Movies: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises, and as it should have been subtitled: The Kickass Moments of Anne Hathaway and Alfred.

The fire rises. 

What is it about? 

Eight years after the disappearance of the caped crusader, the late Harvey Dent is still held as the hero of Gotham, Commissioner Gordon is about to be forced from his position, Bruce Wayne is more of a recluse, and a mysterious Cat Burglar makes rounds around the city. However, the balance is upset when Bane, a bulk of a man wearing a mask, gathers people and plans along the sewers, with the intent to bring about “Gotham’s reckoning”. Bane is a character born from the dark, who came from the lowest and darkest prison on Earth and who trained with the League of Shadows. 

Bruce Wayne, who’s been out of the scene for several years, with a limp to add onto it, resurfaces as Batman to combat Bane’s particular method of terrorism. Their confrontation didn’t end well for Batman — the famed comic event happened (Bane breaking Batman’s back), and Batman is exiled to the dark prison. In a time-bound series of events (a nuclear bomb’s about to go off!), and with the makings of a real siege and conquer strategy, Batman saves the day –but before that happens, betrayal, heroic moments, a reveal and a kiss take place, not necessarily unrepeated or in that order. 

Why watch it? 

Obviously it’s one of the big movies of summer 2012; it’s another superhero movie, but thankfully this years’ series of films is a far cry from the days of Fantastic Four. Watch it to finish Nolan’s amazing trilogy in high definition and surround sound, and to see (almost) all of the Inception cast again. Though there are some ill-timed and dragging scenes, and the conclusion was slightly unsatisfactory (more on that later), the re/appearance of beloved characters, the special effects, props, script and acting are worth watching for. The direction (of both scene and camera) in most parts and the theme’s execution leave a very chilling imprint. 

Other notes :) Excuse my tenses. 

Things I love

  • Catwoman. Her characterization, lines and costume were just perfect. I liked how they captured her non-hero, non-villain aspect; she’s a character looking out for herself. Her dialog and gestures were enticing yet natural, with the wit and sensuality that is associated with her name. Contrasted with Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman and (even worse) Halle Berry’s, her costume was more functional (though it raised more questions as to the how), especially without the ears. Though I didn’t see her making a perfect circle cut from glass, or see her origin story, it was still really fun seeing her kick ass in high heels. She may be fetishized a lot (objectifying for her, I suppose), but I see no problem in it. I’m a big fan of femme fatales.
Stop it, Anne. Don’t be so hot/flexible/high heels I can’t.
  • Bruce Wayne. Christian Bale has been called one of the best, if not the best, Bruce Wayne. I agree, and this last movie greatly supported it. Most of his character development (revolving around dealing with pain, I suppose) progressed tastefully. He struggled, he listened, he defied. And of course, it’s not hard to miss seeing Bruce Wayne in a suit. I didn’t like him having sex with a woman one day after returning from his eight-year absence. That’s just not done, Bruce. You’re not a playboy anymore. 
  • Robin.  Spoiler! The hint of a Robin to take on the crusade at the end was really gobsmacking, since I didn’t expect a mention of him at all (Bale or Nolan, whoever, once said that they won’t work with a Robin). At first, I was very confused since Robin ended up being JGL’s character, a newbie in the police force. I was pretty sure none of the incarnations of the boy wonder has ever been a police officer. [Edit: Though now I know better, as apparently Dick Grayson grows up to be an officer in Bludhaven.] Thankfully, it was clarified when someone is some thread said that he’s supposed to be the mash-up of all Robins: an orphan, someone with hidden anger in them, connected Bruce Wayne to the Bat. 
  • Themes and Continuity. Also sort of a spoiler? First of all, I loved how, when they set loose the prisoners and anarchy of the masses was declared, they showed the Scarecrow. I am very partial to Dr. Jonathan Crane, and I was pleased to see him and other unnamed crazies in the sentencing court. Second, I was impressed by the ideas surrounding the trilogy. Nolan revealed that the plot of the movies revolved around three things: fear (Scarecrow), chaos (Joker) and pain (Bane). He also talked about basing on a certain structure for magic tricks: the Pledge, the Turn and the Prestige. 

Things I was less than impressed with

  • Dragging scenes. Several scenes and dialog took a fair amount of time to crest, especially at the beginning. While I could appreciate some exposition, I didn’t appreciate the way it was done. There was a sense of emptiness and dullness to it that probably wasn’t the intent of the action. This led to a bit of disappointment regarding the ending, since the steady and large build up of character exposed in the said dragging scenes should have been a factor in the climax. Instead, what lines spewed out during the most intense moments of Batman fighting were merely rhetoric: repetitions of said phrases or utterances of catchy lines.
  • Talia al Ghul. While I love Talia al Ghul, especially her character as a strong woman who made her sexist father proud, I found that her portrayal here was incomplete and somewhat simplistic. Her struggles and character journey were mostly written away and barely shown except for her scar; her antagonistic relationship with Catwoman was never touched, and basically she didn’t have any kung fu scenes. It’s sad, because she’s really, really brilliant. 
  • The Ending. It was so predictable that I almost growled in the cinema. 
  • World Building. While I’m not sure if there’s anything like this in the comics, I would have liked it if Nolan exerted some effort in creating the living breathing Gotham apart from its mob gangs and Arkham Asylum criminals. I mean, honestly. Who in their right mind would stay in the city given what’s happened in the last 15 years? Something must be so amazing in Gotham that makes rational people stay, unless a lot of people already left and what Nolan showed was a picture of a diminished population of sentimental people. 

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