The Dark Knight Rises

 “The Dark Knight Rises” Dark_knight_rises_poster

Unfortunately, I believe this film will ever be remembered for the Aurora shooting in Colorado than for the film itself.  I believe that it has tarnished this film, not unlike Heath Ledger’s overdose tarnished “The Dark Knight” back in 2008.  This has been a very tragic franchise for Chris Nolan – tragic & lucrative.  Nice to see Christian Bale though going to visit the victims in the hospital; I can only imagine how awful everyone involved in this film must feel.  Of course, I believe that people will remember & people will still care years from now.  Sadly, my optimistic view of the world may be very wrong – and maybe people have short memories after all.

Let me say this about “The Dark Knight Rises”: it gave a lot to the fans of the comics.  Is Joseph Gordon Levitt playing Robin?  Yes!  Well…sort of.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  You decide for yourself.  Is Anne Hathaway terrific as Catwoman?  You bet!  Was she spot-on?  Well, sort of.  You decide for yourself.  Bale was fantastic at capturing Frank Miller’s bitter “retired” Bruce Wayne from the infamous Dark Knight graphic novels that brought Batman back from oblivion.  He also excelled as the fatalist as seen in “ the Knightfall ” storyline from the comics all those years ago.  Quite truthfully, there’s also a high percentage of the famous (and glorious) “ No Man’s Land ” story arc / graphic novels in this film as well.  Really, like I said, there’s a lot in it for the fans.

Michael Caine is and will forever be Alfred to me.  He’s a charming actor, but Alfred is iconic.  That character FINALLY came to life after all these years when Nolan cast Caine in “Batman Begins”.  In this film though, Caine brings real power to the character.  In other words, I believed Alfred was a real person with real emotions and real relationships.  That is one of the real gems to this film.  Love the ending!

Sadly, the bad guy of the film is Bane.  The voice of this character was HORRID.  I couldn’t decide if it was trying to be British and elitist or maybe vaguely comical (like an animated Disney villain might be).  He was hard to understand frequently, and it would have just been so much better if he had a deep, growling voice.  Imagine if Darth Vader had walked onto the Tantive IV and bellowed his opening lines with the voice of Stewie Griffin?  It just didn’t work.  I don’t know what they were going for with his voice but it destroyed everything to the character.  Of course, he is supposed to be uber-tough, but going toe to toe with Batman and not even flinching?  I find that implausible without sufficient credit.  Of course, if Nolan HAD supplied the accreditation I seek, then it would have been BANE from the comics with his Venom drug in full swing.  Now granted, Nolan managed to squeeze a lot of the character from the comics into Tom Hardy’s portrayal in “Dark Knight Rises”.  I still cannot get past the voice though!

The supporting cast is wonderful, once more.  Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox – brilliant as always.  Gary Oldman IS Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, and I honestly don’t think anyone else will ever do half as good a job as he has done with this character.  (As with Alfred, I loved the ending!)  The additions of Matthew Modine as Foley (the wannabe Police Commissioner) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake (the wannabe Robin) were great additions to the storyline.  I was really impressed with Joseph Gordon-Levitt especially.  Marion Cotillard plays Miranda – a billionaire that can save Wayne Industries AND make an honest man out of Bruce Wayne?  That was a nice touch!  By far though, Anne Hathaway was the real stand-out.  She brought such gusto to her performance (love the line about the shoes!) that it is hard to remember why any of us thought Michelle Pfeiffer was good in “Batman Returns”.  She is a believable Selina Kyle, an exceptional thief that is just way in over her head.  A brilliant job!

So, this franchise ends and it actually is tied up rather nicely.  It leaves the door open for others to follow – both with the story lines created by Nolan for these films and in the films themselves.  What I mean is, if another director wanted to pick up where this story ends and carry on, he could do so.  Batman is an icon, not necessarily a person.  So, it is plausible that a director could do this.  Will somebody do this?  Unlikely.  Look at “the Amazing Spider-Man”.  That franchise was only 5 years dead and the studio decided to hit the reset button & start fresh.  I expect this will be no different.

A word of warning though about “The Dark Knight Rises”: this is a very dark film.  This is NOT “the Avengers”.  No bright colors or clearly identifiable good guys here.  For that matter, the bad guys might not actually seem that bad.  Truth is, that’s how DC Comics rolls.  Everybody should know this by now – and the Batman is the darkest of all comic book heroes.  So, keep the kids at home.  Teenagers can handle it (but still might not get some story lines) but anyone under the age of 14 should stay at home for this one.

I believe this is a great ending to the franchise and I hope the Dark Knight stays out of motion pictures for a while.  Let us savor and enjoy this one – even as we remember those innocent victims of a senseless shooting in Aurora.

…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE

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One thought on “The Dark Knight Rises

  1. Great piece on TDKR, thanks for including the link to mine on Geek Blogger UK! I agree with most of the points you made but personally I had no problem with Bane and his voice, but, hey if we all thought the same the world would be a pretty boring place!

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