Monday, July 23, 2012
Quick Review: The Dark Knight Rises
It seems impossible to discuss "The Dark Knight Rises" without mentioning the mass murders in Aurora, Colorado. I'm still angry that much of the hoopla and excitement for this movie was wiped out by the actions of an evil individual -- not to mention our nation's pathetic excuse for gun laws. Since it happened, I haven't seen a single advertisement for the film. (On the other hand, we also got a respite from those slimy political ads, as the Obama and Romney campaigns, and the super-PACs supporting them, suspended their advertising.) Still, it only slightly tainted my enjoyment of the film.
Looking at the trilogy as a whole, Christopher Nolan did a masterful job of telling what is really one long story with multiple themes. "The Dark Knight Rises" goes back to plot points and themes in "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" and weaves them into the film coherently, tying everything up extremely well. It even borrowed some from various story lines in the Batman comic books. (Does Bane break Batman's back? I'm not telling, just like I'm not telling whether or not Batman dies, as has been hinted and rumored.)
Specifically concerning the finale, it lived up to all of my expectations, particularly in regard to two of my fave actors. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle was her usual marvelous self. She's never actually called Catwoman in the film; no mention of cats at all, only her master skills as a thief, thus avoiding the campiness usually associated with the character. (I'm not complaining about the camp: I adore Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman.) And Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a cop -- the trailers gave away nothing about why he was important to the story at all, but it pays off, especially with a hat tip to another Batman character at the very end.
To be honest, though, I think "The Dark Knight" was slightly better than "TDKR," mainly because of one aspect: Bane. No complaints about Tom Hardy, and I even was able to understand most of what he was saying under that mask with that weird voice, which still wasn't as annoying as Christian Bale's Batman voice. But even before Bane's motives were somewhat undercut by a plot twist near the end, as strong and powerful as he is, there's a little lacking when compared to the brilliant madness of Heath Ledger's Joker. My grade: A.