And the time has arrived, I’m now finally posting a review on this summer’s most anticipated movies. To give you an idea of my struggles to write this post, just know, that this is the third draft for The Dark Knight Rises. It was and still is difficult to form precise thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s end to the Batman trilogy and possibly the end of the best Batman story ever told. Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about writing this review for weeks and every time I try to analyze the movie I get stuck in this area of vague feelings flouting around. From the moment of walking out of the cinema up until now, I have been certain that I liked the movie rather than loved it but with every draft I keep confusing myself and these vague illusions of “loved it” keep popping into my mind so, even after almost a month of contemplating my feelings about TDKR I still have no idea, if I like it a lot or love it.
This post includes spoilers!
After finishing the post I realized that it focuses more on the aspects I didn’t like and would have wanted to be different. That being said, the high rating is more to due with the things I didn’t mention but what have been mentioned by dozens and dozens of other movie bloggers before me. So not to sound like any other blogger, I went with the direction of discussing the subjective dislikes in The Dark Knight Rises which in the end really didn’t matter as much as I make it look out to be.
I remember when I finally had the heart to watch The Dark Knight with my father after purchasing the DVD months before. Yes, I was and still am a big fan of Heath Ledger so it was difficult for me emotionally to watch his movies for a long time after his death in January 2008. So it makes sense if I say that The Dark Knight is still my favorite out of the trilogy and Ledger’s Joker is still probably the best villain there is! One of my friends would disagree on this matter, I remember her saying that it wasn’t that special and he only got the Oscar because of his sudden death. I’m not gonna go down that road because I will be an emotional wreck if I did but knowing the background of Ledger’s work on that movie (thank you, DVD extras!) and seeing his performance, as a, let’s say, more knowledgeable movie person, there is no apparent reason for that role to be overrated! That being said, I thought Tom Hardy’s Bane had a difficult role as a villain to follow.
The success behind Bane was probably his appearance where his pumped up body and that mouth guard attached to his face looked scary as hell – he really did look strong and more powerful than Batman. As I learned, the decision to have a contradiction between the voice and the body was made by Tom Hardy himself: the final voice was weird and at first, it became as a big surprise rather than something intriguing. By the end though, when the final end game was revealed and the back story of Bane was clear, I understood the collision between his appearance and the voice well – he was supposed to have a certain vulnerability to himself which was implied by his less threatening voice. Was he as good as Ledger, certainly not but he did embody an entertainment factor and filled the screen nicely. Another observation I found interesting was that while Joker was brains and Bane was more of the muscle, they both had their faces covered – as if painting their face or having a mouth guard strips them of humanity. It also helps to create a distance between the character and the audience and it’s something that deserves a much longer discussion.
But my favorite character (Joe from TwoDudeReview called him my boy I will start doing so myself) was my boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Was his role predictable? Sure. But I can’t dislike this man even if I tried really really hard because… I just can’t, okay? Maybe it has to do with the fact that he’s an Aquarius like me, or that he seems so humble and awesome – anyway, I thought Nolan’s choice of Robin was brilliant. I don’t know how intentional his character was supposed to be because I knew from the beginning, he had that kind of a heroic trait and was also quite similar to Batman as well. Either way, I couldn’t be disappointed in the story line if Joe’s character had Robin written on his forehead. The only thing that keeps bothering me is the fact that we’ll never see Christian Bale and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman and Robin though as a contradictory feeling, I really love the end which serves as a new beginning although as we know, it is the final movie of the series.
As a side note: As with so many of my most anticipated movies, I didn’t watch the trailer of The Dark Knight Rises nor did I read any spoilers before the movie. This is a new thing for me and I have to say, I love the way a movie is completely unknown for me!
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman was certainly a refreshing to see as well, especially considering the fact that I have had Halle Berry’s overly cat-ified version in my head for years now. Nolan’s Catwoman was more of a woman than a cat and I think it was very important to keep that humanity in Selina and find that perfect balance. No licking, no cat noises – just the cat-like moving and love for luxury and pretty things. I don’t remember where I read this but I do have to agree with the fact that Hathaway’s Catwoman is the best so far and probably for the reason I already mentioned: it had class and integrity which made me love her from the first line as the “real” Selina. That love doesn’t apply to the character I figured out in the middle of the movie, probably accidentally but I tend to think it was for the not so subtle and predictable story line. Miranda, who was portrayed by the lovely Marion Cotillard, was the sort of love interest for Bruce Wayne turned into the actual villain of the whole movie, she was unappealing for me from the beginning but I guess it made sense. I would have wanted the opposite though, I don’t really like when I can predict the end game and the plot twist therefore Miranda’s character needed a bit more warmth to her in the beginning. This is just me whining over the fact that I didn’t get the emotions that come with the plot twists – I really wanted to be surprised – I tried to overlook the fact but I couldn’t, so it ended up cooling down my emotions.
As you can see I have avoided Batman’s character for the most part, I don’t really know why but I feel as if I might say something wrong I end up offending people I don’t want to upset. By this you might have already guessed something and I’m sorry but this is just my subjective opinion that technically doesn’t change the fact how I feel about the overall movie. But just to clarify, for me the process Batman went through in that prison was unnatural and felt forced. It was the only part of the movie I didn’t really enjoy that much because while the flashbacks served as an important factor, the whole recovery felt pushed. Would I have preferred him returning from out of the blue without us really knowing what happened there during those months – actually, I would. This is possibly because I, for no apparent reason, needed The Dark Knight Rises to give me something to wonder about! In the end though, we knew everything and saw it all happening with nothing left to contemplate on. I’m no story teller nor a script writer but even if it is the final movie, the final chapter of Batman by Nolan, having a mystery to the plot is never a bad thing. This necessity is strongly connected to the fact that the experience of surprise was not present: for me personally, the revealing of Miranda as the true villain wasn’t surprising so it robbed me from that shock factor what I was looking for and I wanted more of and that is probably why I wanted an element of mystery. The Dark Knight also plays a small role due to its strong emotional background making it even more difficult to love TDKR.
Now to think of it, what did The Dark Knight Rises actually achieve in addition of tiding those loose ends and giving everybody the happy ending they were searching for? Bruce Wayne was happy, Selina Kyle was content, Robin became Robin and Alfred got his dream – all sounds like a happy ending and quite the fairy tale. Some might have gotten the plot twist surprise and others might have missed the whole Robin plot thing but for me, I only got the notion of the end – the trilogy is over and there’s no Nolan’s Batman anymore. Despite that and the fact that some of the paragraphs in this post focus on the fact that I wasn’t completely satisfied with how it all played out I still have to say that in the end, I loved how The Dark Knight Rises serves as an ending which gives us an idea that their lives will continue on for the better. So to conclude this long post, I still think the Dark Knight we saw in 2008 was far more powerful in many ways and sadly, most of the excitement and emotional thrill is behind the events outside the movie itself.