Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises movie review

I did something I’ve never done before – I went to a screening of the Batman Trilogy which included seeing the first two films before seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I went with three friends to see it and we’d all been up since early morning (5:45am for me), went to work or school, and were determined to stay up until 3am the following morning – and we all made it. And it was a blast.

I saw it at the AMC 20 in Mission Valley and they gave out commemorative lanyards and a poster that had all three movie posters on it. It was a great crowd that laughed, applauded, and was really energetic.

After seeing three great movies, I come home about 3:30am and turn on CNN while I get ready to go to sleep and hear about the massacre in Colorado. And I watched the coverage for another hour.

While the shooter is from Rancho Penasquitos and the closest major theatre is in Mira Mesa, if he hadn’t been in Colorado, it’s not unreasonable that he could have made the 14 mile journey down to the theatre I was in. The trilogy was playing on three screens and the midnight screening was showing on 10 screens.

I’m so glad that I didn’t have to face what the people in Colorado did. I’m happy that I had a great time with friends without a care in the world (other than worrying about falling asleep – which none of us did).

Seeing the entire trilogy at one time was a very rewarding experience. I haven’t seen the first two since I saw both on the opening weekend they were released in. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these Batman films, I just wasn’t a huge fan. While I agreed that both were pretty well done, I didn’t appreciate the rich texture of the films – probably because my first viewing was flavored with my expectations of what the movie should be.

Having seen all three together, I was able to appreciate what Christopher Nolan did. There are no radical changes in tone or character throughout the movies so there’s a consistency to the narrative. The characters are really well written throughout the movies and, my expectations aside, the third movie is a satisfying reward for fans of the franchise.

Throughout the three films, the theme is that Batman is a symbol – not a man. In the first movie, Bruce wants to create a symbol. In the second film Harvey Dent says that he is Batman to protect the Bruce from revealing his identity after giving a speech about how the city needs Batman. In the third movie Batman’s return fills the city with a newfound sense of hope but as the film ends and Bruce Wayne can no longer be Batman, another is called to take his place. While the person called at the end of the third film may not be a new Batman, Gotham will have another hero to believe in.

The thing I appreciate the most about the films is that, with the exception of Batman and Two-Face, we don’t have to sit through a long origin of any of the characters. We get Bane’s origin through a few flashbacks but almost nothing for Scarecrow, The Joker, Selina Kyle (they never call her Catwoman), or Bane. I also like Scarecrow appearing in all three movies – there was applause for this villain when he made his first appearance onscreen in The Dark Knight Rises.

As for the third film alone, I won’t go over the details – you’ve probably seen the movie by now. The movie mixes two of America’s biggest CNN topics, terrorism and economic collapse and uses them to great effect. There’s one especially amazing shot of thousands of cops having a standoff with Bane’s army of thugs.

The addition of Talia al Ghul was fantastic but her death was pretty lame. It would have been great if you’d seen Talia pregnant at the end of the film (in the comic book, she gives birth to Damian who is trained by the League of Assassins and eventually becomes Robin). I think people will be talking about the end of this film for years. It’s definitely a fitting way to end the trilogy and should make even the die-hards happy.

So, viewed as a trilogy, this is a fantastic body of work. Marvel usually drops the ball on their third films (Spider-Man 3, Blade Trinity, X-Men 3) so it’s nice to see the one good DC superhero film I’ve seen since the last Batman film pay off the two films that came before it. While this ends the trilogy and ends the only good superhero franchise Warner Bros has, Christopher Nolan is producing and wrote the story for the new Superman film which is good news for the fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment