, you knew it would be masterful, and the fun was both the plot and execution.

The Dark Knight Rises completes Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy.  It is, without a doubt, the greatest comic book/superhero trilogy of all time.  TDKR takes place 8 years after the events of the The Dark Knight and borrows story elements from classic Batman stories: The Dark Knight Returns, Nightfall, and a dash of No Man's Land.  We see an older Batman return to action, get his ass kicked, and then kick ass.

Not sure if this is gonna be a review or just random thoughts... We'll see how this goes.  What I liked...
- It brought the story back to Bruce Wayne/Batman.  As brilliant as The Dark Knight was, it was the Joker's story.  That seems to be the problem with superhero movies: the villains overshadow the hero in terms of either character or screentime.  It's wonderful that the series ended where it started.  Bruce Wayne.
- Bane.  Like many, I didn't see how Bane would fit into Nolan's more-realistic universe.  But Hardy is captivating and easily proves to be Batman's equal.  Not better than the Joker, of course, but Hardy was a lot of fun to watch.
- This movie was full of characters, but I thought Nolan did a fantastic job of balancing and giving them all arcs.  I enjoyed every single performance.  Every single one.  (Well, maybe not the CIA guy at the beginning.  He seemed to be over-doing it.)  Everyone brought their A-game.  Hell, Michael Caine was barely in it, but he gave the most moving performance.  Hathaway and Hardy and Bane and Cotillard were also wonderful.
- Kinda spoilery... I felt as though the end was perfect.  I'd read comments that it was a little too tidy, but I didn't mind.  He's Batman.  He's ALWAYS supposed to have a plan.  This was his last master-stroke.  The story ended but didn't.  It would be easy to make a sequel to this.  The series could die with a happily ever after but can just as easily be resurrected if Nolan wanted to tell more stories.  
- The Dark Knight was the more thought provoking of the trilogy.  It was the one that stayed with you and haunted you.  I think TDKR one was the most purely entertaining.  Seriously, in four times I've seen it, no pee breaks, and the story has kept me drawn in.

What I Didn't Like
- Close your mouth, Batman... He does entirely too much mouth breathing as Batman.  When Selina says, "You've given them everything," and Batman goes, "Not everything.  Not yet."  It bothers me so much that his mouth is open the entire time.  It's such an epic line.
- After 4 showings, I still don't love Bane's voice.  I understood everything he said, it was just meh to me... I appreciate that Hardy wanted to do something different, but it just doesn't always fit.  It doesn't sound like it's coming from him.  It kept reminding me of Seth McFarlane's voice-role in Hellboy 2 as Johann Krauss. It was also pretty inconsistent.  Sometimes it's heavily prevalent, and he sounds like a higher-pitched Borat or a German/Russian guy, other times he sounds like... a regular guy with a mask.  It was kind of compelling to listen to, but I feel like that mostly good writing and not necessarily the vocal performance.
- The biggest complaint I've heard (and agree with) is the pacing of the 2nd act.  5 Months went very quickly, and that was hard to buy.  The city should have been burning or wasteland-ish.  I read one criticism about how it seemed like the city still ran itself and did fine... garbage was picked up... And at first I thought that that was dumb, but it's actually a pretty good point.  This city gets occupied, and bam... nothing really... unless you're a cop.
- Spoiler... When Miranda Tate is revealed to be Talia Al Ghul, it's a fun reveal... but it really relegates Bane to being just hired muscle and not the intelligent man pulling the strings.  They kinda stated that at the beginning though... called him just a mercenary.  I felt like that robbed some of Bane's shine.  And there should have been more for Talia. 

Other thoughts
- There was a lot of similarities to Rocky 3.  Keep in mind, I LOVE Rocky 3.  You have the older hero who's set up to fight the young, hungry, intimdating guy.  You have the old, white guy telling the hero that he can't win and leaving for most of the rest of the movie.  You have the hero getting his ass kicked.  Then the hero has to go back and train... (Granted, there was no Apollo Creed-like character), and then the hero wins the rematch.  Just a thought...
- Who wouldn't have loved it if Talia lived and was pregnant?   Would have been an "Ooooooooooh" moment cor comic book nerds...
- I've had "Deshi Basura" stuck in my head since the first screening.
- I was positive that Nolan would pull an Inception in us.  I was positive that Batman would appear to die in the final scene.  And as the city mourned Batman, we'd see a Batman... thus making the great debate afterwards: Was that Bruce Wayne?  I'm so much happier with the real ending.
- What happened in Colorado is a tragedy.  More, I can't stop thinking that it's just such a dick move.  I mean, if anyone did that at any showing, it'd be a tragedy... but the midnight show?  Those are the hardcore people that prolly had to plan crazy ahead and knew that they would be feel those three hours the next day.  Those aren't the casual fans.  Those are people that were committed.  Those are the people that care.

The Dark Knight Rises is the best film of the summer and the perfect way to end the summer.  Again, Joss Whedon is my master, but I don't mind having contributed entirely too much money to help the Dark Knight rise... although it doesn't look like that's gonna happen.  Go see this movie.  At least twice.

We give it 9 Bales of 'OH, GOOD FOR YOU!!!'

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