Monday, 10 December 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises, 2012, USA
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Garry Oldman and Tom Hardy

If I pull that off, would you die?

It would be very painful...
You’re a big guy!

...For you.

The epic conclusion to arguably the greatest superhero saga of the 21st century has been hyped up a lot. People have been constantly telling me it's "the film of the year" or "the opening scene is amazing" or that "the last 40 mins will change your life." So I must say I was pretty disappointed with the first hour and a half of this two-and-a-bit hour film.
After the death of Harvey Dent, Gotham City believes a lie and worships the work of Dent. With Batman in hiding for 8 years, the super terrorist Bane threatens the existence of Bruce Wayne's beloved city, forcing the caped crusader to return.
In this film, the audience meets a very different Wayne to the one that Christian Bale has been portraying for the last 7 years. Bruce is almost a middle aged man with a body the can no longer support the athleticism the Batman requires. To supplement this, we see the inclusion of new gadgets including the Batwing. This was good but felt a bit over the top at times.

With the absents of the "Bat" life style for so long, Wayne also makes clumsy decisions and leads himself into holes. We can note the fall of the Batman before he even puts the suit back on. It's not the Bruce Wayne I remember from Batman Begins or the Dark Knight but as always, Christian Bale does a beautiful job playing the character Nolan wants him to. If anything, this reinforces the "rises" in the title as it show the abyss batman finds himself in, demonstration he must "rise" up.
I was bored with this film. The character development of cat woman bad, Bane hadn't down anything substantially evil yet and the one time batman puts the cape back on, the audience is given a petty car chase that looks like something from the Blues Brother. I swear, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the only thing that pulled me through... Until

What happens when you break Batman's back and throw him in an underground prison. A boring film gets freaking awesome that's what! The last hour of the film was amazing and as fan if the comics and the video games, I was blown away. The twists and turns and the brief glimpse of Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul was satisfying. The explosions and fight scenes and suitable humour add greatly to the spectacle.
To give you an idea, I didn't like the first half, but the second half made the first half worth watching. I enjoyed this film a lot more the second time round because I knew that the pointless rambling wasn't pointless and slowness was leading somewhere, and so I actually enjoyed the first half. I have to give heaps of credit to Nolan because he has recreated the Batman and single handily recreated the superhero genre. His movie making is exceptional.

I was impressed with the actors more so than the characters. I liked Anne Hathaway but I didn't really like Nolan's adaptation of Catwoman. The Bane character left me asking some questions but the real strength of this film was Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was like my dream come true and I was so impressed with that character and that fine young actor who's really gonna be something special. And as always, the Freeman-Oldman-Caine trio acted superbly and I loved Marion Cotillard as Miranda. What a character!!
I guess I'm a bit harsh. It is a good film. And the more I watch it the more I enjoy it and the more I begin to understand the brilliance of the first half. For me I think that this film is a bit of a victim of too much hyping up, but it doesn't really matter because it’s pretty great.

**** (4/5)

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