“The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.” Christopher Nolan following the Aurora shooting.
I felt the need to acknowledge that statement because I share Christopher Nolan’s sentiments. The movie theatre is my home too, heck it’s likely to be the home of most of the people who read my blog. I feel safe there. It’s a place I can go to on my own and not feel self conscious, and it’s also a place I go to with friends and family. The thought that someone could be so cruel as to pick on people in a darkened theatre, when the only thing they did was go to see a movie, is horrific to me. I hope the people of Aurora find the strength to put this behind them.
I can’t help but think that the tragedy surrounding The Dark Knight Rises is one of the reasons I struggled to write a review for the film. I actually saw the movie way back on the 22nd July but had no time to sit down and pen a review for it as it was my pre-birthday weekend. I then went to visit family for my birthday and since then have been back home and then back up north due to a bereavement. It seems all things were conspiring against me actually telling the world what I thought of the finale to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.
To refresh my memory of the film I went to see it again this weekend.
For those uninitiated, the first of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was Batman Begins. Whilst I have seen (and in fact own) it, I must confess that I’m not a huge fan of the first film. And as such I don’t really remember that much of it. So I hope I get this right! *Spoilers Abound* In Batman Begins Bruce Wayne travels the world and receives combat (no pun intended) training in Asia from The League Of Shadows. When he returns to Gotham he puts his alter ego to the test against the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy). In The Dark Knight, Batman faced two villains, The Joker (Heath Ledger) and Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart) and in the process he loses the woman he loves and is incorrectly accused of district attorney Harvey Dent’s murder.
The Dark Knight Rises is set 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse and Batman has not been seen or heard of since he fled the scene of Harvey Dent’s murder. A different kind of masked man is threatening to disturb the peace that has been built on a lie. A battle scarred and broken spirited Bruce must bring Batman back to face his most challenging enemy yet.
After not really loving Batman Begins I went into The Dark Knight with a lot of hope. I was a big Heath Ledger fan and I wanted the film to do him proud. And in some respects I think it did. But it still wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Everyone raved about The Dark Knight but I feel it was mostly for the wrong reasons. Because of Heath’s death I think people were afraid to say that it was a less than perfect film. I’m not saying it’s not well written, stylishly directed and brilliantly acted, it is. But it still has it’s problems too.
So going in to The Dark Knight Rises I was sceptical. Doubly so when the Aurora shooting happened because again I feared that this would be a less than perfect film that everyone heaped praise on for the wrong reasons. I am happy to say that the film surprised me in that respect and that I was proved wrong.
The Dark Knight Rises is a wonderful note to end on. Christian Bale has never portrayed Bruce Wayne better than he does in this final installment. As a broken man – both physically and mentally – Bale plays Bruce as real as a comic book character can be. He is of course supported by one of the finest casts you could ask for – Gary Oldman, Matthew Modine, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Morgan Freeman. And what would a Batman movie be without a couple of stunning beauties on Bruce Wayne’s arm? Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway both do a great job in their respective roles.
You will notice I left out a very important cog in this movie machine. Sir Michael Caine. He reduced me to tears on more than one occassion. Give the geezer another blinkin’ Oscar, he deserves it. I love him as Alfred and here he gives it his all. What a performance.
I was recently lucky enough to see Batman Live and I was over the moon to discover that Christopher Nolan lead his Catwoman down the same path as the stage show creators by having her be a cat burglar rather than a super human woman created by cats (wtf?). And not only that but she was eventually on Batman’s side, fighting with him. I really loved that about the show as it put a new twist on the Batman/Catwoman relationship (new in today’s culture – not new in the comics obviously) and I was so happy that they went the same way for the film too. I also liked that Catwoman’s ‘ears’ were her goggles when perched on her head. So simple but so brilliant.
Those who have yet to see the film will be relieved to know that for the most part Bane is completely audible. I had very little problems hearing him. Any parts that aren’t clear are understood by the next person’s dialogue or by actions taken, so fear not.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie has to be the scene in the football stadium with the only sound being that of a young boy singing the American national anthem. Such a beautiful voice and yet you know destruction is looming.
I saw one of the twists coming a mile off – involving Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character – but not the one involving Marion Cotillard’s character. And I know some who haven’t seen any of the twists coming at all. So I think the writers/director have done well to keep them under wraps and keep their agendas hidden until the last possible moment. The one thing I won’t spoil is the end but I will just say that it’s bloody brilliant.
*End of Spoilers*
In conclusion, whatever you thought of the two previous Batman movies, go and see this last installment. And if you haven’t seen the two previous Batman movies, go and rent them and then go see this one while it’s still in theatres. 9.5 out of 10.
Viewing Date – 22nd July 2012
UK Release Date – 20th July 2012
Christian Bale ~ Bruce Wayne/Batman
Gary Oldman ~ Commissioner Jim Gordon
Tom Hardy ~ Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ~ Officer John Blake
Anne Hathaway ~ Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Marion Cotillard ~ Miranda Tate
Morgan Freeman ~ Lucius Fox
Michael Caine ~ Alfred Pennyworth
Matthew Modine ~ Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley
Director ~ Christopher Nolan
Writer(s) ~ Christopher Nolan (Screenplay and Story), Jonathan Nolan (Screenplay), David S Goyer (Story) and Bob Kane (Batman Characters)