The Dark Knight Rises Review
“"A Hero Can Be Anyone. Even A Man Doing Something As Simple And Reassuring As Putting A Coat Around A Little Boy's Shoulders To Let Him Know That The World Hadn't Ended."”
July 30th, 2012
Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Legendary Pictures, Syncopy Films and DC Comics present...
The die is cast...and so has fate that took the fire but its ember remains burning in our hearts and minds!
This generation's most awe inspiring Director, Christopher Nolan (Memento) together with his brother Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) labouring on Screenplay and helping him create this epic story is none other than David Goyer (Blade 2). As they set their sights to reinvigorate the masses with their own take of the best crime fighter of all time from hereon they never looked back! It was a pure standout, flat out, smart take on the "greatest superhero" to be recognized for the past 73 years since his inception in May 1939 courtesy of Bob Kane and Bill Finger through DC Comics!
Their collaboration has defined certain set pieces in the comic book arena. Fanboys and to some aficionados can relate to what stories influenced the Dark Knight Rises. First, there was a prison escape but not from Arkham Asylum which was iterated in Batman Begins but rather from Blackgate Prison where the most vile criminals of the city finds haven. This concept came from the "No Man's Land" series where Bane actually spearheaded the escape to make his ends meet. Secondly, it was pretty obvious that the breaking of the bat has taken place in "Knightfall" another series which comes right after NML where Bane finds our over fatigued hero in his Batcave (don't get me wrong, the wrestler look alike is intellectually gifted as well) who deduced the identity of Batman and with a shattering blow, broke his spine! Lastly, though not related from the former two stories, the hero comes back to retake his city, in this best selling tale of Frank Miller "The Dark Knight Returns", it was created in an unspecified year in the near future where gangs called Mutants run amok in the city wherein a 55 year old Bruce Wayne sets out to put an end with their tyranny and oppression but the only question is...can he do it alone especially when there is no more room for vigilantism?
People will always rise up no matter hard they fall...
A tragic loss that led into a journey that no one has ever come back from. Training while on recluse to sharpen his mind, make his body perfectly fit and his will to be incorruptible, Bruce set-out on different lands searching for a way to destroy evil! While broken pieces of the past still emanate from his memories that consummates pain, suffering and anger! This is where his other persona was born, from the darkness and from his dread! People will see how one man dedicate his whole being to be a hero in protecting Gotham City and its residents or will they see him as a "monster" imposing to rule with fear!
And so it begins!
As escalating organized crime has come to its peak, whispers in the dark alleys by both common thugs to the big time gangsters has been going around and they don't have the mentality of cooperating nor backing down from this terrifying figure, so when push came to shove...
Here's Joker and his wacky pal Two-Face!!!
For the sake of argument, I could say that Heath Ledger's performance amplified the success of The Dark Knight! First, his comic book counterpart has more legions of fans compared to the muscle bound tactician! Second, the film was gripping and compelling in a sense that it got the audience stuck to where he wants them to, as the story implied to be a villain centric theme thus it was more entertaining to watch!
While they created a one two punch for the Dark Knight, actually both of them got counter punched and fell but the only concern was...the latter never got up! Thus the hero takes the blame and found his life into seclusion! From this point, people though brilliantly swept by the said instalment crave for a conclusion, to see where this spectacular series will run its course!
And now, the show must go on...
The relation and the comparison between the films and these magic tricks is that it was never meant just to entertain, to keep you guessing or even to astound you! But rather, it will make you realize on how one man can pursue the cause of justice, to safeguard his city, his people with his own life without anything in return! Finding the elements that connect the story from the two previous films was how Mr. Nolan and crew started to deliver the first 2 acts of the show!
Certain inputs that form the logic of how Christopher manages to instil key points in the story he is presenting will still be the case in point by the audience but they will follow on through once the curtain rises! While his leading actor threw off the public in another direction on how he feels about having Robin the progenitor of sidekicks in the comic books to the big screen and he even gave a statement in an interview that it was not his decision in the first place to what he want or not want to be included in the film (laughing). Well done Mr. Bale!
The man of the hour, Christian Bale (Harsh Times) is billionaire, philanthropist and former caped crusader Bruce Wayne! He returns from his exile, battered and broken which was given has come to terms with another madman taking over his territory! Sadly, he was not given enough time on screen since there were too many of them to share the story although his voice improved it still sounded like a "cat got his tongue"! Still, a great undertaking for the actor to comply the comic book icon and to give his best representation to one of the "World's Finest"!
Straight away into the premise, 8 years have passed since the "White Knight" of Gotham has enacted a Law that halted criminality in the city. People moved on and life moved on for everyone except for the very few who actually knew what really happened the night that left Harvey Dent lying on his back after falling from grace!
A brief statement for the departed, Gary Oldman (Romeo is Bleeding) reprising the role of the ever dedicated Commissioner James Gordon, still working in the field to do his job with his troops. While a rookie police officer by the name of John Blake is portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Uncertainty) who was never been actually part of the bigger picture in the last two instalments, he was taken in and promoted by Gordon to help him investigate the origins of this Bane which actually makes him susceptible and yet, his adamant moral undertakings is given proof to his cause to protect the people no matter the cost and that makes him a hero in my book!
While allies that support the Batman both physically and mentally, Morgan Freeman (Along Came a Spider) still employed while walking away last time, is very eager to show his Boss his new toys! Why the Butler did left his Master in his most desperate hours? Michael Caine (Fire Down Below) never gave up in his surrogate son has e was still trying to instil the values of his parents and for being a Wayne but we believe that there was a reason why he needed to go away.
