Saturday, July 21, 2012

Church Reviews: The Dark Knight Rises *WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS* - Comic Book Movie

Prepare your Anuses CBM for I am about to review the concluding film in Nolans Batman franchise. I will be splitting it up into categories and grading it based on each category then totaling up the final score at the end. Let’s do this.

I will start with the most important factor when it comes to a movie. The story.

Story/Plot: Bruce Wayne had been retired as Batman for a good eight years. He is not in the best shape anymore. But once a new threat known only as Bane shows up in Gotham he is forced back into the suit and becomes Batman again. The story was…. Interesting, its biggest flaw is that it was not as intricate as The Dark Knight was, which was a letdown. I expected more from Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight is arguably one of the best CBM’s ever made and to some fanatics THE best one ever made. However, this movie falls flat in that aspect. The movie which is 2 hours and 45 minutes long feels rushed. They cram in as many new characters as they can and it feels like the star of the movie, Batman, was not that important in the long run. It feels more like John Blakes story, or even Bane’s story, but definitely not Batman’s.
It was also very predictable. Normally I would let Hollywood predictability slide because hey, familiarity gets people into the seats. The problem is Nolan has been the master of making unpredictable films and took chances with what he could do with story/plot. This movie felt like a “Hollywoodized” Superhero flick and is in no way the game changer that The Dark Knight was. Towards the end it felt like a typical action movie plot There is a bomb set to go off, what will Batman do? And he takes it to Gotham’s edge and has it blow up. A huuuuge trope used in Hollywood today, and Yes this was also in Avengers, but in the Dark Knight, we expect Nolan to go against Hollywood norms and challenge our preconceptions of what a Comic Book movie is, this did not do that. I do feel like the ending was the hugest cop out ever. I was expecting Batman to die, then it looked like he did, and I was cool with that, but then I saw Alfred in Paris, and I knew that it wasn’t going to end the way I had hoped it would, I knew there would be some Deus Ex Machina device (Auto pilot) which was harped on a bit in the movie and I knew where it was going from there. The story was still fun, and excited and I was on the edge of my seat. But it was the ending we needed, not the one we deserved.

Story: 5/10

Cast/Characters: The cast has grown considerably since the precious film. Introducing us to Selina Kyle, John Blake, Miranda Tate, Bane, and others. It feels like Nolan tried to cram as many things into one movie as possible, which happens a lot with trilogy endings. Regardless here is my take on Each Cast member/character.

Selina Kyle/Anne Hathaway: I was not happy when I heard little miss princess diaries was chosen for this role. It made no sense. She was always my pick for Harley Quinn. However I was surprised. She was sassy and smart and rough around the edge which is good. However it was not a groundbreaking performance like Heaths Joker at all. It was adequate and that is all I was expecting. At timjes it seemed like her character could have been anyone else and it would not have affected the plot at all.
Bane/ Tom Hardy: Once again, not my first pick as this character, but he does a damn good job with what he is given script wise. He was a thoroughly enjoyable villain, and I would be lying if I said that him cracking Batmans back in there first fight did not give me a geek gasm. I did have a problem understanding him at times though. Sometimes he was crystal clear in what he says, other times I could barely make out a word. His motivations were all over the place and I wasn’t sure why he needed to do some of the things he did if the end result was blowing Gotham Up. However he felt physically imposing on screen. At one point he towers over a character named Dagget in the film. Bane looks his best when he is shirtless. His clothing definitely tones down the imposing nature of the character. Hardy is a great actor and pulled off Bane pretty well. While I must admit he was no Joker, he was definitely up there near him. Another issue I had was that he was taken down waaaay to easily. Selina shoots him with the Batpods rockets and he dies. It did not feel like a fitting death for an awesome character.
John Blake/Joseph Gordon Levitt: John Blake is… An interesting character; he is good and well developed, but it feels like something was missing. I can’t put my finger on it. I do love how he kind of becomes a Robin type character by the end. I just wish he had more to do, that is my problem with most characters in this film. I must say I literally face palmed when Blake revealed his middle name to be Robin, that was probably one of the most corniest things I had ever seen on screen ever. However it was awesome seeing him arriving in the Bat Cave about to take over as Gotham’s Watchful protector, it gave the film some hope. And I think it could have achieved that more if Bruce Wayne had died.
Commissioner Gordon/ Gary Oldman: Oldman is always fun when he is on screen in any movie, and I loved him in this. He really felt like a cop who had been keeping this lie alive for too long and was about to break under his own morality. This was fascinating to see. The problem is his character arc felt unfinished to me and there should have been more to it. He kind of gets shafted towards the end of the film and it is very upsetting. Gary is great as always.
Miranda Tate/Talia Al Ghul/ Marion Cotillard: Hoo buddy is this character a mess. I loved the actress she is great, but the character gets so little character time that it is not enough for me to really be shocked that she turned on Bruce. It may have to do with me being on this site too much, but I saw the twist coming a mile away. However Nolan kept you thinking that little kid was Bane for the longest time, and it made me doubt my guesses, but I was right in the end
Alfred Pennyworth/ Michael Caine: Once again this is a severely underused character, but in a cast like this it is hard to give each of them the fair amount of screen time. He is one of the best actors in this movie. His emotions are great and you can see how much he love he truly has for Bruce, and to see him leave so early in the film is a disappointment. He also looks considerably aged; which I liked.

