NF Reviews/Reactions Only

The 2012 superhero epic about Batman's struggle to overcome the terrorist leader Bane, as well as his own inner demons.
User avatar
Posts: 5434
Joined: June 2012
Location: Free
The Dark Knight RISES

The Dark Knight Rises just came out and here's my reaction, review. I've tried to hide/be ambiguous to avoid posting spoilers, but sometimes it's unavoidable. Read at your own risk:
Image

The Legend Ends...

There are films that are "sons of their time" and are conditioned by the expectations that you have placed in them. The Dark Knight Rises belongs to this group thanks to the cult generated by its director, Christopher Nolan, since made ??himself a name with the amazingly clever "Memento" and his remarkable approach to the Batman film franchise, which made him win praise, fans and of course, detractors.

Of course, TDKR will be attacked/defended by both the groups alike, I personally find it to be a remarkable experience in this masterful trilogy in which the darkness and realistic approach to the original source come together to make a memorable show. It is, however, not the best of its bunch.

While with the first (Batman Begins) he provided a solid base with an amazing adventure, in the second (the brilliant, anarchic The Dark Knight) made easy the hard part, to translate a Superhero theme into a real world context. In this third installment Nolan seeks a balance between both and while the show is outstanding it falters at points where it should not.

This doesn't mean that it failed at a narrative level, don't get me wrong. The themes and the atmosphere are as powerful as ever, if the suspension of disbelief is ON from the start (=knowing that you are attending a comic book in motion), but of course always much more attached to reality than in previous works based on Batman or other Superhero films in general.

Image

When I finished watching the film, I had no doubt it was more similar to Begins than TDK, Apart from the nods we'll discuss later, Nolan gives this film a similar atmosphere to the first N-Batman debut. Particularly interesting are the ideas Nolan conveys with his script. We (once again) analyze if heroes are needed or not. Eight years after the events of TDK, we're presented to a destroyed Bruce Wayne, whose dangers go beyond the obvious (the film's villains) and also center around personal losses and self-inflicted doubts. As I said, Nolan goes back to Begins and gives the icon of Gotham his own philosophical importance back, which in TDK was overshadowed by the Joker's and Harvey Dent's. Incredible job by Christian Bale translating such complex personal thematic into the screen.

Equally surprising is the presence of Anne as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, whose fabulous (both physical and psychological) embodiment of the character makes her a powerful asset for the film. While the script sometimes looked out-of-place with Catwoman, it's specially powerful with Alfred, who shows much more depth now (his scenes with Bruce are gold, you really feel a connection between them, particulary in the funeral and the 'travels' conclusion). Both appear in one of belongs to both one of the best moments of the film, a revelation that hurts our hero much more seriously that the beatings of the villain.

If the previous film benefited from the presence of Heath Ledger playing the Joker with clown makeup, here we have a remarkable Tom Hardy playing the competent villain Bane, a formidable enemy who is threatening, powerful and not afraid to cause total chaos, and who also makes the trilogy come to full circle by resurrecting a plot started and (so far) inconclusive (Whatever Happened to the League of Shadows). He's, however, not as interesting as he could be. Bane changes position too quickly in the film, going (as I read somewhere) from 'Emperor' to 'Darth Vader' in about few minutes (sometimes I thought this literally, because of the Bane-voice ;)).

His motivations and general character, in the end, feel undeveloped. A bit contrived was his relationship with Talia (who also looked like a better villain, although not as menacing - I'm a huge Marion Cotillard fanboy so this statement may be a bit more subjective) and his death felt insulting. Good if you want to characterize him as ridiculous, but anti-climatic for someone who spends the entire film being a competent villain.

Image

The film gradually gets better until it reaches the climax. Some action sequences looks remarkably solid (Catwoman/Batman on the roof) and the Nolan seems to be more comfortable when shooting, allowing the sequences to breathe, but, as I said, they'll feel weird in a film with a generally realistic approach, unless you start with the CBM-Brain from the start. He keeps, however, his epic tone, the mark of a filmmaker with his own style, the best creative of today's blockbusters. The three hours are not problematic even when it seems some parts do not address the climax. Hans Zimmer(genious as always)'s score sometimes feels like it's conductiong the film instead of complement it, which is very remarkable (Apart from TDKR, I've only seen one scene this year with such a level of complementation between Music-Scene).
The ending felt good. Particulary emotional was the scene at the funeral with Alfred and, although some people won't like the Café Scene, I think it's a correct sweet ending for both characters. Some say it's ambiguous if Bruce died or not, but I think it's clear with the explanations we are given (Auto-Pilot, Alfred smiling... even if some sound a bit contrived). I have to say, however, that I would have prefered a full sacrifice, I have some quibbles with it.

Also, when I finished watching it, I could not avoid but picturing this conversation on my mind, just something funny it ocurred to me:

Iron Man: So, tell me Bruce, how did you save the day in your last movie?