Because the main antagonist is about to make his grand entrance of course! He came out of nowhere just like from the previous films where the first one was discrete, the second crazy chaotic now, this new menace that was spitted out by hell has crawled out of it to impose dominance through terror! His counterpart Bane from the might of Tom Hardy (Warrior) gives emphasis on control, authority and destruction showing his disposition on how he can be a cold blooded killer who takes lives without any remorse, he even sounded like Sean Connery in a Darth Vader helmet at times or was it just me? While the other side of the coin is Batman who serves as a light, a beacon, a glimmer of hope, a bastion for the people and the city! A side story was given (it compliments it, seeing that Mr. Nolan is a Master of non-linear filming) on how Bane rose to power coming from the same League of Shadows that Ra's Al Ghul built to eradicate society and trample governments!
The corporate people yes, scrupulous and corrupt like Max Shreck and John Daggett, can anyone also compare their intentions in both stories on how they became indirectly or directly part in the femme fatale's involvement in the plot? Even certain hints from giant alligators (Killer Croc), a member of the board (cough, Roland Dagett's origins in the animated series) being implicated in the comic books for creating the shapeshifting chameleon (Clayface) was inclusive in the film!
While wild women on the back door coming from seemingly timid maid turned sophisticated in mere seconds! A Charity ball where Mr. Wayne and Ms. Kyle dances as synonymous to Batman Returns "strange" couple coming from Michael Keaton's aforementioned statement! Anne Hathaway (Havoc) presents her version of Selina Kyle also known as the thief, Catwoman! She did a wonderful job considering how she can be genuinely atune to her character's intriguing relationship with the Bat at the same time being a loner who just needs to eat as well! Not crazy about her fight scenes but acting wise, it was sublime!
Another lady in waiting have said that bringing balance into the world was also weighing on her own revenge as for Bruce's assets to be used wisely and investing on her would be to die for! Miranda Tate shows her love for her protector, as another Inception alumnus Marion Cotillard (Little White Lies) does make sure she is not left behind when all things crumble down! A fine actress who has a knack of playing women who falls in love with men that has sociopathic issues (Taxi, Public Enemies, Inception). Nevertheless, she was worth to watch but not this time!
Don't forget the recurring villains left and right like a brief cameo by Liam Neeson (Darkman) as the immortal Ra's Al Ghul aka the Demon's Head, seemingly a delusion, a figment of Bruce imagination or his fears that has come back to haunt him! I even can't help but laugh when Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) who really needs a straightjacket, Dr. Jonathan Crane was shown on top of some sort of debris playing "Queen of Hearts" to Gotham's wealthiest and bravest, frankly there were too many characters and I have completely forgotten about him and yet Scarecrow though even given only a few minutes in the spotlight made it memorable and funny! (now, Christopher exiles you).
Outstandingly delivered performances and casts that were very into character which tribute these actors and actresses to play the part, as they were phenomenal! I give the Director and Casting by John Papsidera (The Crazies) and Toby Whale (3 Blind Mice) a pat on the back for a job well done in choosing roles carefully coming from this menagerie of talent!
Cinematographer Wally Pfister (Insomnia) has been collaborating with Christopher since Memento in 2000 and it was a long road for these two! He made great shots on the city landscape as it provides the enormity of chaos brought forth in this hostile take-over! Executive Producers as usual behind the real financing of the Bat are Michael Uslan (Batman & Robin) and Benjamin Melniker (The Spirit) who gave their life to see the hero properly presented to the masses that have spanned for decades!
On the downside, there were so many elements that comprised the film that left gaps which I concur were necessary to keep pace with the interaction between the characters in order to convey the story and still try to make it work, but unfortunately it didn't! Instances like (1) the girl named Jen, a close friend of Selina who was nowhere to be found, got forgotten when Gotham is on a brink of civil war and a bomb that is about to go off; (2) how did a leg brace helped Bruce kick a brick wall when actually he was still recuperating more so from the pain?; (3) how did Bruce Wayne coming out from the pit got back in Gotham just in time to save the city?; (4) how did the Commissioner survived unscathed when the truck carrying the bomb when he was actually at the back while Miranda just expired her last breath without any visible injuries? And the most queried of all (5) how does Batman, bleeding internally more even escaped a nuclear blast...in the middle of the ocean?!? to name a few! Although it was kind of lengthy, yes, but it needs to have purpose with clear intent not to give it shortcuts just to get on with the timeframe, the editing department should need to explain this (same concerns with the wall crawler film)! Though I still regard it as an epic scale in cinema making in spite of its flaws! It was grittier, had a wider scoped storytelling and was emotionally driven! A monumental film which deserves another shot at the Oscars including in my humblest opinion for Best Director, Cinematography, Casting and Ensemble Cast!
So it goes, his purpose defeats the whim of any man, for his dedication never backs down, it never fails to pave his goals, seeing this was his destiny as his life will be seen by many and more so with his legacy! In another place and time, someone sips a cup of coffee while eyeing a familiar couple was just a fantasy at first. While another explores and learns what it means to practice "spelunking", as he tries to get his balance from his swing entry...he RISES!
Superhero films tend to be clichéd with aesthetic content due to its fantasy laden elements, but not with this trilogy. It was grounded to reality as Christopher envisioned it, he gave an absolutely humanistic approach that inspires people to have courage, honour and integrity, that's what it means to ante-up the given genre even if it was based on science fiction! Films like these will forever be marked in each and one of us, as the cinema crowd stood for an ovation, powerfully moving indeed! We thank you Director Christopher Nolan to your staff, crew and the cast that made this a truly unforgettable experience! But least we not forget, for those who have died and were injured in Colorado, our prayers are with you and may you all heal in time! To Heath, you will be missed!
So it ends...people have seen it, witnessed it! The film permeates the series with a bang and then a whimper (pun intended). Show is over folks, it is finally revealed! So until the cape and cowl is worn once again, don't let the fire stop burning since every ending is a new beginning...