And the last major player in this isssss!

Bruce Wayne/Batman/ Christian Bale: Batman was great… for all of the 30 minutes he was on screen. Yes I know that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but this felt too much like Bruce Wayne Rises than TDKR. He felt like a guest star in his own movie. Which is a problem; when you feel that one of the supporting characters is more of a main character than the main character you have an issue. Bale has definitely toned down the Batvoice… A LOT! And thank goodness he did the last thing we need in this movie is another character we can barely understand. I loved how he came back fighting as hard as he could against Bane until he was broken, that shows the true spirit of Batman. Bale turns in a performance that feels like a guy trying to get back into the game and being Naïve about how to go about it. The first chase scene was great, and showcased naive the character had become throughout those 8 years. I just wish there had been more Batman here.

Also: The smaller characters are just horrible. If they were not a main character they did not bother to write good dialogue or deliver good dialogue either, it was just bad; some moments in the beginning are just cringe worth….

Cast/Characters: 7/10

Tone: Oddly enough for this being a Batman movie, the overall tone of the film feels lighter than Begins or TDK. Batman is rarely seen at night, which is a bit odd considering he uses the night to hide himself. The cinematography was great and leant to the films tone which is dark with a slight bit of brightness. The brightness being hope. And the ending of the film really hurt it with the cliché Hollywood happy ending that EEEEEEEEVERY one saw coming. I was disappointed, but it fit the film so I can’t complain too much. However it was also very boring at times and I nodded off here and there.
Tone: 6/10

Special Effects: These were amazing. Some scenes were obvious CGI, but other than that film has great practical effects and set pieces. It is good to see the limited amount of CGI in summer blockbuster, however To me the bat looks ugly, its design was for military purposes so that can be forgivable, but at times it is goofy and does not fit the tone of the movie.
Special Effects: 9.5 out of 10

Music: Hans Zimmer is at his somewhat ok here, mixing the drums and violins as well as the chanting (Its what he does best). It is exciting but it has no real memorable tracks that don’t already sound like a copy paste score from The Dark Knight. The Deshay Basara track was the most enjoyable for me, I love chanting over dramatic music it is fun. I do wish that there had been music playing while Batman fought Bane in the beginning though. It could have amped up my anticipation for his breaking.

Music: 8/10

Overall: Overall what we are left with is just a typical enjoyable Hollywood flick, nothing more nothing less. And definitely Nolans worst film to date. DO not get me wrong, I loved Nolan, and I love Nolan Batman, and The Dark Knight is one of my favorite CBM’s to date, in my top 5 up there with Avengers, but this was an unmitigated mess. I expected better from Mister Nolan, and the opening of the film made me expect it would be great. I was deeply wrong. While still a fun film to see (And I will probably see it again and buy the blu-ray) it is definitely not “Flawless” it has many plot holes, a crappy ending and a overall just leaves you wishing there had been something more. However if you are a die-hard Nolan fan you will love it. I give THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Overall: 6.9/10 (I’ll just round that up to 7/10 just cause it is so close anyway.)

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