Werewolves, Movie Reviews & More! (including but not limited to general ramblings)
Sunday, July 22, 2012
HE IS RISEN: The Dark Knight Rises Review
This is the most anticipated film of the year. The one we've all been waiting for. And it's finally here. But before I begin my review I'd like to extend my personal condolences to the families of the Aurora shootings. For someone to calculatingly carry out such a heinous and senseless deed is the height of depravity and shame, and I hope that this man, James Eagan Holmes, suffers for his crime.
Alright, so many of you have heard me talk about this film for God knows how long and now you finally get to hear what I think. And in a word? Genius. Christopher Nolan is the only director who could take an ending like this one and really make it work. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning:
It's been 8 years since Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent's (aka Two-Face's) murders, and now Gotham is at peace. But the lie that allowed that peace to take shape has eaten away at both Bruce Wayne and Commissioner James Gordon. Bruce has shut himself away in his stately Wayne Manor, and rumors circulate that he's decrepit and disfigured, Gotham's hunchback of Notre Dame if you will. Enter Selina Kyle.
If Heath Ledger's Joker stole the show in The Dark Knigt, Anne Hathaway literally steals it in TDKR. I'll try to avoid spoiling the film for anyone who hasn't yet seen it (and if you haven't—really?) but she basically does an Inception style acting job in here. This Selina Kyle makes you forget about Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, and she is just brilliant.
Meanwhile, we're introduced to Joseph-Gordon Levitt as John Blake, and this movie is just as much about him as it is about Bruce Wayne. The man known as JGL gives a rousing performance as Blake, and is as much the heart of this film as Alfred is. If you take away the wealth, his story is as intriguing as Brice Wayne's. I can't spoil it for anyone who hasn't yet seen the film, but he is one to watch out for.
And then there's Bane. I like many people were soundly disgusted by his treatment in The Film That Shall Not Be Named, but he gets justice in this go-round. Tom Hardy is gold in this. He is ruthless, calculating, pure evil in this film. And his performance is driven through his eyes—those EYES!! My God, he scared the living daylights out of me. He really gives Batman the fight of his life, and it was heart-wrenching to say the least. I did have some issues with his voice, especially in the prologue, but you really tune into it, especially in repeat viewings.
Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Mighael Caine and Marion Cotillard round out the rest of the supporting cast in TDKR, and every one of them brings their A-game. Caine has some of the most tear-inducing scenes in this film, and he really makes you feel Alfred's heartbreak for Bruce. Oldman gives his finest Gordon performance yet, as does Freeman as Lucius Fox. But Marion-oh, Marion!-she's a surprise. It's really her that brings everything full circle. In addition, the man who will be Azgharáth makes a return, and I squee'd like I've never squee'd before. Also, congrats to Cillian Murphy who becomes the first Bat-villain to make an appearance in all three films.
Now, the performances were fantastic and I was happy with the ending, but it wasn't what I personally wanted. Nevertheless you could really see the influence Nolan took from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and rumor has it that Jonah Nolan originally crafted a 400-page epic of a film. And honestly, I felt this could have been a longer film. At two hours and forty-five minutes it's definitely long, but Nolan's storytelling efficiency is such that at no point do you feel that it's too long. But if there's a director's cut of this film, I have only four words for Mr. Nolan: GIVE IT TO US!
In short, The Dark Knight Rises is a masterful conclusion to the definitive cinematic portrayal of Batman, and in my mind Christopher Nolan has done just as much for the character as Bob Kane himself. I encourage everyone to see this film multiple times, and to celebrate Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. As a Batfan I could not be happier. Indeed, he is risen. Thank you, Christopher Nolan for giving Batman the treatment he deserves. Long live Batman.