Batman (in Bat-Voice): Weeell... A nuclear device was going to destroy the city, I couldn't stop it so I used my High-Tech Flying Vehicle which only my corporation can produce and only I do have to take it away from the innocent people, at the cost of my life.

Iron Man: Wait! You're telling me you DIED?

Batman (in Bat-Voice): No, no, no... I was able to drop the bomb and make it alive at the last second. And you Tony, I heard you had your own difficulties.

Iron Man: Yeah, you know... A nuclear device was going to destroy the city, I couldn't stop it so I used my High-Tech Flying Vehicle which only my corporation can produce and only I do have to take it away from the innocent people, at the cost of my life. I was able to drop the bomb and make it alive at the last second...

[long silence]

Batman (in Bat-voice): Any problem, Tony?

Iron Man: Ehh... No, no, I just had a déjà vu.

Batman (in Bat-voice): Yeeess... A déjà vu [looks nervous].

Something funny that ocurred to me. The Batcave Scene, on the other hand, was amazing from my point of view. At last someone gives Robin (or a derivation of Robin) some respect. The Scene drawing paralellism to Batman Begins was another great point of the film, I personally loved the ties between the plots. Glad they gave this merit to JGL's John Blake, who looked sometimes like the sucessor Harvey Dent could have been.
The Best - Almost Everything.

The Worst - Not really "that bad", but the unappealing villains. They being 'the worse' means that almost everything else is great.

My Verdict: 9,2. The second best Batman interpretation of all time (surpassed only by its predecessor).
Un lladre es un artista. Fa servir la imaginació per lluirse cuan roba el seu trofeu. Els detectius només analitzen el delicte i ens denuncien. Els detectius son uns simples critics.

User avatar
Posts: 4317
Joined: June 2012
Location: SUH-waaaaannn-SEA
My thoughts:
It was good. Great even. Very different from The Dark Knight, but then again I felt it was a very different film - there was no standout character per se (felt to me like more of an ensemble piece), although Hathaway nearly walked away with the film. Bane was...a little underwhelming, I'll be honest. I could understand most of what he said, but his voice overall was :eh: . Kinda detracted from the character a bit. Also, the second act was weighed down by exposition, even though with Cotillard-is-actually-Talia-al-Ghul thing, it kind of made sense in the end, and the fact that the kid used in flashbacks could conceivably have been both of them was clever.

On the other hand, the opening sequence and the last montage were excellent, especially as the latter was set to music lifted directly from TDK, Hathaway exceeded my expectations and Caine also shone in this one, in a way he hadn't before. The commentary (Occupy Wall Street, anyone?) interested me and I felt for the characters. Aside from the main flaws, it was well worth sacrificing my lie-in, 3hrs of my life, nearly £20 of my money and the four-year wait. It's also still in my mind, and it's been 4hrs from the point of writing since I left the cinema.
I give this a 9/10.

Posts: 245
Joined: July 2012
Nice review, didich. I disagree with some parts, but I loved this part:
Batman (in Bat-Voice): Weeell... A nuclear device was going to destroy the city, I couldn't stop it so I used my High-Tech Flying Vehicle which only my corporation can produce and only I do have to take it away from the innocent people, at the cost of my life.

Iron Man: Wait! You're telling me you DIED?

Batman (in Bat-Voice): No, no, no... I was able to drop the bomb and make it alive at the last second. And you Tony, I heard you had your own difficulties.

Iron Man: Yeah, you know... A nuclear device was going to destroy the city, I couldn't stop it so I used my High-Tech Flying Vehicle which only my corporation can produce and only I do have to take it away from the innocent people, at the cost of my life. I was able to drop the bomb and make it alive at the last second...

[long silence]

Posts: 86
Joined: July 2012
i thought Bane talked a little too much at certain points (maybe it was just because i was straining to make out what he was saying--theater's speakers were crappy so it was even difficult to make out dialogue from some of the characters without giant masks over their faces) but then again i loved a lot of the stuff he said, even the more expositional stuff. the voice was weird but sort of in a good way. but for Bane really what was most important was the physical performance, and Hardy KILLED IT there.

Posts: 655
Joined: July 2010
Location: Brighton, UK
Just got out of seeing it in IMAX. Truly amazing. The perfect way to wrap up what is, in my opinion, the greatest trilogy in cinema history.
I didn't like the fact Bruce Wayne lived; it is literally impossible to escape the prediciment he was in.
Other than that, I am deligted with it. Even had me blubbing by the end. 5/5 :clap:

User avatar
Posts: 4041
Joined: April 2010
I won't do a review for now. All I will say is that I loved it! I truly think its Nolans most powerful film (emotion wise) I had tears in my eyes in the end. The film blew me away! So happy to see it being such a full cicle! Batman Begins has gotten a whole new meaning now.

