Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Title: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Written By: Christopher and Jonathan Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Matthew Modine, Cillian Murphy


The Dark Knight Rises is an event movie, the kind that comes along rarely, not only because of the excitement behind seeing this final installment of the film, but also because of the tragic events that surrounded the premiere of the film. As most of the world already knows, On July 20, 2012 in a Century 16 Cinema in Aurora Colorado, a psycho by the name of James Eagan Holmes entered a theater during the premiere of the film and while wearing a gas mask, threw a smoke bomb into the theater and started shooting randomly at people who where there simply to enjoy the latest installment of the Batman franchise. He managed to kill 12, and injure 58 others. What was he trying to say by doing this? What was his purpose? Did he hate movies or people going to see them in droves? Whatever was running around that guys head, he was seriously disturbed. Did he feel he was one of the villains in the Batman films? Did he not learn to differentiate between reality and fiction? Between entertainment and real life? Whatever the case, this disturbed individual probably had a half-baked idea of what he wanted to say swimming around his brains; all villains do.

James Eagan Holmes; getting what's coming to him

You see in films, the villain is commonly used as a way of pointing towards something that is seriously wrong in the world we live in, and the results that this ailment can bring upon society. Take for example ‘The Joker’ in Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). In that film the character was angry at the importance that the world gives to money, and how the society we live in revolves around it. One scene has the joker burning a mountain of money simply to show how little he cares for it; and he burns it with gasoline, just to be poetic and comment on how oil and money are entwined in the world we live in. The Joker pitted people of Gotham against each other just to show that humanity is selfish, that in the end, all we really care about is ourselves. Villanous? Sure, but you have to admit the character is making a point. This guy who killed 12 people in the theater, what point was he trying to make? By telling the police he was The Joker, he’s saying that he saw himself as a villain trying to make a point. Was he commenting on societies obsession with movies and entertainment? Was he saying films blind us from reality? That we are not living our lives and instead we are wasting it in a movie theater? 

If that was his point, then he was wrong. Sure Hollywood can be shallow and is often times filled with empty spectacles, but The Dark Knight Rises was not one of those films. This film had a lot to say, it is in my humble opinion a very important film. Same as The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises says a lot about the way the world is NOW. Thematically speaking, The Dark Knight Rises is all about the class war, a very heated topic these days, considering how middle class in the world is quickly fading away. Currently, you are either ridiculously rich or obscenely poor and that’s the way the powerful like it. Through the dynamics between Batman and Bane the film speaks about the struggles of the working class, the oppressed and the ever going hatred for the dudes running Wall Street. The status quo of the world today shows us that it’s true, a part of humanity is selfish instead of giving. It thinks only of itself and not of the needy, the less fortunate. Sadly, the rich and powerful are not currently thinking about making this world a better place for everyone, they think about making it a better place for them, and how those who have less then them can serve them. These are the themes that The Dark Knight Rises tackles with great precision and assuredness. This film knows what it wants to talk about, and it says it very clearly, through its villain, Bane. So this isn’t just any stupid little comic book film, nope, this film is bombastic, epic; a mesmerizing film that  has important issues to adress.

Christopher Nolan in my opinion has made his best film to date with The Dark Knight Rises. Technically speaking, his films have always been top notch and this one is no exception, but what I loved the most about The Dark Knight Rises is how fleshed out the characters are. I was missing the time when great villains dominated a film, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger are good examples of the kind of performance I like to see from a villain in a film; and I have to thank Nolan for making that special effort to build these memorable villains. Case in point: Tom Hardy’s Bane can now proudly stand next all those great villains of cinematic history. We hardly see Tom Hardy’s face in this film, save for a small flashback scene, his face remains hidden behind a mask for 99% of the films running time, yet Hardy’s performance shines through none the less. The character itself is extremely fleshed out, his back story is a very satisfying one. As a comic book fan, I was particularly thrilled to see moments from the storylines Knightfall, Knights End and No Mans Land on the screen.

DC Comics Batman # 497, one of the comics that inspired the storyline for The Dark Knight Rises. 

This is the third time Christian Bale has played Batman, I enjoyed how this time around he is a beaten, reclusive character, hiding away from the world in his mansion, like Mr. Kane in Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane (1941), the rich old guy who doesn’t want to answer to the world outside. It was great of the filmmakers to use the Bruce Wayne character to criticize the rich and powerful. If you have so much power, so much money, why not do something worthwhile with it, something that will improve humanity and the world we live in? Loved it how the movie tackled those themes through Bruce Wayne. It was a very intelligent move on the filmmaker’s side to comment on classist issues with the character, considering how the rich are viewed by the working class that’s struggling to get by on a day to day basis in this greedy world we live in. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman was somewhere between sexy and deadly, but nothing as overtly sexualized as Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on the character in Batman Returns (1992). The rest of the amazing cast does an amazing job, Michael Caine turns in an emotional performance on this one.

