Tuesday, 24 July 2012
The Dark Knight Rises: Review
We've been spoiled this year. The glut of superhero movies being thrown at us has been overwhelming, but please don't think that I'm complaining. When I go to the cinema, I want a bit of escapism. Something to drag me out of the drudgery of everyday life and enable me to see a potentially better world. Some optimism.
That is why I loved the Avengers movie, with its larger than life characters, over the top set pieces and general unreality. The way that all the preceding films together was perfectly executed for me.
It is why I enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man because it had a wonderful boy-meets-girl tale of the sort that just doesn't happen in real life, and reminded me of my unattainable crushes from senior school as well as giving me a view of a better world, a world with heroes.
I should have known that The Dark Knight Rises wouldn't provide me with the escape that I crave, even though I went in with very little in the way of expectations.
While I enjoyed the first two films in the Nolan trilogy, I was brought up with Adam West as Batman, and have always preferred the animated series to the live action films. I have always favoured the more amusing takes on the Bat, rather than the dark, gritty, realistic vision that Nolan presents us with. If I want gritty and realistic, I'll put the news on, thanks. The film just didn't grab me the way that other big budget superhero movies this summer have, which is a shame because the rest of the world seems to love it. That said, it was a good film, visually stunning and with a suitably epic soundtrack. It just wasn't the film for me.
Christian Bale is an amazing actor, there is no denying that. The Fighter is one of my favourite films of the last few years, The Prestige was awe-inspiring, and The Machinist was amazing. I love his Bruce Wayne, but his Batman just leaves me feeling flat. The face beneath the cowl, the way he's all lips and tongue, the voice (oh gods, the voice!), just don't work for me. Sorry, Bale fans, I just don't get it.
Anyway, shocking admission time. My favourite character in the film? Bane. I loved him; his look, his fighting style, his back-story, everything about Bane spoke to me on a level that the other characters didn't. When he was fighting Batman, both in the tunnels under Gotham and near the end of the film, I was paying more attention to his moves than to anything else happening on screen. Tom Hardy brought an elder-statesman style to the character that I haven't seen before, moving away from the venom-pumped luchador I'm used to seeing, and channelling his inner-politician. His mannerisms, style, words, all reminded me of that great man, Winston Churchill.
Catwoman was fine, there was nothing especially thrilling there for me, although MrGiantwoman appreciated her, can't think why... I liked the way that she got a gradual back story as the film developed, and her goggle-as-ears was a stroke of genius. However, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stole the film for me. His character Blake is the perfect sequel set up - not as Robin personally, but for Batman in the proposed Justice League movie. Why not bring in a younger, less world-weary Batman? There is scope for a film in-between to show his training, and he has the right spirit as far as I am concerned.
All in all yes, I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises, but would I see it again? No. I felt that it was too long for a single film, and could have either been split into two films or lost at least half an hour of footage. There were too many inconsistencies for me (yes I'm a continuity freak), and although it wrapped everything up in a nice little bow at the end, I just didn't find myself caring about the characters as much as perhaps I should.