Best trilogy Iv ever seen. Yes the very best.

10/10
trilogy 10/10

Posts: 204
Joined: June 2012
Location: Look behind you....... Then look down
10/10 It was more than wanted,Yes its better than teh dark knight

Posts: 86
Joined: July 2012
the more i think about it the more i really realize how much this movie is basically Batman Begins but blown up to a much larger and more visceral scale, with TDK having served to dramatically increase the material and emotional stakes for everyone involved.

User avatar
Posts: 9403
Joined: December 2011
9/10
LOVED it to bits.
See it in 70mm IMAX.You have to.
Really liked Bane's redub.
Only thing that bugged me:
the Gordon in hospital scenario.
The ending was superb.
Another thing:
Did anyone else notice John Blake's middle name? Should put all these birdy arguments to rest.

User avatar
Posts: 1883
Joined: March 2009
Location: Leiden
Okay, here my complete reaction:

WARNING: I PROBABLY SPOIL THE COMPLETE MOVIE!
To begin with, I'd like to quote myself from earlier:
This film was "Awesome, but definately not the best in the trilogy". This review is gonna be mostly gonna be about the negative things, please remember that I still thought it was awesome! I don't really know how to structure my review yet, so bear with me if I'm going from one point to another.

I have a few issieus with the plot.
To start with, I found a few basic plot points that weren't that original, such as the question about who Ra's El Ghul's child is. When Wayne thought that Bane was his son, I immideately felt that there was something out of place there (and I was right). I might not have thought it was Miranda, but I wasn't surprised when she turned out to be her daughter too. That "I am your father!" question felt quite a bit unoriginal.
That comes with Miranda's death scene that was really poorly executed. "My father's work is done. Uhhh!", that gave me the chills. That was some bad writing/acting.

Couldn't tell anything about Tom Hardy's acting. It was all behind the mask and his eyes didn't tell me anything. I didn't look bad, but I couldn't get anything good out of it either.
Again, Bane's death was pretty poor. Batman was fighting when suddenly Selina Kyle entered with the Batpod and shoots him. It was done in a second and we did not get to see Bane again. We've been looking at this bad guy for two and a half hour. Nolan could at least given us a descent goodbye?

The League of Shadows is back. They try to destroy Gotham again.
However, I feel that there is no reason to destroy Gotham City. Due to Batman, Gordon and the Dent Act, the streets are clean. The League should not have a reason to attack the city. And I do know that someone (I think it was Bane) said that the streets are clean due to an Act that is based on a lie, but what would have been better? Lie to people to create harmony in a city with more then a million citizens, or kill them all?
And ofcourse the way they try to complete their mission by using a nuclear bomb. Terrorist with a nuclear bomb does not feel really original. Not in the way we're used of Nolan.

I also didn't like how Bruce and Alfred splitted. Even though we see Alfred later again, this is his real goodbye in the trilogy. Again, this character had a very weak goodbye.

And those bridges that are being blown

And now, let's get to the ending. This is also the point where we go from the negative points, to the possitive.
The ending felt both good and bad. When Batman flew away with The Bat and the bomb, I suddenly had the feeling this film was getting the worst ending ever. However, I should ofcourse have had a little more faith in Nolan, because I got that rewarded.
The scene where we see Alfred in France, meeting Bruce and Selina again was great! However, I don't like the fact that we don't know how he made it out. I would have suggested a scene where they retreve The Bat, but without Batman (implying that he dropped the bomb and flew a little further before crashing in the ocean).
I didn't see it coming that John Blake was Robin and was amused by it. However, I don't understand the cliffhanger of him finding all the Batman stuff. He could take over the role of Batman, Batman is a symbol, not a man. Perhaps this is a cliffhanger of the 'rebooth': Batman, now with John Blake instead of Bruce Wayne? I doubt it.

Now, the good:
I loved how they combined elements from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight into this final chapter. A lot of sequels try that, but it does not turn out that good. The Dark Knight Rises ends both the stories of The Dark Knight as the story of Batman Begins in a high quality way!
Anna Hathaway as Seline Kyle. That was incredible. I'm not sure if I'm in love with Selina Kyle, Catwoman, Anna Hathaway or a combination of those 3.
Even though I thought the main plot was a bit unoriginal, the ways of how they get to the main plot actually was very cool. Things like that opening scene, the plane highjack. Awesomeness from, in fact, a Nolan level!

I enjoyed myself very much during the movie. I feared that it was impossible to top The Dark Knight and I was right about that.
However, The Dark Knight Rises is almost 3 hours of kick-ass entertainment.
I think I have to settle a score with a solid 8/10.
David emerges from the store slowly. He braces himself against a parked car and then keeps on walking in a nightmarish daze.

WE PULL BACK as David blends in with dozens and dozens of ordinary people, walking on an ordinary street, in an ordinary city.

Post Reply