On the fun side of things the film delivers in spades. It was great to see a film that balanced action set pieces with story development so well; this really is a well though out picture, Mr. Nolan went up a couple of notches in my book with this one. Where the first two Nolan Bat films seemed a little on the talky side, this one balances fleshing out its characters and wowing us with amazing action and visual effects to perfection; kudos to Nolan for achieving that so well. So that’s it ladies and gents, I say don’t let the whole shooting thing scare you from seeing this one. It truly is a great film that touches up on important themes. This is an event picture, the kind you want to go to the theater to celebrate the fun of watching movies; don’t let the isolated incident with the crazy kook scare you out of that my friends! There was a special kind of electricity in the theater before and after the film started, people were genuinely excited to see this one. From what I can gather and from the resounding round of applause that I heard after the film was over, this one has won audience approval. The momentum these films have captured since the first film premiered has exploded on the screen with The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Bat Saga; don’t let what that psycho did in Colorado scare you away from enjoying this awesome film.

Rating: 5 out of 5 


Arun said...

Great review!

Chris Nolan ended his trilogy in style. Chris Bale was at his best and Anne was great as Selina as well.

Check out my review .


Dan O. said...

With a time-limit that comes close to towering in at 3 hours, this flick could have easily dragged itself around aimlessly, only to cash-in on tying it all up in the end, but that’s not the case here. This is grade-A film-making right here, courtesy of Christopher Nolan and not only was it a great send-off to the trilogy he has made so loved by everybody out there in the world, but also a perfect way to show that he is grateful for each and every fan that has supported him throughout these years. Good review.

Franco Macabro said...

@buddy2blogger: The whole trilogy has a style to it, it's that hyper realistic thing, nothing looks too fantastic, everything feels plausible, even the bat jet thing.

The whole cast was great, my favorite of the bunch was Hardy, great villain, such personality, I'd been waiting for one of these bigger than life villains for a while now and I finally got one.

@Dan O: Agree, the film breezes by because its so interesting. Agree, the film felt like Nolan wanted to please the audience, and it did, in my theater people were clapping!

Anonymous said...

Not too sure about the plausible aspect of the movie? Where was Banes army that held his grip over a whole city? He would need thousands of soldiers to keep the peace. Just telling people one of them may be the trigger to a nuclear bomb is not going to work.....self preservation makes people very self centered and desperate. Where was the U.S. military? A nuclear threat is levied against an American city and the the Govt. says you 're on your own? Not a chance and not plausible in the least. Gotham would be surrounded by battleships and infiltrated by special forces and Bane would be shot by a sniper in a heartbeat. Those roaming trucks would tracked and destroyed within a week. I did enjoy the movie but it me asked to stretch reality too far into the unbelievable.

Franco Macabro said...

Of course its not entirely plausible, this is after all a comic book movie, what I meant to say in my review is that within its comic book standards, heroes dressing up in costumes, cool gadgets and awesome vehicles, it all looks and feels close to reality somehow. It's fiction of course, but laced with a feeling of reality, if that makes any sense.

As for the U.S. military not intervening, Bane warned them that if anyone got close, he would blow the city, so I guess they didn't want to take the risk. But I see what you mean though, no matter the threat, the goverment would have attempted something anyways.

Thanks for commenting.

Michael Grover said...

I'll need to see it again to be sure, but I also walked out of the theater thinking this was the best of the bunch. The acting, for the most part, was incredibly good; easily the best to be found in any superhero film(s). Nolan knew exactly what he was doing when he populated his Batman series with so many Academy Award nominees and winners (and I'm certain Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have Oscar nominations in their futures as well). I'm sorry to see the series end, but they definitely went out on a high note.

Franco Macabro said...

Agree, the high caliber actors elevate these films, make them better. You get good actors, your bound to get good performances, and these films are plagued with them.

Sad to see it end as well, but also curious to see what the next creative team will do with the franchise. I always enjoy a new and interesting take on things.

Unknown said...

Although an average film watch32 , "Batman Begins" had a dark, brooding quality and got off to an interesting start about the origins of the caped crusader before turning dreary. Unfortunately, this followup takes up right where the previous one left off - still dark but also dreary and even sillier. The script is atrocious and the plot line involving Two-Face is unbelievably lame. The most interesting thing in this tiresome film is the mesmerizing farewell performance from Ledger. He is simply fun to watch as the Joker. All the other actors look bored, a result of Nolan's dull direction. At a length of two and a half hours, it seriously overstays its welcome. Time to make "Batman Ends."
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