Sunday, July 22, 2012

All This "The Dark Knight Rises" Stuff

Before you continue reading, be warned that I will be discussing plot points of TDKR that could take away from a first time viewing of the film. In other words, SPOILER ALERT.



First, please take a look at a post I wrote this past winter regarding my thoughts on the then upcoming TDKR: link. After seeing TDKR, I can say that in January I made some good calls, and some pretty dumb ones to go along with them. I enjoyed TDKR, but instead of going into full review mode I believe my psuedo-talents would be put to better use comparing TDKR to both the DC universe and my pre-film expectations. Enjoy the itemized list!

1. Anne Hathaway:
Now, have I mentioned that I am dumb? One of my biggest concerns in January was the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Somebody should have smacked me. Hathaway was spot on as the master thief with a record, and her performance was one of the films best. She was cunning, kick-ass, clever, and walked the line of hero and villain very well; everything Selina Kyle is supposed to be.

2. The Plot:
Well, I think I called this one back in January, but despite what I predicted, I still really enjoyed TDKR. Nolan took noticeable plots from the two bigger Bane arcs "Knightfall" and "Legacy" and added plenty of his own creative spin to make a great Batman film. Nolan used the seemingly random appearance of Bane the back breaking of Batman from "Knightfall" and the team up of Bane and the League of Shadows from "Legacy". The plot of TDKR tied together two films that felt very separate at times and tied up all loose ends I can think of.

3. Bane:
In January I was unsure how I felt about having a realistically sized Bane. Comics Bane is a massive and brilliant Latino man who wears a luchador mask and is addicted to the super-steroid called Venom; TDKR's Bane is still massive, but his steroid addiction has been swapped for pain medication constantly delivered through a respirator. While the switch bothered me in January, the change in Bane's backstory made him fit in with the Al Ghuls very well. Despite changes, Bane's archetype remained intact as the tortured-genius-super-prison-escapee (go hyphens!). Despite not being able to understand every word he spoke, Tom Hardy gave a very solid performance of a character that could be easy to mess up.

4. Those Crazy Al Ghuls:
If you have read some recent Batman comics (Batman and Son would work) or played Arkham City, you should know that the Al Ghuls have a bit of an obsession with both Batman and destroying Gotham. The Al Ghuls were a good choice for TDKR as they are two of the Batman villains who can pull of such a big scale attack.
Now, I can't be the only one who thought that the girl playing Talia as a child looked a lot like Tom Hardy, so I was still surprised when the realization cam out. Yet, for most of the movie I was just waiting for Marion Cotillard to pop out of her shell and start being crazy. Another good use of the Al Ghuls in TDKR was the reappearance of Ra's Al Ghul. Since comics Ra's is the master of the Lazarus Pit, and can be reborn from it, I was hoping we hadn't seen the total demise of the immortal Ra's in "Batman Begins". Although we only see some kind of astral projection of Ra's, I understand why Nolan would want to avoid introducing something as bizarre as the Lazarus Pit in his fairly down to earth Batman films.

5. Blake:
John Blake was the most interesting take on the Robin character I have seen. Yeah, he wasn't a kid, and he has no acrobatic skill, but almost everything else fits into the standard Robin persona; Blake is an orphan, he cares about justice, he is a good detective, and he has the unfortunate first name of Robin (I face-palmed pretty hard). Like Tim Drake, the third Robin, Blake effectively deduced that Bruce Wayne was Batman, and although he never wears a costume Blake is very sidekick-ey at times. It is strongly implied at the end that Blake plans to take up the cowl, and I was very pleased with that particular wrap up.

6. The tid-bits:
TDKR had plenty of details, and these were some of my favorites.
 1. The football team is called the Gotham Rogues, an allusion to the rogues' gallery.
 2. The Gotham Rogues logo is reminiscent of Jonah Hex.
 3. Cillian Murphy made it into all three movies!
 4. A cop made a giant aligator joke before going into the sewer, a reference to Killer Croc.
 5. The shot of Bane breaking Batman's back is almost identical to the image from "Knightfall".
 6. Holly Robinson, Selina Kyle's friend, shows up despite being called "Jen" in the credits.
 7. I really liked the flashbacks to other films

7. The Ending and The Future:
Even though Christopher Nolan has no plans to continue Batman, the question still remains, how will DC and WB make more money off this great trilogy? The companies are already working on "Man of Steel", and it seems likely that they will try to put together some form of Justice League film to replicate the success of the "The Avengers". Since Batman is one of the main DC characters, not including him in the JL film would be a strange move for the companies. This leaves them with two real options, reboot a Batman film to feed into a JL film, or transition from the Nolan trilogy into a JL film. Since any possible JL film is at least two or three years away, I am just speculating on speculation, but I am curious to see if DC can start putting out some good movies that aren't just Batman.

-Peter