Monday, July 30, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Jonathan and Christopher Nolan
Characters: Bob Kane

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Matthew Modine, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Brett Cullen, Cillian Murphy, Ben Mendelsohn, Tom Conti, Burn Gorman


The final movie in director Nolan’s trilogy, the stoic Batman of a new age, left me with a sense of disappointment. Although it is definitely a film worth watching, it did not live up to the promise or the expectations that the previous Dark Knight tantalised us with, and where Heath Ledger gave the performance of his life as the sinister new-generation Joker.
We find our Batman now a virtual recluse eight years after the devastating events of part two. There are no heroes to save Gotham except for the local police force, and the city is looking a shade greyer. Wayne Enterprises is in financial trouble and the stock markets are about to suffer an apparent terrorist attack. Can Batman find his way back to the cave and rekindle his sense of justice one last time?

Well, the trailers spoke of a battle of cataclysmic proportions and a foe of tremendous strength. Again I find myself saying what a shame that such a fantastic ensemble cast of favourite faces should lead us down the road to disillusionment. We sure can ‘relate’ to this year’s Batman – it’s dark and gloomy, with an apocalyptic edge.
Christian Bale, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt seem to improve with age, and they both really played their parts to perfection as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Blake/Robin. Anne Hathaway’s Cat Woman was suitably sassy and less of a caricature than previous embodiments. She deserves the calls for her own franchise.

It was also a delight to see Matthew Modine (Foley) turn up, and in uniform, along with an underrated Brit actor Burn Gorman (Stryver). There were a lot of familiar faces, including Ben Mendlesohn as Daggett, a thorn in Bruce Wayne’s side, and the reason for all the chaos in Gotham.
Tom Hardy as Bane, the creepily sadistic bad-guy of the piece, stole the show for me. I had wished for more of his character to be revealed, and to hear more of his Lawrence Olivier style delivery of sadistic one-liners.

There are moments of humour – chief among them a genius appearance by Scarecrow aka the instantly recognisable Cillian Murphy.
There are a few bugs that spoilt the film, it was badly edited, which is a crime for a big budget tent-pole like this, disjointed in many places, and occasionally our hero and nemesis spoke with voices barely comprehensible. Perhaps this is not the fault of the movie, but the digital rendering. IMAX is apparently to blame – see link at the bottom of this post.

Nolan has fallen foul of the trilogy ‘curse’, tying up loose ends and packing far too much into a film which ultimately felt over-long and yet lacking at the same time. Amazing scenes reminiscent of 9/11, and with a premise raising the spectre of nuclear terrorism to new heights, this final instalment of Batman comes to a predictable and somewhat mediocre ending.
Why do all our superheroes have to ‘die’ in this way?

"Now is not the time for fear... that comes later!'