Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rise and Brawl

Before seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I read a review of the film in which the reviewer described it as a war movie.  And now having seen this last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, I agree that it is a war movie so to speak.  Bruce Wayne, embodied by Christian Bale, is coaxed out of seclusion to don the bat suit once again when a brawny villain named Bane, played by my boyfriend Tom Hardy, fuels a violent proletariat uprising that threatens to destroy all of Gotham City.  One of the more striking scenes of the film to me is when Batman marshals the City's police force into a hand-to-hand, gun-to-gun, street brawl with Bane's thugs.  [Imagine the rawness and brogue of Braveheart staged with cops and robbers.]  While not wholly believable, the scene does symbolize the ultimate struggle for Gotham's soul.

Overall, TDKR is very good, but not as good as The Dark Knight.  I don't know if any Batman villain can outdo Heath Ledger's rendition of The Joker.  Here, Bane is mostly brawn and, because no one can understand what he says with that thingy on his face, it's hard to truly comprehend his motives. But his brute force is enough to move the story along. To me, Bane is a throwback to one of the Mad Max villains, in particular Master Blaster, albeit without the Master [?] However, there is a twist in the film which challenges Bane's stature as the true villain in TDKR.

Anne Hathaway does a good job as Catwoman and it's fun to watch her kick ass and be cheeky about it.  But I was disappointed that there was no real explanation of her back story.  It is implied that she is some sort of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to ...who exactly?  There's no explanation as to what she does with all that loot and why.  Meanwhile, the  performances of trilogy mainstays Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox were as solid as always.  I also enjoyed newcomers Matthew Modine (who I've loved since Vision Quest), Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an earnest cop, and Marion Cotilliard who's character Miranda Tate makes Bruce Wayne forget Rachel Dawes if only for one night.

TDKR is supposed to be the end of this vision of the Batman saga.  Although it ties up many loose ends from all three films, the ending was such that the book may not be closed on the Batman forever.  [Yes, I meant to write that.]  Like the Dread Pirate Roberts, does it really matter who wears the mask [and cowl]?

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